Friday, November 09, 2012

Where is Mr. Burns when you need him?

Here Mark Tapscott argues that in order to get a big deal done on the budget the parties should be forced to negotiate in public.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

One always hears this ouch-less bandaid drivel about openness and sunshine and public negotiations from pundits and confused citizens when the country can't seem to come to a decision on a big issue. It is the aspirin the do-gooder's medicine chest, beneficial for many ailments and if not a cure at least something that does no harm. And when it is found to be largely useless the cure is always more openness.

This could not be more wrong. Nothing kills the possibility of finding real agreement on seriously contentious subjects like openness. If the public is presented with an agreement that requires all to sacrifice their own, narrow interests to some overall package to save the country there is at least some hope of getting all to go along. But is the public is presented with a series of hypothetical cuts to their own particular interests they will be called to mobilize in defense of each of these particular benefits or concessions as they occur. And as there will be no one on the other side to push against them politicians will forced to back away from every serious proposal as it is brought up. Nay, they will back down preemptively by not proposing such sacrifices in the first place.                                 

Negotiations held in public will be no negotiations at all.

Of course there will be private negotiations. They will simply be held before or during or after the public ones.

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