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The Spoils of November:

What if the Democrats take over Congress? It's no big deal, argues Bruce Bartlett in today's New York Times.

As a Republican, I have a message for those fearful of Democratic control: don't worry. Nothing dreadful is going to happen. Liberals have much less to gain than they believe. . . . President Bush will still occupy the White House for the next two years. And although his veto pen may have been misplaced for most of the last six years, he found it again this summer.

For another thing, Democrats are unlikely to get more than a very thin majority in the House. If they get the Senate as well, it will not be with more than a one-vote margin. Consequently, effective control will be in the hands of moderates who often work with Republicans on specific issues. . . .

Democrats may have more success using Congressional committees to investigate accusations of wrongdoing by the Bush administration, but that will be much harder than they think. The Republicans cut thousands of committee staff positions when they took control, and it will take considerable time to find the money and staff to do any serious investigating. . . .

The only thing left to worry about is expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which Democrats will certainly not want to extend. But most of them don't expire until 2010, so there is no urgency. Anyway, there is no certainty that continued Republican control of Congress would assure extension of the tax cuts. If party control were all that mattered, they would have been extended already.

Daniel Drezner adds some thoughts here.

Elliot Reed:
As a Democrat, count me glad that Republican commentators already feel the need to spin Democratic victory.
10.18.2006 6:02pm
JRL:
I couldn't disagree more:

John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They can't hold out much longer.
10.18.2006 6:07pm
TaxLawyer:
JRL:

Sadly, you have a point. While Justice Ginsburg has apparently not missed a single sitting of the Court due to her cancer (a feat for which, in an interview with Mike Wallace, she thanked everyone except her clerks), she hasn't authored a single majority opinion or principal dissent in a major case in the last two terms (going from memory there, so there might be an exception or two, but generally she takes relatively non-controversial statutory construction issues, Indian law, etc). And Stevens is just old.

However, Democratic control of the Sentate will mean only that Bush has to moderate his picks somewhat. He might not get, sya, an Edith Jones by the Dems, but they can't exactly force him to nominate Stephen Reinhardt -- hell, Bill Clinton didn't even try that.
10.18.2006 6:19pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I would hope that a Democratic Congress would have the guts to investigate the crimes of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, I don't think they have the balls. Torture and suspending habeas corpus should be enough to bring up several administration members on war crimes charges. Heck, Rumsfeld has already admitted to one in a press conference (hiding detainees in Iraq from the ICRC) and implicated Tenet in the same crime.

Too bad, because I don't think the military can withstand two more years of his incompetence.
10.18.2006 6:27pm
Shake-N-Bake (www):
The whole grouping of Bush's tax cuts together is a bit disingenuous (as usual -- what would one expect from the GOP, or the Dems for that matter). The Dems will be happy to leave the tax cuts for the lower classes; it's the tax cuts for the rich and the so-called 'corporate handouts' they want to get rid of.

Control by the moderates (or gridlock if they can't agree) is a gigantic endorsement for getting the Democrats at least one house. If they can't agree on anything, all the less likely they screw things up even more. It's almost as good as Congress being out of session. I tend to prefer things in this country when base politics are forced to be moderated into the majority center.
10.18.2006 6:34pm
Houston Lawyer:
While I would hardly say that the Republicans have earned the right to control congress for the next two years, the Democrats have performed even more miserably. The new committee chairmen (if the Democrats win) will be a rogue's gallery of old radicals who were first elected in 1974, following Watergate. Nothing like watching these buffoons in action to stoke up Republican turnout in 2008, a much more consequential election.

Thanks to the Voting Rights Act's requirement for racial gerrymandering (which has been shamelessly exploited by the Republicans), most of the moderate Democrats who were around the last time the Democrats had a majority are no longer in Congress. Most people in this country are supportive of the wiretaps program and the coercive interrogation program instituted by the Administration. Confrontational hearings have a way of blowing up on your face. Just ask those who took on Ollie North.
10.18.2006 6:45pm
Arbusto Spectrum (mail):

While I would hardly say that the Republicans have earned the right to control congress for the next two years, the Democrats have performed even more miserably.

