Ornstein Asks Congress: Why Are you All There?

Norman Ornstein, long-time fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and columnist for .  Mr. Ornstein poses the question at the end of a discussion about just how dire the Greece and European bank crises are for the UN.  What Congress could do but most likely won’t:

What is it? It starts with the template that every bipartisan group inside and outside Congress has come up with: $4 trillion overall in deficit reduction over 10 years including major tax reform which lowers rates and adds about  $1 trillion, a fourth of the overall package, in revenues.  Combine that with a version of the president’s jobs program for the near term,  and we have it.

Imagine if that kind of package got adopted by the super committee, especially by a vote of say, 10-2 or 9-3 — enough of a margin to enable it to survive its otherwise dicey prospects in the House, and likely to sail through the Senate. (Note to Sen. (R-S.C.): no filibuster or other delay tactics allowed.)

The shock to conventional wisdom would be immense. Likely, U.S. markets would soar and there would be a comparable reaction abroad. It could actually provide enough of a positive shock to the system that it would change domestic and international consumer and business psychology, providing a major positive effect on the global economy.

Can all this be done by Nov. 23? Actually, the tax reform package can be put together pretty quickly, if the base-broadening is done by setting deduction limits rather than picking out winners and losers among the popular deductions.

Ornstein, a vocal critic of the hostage politics dominating Congress, asks:

So here is my question for all of you: Why are you there, if not to make history and improve the lives of Americans? You all have a rare, maybe unprecedented chance to do something remarkable. Don’t blow it.

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