Senator Max Baucus (D-MT)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are planning to take secretive backroom deal making to a new extreme to get a big tax reform package. From The Hill:

The Senate’s top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to preserve in tax reform.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will be kept under lock and key by the committee and the National Archives until the end of 2064.

Deeming the submissions confidential, the Senate’s top tax writers have said only certain staff members — 10 in all — will get direct access to a senator’s written suggestions. Each submission will also be given its own ID number and be kept on password-protected servers, with printed versions kept in locked safes.

Not every good idea is easy to defend and not every easily defended idea is good, but the entire basis of representative democracy is that if elected official are forced defend their decision you will get a much better government. The ability to hold elected officials accountabe  for their actions and positions is key to trying to make the entire system work.

Injecting this insane level of secrecy into the process makes a mockery of our entire system of government. If no senators is willing to even have their name publicly attached to supporting a particular tax break that is a pretty good sign it shouldn’t be protected.

Photo by the Center for American Progress Action Fund released under Creative Commons License