Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Panel Problem 

What is it about government panels and commissions?  They come up with economically astute solutions that are politically dead from the moment they are announced.  Here is a case of another one.  The deficit panel's ideas make sense to close the government's budget gap but few senators or congressmen will support them.  And, that is a problem.  There is a real and terrifying hole in US revenues and expenditures, but the public will is not there to do anything about it.  There is no consensus yet that will allow a politician to be brave and keep his job.  So the political impasse will remain whether or not there are more panels, commissions, study groups, nonpartisan recommendations, reports or any other communication pointing to the problems.  When special interest groups howl, politicians listen -- and count votes.  Only when there is a general consensus that something must be done, will the tide -- and public perception -- turn.  History tells us that can take a long time or not happen at all.  Many nation's have declined because they could not deal with their fundamental problems.  There is no guarantee the US is different.


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