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An Executive Order Debt Commission Doesn’t Cut It
Posted By J.D. Foster, Ph.D. On December 17, 2009 @ 12:57 pm In Economics | Comments Disabled
President Obama is reported to be considering an Executive Order creating yet another commission to consider options for curtailing Washington’s deficit addiction. Even at a time when action is desperately needed, such an Executive Order is likely worse than doing nothing.
The Executive Order approach represents Congress’ latest embarrassing retreat in the fight against deficit spending. Conservative and moderate “Blue Dogs” in Congress have joined many of their Republican colleagues in refusing to support a $1.8 trillion hike in the debt ceiling unless they get a vote on a real deficit and debt commission with enforceable recommendations. As Representative Allen Boyd (D-FL), a real commission supporter and Blue Dog Democrat put it, “We don’t have the will in Congress to discipline ourselves. We have proven that over the years”.
Speaker Pelosi is having none of it, however. She’d rather make the Congress take two painful votes on a small debt limit hike now and a big one in the spring than admit failure. She reportedly believes a commission would cede too much responsibility. Ceding responsibility is the point when Congress is persistently and flagrantly irresponsible.
So the White House is considering an indecent figleaf as an alternative – a presidential commission, of which history is replete with failed examples. There are three simple reasons such a commission is likely worse than nothing:
Members of Congress asked to vote on the largest increase in the debt ceiling in history have good reason to be uncomfortable, and to demand some assured means of getting deficit spending under control. A good alternative is the bi-partisan Wolf-Cooper commission proposal that already enjoys over 100 co-sponsors. A presidential commission is the policy equivalent of a Senate filibuster, naught but a tale full of wonkish sound and fury signifying nothing.
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 President Obama is reported to be considering an Executive Order : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/politics/17cong.html?_r=2
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