Nothing Can Be DoneOn last night's The Daily Show, Al Madrigal talked to Third Way, the folks who want to stop partisan gridlock. This brought to mind something that has especially been bugging me this last month and a half of election coverage: the fetishization of bipartisanship. I hear it from liberals and conservatives alike. Everybody loves bipartisanship! But I don't.

There is a reason that Democrats and Republicans (under normal circumstances) don't get together on policy: they disagree. I want my elected officials to fight for what I believe in. For example, I think that the poorer classes have paid more than enough these last three odd decades. I think the "grand bargain" should be the rich paying higher taxes and the rich feeling good that we don't raise their taxes back up to 91%. That's my grand bargain. I don't think that the rich giving up what Digby calls their tip money in exchange for raising the retirement age to 70 is any kind of "grand bargain." I don't want compromise or "bipartisan consensus" on this matter.

Of course, there is another matter here. For the last four years (and longer to a lesser extent), Republicans have tried to block policy when they were given exactly what they had always wanted. We saw this in the debt ceiling debate (How you feeling about that now guys?) and with healthcare reform. In this case, something really should be done. But this is not about the two sides coming together. The Democrats have come toward the Republicans time and time and time again. And the Republicans have moved further away time and time and time again. Calls for bipartisan consensus just obscure this fact.

As we see in Al Madrigal's segment, it is often worse when legislatures get things done than when they are stuck in gridlock. And everyone knows this when it is a fact. It is only in airy theory that bipartisan consensus sounds so good. Who's up for a good ol' repeal of Rode v. Wade?


Just for the record, I currently think it would be good to create two more marginal tax rates. For the rate above $250k up to $500k: 40%. For $500k up to $1m: 45%. And for income over $1 million: %50. And as usual, bring the Social Security tax cap way up: $250k or higher. We would have surpluses as far as the eye can see.