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.