30 September 2013

A Simple Process that Looks Less Like War and More Like Politics

Principled politics without compromise, or as they used to call it - war.

To me it is a failure of process that budgets could ever become an issue over which you could not compromise.

Senator A wants to spend $500 billion on defense and $0 on Obamacare.
Senator B wants to spend $300 billion on defense and $100 on Obamacare.

What could be easier than taking the average of those two and moving forward with a budget? $400 billion on defense and $50 billion on Obamacare.

Now of course there are 535 representatives not 2, but you can arrive at compromise with exactly the same process regardless of numbers.  (You could even do it with 300 million Americans.) With a process based on simple averages, each district and state gets represented. No one state, district or party gets a monopoly on determining budgets. And no one gets shut out of the process.

Additionally, every representative would have a budget made public. Their constituents would know if they voted to zero out social security or double taxes on it. You could see what each representative's deficit or surplus would be and who would be taxed more or less.

This transparency would force some sanity into the process. (Perhaps.) And it would make it impossible for any one group to hijack the process. Budgets would always be a simple average and the typical representative would have about 2/10th of a percent input into defining the budget.

Politics is compromise. It's hard to imagine a more clear highlight of the fact that our political process is failed than the fact that DC can't find a compromise on numbers.

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