Can Washington tackle the big economic issues?
The agreement on the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits illustrates that Washington can tackle incremental issues. Lawmakers will undoubtedly agree to raise the debt ceiling and pass another federal budget to keep the government running. But will this new divided government be able to make the major structural changes necessary for our economy to grow and prevent the fiscal crisis on the horizon? Many Americans outside Washington prefer divided government. In theory, it forces our political parties to work together on initiatives that have the broadest possible popular support. It demands shared accountability: With one party in control, it is too easy for politicians to shower their constituents with largess and for the party out of power to simply object to everything. Divided government often leads to better governing.