The Congressional Lame Duck Session: A Roundup

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on December 10, 2010

1. I suppose that it is easy for Republicans to pop popcorn and watch as Democrats tear each other apart. More on that issue here. But there are serious policy issues to deal with here. As I have written before, extending the Bush tax cuts for two years is nothing compared to the palliative effects of a permanent extension, per the findings of Milton Friedman’s permanent income hypothesis. But it would be disastrous to allow distortionary taxes to increase in this incredibly weak economy. As such, the President should ally with Republicans and try to pass the tax plan with Republican votes–assuming that he is able to get Nancy Pelosi to agree that at the very least, the plan deserves a vote in the House.

Of course, if he fails to do that, and if Democrats allow taxes to be increased for everyone at the end of this year, the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats will deserve all of the blame they get in the event that an even weaker economic situation eventuates.

2. We need some kind of immigration reform, and we are not going to round up 12 million illegal immigrants to kick out of America. Thus, while the Senate can refuse to pass the DREAM Act, the problem is not going away. Bill Clinton once said that the solution to Middle East peace was clear, and that everyone knew what it would require. We would just have to wait until people got tired of the situation being awful in order to implement the solution everyone knows will have to be implemented. The same, I think, can be said of immigration reform. Eventually, we’ll end up doing something along the lines of what the DREAM Act would have us do, once we have exhausted all other alternatives, and once we come to believe that the situation has reached a crisis point.

3. I continue to wonder why it is that we won’t let patriotic gays and lesbians serve in the military. There is no excuse whatsoever for continuing to try to resist the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Nunn None.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/4SZNTV3MEY2RHUML7TOB7J52SQ John

    When it comes to your personal dogma, Pej, you seriously don’t even try anymore. There are, let’s say, serious problems with the following sentences:

    “We need some kind of immigration reform, and we are not going to round up 12 million illegal immigrants to kick out of America.”

    “I continue to wonder why it is that we won’t let patriotic gays and lesbians serve in the military.”

    I wonder, can you step back from those sentences, look at them as objectively as possible, and pick out the problems? Or are you so rigid in your positions that you can’t even see them anymore?

    • Pejman Yousefzadeh

      I linked to a post by Dan Drezner expressing why I think DADT is silly. I also explained my views on immigration in the past, and in this post, beyond the mere sentence that you quoted. I see no reason whatsoever why I should exhaustively detail every position I take repeatedly, when one can search in the archives and find all that I have written on a particular topic.
      Incidentally, I wonder if it has occurred to you that your own comment makes clear that when it comes to your personal dogma, you seriously don’t even try anymore. I mean, we get no effort from you to spell out your position in criticizing me.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/4SZNTV3MEY2RHUML7TOB7J52SQ John

        Both of those sentences are ridiculous strawmen that completely ignore much more reasonable positions.

        There are very, very few serious individuals making the argument that we should round up 12 million illegal immigrants to kick them out of the country. A reasonable argument made by many, however, is that we foster a set of circumstances (i.e., in part, enforcing the law currently on the books) conducive to the lion’s share of those 12 million leaving by their own volition – a mass deportation by attrition.

        Patriotic homosexuals have every right to serve in our military, and many do. So, to say that we don’t let them serve is not only demonstrably false, it’s also disingenuous. They can and do serve – what they can’t do, currently, is serve openly. The distinction exists, whether you think it does or not.

        Have I spelled it out clearly enough? I’ve made these exact same arguments here in the past. I see no reason whatsoever why I should exhaustively detail every position I take repeatedly, when one can click on my name and/or search in the archives and find all the comments I have written on a particular topic.

        • Pejman Yousefzadeh

          There are very, very few serious individuals making the argument that we should round up 12 million illegal immigrants to kick them out of the country. . . .

          Wrong.

          Patriotic homosexuals have every right to serve in our military, and many do. So, to say that we don’t let them serve is not only demonstrably false, it’s also disingenuous. They can and do serve – what they can’t do, currently, is serve openly. The distinction exists, whether you think it does or not.

          Oh, please. Homosexuals in the military must, in addition to observing the dictates of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, censor themselves in any discussion of their personal lives so as to ensure that not even their closest friends in the military know that they are homosexuals, lest they be discharged. This means that personal conversations, deep discussions, even boisterous jokefests involving one’s love life/personal life have to be tip-toed through by gays and lesbians as though such conversations, discussions, or jokefests were some kind of dangerous minefield. This state of affairs is as insulting as it is perilous; it makes clear to gays and lesbians that at the end of the day, they are devalued, and it reminds them every day of their service that one slight indiscretion (by indiscretion, I mean having a gay or lesbian member of the military come out as gay or lesbian) means that they are drummed out of the service? And you call this having “every right to serve in our military”? You call it a meaningful distinction? You get hung up over the word “openly”? I would call this sentiment laughable, if it were not so completely insensitive to the facts of life that devalue gays and lesbians serving in the military.
          As to your last paragraph, your condescension is noted, and will be remembered as I seek to moderate comments on this blog. In the event that you are wondering, however, I cannot find all of the comments you have written on a particular topic by clicking your name, so your comments are as inaccurate as they are condescending. Nice twofer there. Or, you know, not.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/4SZNTV3MEY2RHUML7TOB7J52SQ John

            Not only does your “Wrong” link help my point and not hinder it, it, again, doesn’t at all respond to the real meat of the position stated above. Nice twofer there. Or, you know, not.

            Even if I simply accept everything you say in your response about homosexuals as gospel truth, there’s still the pesky little fact that many homosexuals can, do, and will continue to serve under the current regime. If it is so monumentally awful and so completely offensive to their delicate sensibilities, how have they managed to do so in the past and continue to do so today? Why have and do they do so? I suppose the gene that makes one a homosexual also gives one magical powers to utterly transcend all that is human, and ignore and rise above every horrible thing that comes one’s way. What a gift.

            I do so appreciate that little threat to remember my condescension, particularly as no condescension was intended on my part. I incorrectly assumed that because I could see every comment I’ve ever made by clicking on my name, you could do the same. Still, there must be some way (through DISQUS, WordPress Admin, etc.) for you to obtain all comments from a single user, but if not, all apologies.

            Finally, I must say that I’ve long read and appreciated this blog (back since that old orange page on Blogger/Blogspot/whatever it was). I’ve always considered your voice one of the few online worth reading. However, I must also say that over these years I’ve noticed you become much more rigid, much more dogmatic with respect to some of your idiosyncratic positions. I find it difficult to see how that could possibly be a good thing. It hasn’t stopped me reading, but it does give me pause. I hope that you take that as the constructive criticism it’s intended to be.

          • Pejman Yousefzadeh

            . . . Even if I simply accept everything you say in your response about homosexuals as gospel truth, there’s still the pesky little fact that many homosexuals can, do, and will continue to serve under the current regime. If it is so monumentally awful and so completely offensive to their delicate sensibilities, how have they managed to do so in the past and continue to do so today?

            Because they love their country. It’s time for the country to acknowledge their patriotism, and to treat them with the same courtesy and respect that it affords to heterosexuals. Next question?

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