How to tackle complex legislation

“Half a loaf is better than none”

President Obama held a press conference this morning. Nothing new in that. In this election year, I’ve pretty much glazed over whenever he shows up.

He did, however, propose something today that got me thinking. He talked about the minority GOP blocking all kinds of Democratic legislation, but noted that the parties agree the middle class should get tax cuts. Why not, he suggested, put aside fighting over tax cuts for the rich and at least pass the middle-class cuts the two parties agree on?

Interesting. Logical. So why didn’t he propose something like this during the prolonged health care debate? Pass those parts that everybody agrees on (and there were some important ones) and deal with the contentious issues separately.

Well, okay, “health care reform” did get done, eventually. Such as it was. But wouldn’t it have been easier and better to first pass the things everyone agreed on, and then tackle the tough stuff? By the time all the compromises were made and arguments settled, the two parties had pretty much thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

Let’s try another big issue. Comprehensive immigration reform. It never gets done, or even started, supposedly because the Dems and the GOP can’t agree on all the nuts and bolts of this juggernaut of an issue. Wouldn’t it make sense to go ahead and pass the parts that everyone does agree on — securing the border, for example? Get that done, at least. Then move on to the conundrums of ID systems, “amnesty,” etc.

Come on, Washington. If it makes sense to break tax legislation into the parts you can pass now and the parts you’re going to fight over forever, doesn’t it make sense to handle other complex legislation the same way?

Also on Pied Type: Half a loaf is better than none

6 thoughts on “How to tackle complex legislation

  1. I like Congressman Ron Paul’s recovery plan much more.

    Businesses costs would be reduced significantly.
    Employee take home pay would be increased significantly.
    Production and consumption would necessarily increase.
    A perception of a stable economy would be fostered.
    Knowing their economic future, businesses would be more apt to hire.
    People would be better able to make mortgage payments.
    Bank loans would more likely be paid.
    Government involvement and associated expenses would DECREASE.
    The FED would only have to create a small portion of the eventual cost each month.
    Without a giant infusion of FED counterfeit money up front, congressional spending increases would be highlighted.
    The irresponsible rather than the responsible would suffer the consequences of irresponsible actions.

    All we have to do is suspend all withholding and business taxes for a year or two.

    1. I wasn’t taking a position on the legislation itself but on the suggested approach to passing it, or part of it. As for Paul’s proposal, there’s a big difference between economic theory and real world, individual decisions and behavior.

      1. “As for Paul’s proposal, there’s a big difference between economic theory and real world, individual decisions and behavior.”

        Yes. All we have to do is look around to see what ought to be obvious to everyone by now. Individual decisions and behavior and real world motivations that inspire them is fundamental to Austrian economics. Decades ago its adherents predicted where this economy is and where it’s going if we keep doing the same things and expecting different outcomes. Paul’s plan puts the responsibility for recovery as well as the means in the hands of individuals. I know, I know… it’ll never happen because our leaders are way smarter than mere citizens, but too insecure to prove it.

... and that's my two cents