The Wally Government
The Wally Government
December 17, 2012
I’m impressed by the trigger that Congress included in the Budget Control Act in 2011. The idea is that if Congress can’t agree on a better way to balance the budget by year end, automatic and painful spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect. The hope was that members of Congress would act responsibly if there was a gun to the head of total strangers that they don’t give a shit about.
I’ve never wanted to run for Congress until now. The job looks boring, but I’m attracted to a system that punishes total strangers for my bad performance. I assume this is some sort of “best practice” that our government is borrowing from a successful system elsewhere. So starting today, if you tell me you don’t like my blog, I will pay a stranger to kick another stranger in the nads. If Congress is right about the trigger concept, you should see a big improvement in my blogging performance. I’m all about incentives.
There’s a Wally-esque genius to this budget trigger concept. It actually solves Congress’ biggest problem, namely that doing anything that is balanced and appropriate for the country renders a politician unelectable. Republicans can’t vote for tax increases and get reelected while Democrats can’t cut social services and keep their jobs. But don’t cry for Congress because this isn’t the sort of problem that can thwart a building full of lawyers. They put their snouts together and cleverly invented a concept – called a trigger – to take the blame for them. This way, both sides can screw their supporters while still blaming the other side. No one has to take responsibility for anything.
So while there might be a Santa Claus, there is no hope that Congress will reach a budget deal before the trigger goes into effect simply because no politician wants a balanced deal. So in the next few days the stock market will take a nosedive as the public comes to terms with the fact that the trigger was never designed to be avoided. It was designed to trigger. If Congress planned to avoid the trigger they might have named it something like “The Avoidy Thing” instead of trigger.
A good time to buy stocks is after the public realizes the trigger is unavoidable and the markets tank, but before everyone realizes the automatic spending cuts and tax increases are as good as we would have gotten under any negotiated plan.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go to Craigslist.com and see if I can hire someone to kick a member of Congress in the nads until my blogging performance improves.