As powerful as Godwin's law may be, it is so 20th Century. The successor has got to be something along the lines of "as soon as an online discussion mentions the ineptitude of the Republican administration, someone will retort that 'the Democrats would be worse'." Pathetic.
10.18.2006 6:52pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Can I be clever too and point out that "As soon as someone complains about the democrats, someone will complain about the complainer?"

Please don't complain about the sorry state of online discussion, Arbusto. You're just contributing to the problem.
10.18.2006 7:06pm
Maniakes:
"as soon as an online discussion mentions the ineptitude of the Republican administration, someone will retort that 'the Democrats would be worse'." Pathetic.

Which is pathetic? That people will say it, or that it's probably true? I personally think the state of both major parties is pretty pathetic.
10.18.2006 7:06pm
Still Learning:
I would hope that a Democratic Congress would have the guts to investigate the crimes of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, I don't think they have the balls. Torture and suspending habeas corpus should be enough to bring up several administration members on war crimes charges.

Damn, why didn't they think of this when Lincoln and FDR were still president?
10.18.2006 7:10pm
MnZ (mail):
If Democrats were smart, they would keep the investigations at a minimum and avoid direct legislative confrontations.

Certainly, Karl Rove observed Bill Clinton's political judo after 1994.
10.18.2006 7:18pm
JRL:

The Dems will be happy to leave the tax cuts for the lower classes;


Huh??? I thought the tax cuts were only for the rich.
10.18.2006 7:22pm
Houston Lawyer:
The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay a whopping 4% of the income taxes collected. They are no longer asking for tax cuts, but for a negative income tax.
10.18.2006 7:35pm
anonVCfan:
well, going from 4% to a negative income tax is a "tax cut," no?
10.18.2006 7:44pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Whether Republican or a Democrat (people know where I stand), there are three reasons that Democratic control of Congress really will make a very real difference. I will list in order of importance.

1) Subpoena power.
2) Subpoena power.
3) Subpoena power.
10.18.2006 7:44pm
SimonD (www):
I think the principal spoil of November is going to be illegal immigration. The Democrats, the Senate and the President all support de facto amnesty, and thusfar, the House has been the last thing standing in their way. Give Pelosi et al their gavel, and the illegal immigration debate will be in serious peril of being settled.

Our Congressman relayed a story recently that at least some Democrats are supporting amnesty because it will create a permanent Democratic majority. The assumption is that these legions of Democrats will vote Democrat because, well, I don't know why. Perhaps because the Democrats think immigrants are stupid, or perhaps because they think that immigrant votes are so cheap that sheer gratitude will sustain a majority. Now, that's a pretty facile line of reasoning, in my view; Disraeli thought the same thing about giving the working class the vote in 1868 (that the wave of gratitude would create a permanent Tory majority), but the working class were a bit smarter than to vote against their interests our of pure gratitude, and I suspect formerly illegal immigrants would be too. The question, though, is not whether such a policy could reasonably be thought to benefit Democrats; like the impeachment prospect or claiming particular Senators are gay, the question is whether the Democrats THINK it will help them. If they think something will help them, no matter how unlikely it might seem to the rest of us, they'll do it.

TaxLawyer:
Democratic control of the Sentate will mean only that Bush has to moderate his [Supreme Court] picks somewhat.
It seems to me that Bush has made only one vaguely immoderate pick of the two opportunities he's been presented with thusfar, insofar as Justice Alito can be so described (of all the superlatives one might lavish on John Roberts, it certainly cannot be said that he is a Justice in the Scalia / Thomas mold; as a pick for the Chief's job, he's an excellent choice, but I thought then and think now that he would not be my first choice for an Associate Justiceship), and that was only after he was taken to the woodshed by the base after nominating a ghastly and embarassing non-entity. So I don't find Bush's record of unforced errors particularly comforting when given the prospect of a hostile Senate.
10.18.2006 8:12pm
Steve:
I'm interested in hearing the argument that voting for Republicans would be in most illegal immigrants' best interests.
10.18.2006 8:19pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Of course it wouldn't... because they'd be committing election fraud if they tried.
10.18.2006 8:21pm
Adam Scales (mail):
Steve,

The point is that they would no longer be illegal. Mexican immigrants are socially conservative, and many immigrant groups do very well economically in the U.S. Certainly, Mexcian emigres could be safely expected to comfortably exceed their living standards back home. To what will they attribute this - that is, in what philososphy and practice of government will they see the reasons for their successes? I can think of a few.

