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By Dylan Matthews

Today, Ezra previewed next January's fight over filibuster reform, pointed out that congressional inaction tends to give more power to regulators and courts, and noted the Massachusetts health reform's shortcomings regarding cost control.

1) An Economist roundtable of economists discusses structural unemployment.

2) Richard Florida has fun with the Big Mac Index.

3) Sen. Sam Brownback is not someone I expect to see backing a renewable energy standard.

4) Ezra will be on “Countdown” tonight at 8:30 ET, talking about the filibuster.

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 26, 2010; 6:30 PM ET
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Next: Wonkbook: Basel III moving; Filibuster under attack; DISCLOSE falling short


Regardless of which party I support, I would be careful, as Ezra pointed out, to just advocate throwing out the filibuster altogether. The basic question is between Majority Rule versus Minority Rights. Given that we have generally prospered with a working government for over 200 years, at some point in our history we had a satisfactory balance between these two, perhaps as recently as when Evan Bayh first ran for Senate. Any further questions about filibusters or holds are just particular cases of the overarching question of balance between the majority and minority.

The Newsweek article that advocates abolishing the filibuster tends to lean too far towards majority rule. Newsweek says that with simple majority Senate voting, the minority party would be incentivized to work with the majority because it could no longer simply block everything. That's true, but the majority party would have no incentive to work with the minority party, because it could just push through everything.

In the past, the filibuster provided the minority party with some protections, while at the same time not totally paralyzing government. This has broken down because the practice of using the rules has changed. The Senate rules for filibuster and hold should be reformed, but only so far as to preserve a working balance. In redesigning the Senate rules, we need to find a way to keep old balances in line with new practices.

Posted by: Factaaa | July 26, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

"Sen. Sam Brownback is not someone I expect to see backing a renewable energy standard."

From the article: "Brownback, who hails from a wind-rich state ..."

Posted by: ostap666 | July 27, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

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