False Equivalence: Here's How You Deal With It (Cont.)

From the NYT, in a piece over the weekend on the Democrats' effort to get a vote on "the Buffett rule." The merits of that rule aren't the point at the moment. (It is supposed to guarantee that even very rich taxpayers pay at least 30 percent of their income in tax.) Instead, emphasis added:

The push comes ahead of a procedural vote on April 16 that will decide whether the Senate will even debate the bill, and Democrats give it little chance of reaching the necessary 60-vote threshold.

No larger point here. Just an ongoing reminder and illustration that it is possible to acknowledge the operating reality of today's Senate under the 28th "McConnell"* Amendment -- ie, the reality that any proposal of consequence will be blocked by filibuster -- without advancing the destructive fiction that the Senate was designed to require 60 votes to "pass" any bill. And you don't even need to use the word "filibuster" to clarify that the 60-vote threshold is a special procedural hurdle.

If you're interested in other, more deserving candidates for enactment as the 28th Amendment, you could stroll back down memory lane. Also see previous entry in the "how you do it" series.

* Update: See the next post for explanation of this change.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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