Is America becoming Downton Abbey? And more from the Wonkblog Debates.

Here are highlights of Tuesday's Wonkblog Debate! (Photo by Jeff Martin)
Here are highlights of Tuesday's Wonkblog Debate! (Photo by Jeff Martin)

Wonkblog readers stuffed the DC Improv Tuesday night for our third Wonkblog Debate. This time we focused on the economy--and specifically whether Congress and the political process were leading us down a bad path. Here are some highlights.

Heather Boushey of the Center for American Progress makes the case that yes, the culprit is Congress in not offering a better policy architecture that might get growth on track.

Has Congress been a drag on America? Could the economy be doing better with a different policy architecture. Heather Boushey, chief economist for the Center for American Progress, told Wonkblog the current Congress is taking steps against economic growth. (The Washington Post)

Part of the challenge, argues Tony Fratto of Hamilton Place Strategies, is that "our founders screwed up a little bit." That is to say, government just doesn't work well when the two houses of Congress are controlled by opposite parties.

Our government works okay when you have the presidency and both houses of Congress controlled by one party, but abysmally poorly when both houses of Congress are controlled by opposite parties, says Tony Fratto, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies and former White House deputy press secretary, at Washington Post's Wonkblog Debate. (The Washington Post)

Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy explores whether we now have a political system that is "structurally dysfunctional" in economic policymaking.

Is this period of dysfunction in Congress operational or are we looking at a political system that has become structurally dysfunctional? Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy, addresses the impact of money in politics at The Washington Post's Wonkblog Debate. (The Washington Post)

And James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute argued that inequality isn't the dominant problem facing the economy, but rather a lack of economic mobility. The risk is that America becomes a world like a certain television show set in early 20th century Britain, with a few ultra-wealthy and a lot of menial workers whose job is to serve the rich.

Is income-inequality polarizing American politics? James Pethokoukis, editor of AEIdeas at American Enterprise Institute says it's economic mobility we should be worried about. (The Washington Post)

You can watch more clips here, or listen to the whole event here. Thanks to our panelists and stay tuned for the announcement of the next Wonkblog Debate!

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