What I'm Reading
By Arnold Kling
Social Security, by Jagadeesh Gokhale. He gave me a copy when we had lunch today, so I’m just getting started. I’ll write more when I’ve read more. Meanwhile, we can deem it self-recommending for someone who wants to be conversant with the future financial problems in that program. Sad to say, it is not likely to be a best-seller.
In person, Jagadeesh sees the only solution for entitlements as some sort of “grand bargain” of higher taxes and lower benefits. I thought about why such a bargain is unlikely, and I think it comes down to the way we do Congressional elections. If it were a Parliamentary system, with proportional representation, there might be some incentives for bipartisan cooperation. However, with out individual-district system, with gerrymandering used to carve out safe districts, the incentive to compromise with the opposing party is blunted by the threat of being challenged in the primary by someone of the other party.
Incidentally, I think that is why we did not have bipartisan health care reform. If the Democrats had compromised, they would have been crucified by their supporters. Same with the Republicans.
If you want bipartisanship in Congress, you probably need to change the electoral process.