Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Peter Diamond on How to Set-Up a Commission to Generate Tax and Spending Reform

Peter Diamond has an op-ed in today's New York Times. He argues that supercommittees are not the way to get tax and spending reform. Instead, he says that the method used by Congress on base closings is better.  Give the committee its marching orders--goals and so forth. But, more  importantly, don't have any sitting members of Congress on the committee. Then, when the report is submitted to Congress, it is an up or down vote.  He notes that in the Simpson-Bowles commission, almost all of the sitting members of Congress on the commission voted against the report.  What is needed is a committee that is less political, i.e., isn't concerned about reelection.  Then hard choices can be made and Congress has to say yes or not, keeping further tinkering by Congress out of the picture.  It makes sense to me, but will congressmen and senators give up trying to curry favors with their constituents and friends?

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