Ezra Klein makes a good point:
I think our political system is actually fairly well-designed for short-term crises. The problem is long-term crises like global warming or health costs.
As Peter Orszag wrote back on his CBO blog, "our political system doesn’t deal well with gradual, long-term problems" that require "trading off up-front costs in exchange for long-term benefits." Few Congressmen want to raise taxes tomorrow to reduce carbon a decade from now. Lots of Congressmen don't want the economy to collapse if they have to run for reelection next year. For that reason, I'm much more confident in the system's ability to react agilely and seriously to the economic crisis than global warming. The economic crisis, after all, threatens their reelection. Incumbents often don't survive depressions. Conversely, I think conventional wisdom is that it's fixing global warming, rather than global warming itself, that poses the largest political threat to incumbent legislators.
Yes, and by the same logic, this is why we should worry about long-term budgetary solvency and why it gets so little attention.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.