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Democracy in America

As Harry Reid works on a Senate debt-ceiling plan, the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein suspects he will reach his “savings” by counting reduced spending from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and making optimistic projections about the economy. As John Boehner works on a revised House plan, Hugh Hewitt of the Examiner fears Republicans may accept limitations on home mortgage interest or charitable contributions. Since nothing has been released to the public, we may have to watch whatever emerges enacted into law without time for review or comment, regarding legislation involving trillions over 10 years.

It was Keynes who warned about long-term projections, since “in the out years, we are all dead” (or something like that). One wonders what he would think of legislation enacted a week after the public (and most of its representatives) learned of the projections. We need a short-term solution providing time for public analysis and debate, the way laws with long-term consequences were once considered — until in recent years (two-and-a-half to be exact), when secret meetings followed by immediate votes became the new norm. The current crisis will be wasted if it is not used to restore a facsimile of the former process.



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