Friday, April 12, 2013

90/10 vs. 80/20

As the Senate begins debate over gun control, a common fact mentioned by pundits is that roughly 90% of Americans support background checks as a part of the purchase of a firearm. One GOP Senator, Pat Toomey, agreed to co-sponsor the legislation with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin that would remove the so-called “gun show” loophole and require that all commercial gun transactions be subject to a NICS check. The fact that this idea has such broad public support is mentioned by reporters to show why the ordinarily obstructive GOP is suddenly singing a different tune. Indeed, it is suggested that because there is near universal support for background checks, the likelihood is high that the Toomey/Manchin proposal will be passed by Congress.

I am all for legislators sticking their fingers in the wind and following broad public opinion for positive public policy ends; however, why is that background checks, which 90% support should be passed into law, but cutting Social Security benefits, which is something that 80% oppose are being considered as part of the ever elusive “grand bargain?”


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