Relatively low corruption - pretty funny to observe these days that the U.S. is clean as a hound's tooth compared with Mexico.

Political Opportunity - We offer duopoly politics, not one-party rule.

Market-Based Economic Opportunity. Although democrats are not socialists, by and large, they are certainly closer to that than republicans. If I had pulled myself up from nothing, possibly crossing the Rio Grande to do it, I think I would have a very keen sensitivity to the rhetoric and reality of the American Dream. That is not a language that informs most Democratic policy initiatives today.

This is why Karl Rove doesn't want a wall. He and the democrats have placed large bets on whose politics are more appealing to Hispanic immigrants. Unfortunately for this knuckle-dragging nativist, it appears that we're about to find out who's right.
10.18.2006 8:46pm
SimonD (www):
Steve:
I'm interested in hearing the argument that voting for Republicans would be in most illegal immigrants' best interests.
Well, once you get over the idea that the GOP is hostile to immigrants - which it is avowedly not, unless you mistake Pat Buchanan and Tom Tancredo pars pro toto - as opposed to illegal immigration, I would think it is obvious. So if illegals are given amnesty - or "path to citizenship," "earned citizenship," you know, whatever PC phrase that proponents wish to use as lipstick to tart the mule up with - then they will cease to be illegal immigrants, and become just plain old immigrants. And at that point, their economic and social interests lead them on a bee line for the GOP. What do the Democrats offer? Affirmative action, abortion, gay marriage and the minimum wage? I think people see through that. Moreover, my experience was that immigrating and going through the process of assimilating myself into American society, history and culture required me to come to grips with what America is and has been, to immerse myself in studying America. And such a study leads a person directly to punch a card for the GOP. The Democrats agree, which is why they oppose integration in favor of multiculturalism: because an immigrant who has looked at this country, its history, its values and its laws must surely understand that the Democrats are a malignant force that stand squarely at odds with this country. No person who has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution can support what the Democrats and their pick of judges want to do to that Constitution. Hence, logic and personal experience lead me to conclude that once the question of legality is removed from the table, immigrants are natural Republicans.

I don't begrudge the Democrats their chances of one gratitude election. Disraeli got one gratitude election. But it didn't last.
10.18.2006 8:54pm
therut:
Two words gun control and taxes... Oh well I was told by a dem lawyer in 2002 that taxes were going to go up by the end of the next year. I guess he missed it a few years.... No they will raise my taxes and I am middle class. Dems mean welfare class when they speak of middle class. I have never seen them cut the middle class taxes. They can't as we pay too many to keep their useless social programs humming.
10.18.2006 9:06pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Taxlawyer,

she hasn't authored a single majority opinion or principal dissent in a major case in the last two terms (going from memory there, so there might be an exception or two, but generally she takes relatively non-controversial statutory construction issues, Indian law, etc).

She wrote the 6-3 majority in day v. mcdonough, for one. Probably not what you would call a major case, but what most people regard as "major" cases are ones that are 5-4's, and she doesn't write those because she's never the median voter.
10.18.2006 9:41pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Still learning,

Damn, why didn't they think of this when Lincoln and FDR were still president?

Lincoln's attempt to suspend habeas corpus was unsuccessful; Only Congress can do it, and they approved Lincoln's unauthorized and illegal suspension years later.

What FDR did was gross, and created the necessity for a presidential apology 8 presidents later.

I'm not sure what your point is. Is it that "liberal" presidents illegally suspended habeas as well? Ok.
10.18.2006 9:45pm
tarpon (mail):
I can think of a lot of bad things that would happen,

first the economy would be damaged with tax increases, see Rangel for details.

second funding for the WOT will be cut, just as Clinton cut the defense department and the intelligence agencies in the 90s, and we go back to a law enforcement mentality fighting terror since it worked out so well for Clinton, see 9/11.

third, those freedom loving Defeatocrats will pass gun control bills -- which BTW is what defeated the Defeato-crats in 1994.

fourth amnesty for illegals, got to swell the welfare roles and make new Democrat voters for 2008.

Endless investigations into imaginary things the Bush administration didn't do, like blow up the WTC.
10.18.2006 9:50pm
Oren Elrad (mail):

. . . because an immigrant who has looked at this country, its history, its values and its laws must surely understand that the Democrats are a malignant force that stand squarely at odds with this country.


