… in America’s system of gridlock-based government priority is now on buck passing rather than achieving policy goals. Democrats are putting a higher priority on a desire to get Republicans to vote for tax increases than they are on a desire to have taxes be higher. Republicans, conversely, are trying to avoid voting for tax increases rather than trying to prevent tax increases from taking place.
That is from Matt. I wonder what underlying model of politics this is evidence for. Could it be that the real rewards from office holding come from one’s interest groups, later on? But why is the reward so closely tied to measures of loyalty rather than actual results? Are the external interest groups such poor monitors? If so, that would help explain why the observed Beckerian political bargains are so inefficient and so subject to polarized bickering.
I agree with this post of Matt’s too, 2008 was worse than we had thought. Now let’s apply some (finite) backward induction. How about 2007? Was that year worse than we thought? 2006 anyone? I think of 2008 and 2009 as when the crumminess of some of the preceding years was revealed as common knowledge. The real mistakes of the Commerce Dept. were about the previous years and that is only beginning to sink in.