Andrew Biggs spoke at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee this week:
My testimony and that of the other witnesses . . . attempted to grapple with the dual problems of recovering from a deep recession while tackling a truly massive fiscal gap. The reaction of the Republicans on the committee, while not exactly a grad school policy seminar, was on par with the seriousness of the problems we face.All the Democrats care about is winning the next election. When that's past they'll care only about winning the following one. And on and on.
However, the behavior of many of the Democrats on the committee, including many senior members, turned the hearing into what can only be called a farce. Representative Pete Stark of California referred to all of the witnesses as “clowns” and “second-rate economists” dug from “the bottom of the barrel,” and the tenor of the questions didn’t get much more constructive from there. There was almost no discussion of what we might actually do to fix our budget gap. Instead, there were questions on the 2001 tax cuts, funding for the Iraq war, loan guarantees for wind power, and on and on. It was almost funny at the time, but given the responsibilities handed to elected officials and the obvious need for them to wield those responsibilities in the face of enormous challenges extending over decades, it was much closer to a disgrace.