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Good News for Lovers of Limited Government

Posted by Chance on November 8, 2006

I am not the least bit happy about the events today, but Cato Scholars assert that divided government is better for the economy and for the size of government (which I would say are inversely proportional). Scholar Niskanen asserts:

Let’s look at some statistics. From the dawn of the Cold War until today, we’ve had only two periods of what could be called fiscal restraint: The last six years of the Eisenhower administration, and the last six years of the Clinton administration, both intervals in which the opposition controlled Congress. Under Clinton, the average annual increase in spending was at about 1 percent, while, under Ike, it was negative. By contrast, our unified governments have gone on fiscal benders. Harry Truman, with the help of a Democratic Congress, sent the money flying, with spending increases of as high as 10 percent a year. Lyndon Johnson was almost as profligate. And today, unfortunately, George W. Bush, with a GOP majority, is the heir to their legacies. To put this in plain numbers, government spending has increased an average of only 1.73 percent annually during periods of divided government. This number more than triples, to 5.26 percent, for periods of unified government. That’s a hefty premium to pay for a bit of unity.

Power attained only leads to the desire for more power, whether it is Republicans or Democrats. I wouldn’t even trust the size of government under control of the Libertarians. Some people think increased spending and government intrusion in our lives is a good thing (and yes, they do go together). I don’t. So, a Democratic Congress may not be too bad as long as a Republican gets elected in 2008.

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3 Responses to “Good News for Lovers of Limited Government”

  1. Dan Trabue said

    I held my tongue mostly for the last few months, fearing to hope that the Republicans would lose ground. But now that this has happened, let me make a prediction, re “as long as a Republican gets elected in 2008.”:

    T’ain’t gonna happen. The Bush Doctrine has increasingly turned folk off of Republicans.

    That’s just my take on things.

  2. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    I loved yesterday and now we are one race away from the Senate and Rumsfeld has resigned–something I thought wouldn’t happen until the end of the month at earliest.

    But I agree that more can now get done–if Bush agrees. Even Republicans on the Hill said they got more respect from Clinton who worked with them than Bush who simply told them EXACTLY what legislation to put forward and who brooked no dissent within his own party.

    I am not as sure as Dan that a GOP pres. could not win in ’08. If we get a stalemate on either legislation or on Iraq, the public could become very disenchanted with the Congress they elected to solve these things quickly.

    Also, the far Right base has recovered quickly before from knockout blows that folks mistakenly thought were fatal.

    To me, it looks like neither major party has any superstars handy for the ’08 presidential race. But yesterday AT LEAST puts the Dems in a much better shape.

    The Party needed to know it could win. It needed to know that the Delay-Cheney-Rove mantra of “permanent GOP majority” was just hype.

    Now, we are still on a journey for the progressive soul of the Democratic Party and of the nation. As I said on my blog a few days ago, this is just the start. But it sure is a nice start.

  3. Dan Trabue said

    “I am not as sure as Dan that a GOP pres. could not win in ’08.”

    Actually, I’m not all that sure. It’s just the heady Christmas-y feeling I have today.

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