[T]he Republicans deserve exactly what is happening to them in this election. It's just too bad the rest of the country has to suffer the lion's share of the punishment the Republicans so richly deserve. In 1994 the voters were fed up with Clinton and the Republicans swept to control of both houses of congress, largely on the strength of Newt's Contract with America. Do you remember some of the promises? One that sticks in my mind is their promise to dismantle the Department of Education. Republicans -- in 1994 -- recognized that the quality of American education had been going steadily downhill since this government behemoth was formed. Well, that was then ... this is now. The size of the Education Department, as well as the cost, has doubled. Republicans did this, not Democrats.That's bad--but not as bad as Obama's "new New Deal," according to political columnist Michael Barone:
As a matter of fact, it's not just the Department of Education; it's our entire federal government. Spending has doubled. Size has doubled. All under the Republican watch inside the beltway. Pork barrel spending is completely out of control, and Republicans are behind the wheel.
Obama seems determined to follow policies better suited to freezing the economy in place than to promoting economic growth. Higher taxes on high earners, for one. He told Charlie Gibson he would raise capital-gains taxes even if that reduced revenue: less wealth to spread around, but at least the rich wouldn’t have it -- reminiscent of the Puritan sumptuary laws that prohibited the wearing of silk. Moves toward protectionism like Hoover’s (Roosevelt had the good sense to promote free trade). National health insurance that threatens to lead to rationing and to stifle innovation. Promoting unionization by abolishing secret ballot union elections.Unless Obama was serious in comparing the United States to Nazi Germany.
The impulse to social engineering is unmistakable. Government officials will allocate resources, redistribute income, and ration good and services. Use government stakes in banks, insurance companies and Detroit auto manufacturers to maintain the position of those already in place, at the cost of preventing the emergence of new enterprises that might have been spawned by the capital being allocated. . .
Roosevelt in the 1930s had some extremely competent social engineers, like Harry Hopkins, Harold Ickes and Fiorello LaGuardia, who could enroll 750,000 people on welfare in three weeks and build an airport in less than a year. But even they could not spur the economic growth produced by utterly unknown and unconnected people, as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were in 1970.
When financial crisis looms, there is an impulse to freeze everything in place and accept what is as the best there can ever be: Barack Obama’s new New Deal. The history of the old New Deal suggests this is not a sustainable approach in the long run.
(via reader OBH)