Share

Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Economist's advice to Republicans on sequester and budget deal: Accept half a loaf

By |
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone,Republican Party,Budgets and Deficits,Sequester

Here's some advice to conservative Republicans from libertarian (more or less) economist Tyler Cowen: Accept the Ryan-Murray budget deal.

In a blog post titled "The sequester was a good idea," Cowen, in his cryptic and precise economist-speak, argues that the sequester “brought some much needed spending reductions” while conceding that “relative to baseline, they are mostly not actual spending reductions,” with some “undesirable side effects [that] could be handled by a subsequent Coasian bargain between the parties.”

He goes on: “That appears to be exactly what is in progress. It is unlikely that bargain will approximate an ideal, but the pre-sequester spending decisions were not ideal, either.”

My translation into political pundit-speak: Republicans, by employing the leverage they held thanks to their majority in the House, got a sequester deal that represents significant (though far from perfect success) on spending policy, and the likely Ryan-Murray jiggling with that deal is probably acceptable. Getting half a loaf, or even a quarter, is all you can realistically hope for when you have a majority in the House but not in the Senate and don't hold the White House, and this looks like an acceptable percentage of a loaf.

View article comments Leave a comment