Over the weekend, the White House reversed its position on the proposal of Senators Conrad and Gregg to create a bipartisan commission to examine taxes and spending. Initially, President Obama favored a watered-down commission with a higher proportion of Democrats and less authority than the one proposed by Conrad and Gregg. Now, however, he is on board with the Conrad-Gregg proposal.
It’s not clear that, even with Obama’s support, Congress will enact the proposal, and there are substantial arguments against doing so. Personally, I’m not a fan of elected representatives delegating tough decisions to “bipartisan” commissioners.
But Obama’s about-face is good politics. It will make him appear (a) responsive, or at least attentive, to the growing public concern about excessive spending and (b) more like the pragmatic, good government “post-partisan” he passed himself off as in 2008.
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