I’ve been hearing pundits from all corners defend the secrecy of the congressional “super committee” that is meeting to make fast-track recommendations on how to find $1.5 trillion. The reason that these elected representatives have to meet in the dark, they explain, is that otherwise they won’t be willing to buck the party line on raising taxes (from the Republican side) or on cutting entitlements (from the Democratic side). According to this logic, they can’t possibly reach an agreement if the people are watching because they will be too worried about their re-elections to act in good faith.
So we are going to let them meet in secret because they don’t have enough backbone to meet in light of day? Don’t you think that if we can’t trust them to say what they really think in the open, that they are exactly the sort of people we shouldn’t trust behind closed doors?
I don’t claim to be the country’s biggest patriot, but even I am willing to accept the criticism of my peers if I think that speaking my mind will help put my country on a better footing. And if I really believed that I had the chance to do something important for my country at the risk of losing my job, I would certainly do so–and my prospects for entering some other lucrative line of work are not nearly so good as those who sit on this super committee. If they really believe that holding the line or compromising is the best thing for the country, let them say so openly and face the music.