Fred Hiatt's BipartisanThink

A blog about business and economics.
March 11 2013 9:44 AM

BipartisanThink from Fred Hiatt

President Obama points to the crowd after delivering remarks on immigration reform at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas on Jan. 29, 2013.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Fred Hiatt has a column calling on Congress to adopt Barack Obama's budget proposals and pair that with adopting his immigration proposals. Except I guess it would be embarrassing to write a column about how Obama is right about the budget and immigration, so he employs a little BipartisanThink:

And beyond politics, on many of the biggest challenges you’re going to need ideas from Column A and Column B. The most rational policy position isn’t always in the middle. But you can’t solve the debt challenge without raising more revenue and controlling entitlement costs. You can’t fix immigration unless you provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and establish laws and procedures to discourage future illegal entry.
Eventually, in other words, you’re going to have to wheel and deal and compromise — you’re going to have to govern. It might as well be now.

I don't have a ton to say about this. The whole point of the column is that it's wrong for Obama to focus on victory in the 2014 midterms and he should instead work on compromising with Republicans. But the policy positions that Hiatt favors are identitical to Column A's proposals and do not in fact take any ideas from Column B. Column B's distinctive idea about the budget is that we should cap tax revenue at 18 percent of GDP. On immigration, Column B is debating whether the undocumented population should be turned into a permanent helot class barred from obtaining citizenship or should be harassed into "self-deportation." Combining new enforcement measures with a path to citizenship is Obama's immigration proposal. Increasing tax revenue and cutting entitlement commitments is Obama's budget proposal. Whether you like those ideas or not, those are Obama's ideas; they're not compromises between Obama's ideas and Republican ideas.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.


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