On this morning's edition of... well, Morning Edition, Steve Inskeep had Senators Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) on, pimping their insane idea to solve the nation's budget deficit by outsourcing the responsibility for doing so to a certain-to-be-dysfunctional special commission, that would require super-majorities at every turn to enact its own recommendations.
Listening in, I had all my standard objections to their process, which seems to imagine that the problems of looming deficits are so great and so serious that fierce urgency demands we make it harder to solve them. Inskeep did a better job than most at heaping skepticism on this whole idea.
Naturally, Conrad and Gregg offered up something new about their proposal that is flat-out idiotic:
INSKEEP: So, just so I understand your proposal, a special group of Senators, Representatives, and some representatives of the administration, they go away, and they come back with a package of presumably politically dangerous or painful budget cuts or tax increases or whatever they come up with, a handful of proposals and Congress is going to have to vote that up or down. [Ed. Note: Again, NOT UP OR DOWN. Sixty percent supermajorities are required in both the House and the Senate.] If your plan is approved, that's what would have to happen.
GREGG: There's one other element here. This group would do a lot of public outreach and would also have an advisory group that would have all the different folks with alleged vested interests in these questions, especially in the entitlement side and on the tax policy side. Public outreach is a very important part of this effort.
So, let me get this straight. A "very important part" of this super-important commission, tasked with reducing the spending of taxpayer dollars, will be to spend taxpayer dollars mounting a P.R. campaign, supporting their efforts? And this is supposed to make sense to anybody?
Oh, and by the way, "an advisory group that would have all the different folks with alleged vested interests in these questions" is a fancy way of saying that the members of this commission will be heavily exposed to all sorts of lobbyists.
I tell you, this idea just keeps getting better and better!