Two Statements Written Today By Really Smart People That Disappoint

“There is no clamor among Democrats in Virginia to give collective-bargaining privileges to public workers,” Barro notes, “nor have Democrats in Washington, D.C., shown much interest in empowering federal workers’ unions. This is because Democratic officeholders, quite rationally, prefer to write their budgets themselves, rather than hand over control of employee-compensation costs to unions. Once Wisconsin lawmakers get used to the new status quo, I think this is likely to be true there, too.”

I don’t doubt that he’s right. My hesitation has only to do with the special circumstances of Wisconsin, where the outcry was so extraordinary and where the Democratic officeholders made very strong statements and gestures of support in favor of preserving collective-bargaining for state employees. Ezra Klein

It’s just about impossible to not doubt someone is right when in the next sentence you say how he could be wrong. That’s silly. I don’t see how, if the Democrats win back the Wisconsin houses because of the utterly repulsive actions of all but one Republican lawmakers, they could do anything else but reinstate the union laws on which this entire movement has been founded. It’s Beltway loopy to think a million people organized over negative changes to one law are going to back off if they’re successful in recalls and the next election.

10. A willingness to think that one has “done one’s best” in the realm of policy, and to blame subsequent policy failures on Republican implementation, rather than admitting that a policy which cannot be implemented by both political parties is perhaps not a good policy in the first place. Marginal Revolution

It used to be that lawmakers passed laws in a bipartisan manner, with more co-ownership on initiatives (Congressional Agenda Control and the Decline of Bipartisan Cooperation). In terms of ownership, one party coming into power didn’t automatically mean whatever passed before was no-good-horrible-terrible and should be destroyed, because a bunch of your party members probably voted for the thing. The bellicose attitude is a modern madness, a mostly Republican madness. I can’t think of one law worth passing where it was constructed around what the opposition would do once in power. Social security wasn’t designed so that if Republicans gained power, it would still work. It was designed to work, simply. Democrats went and passed the bill because it was a cohesive policy, responded to a problem, and popular. Ditto on the cohesive aspect for the civil rights acts, clean air act, Sarbanes-Oaxley, and every other important law I can think of.

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