Yes, surely the immigrants will look at our exemplary treatment of peoples with different skin colors/languages/cultures and be comforted. They could start with Andrew Jackson burning the Seminole villages in Florida, the Indian Removal Act and the trail of tears.

They could also read up on how our values caused us to act towards the Chinese, who incidentally built most of the West Coast. The Chinese Exclusion Act, The Chinese Immigration Act (1923) or the Magnuson Act ('43) would be a good place to start there.

Finally, they will see how readily we undertook to accept blacks into our society after the abolition of slavery and conclude that this isn't a society that will begrudge anyone their rights (as guaranteed by the 15th amendment then gutted by SCOTUS until the Voting Rights Act).

Maybe if they taught any of this history (which is well documented and hardly controversial as a factual matter) in our high schools you'd understand why minorities might have a stake in making sure the ideas that founded this country are put to the dustbin where they belong.
10.18.2006 9:51pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Correction,

Lincoln's attempt to suspend habeas corpus was unsuccessful; Only Congress can do it, and they approved Lincoln's unauthorized and illegal suspension years later.

Congress approved it "shortly after."
10.18.2006 9:55pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Tarpon,

Endless investigations into imaginary things the Bush administration didn't do, like blow up the WTC.

I'd be very interested in learning more about this. Can you please point me in the direction of some credible material that supports this claim?
10.18.2006 9:57pm
SimonD (www):
therut - I thought Mark Kennedy put it quite well on Meet the Press whenhe said that he has observed that whenever someone says they're going to soak the rich, the middle class usually get drenched too. And in anything other than the immediate short term, I'd add, everyone gets hosed by the economic damage caused by wanton tax increases. You will never balance the budget by raising taxes, any more than you'll cure a shopaholic by letting them declare bankrupcy. To talk seriously about balancing the budget is to talk about cutting spending. And that Democrats will not do, since the only area where they are willing to make serious spending cuts is in the defense budget, and that they dare not do.
10.18.2006 10:30pm
Oren Elrad (mail):
Do you guys want to give any empirical evidence that the pre-Bush tax system was in any way hurting growth? IIRC, from 96-200 were quite prosperous years.

Are we just supposed to beleive, on faith, that "everyone gets hosed" when we increase taxes on the top 3%?
10.18.2006 10:38pm
TDPerkins (mail):
And the horrible thing is that the Democratic Party would be that much further from "rethinking it premises", as I restate the words of James Carville. Mr. Carville said that should be the result of the Democrats failing to take the house in this environment.

The best thing that might come out of a Republican victory is a Democratic Party (or follow on party) that is run by adults with the best interests of the country in mind.

That is more important than tolerating or even "benefitting" from Speaker Pelosi, or teaching the Washingtonites in the GOP a "lesson".

The fact it won't be an immediate disaster is of paltry significance by comparison.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.18.2006 10:39pm
SimonD (www):
Oren Elrad,
Andrew Jackson was a Democrat. The trail of tears, the 1838 relocation of the Cherokee, took place under Martin Van Buren - also a Democrat. The Magnuson Act of 1943 was signed into law by - you guessed it - a Democratic President. Not that it particularly matters, of course, because the few moments of darkness do little to tarnish the overwhelming fact that this country has been a beacon to the world.

So far as I'm concerned, immigrants to America can learn what it means to be an American, and as a natural result love this country deeply, or leave.
10.18.2006 10:41pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
With the Republicans, man exploits man. With the Democrats, it will exactly the opposite.
10.18.2006 10:55pm
Elliot Reed:
SimonD, unfortunately, U.S. history is much worse than "a few moments of darkness." What with the genocide of the Indians, the subjegation of women, slavery, and apartheid, you have most of the history of this country. This isn't even all that far in the past: today we call the people who cut their political teeth on "Two, Four, Six, Eight, We Don't Wanna Integrate" seniors and give them Social Security benefits. Cities were still going to the Supreme Court to defend their right to close their public swimming pools rather than integrate them into the 1970's. Until the 1970's or 1980's, it was legal in most American jurisdictions for a man to rape his wife. Unless you think the concerns of nonwhites and women are just not important, there's no dismissing this stuff as "a few moments of darkness": most of American history has been a veil of darkess spotted with incidental moments of light.

