Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The costs of the filibuster

Sorr that I haven't had much chance to blog any of my experiences at APSA last week.  I encourage you to read Jon Bernstein's account of the filibuster panel, which can be seen on C-SPAN.  I attended some of this panel, which I found fascinating.  I particularly recommend Steve Smith's material around 13:15 in which he notes how the filibuster distorts the legislative process and output.  He holds the filibuster responsible for reducing the economic stimulus package by 20%, for the removal of the public option in health reform, for the delay of unemployment benefits extensions, for the diminution of a small business program, and other things, even while the overall passage rate of bills remains high.

I am still processing the decision to include non-academics on some of these academic panels.  I thought Ezra Klein's contributions to both the filibuster and the media panels were interesting and quite entertaining.  Brian Darling's input on the filibuster panel seemed ridiculous at times, especially when he demanded that all senators read all legislation and that cloture requirements be ratcheted back up to 67 votes.  On the other hand, I rarely experience strong emotions during academic panels, so it was kind of nice to do that once in a while here.

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