A Climate of Urgency Makes Drastic Decisions Seem Justified

I’m starting to see a trend in the way our government operates:

Step 1: Do nothing for a few months.

Step 2: Recognize a looming problem. Sell it as a crisis that is the biggest threat to our well-being ever.

Step 3: Rush through legislation which has drastic fundamental consquences on the future of our country without much deliberation, public discussion, debate, or any kind of open forum for ideas.

Step 4: Use the successful or failed (both are claimed to be true) resolution of the “crisis” in the next election to raise money.

Wars (like Iraq and Afghanistan) are an especially clear example of this, however, the current debt ceiling crisis is another tragic example. I don’t yet know the outcome of the private meetings between Obama and the key political figures involved, but I do know that the lives of millions of Americans will be affected by the inevitable cuts in treasured programs and the inevitable tax reform.

These are important and difficult public policy questions, and yet the American people are not involved in any real sense, because the span of time over which options are weighed is weeks (even days), not years.

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