I should add that America having been repulsively evil for most of its history doesn't mean anyone else was any better. However, I would caution against the kind of moral relativism that calls America good only becuase the rest of the world was worse.
10.18.2006 11:03pm
Oren Elrad (mail):
A few hundred years of enslaving and then oppressing the black man do not amount to "a few dark moments". Nor was the systematic destruction of the native americans (which was carried out with zeal by presidents of all parties).

Don't get me wrong, I do indeed love this country and its ideals but I'm not going to close my mind and pretend like these awful things didn't happen. We don't serve democracy by lying to ourselves.

It's not a contradiction to say that representative democracy has proven to be the best system of governance humanity has created while simultaneously acknowledging the crimes that those representative governments committed (the British Empire comes to mind). The best system of governance need not be perfect and criticizing things that it has done is not, defacto, a call for a totally different system.

America became the land of the free not because some rich white men wrote a magical constitution but because abolitionists, suffragists and civil rights activists saw things that were wrong and weren't afraid of stepping on "traditional values" to fix them.
10.18.2006 11:19pm
ELSL:
Does anyone else see a benefit in having control of the gov't split between the parties? Officials will be faced with the choice between (a) doing nothing and (b) comprising to enact policies that occupy a middle ground between the ideologies. It seems that the middle ground would be preferable to a majority of the country than would the extreme side of either party.

Of course, (a) would be possible, but I'd hope that Washington had a big enough dose of government shutdowns in the early 90s.
10.18.2006 11:23pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
tarpon: way to quote, Rush Limbaugh-style, the RNC's "talking points" rather than engage in a substantive debate.

first the economy would be damaged with tax increases, see Rangel for details.

For any tax increases to pass, Bush would either have to go along with them (unlikely) or Congress would have to pass them with veto-proof majorities. So, I dismiss this an unlikely "parade of horribles" talking point.

second funding for the WOT will be cut, just as Clinton cut the defense department and the intelligence agencies in the 90s, and we go back to a law enforcement mentality fighting terror since it worked out so well for Clinton, see 9/11.

Let's see, what happened in the late 1980s that prompted Poppy Bush, and then Clinton, to cut defense funding from the pumped up levels of the Reagan era? Anyone? Anyone? End of the Cold War, collapse of the Soviet Union, perchance. As for any future cut in the WOT (I thought you Repub operatives liked to call it the GWOT, get with the script), if you are counting reductions due to a withdraw from Iraq, I doubt that will happen, but that might be a reasonable possibility over the next few years.

As for the "law enforcement mentality" criticism causing 9/11, yes, it was tragic that 9/11 happened on Bill Clinton's watch; surely, if someone had written a memo to Bush, when he was President, with a catchy title like "Al Qaeda Determined to Strike in the US" that would have prompted an immediate, overwhelming military response from Bush et al that would have prevented 9/11. Oh wait, forget that.

third, those freedom loving Defeatocrats will pass gun control bills -- which BTW is what defeated the Defeato-crats in 1994.

Oh, yes, I am sure that the hundreds of millions of Americans who supported the modest assault weapons ban were the major reason that the Dems lost control of Congress in 1994. I am certain that (1) allegations of corruption involving Speaker Wright, who resigned, and (2) Congress' tax increases, which Clinton enacted at Greenspan's behest, in 1993, had nothing to do with their electoral defeat.


fourth amnesty for illegals, got to swell the welfare roles and make new Democrat voters for 2008.

I am certain that is the primary motivation behind Bush's "guest worker" and "path to citizenship" proposals, as well as the similar proposal put forward by that commie, McCain. Both are big advocates of "swelling the welfare rolls," last time I checked.


Endless investigations into imaginary things the Bush administration didn't do, like blow up the WTC.


This would be a pity if true, as there are so many real issues to investigate (e.g., the Ken Lay, I mean Cheney Energy Task force, Halliburton and other contractor corruption scandals in Iraq, Abramoff's 160 or so visits to the White House, torture, and taking the country to war based on a false premise).
10.18.2006 11:34pm
Simple Politics:
Everyone detests Congress, it is routinely identified as one of the least-trusted government institutions and has been for at least a decade. There are worse things than to have two years leading up to the next presidential election during which newspaper pages are filled with references to a "Democratic House" which will get nothing done. Without a solid majority, neither party can get much done in Congress; as has been pointed out, a thin majority has done little to help Bush in the past two years.

