Washington Needs to Abandon the Quick Fix

In a strange new ritual, Washington routinely grinds to a halt to deal with some crisis or another. One moment it’s a looming tax hike, the next a government shutdown. One week it’s a threatened default on our national debt; the next, triggered sequesters or benefit cuts.

The common thread in these episodes: a politician with a quick fix. Each aims to address our government’s fiscal problems without significant policy reform or sacrifice by any American (voter). And, ironically, though each was designed to avoid short-term economic pain, the gimmicks have only deepened our fiscal hole and made genuine economic recovery less likely. The parade of clever ideas has ensnared Washington in a never-ending cycle of self-inflicted crises and hyped-up doomsday deadlines. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

That’s me, writing in The Hill. I also touch on the Bush tax cuts and highlight new research on the economic consequences of policy uncertainty.