Friday, December 3, 2010

The Deficit Commission Vote

I should say something about the final vote, beyond suggesting you read Ezra Klein, who I think talks about the voting sensibly.  I still disagree with him about the political goal of the commission, which he sees as coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit, while I continue to see it as a way to kick the can down the road until after the recent elections.  But I think he gets the voting right.

The reason I should say something is because I called it wrong, in one respect: I've said the Republican pols on the commission would vote against the final product, while actually the three GOP Senators voted yes

What did I get wrong?

I think what I didn't realize -- and should have -- was that as long as there was no threat of the commission plan passing (and then being sent on to Congress), commission Members could vote strategically.  Well, I saw that with the Democrats, but I assumed that GOP tax orthodoxy would require no votes. 

I'm still fairly confident that if those three votes would have put the plan over the top, at least Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo would have flipped (Judd Gregg, who is retiring, is presumably less worried about future GOP support).  But I think I underestimated the extent to which Republicans didn't want to be seen as holding up the report -- as the only holdups to "solving" the deficit problem.  At least, they were apparently interested enough in that spin that they were willing to violate tax orthodoxy.  That, I think, is interesting, and suggests there's perhaps a somewhat better chance of a serious deficit reduction package in the 112th Congress than I had believed. 

On the other hand, I believed there was very little chance at all, so I'm not saying now that it's going to happen.  I still really can't see GOP Members of Congress voting for a deficit reduction plan with any increased taxes as all.  Still, I was wrong about this one, so I figured I should note it publicly.


  1. Good on you. I always like seeing pundits admit a mistake. Not as much as I like seeing pundits compile a searchable database of their predictions and whether they've hit or miss, but I'm used to settling for second best.

  2. I, too, was surprised by 11 votes. Didn't expect it to do that well, and Coburn and Crapo were the biggest surprises. I think you hit on the reason.

    Incidentally, the word verification that just came up was "hacks"


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