By losing the House (the Senate is a big long shot) Bush can pull a Clinton circa 1995 and play off a Democratic House. The GOP will end up looking better going into 2008 Presidential elections, particularly since in all liklihood moderate Republicans like McCain can do their moderate thing from the organically moderate Senate, which will almost certainly remain in GOP hands. On the other hand, potential Democratic Presidential candidates will have to compete with Nancy Pelosi for national attention, and may have to swerve harder to the left than they otherwise might to avoid getting nuked in the primaries. And in 08, a Speaker Pelosi would just get those "netroot" liberals all juiced up for a hard left candidate.
10.18.2006 11:47pm
SimonD (www):
Elliot,
I think it's good that you acknowledge, even if belatedly, that every other country was doing worse. Criticizing America for not having given women the vote in 1830 is like asking Neil Armstrong why he hadn't yet walked on the moon in 1930. You get the same thing with some feminists today, who seem pathologically incapable of acknowledging that while the United States is far from perfect, it is and has been a world leader in advancing women's freedom.
10.18.2006 11:57pm
Native American Lawyer (mail):
A few hundred years of enslaving and then oppressing the black man do not amount to "a few dark moments". Nor was the systematic destruction of the native americans (which was carried out with zeal by presidents of all parties).

(1) Actually, the "enslaving" was done mostly by Africans in Africa to members of rival tribes. The native African slavers sold their fellow blacks to Europeans, Americans, and Arabs, who bought into a pre-existing market. In fact, there are still millions of slaves in Africa today (e.g. the many Christians enslaved by Muslim blacks in Sudan) although it's not politically correct to say so.

(2) The so-called Native Americans did not face "systematic destruction" by whites. Rather, the majority died from lack of resistance to diseases that came with the European colonists, who proved much more resistant to the diseases that flowed the other way. Other Asiatic Americans died in conflicts with colonists because of their technological inferiority, lack of appreciation for individual property rights, etc., and some colonists did make a point to hunt them down (just as some Asiatic Americans made a point to hunt colonists down), but the historic record does not support the notion that the consistent losses of the natives was due to a "systematic" effort by whites to destroy them.
10.19.2006 12:10am
Elliot Reed:
Actually, the "enslaving" was done mostly by Africans in Africa to members of rival tribes.
If true, this in any way exonerates or mitigates the evils perpetrated by people of European descent. Leaving causality issues aside, it's not even as though the Europeans treated the recently enslaved significantly better than they would have been treated otherwise: what tortures did the Africans have to offer that compared to being locked in place in a slave ship with with insufficient food, watching about 1/3 of the ship's newly enslaved population die en route, followed by a life of forced labor on a plantation? In any case, lots of people were enslaved in the Americas by being born.
10.19.2006 12:21am
Randy R. (mail):
Everyone has missed an important point in Bartlett's article. Read this again:

The Republicans cut thousands of committee staff positions when they took control, and it will take considerable time to find the money and staff to do any serious investigating.

Don't you find this alarming, if true? That means that the Republicans built in a safe-house mechanism so that EVEN IF the Dems take, they are still immune to prosecution. Is this truely what the GOP stands for -- "we are corrupt, and you can never catch us even if you try!"

I mean, are you conservative PROUD of the fact that you have emasculated the prosecutorial functions of government that keep our politicians somewhat clean? If the Dems had ever tried to do something like this....
10.19.2006 12:30am
Randy R. (mail):
Furthermore, if the Dems take over Congress, sure there are still some old farts left from 1974. But the new members of Congress will be NEW. Is that so hard to understand? In many of the places that are up for grabs, they are up for grabs precisely because there are people running for congress who have never run before.
10.19.2006 12:32am
therut:
Well that modest Assault Weapon Ban made me an enemy of the Democratic Party for life and made me a activist. Something I never knew exsisted till I got educated and angry. Nothing like the internet to open ones eyes and mind. Also that little modest ban gave an extra memember to the NRA, GOA,and The Second Amendment Foundation. And before that I was just a normal female physician who really had no political feelings one way or the other. I voted for Carter on the basis he was from the South and grew peanuts. I'm not kidding. What I was is politically ignorant. No more. And all because of a modest firearm ban. Like banning any firearm could be considered modest.
10.19.2006 12:37am
Randy R. (mail):
Tarpon:" first the economy would be damaged with tax increases, see Rangel for details. "

Oh for God's sakes. Clinton raised taxes in 1993 and we had the best economic period in years. Bush cut taxes and the economy tanked, and is just now recovering. His cuts let to record deficits, which the Chinese have bought up. Thanks George! You just handed the country over to the communists.

