Let’s All Stop Talking About the Base-Closing Commissions

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Peter Diamond thinks we should set up a bunch of expert committees to solve our fiscal problems, with Congress agreeing beforehand to an up-or-down vote on their recommendations. It worked for the base-closing committees, after all. Atrios pushes back:

The base closing commission was a unique thing for a unique situation. Everybody wanted to close some bases, but no politician wanted to be responsible for closing bases in their states. Nothing else is similar to that.

Stop advocating for politicians to find ways to remove democratic accountability. In our system they already have enough ways of doing that.

Yep. The very fact that the base-closing committees are unique should tell you something. Just like the fact that the 1986 tax reform law was unique. When something has only ever worked once, that’s not primarily evidence that it’s possible, it’s primarily evidence that it’s really, really hard to pull it off.

Enough with paeans to the base-closing commissions. Let’s never mention them again. They were a unique solution to a unique problem, not an all-purpose cure-all for every difficult political disagreement. I’m tired of hearing about them. One way or another, we have to make politics work. There are no magical shortcuts.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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