March 'Badness': Debt Ceiling Crisis Will Be More Embarrassing Than the Fiscal Cliff
Congress could learn a thing or two from the efficiently-run March Madness basketball tournament.
The first activity is the NCAA basketball tournament, also known as “March Madness,” where only one team out of 68 can win. The second activity will be Congress trying to overcome the debt ceiling and the sequester problem by March. If you thought the fiscal cliff was an embarrassment to the country, it will be nothing compared to the “March Badness” coming.
March Madness is an efficiently run tournament, and Congress could use a few of the rules in basketball to prevent March Badness. First, and most obvious, is the shot clock rule. In college basketball, a shot must be taken before 35 seconds have passed. Congress seems to like to use Dean Smith’s old “four corner delay offense” from the beginning of the congressional session. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget since 2009. Failure to pass a budget before the budget year starts would result in a turnover. Passing a bill at 2:00 a.m. New Year’s Day is a definite turnover.
You cannot kick the ball in basketball. Kicking the can down the road in Congress would result in a turnover.
You cannot travel in basketball. Excessive traveling on taxpayers' expense would be a turnover. A hypothetical example would be a president flying back from Hawaii, trotting out some taxpayers to stand behind him for a 5-minute statement, and flying back to Hawaii before signing an important bill to make a tee time. Stuff like that would be a turnover.
Personal fouls are limited in basketball. They need to be limited in Congress to provide good sportsmanship. I realize good sportsmanship in this Congress is highly needed, but likely impossible. A hypothetical example would be the use of the F-word between the Speaker and Senate majority leader. This would be taunting and result in a personal foul. Five personal fouls over a congressional term would ban you from voting for the rest of the term.
Finally, what would be the penalty for a “turnover”? It would have to hurt. There are some obvious choices. No budget, no pay for the member and their staff. That’s easy, but we need to make it a real turnover. After a turnover is called, the party at guilt (it could easily be both with these guys) would have to select a member of their party to be removed; a special election would need to be called and the removed member could not run in the new election. In other words, real turnover and real pain. Enough called turnovers and this country should be able get back on track.
OK, we will need a few refs to call the game. I volunteer. Anybody else interested?
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or o=
pinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the wri=
ters whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers =
are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its =
management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a re=
commendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of i=
nvestors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with=
respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solici=
t the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be ma=
de by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her inv=
estment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold posit=
ions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website.=
Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position =
in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disc=
lose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is inte=
nded to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. M=
inyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not re=
spond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.