Don’t Mistake This for Gridlock, by Tyler Cowen, Commentary, NY Times: Economic policy in the United States is ruled by gridlock. That’s the common belief, and it’s easy to see the evidence for it in the daily headlines. Immigration reform didn’t even come up for a vote in Congress this year, and the budget deal approved by the Senate last week managed to amend the sequestration but was far from a “grand fiscal bargain.” It was the best that could be accomplished, given gridlock.
Yes, there’s some truth to this view of our state of affairs. Still, the American political system allows for more change than its current reputation suggests.
The Affordable Care Act offers an example...
This is not a new debate. For example, Tyler Cowen and Larry Summers are in agreement, but here's another view:
Gridlock is no way to govern, by Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann, Commentary, Washington Post: Larry Summers is a brilliant, award-winning economist. Monday, in his monthly op-ed column for The Post, he opined about politics and history [“Sometimes, gridlock is good for America,” April 15]. Our advice, as political scientists, is that Summers should stick to economics.
Summers painted a rosy scenario, saying that the frustration people feel at the slowness and gridlock of recent years is misplaced — that things were just as bad, if not worse, in the early 1960s; that the failures to enact health-care and welfare reform in the Nixon years were a good thing; and that more gridlock, not less, would have been helpful during the George W. Bush years. Summers also lauded the economic policies that have enabled the United States to avoid the double- or triple-dip recessions that have hit Europe, as well as passage of the Affordable Care Act and financial regulation, and advances in energy and the widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage.
We were left wondering what political system Summers has been living in the past several years. This level of partisan polarization, veering from ideological differences into tribalism, has not been seen in more than a century. The U.S. system has always moved slowly, but in times past major advances were achieved with some level of cooperation or restraint, if not consensus, between the parties. No more. ...
Larry Summers responds.