The following is an experiment. But one with very real and important issues on the line.
As you have perhaps noticed, in the last couple months TPM has devoted the great majority of its resources to following the crucial debate over the future of Social Security. But from time to time some TPM readers have noted that this has left other issues before Congress all but ignored -- the recent class-action bill, the bankruptcy bill and many others.
A few -- more than a few, actually -- believe that Social Security privatization is actually nothing more than a stalking horse to throw Democrats off the scent while President Bush pushes through a host of terrible bills all but unnoticed. That is a profoundly misguided view. Both sides, I think, recognize the centrality and importance of the debate over Social Security -- both in terms of policy and politics. And if the White House isn't doing well right now -- believe me, they did not expect to find themselves in this position.
But just because Social Security deserves all the attention its getting doesn't mean a lot of other important issues aren't getting eclipsed -- especially on this site.
Now, in some other post I will discuss my reasons and thinking behind TPM's focus on Social Security. But for the moment there's one other piece of legislation getting rushed through Congress that really deserves a closer look and much more scrutiny than it's getting: the Bankruptcy bill.
I'm not knowledgable enough about the subject to discuss it intelligently or usefully. And even if I did, my focus on Social Security would give it short shrift. So back to our experiment ...
Professor Elizabeth Warren is an expert in bankruptcy law at Harvard Law School. And I've agreed to set her and three of her students at the law school up with a limited-duration blog here at TPM to follow the bankruptcy bill much as I am tracking the Social Security debate.
The four of them probably won't approach the task just as I might. And I should point out that I've given them complete editorial freedom to express their views of the on-going debate. So while it's quite fair to infer my general agreement with their position, they may very well state particular views or positions that I don't agree with -- which is absolutely fine and just as I'd want it.
A bit later in the spring, if all goes according to plan, we're going to be rolling out an expanded version of TPM -- or actually an adjunct site -- that will make it possible to comment on posts, for readers to have a place to meet and post their own views and to have experiments along the lines of this one we're starting tonight. But in this case the resources (Professor Warren and her students) and the need (the little-discussed Bankruptcy bill) came together in a way that I thought it made sense not to wait.
As I said earlier, I'm no expert on this topic. And I'm looking forward to learning more from what these folks have to say. The relatively little I do know makes me pretty sure there's at least a lot in this legislation that doesn't serve the public interest. And people whose opinions I trust all think it is a classic gift to a powerful special interest at the expense of ordinary Americans. There are many things I've treasured about this site in the almost four and a half years I've been producing it. One thing it allows me to do is to give others a platform to make a case that needs to be heard. So that's what I'm doing here.
Click here to see what they're doing.