Saturday, May 20, 2006

'Decline of the Republican Party' Part 4

A recent local Minnesota pre-poll showed 52 percent would vote within the two-party system, and the other 48 percent would vote either independent or not at all. An interneter told me the RNP is a "bad idea" while the DNP has "no ideas". I responded with, "Promoting a bad idea on the basis of no idea is not a good idea." I've come to realize the RNP's vision is simply to not be Democratic. Blah. Third party, or any "other" party, anyone? Lets really shake up the political format.

What next for conservatives
Nov 17, 2005
by George Will

The conservative coalition, which is coming unglued for many reasons, will rapidly disintegrate if limited-government conservatives become convinced that social conservatives are unwilling to concentrate their character-building and soul-saving energies on the private institutions that mediate between individuals and government, and instead try to conscript government into sectarian crusades.

But, then, the limited-government impulse is a spent force in a Republican Party that cannot muster congressional majorities to cut the growth of Medicaid from 7.3 percent to 7 percent next year. That "cut'' was too draconian for some Republican "moderates.''

But, then, most Republicans are moderates as that term is used by persons for whom it is an encomium: Moderates are people amiably untroubled by Washington's single-minded devotion to rent-seeking -- to bending government for the advantage of private factions.

Conservatives have won seven of 10 presidential elections, yet government waxes, with per household federal spending more than $22,000 per year, the highest in inflation-adjusted terms since World War II. Federal spending -- including a 100 percent increase in education spending since 2001 -- has grown twice as fast under President Bush as under President Clinton, 65 percent of it unrelated to national security.

In 1991, the 546 pork projects in the 13 appropriation bills cost $3.1 billion. In 2005, the 13,997 pork projects cost $27.3 billion for things like improving the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio (Packard, an automobile brand, died in 1958).

Washington subsidizes the cost of water to encourage farmers to produce surpluses that trigger a gusher of government spending to support prices. It is almost comforting that $2 billion is spent each year paying farmers not to produce. Farm subsidies, most of which go to agribusinesses and affluent farmers, are just part of the $60 billion in corporate welfare that dwarfs the $29 billion budget of the Department of Homeland Security.

Brian Riedl of The Heritage Foundation reports that Congress responded to the Korean War by setting priorities, cutting one-fourth of all nonwar spending in one year. Recently the House failed to approve an unusually ambitious effort to cut government growth. This is today's ambitiousness: attempting -- probably unsuccessfully -- to cut government growth by $54 billion over five years.

That is $10.8 billion a year from five budgets projected to total $12.5 trillion, of which $54 billion is four-tenths of 1 percent. War is hell but, on the home front, it is indistinguishable from peace, except that the government is more undisciplined than ever.

Lew Rockwell
Four Years Growth
by Laurence M. Vance

The Republicans gained control of the Congress in the third year of Clinton’s first term. They had complete control of the 104th Congress (1995–1997), held on to control in the 105th Congress (1997–1999), and remained in power during the 106th Congress (1999–2001) through the end of Clinton’s presidency. After George Bush was inaugurated in 2001, he had a Republican-controlled 107th Congress (2001–2003) until May 24, 2001, when Jim Jeffords (R-VT) switched from Republican to Independent, changing the Senate from 50/50 to 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and 1 Independent. The House remained in Republican hands. The 108th Congress (2003–2005) was once again solidly Republican, giving the Republicans an absolute majority in Congress and the White House for the last two years of Bush’s first term.

This means that the Republican Party has no excuse for the size and scope of the federal government as it exists right now. Republicans can’t blame anything on the Democrats like they did for the fifty years before they gained control of the Congress.

Now that we are at the end of Bush’s first four years, a simple question needs to be asked: Is the government at the end of Bush’s first term in any way smaller or less expensive than the government at the beginning of his first term. If it is, then Bush and the Republican Party told the truth, but if it isn’t, then Bush’s rhetoric was just hot air and the 2000 Republican Party Platform wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
(See also What a Republican Majority Has Not Meant.)

Milken Institute
How Republicans Became Defenders of Big Government
by Stephen Slivinski

The Price of United Government
Why the big change under W? Because the Republicans own both the House and Senate. Divided government, with at least one house of Congress controlled by the President's opposition, tends to keep spending under control. As a onetime Reagan economic advisor William Niskanen noted, "The only two long periods of fiscal restraint [since World War II] were the Eisenhower administration and the Clinton administration, during both of which the opposition party controlled Congress."

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