Washington has made up its tiny little one-track mind about the budget and isn't listening to you. Does that drive you crazy?
Trouble is, the media make it easy for Washington's deficit hawks -- johnny-one-notes -- to prevail.
For reasons I’ve never quite understood, the rules of reportorial neutrality don’t apply when it comes to the deficit. On this one issue, reporters are permitted to openly cheer a particular set of highly controversial policy solutions. At Tuesday’s Playbook breakfast, for instance, Mike Allen, as a straightforward and fair a reporter as you’ll find, asked Simpson and Bowles whether they believed Obama would do “the right thing” on entitlements — with “the right thing” clearly meaning “cut entitlements.”
A few days earlier, Ron Fournier, the editor of the National Journal, wrote that President Obama was giving America “the shaft” by taking an increase in the Medicare age off the table. It is difficult to imagine him using similar language for a situation in which Republicans reject universal health care, or Democrats say no to a tax cut. Over the past couple of weeks, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough has reacted with evident astonishment to Paul Krugman’s argument that the long-term deficit is not a problem we need to solve right this second.
The secret to the special treatment that deficit reduction enjoys in Washington, I think, is that it’s a rare policy area that lends itself to pox-on-both-their-houses politics. “It’s such fun for me to irritate the AARP and Grover Norquist in equal measure,” Simpson told Allen. “It makes your life worthwhile.” It also makes deficit reduction a safe topic for otherwise strenuously nonpartisan figures to issue strong opinions on. After all, they can’t be accused of being partisan, as both parties are standing in the way! ...Ezra Klein
I hope everyone trots over to read the full blast from Ezra Klein. Of course, it will only infuriate you more. Worst, you find yourself listening to Alan Simpson hold forth.
Much of the Washington establishment — insofar as such a thing exists — really does want a big deficit deal and really is furious at the Republicans and the Democrats and everyone else they perceive as standing in the way. And so they cheer Simpson calling out the frauds and the fools obstructing his self-evidently noble mission. And Simpson is all too happy to indulge them.
What he’s not as good at is actually dealing with legitimate concerns raised about his plan. Asked about legislators who don’t want to support Simpson-Bowles because their constituents don’t like it, he said:
"Either get your country on course and forget the fact you’re a Democrat or Republican and get to be an American and get cracking."
So that’s it, then: Either you’re for Simpson’s deficit-reduction proposals, or you’re being a Republican or Democrat rather than an American. ... Ezra Klein
Aw, jeez. It's like being stuck at a Georgetown cocktail party where the alternative is to walk home in the rain. Get wet! Walk home! For god's sake! These people are nuts!