Deficit Fantasies

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Chris Beam says a bipartisan effort to reduce the deficit is probably doomed. So the only answer is a partisan effort to reduce the deficit:

Any serious effort to do Something Important—eliminating the debt, for example—is more likely to succeed by exploiting partisanship than by trying to overcome it….Say Democrats take back the House in 2012, and Obama wins a second term. With majorities once again in Congress, Obama could tackle the deficit with a Democratic set of solutions: chop military spending, impose a gas tax, raise taxes on the rich. Or say Republicans take the presidency in two years, along with the Senate. They could implement all the policies liberals hate, like slashing domestic spending, raising the retirement age, and flattening the tax code.

Have we forgotten about the filibuster already? This idea would be lovely if either party manages to win 60 seats in the Senate — or close to it — but that seems pretty unlikely in the near term for either side. This strikes me as little better than a fantasy.

On a related note, has Slate really decided to make it almost impossible to cut and paste text from its site? What is this Meebo thing that takes over when I try? And why did it crash my browser the last time I used it? Are they trying to get people to link to them less?

UPDATE: Turns out you can turn off the Meebo thing. Problem solved.

UPDATE 2: Armando suggests that you could pass all the stuff Chris Beam talks about via reconciliation. Maybe so, though I’m not sure of all the details. But I might have dismissed this too quickly.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.