Monday, September 19, 2016

On the Political Economy

Many people are not thrilled with the choices available this year's presidential election cycle. Given our moribund Congress, it is easy to get pessimistic.

However, I've been reading a number of interesting proposals to fix the deadlock in our political system.

1. Howards Marks on "Political Reality" (pdf)

I find his take compelling. I think "moderate" and "compromise" are positive words/attributes. Towards the end of the document Marks offers some prescriptions for where to begin. The proposal try to make it easier for moderates, and centrists to win elections.

2. Terry Moe on EconTalk...

... offers a different diagnosis, and a radically different medicine: a stronger presidency.
With some exceptions, Congress has never been capable of crafting effective policy responses to the nation’s problems, a fact that is well documented. Polarization has made a bad situation worse, but it is not the underlying cause of Congress’s core inadequacies—which are baked into the institution and not of recent vintage. Congress is an ineffective policymaker because it is wired to be that way by the Constitution, whose design ensures that legislators are electorally tied to their local jurisdictions and highly responsive to special interests. Congress is not wired to solve national problems in the national interest. It is wired to allow hundreds of parochial legislators to promote their own political welfare through special-interest politics.

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