Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House.
In theory, that means a long-overdue opportunity to eliminate wasteful programs and cut pork-barrel spending.
In reality, it mostly means business as usual.
Politicians in Washington just reached a deal to fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year. As reported by the Washington Post, it’s not exactly a victory for libertarians or small-government conservatives.
Democrats are surprised by just how many concessions they extracted in the trillion-dollar deal, considering that Republicans have unified control of government. …Non-defense domestic spending will go up, despite the Trump team’s insistence he wouldn’t let that happen. The president called for $18 billion in cuts. Instead, he’s going to sign a budget with lots of sweeteners that grow the size of government. …the NIH will get a $2 billion boost — on top of the huge increase it got last year. …Planned Parenthood…will continue to receive funding at current levels. …after the deal was reached…, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi quickly put out celebratory statements. …“Overall, the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one,” Bloomberg reports. …Reuters: “While Republicans control the House, Senate and White House, Democrats scored … significant victories in the deal.” …Vox: “Conservatives got almost nothing they wanted.”I guess you could call this a triumph of “public choice” over campaign rhetoric. Politicians did what’s in the best interest of politicians rather than what would be best for the nation.
I’m disappointed, as you might expect. But as I say in this interview, there are far more important battles. I’ll gladly accept a bit of pork and profligacy in the 2017 budget if that clears the decks for much-needed repeal of Obamacare and long-overdue reform of the tax code.
But here’s the catch. I don’t expect that these reforms will actually happen. Yes, the deck has been cleared, but I don’t think Republicans will take advantage of the opportunity.
The fundamental problem, which I pointed out in a different interview, is that there’s not a governing majority for smaller government. And that has some very grim implications.
Even more depressing, I point out that only Trump has the power to turn things around. Yet I see very little evidence that he, a) believes in smaller government, or b) is willing to expend any political capital to achieve smaller government.
To make matters worse, Republicans have convinced themselves that they lose the spin battle whenever there is a shutdown or some other high-stakes fiscal fight with Democrats.
For what it’s worth, I’m trying to remind Republicans that it is in their long-run political interests to do the right thing (as Reagan demonstrated). That’s why, in the first interview, I said they need to gut Obamacare and lower taxes if they want to do well in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for the “stupid party” to behave intelligently.