Friday, July 22, 2011

The Only Pledge Worth Signing is a Pledge Not to Sign Pledges


Politico Arena Topic: Is Tax Pledge Helping or Hurting Debt Talks?

I’m sure the conservatives in the Arena will argue that the Norquist pledge has been helpful in focusing the debt ceiling debate on tax cuts. I disagree. The Norquist pledge added another layer of complexity to an already difficult process of cutting a balanced deal as Republican lawmakers openly fear breaking their pledge and incurring Norquist’s wrath.

Read my lips: pledges suck. As the country hurtles toward default, I hope candidates will rethink signing pledges offered up by special interests. Pledges may help candidates get elected but they destroy the ability to govern effectively once in office. Pledges prevent politicos from negotiating, bargaining, and compromising on policy — crucial ingredients to governing in a representative democracy. The only pledge worth signing is a pledge to not sign pledges.

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