O
"second funding for the WOT will be cut, just as Clinton cut the defense department and the intelligence agencies in the 90s, and we go back to a law enforcement mentality fighting terror since it worked out so well for Clinton, see 9/11"

Really? Who has said they want to cut money for the War on Terror? Frankly, it would be nice if the Bush administration would actually SPEND money on the WOT, and do things like, oh I don't know, perhaps actually implement the suggestions of teh 9/11 Commission? The Dems have promised to do just that.

"third, those freedom loving Defeatocrats will pass gun control bills -- which BTW is what defeated the Defeato-crats in 1994. " Which is why they have not said a word about it. Ain't on the agenda. You need to update your knowledge by a decade.

"fourth amnesty for illegals, got to swell the welfare roles and make new Democrat voters for 2008. " REally? And what Dem has actually said that? Oh, I know -- you've been following all those false attack ads. If you get your news from Limbaugh, this is how you think.

"Endless investigations into imaginary things the Bush administration didn't do, like blow up the WTC." On this you are absolutelly correct: and in addition, they are going to force all women to abort their first pregnancy, and all men must engage in same sex sodomy before the age of 21.
10.19.2006 12:40am
Justin (mail):
"The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay a whopping 4% of the income taxes collected. They are no longer asking for tax cuts, but for a negative income tax."

And what percent of American income, including income from wealth, do they own? About 4%.
10.19.2006 12:42am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
I'm guessing, based on their understanding of history, that those commentors who find American history so bleak are in their 30s, products of an educational system that had already lost its bearings.

For such a dark place, it holds a powerful attraction to those outside it. The number of immigrants--legal or illegal--seeking to live here is actually rather high. It has been high for the past two centuries.

A comparison of the number of immigrants to the number of emigrants should say all that needs to be said.
10.19.2006 12:45am
Native American Lawyer (mail):
In any case, lots of people were enslaved in the Americas by being born.

I considered that possibility, but being born into slavery is a distinct category from being born free, then becoming a slave; only the latter is being "enslaved" under the definition of the term.

Furthermore, it's wrong for Oren Elrad to reduce the record of recent centuries to a "few hundred years of enslaving and then oppressing the black man" without also pointing out that slavery has been found in nearly every country in all of human history and that, nevertheless, it was nearly ended for the first time in history by white men during those few hundred years referenced with such opprobrium.
10.19.2006 12:46am
Randy R. (mail):
Here's a few GOOD things if the Dems take over congress:

No more wasting time on banning gay marriage, which in any case is a state issue.

No more wasting time on flag burning amendments -- like that is SOOOO much more critical than actually running a WOT. Or even a war in Iraq. And Afghanistan. And the war on drugs. And the war on cheaper drugs from Canada.

No more Terry Schaivo votes. Perhaps congress will actually act like they believe in the 'sanctity of marriage' instead of just using as a bludgeon against gays.

These are good things.
10.19.2006 12:46am
A.S.:
Elliot Reed: I should add that America having been repulsively evil for most of its history doesn't mean anyone else was any better.

You know, I think that the left just hates America. Occasionally, people complain about this, saying there's no evidence that the left really does hate America. I'm going to have to remember this post, for proof that it is quite true that the left really does hate America.
10.19.2006 12:47am
BubbleMan (mail):

Do you guys want to give any empirical evidence that the pre-Bush tax system was in any way hurting growth? IIRC, from 96-200 were quite prosperous years.

Well, the inability, or the lack of will, to check the "irrational exhuberance" of investors during those years certainly hurt growth in the period beginning when the country realized that they had overestimated, among other things, the need for laying fiberoptics (for which Bush has benefited), i.e., the bubble burst.

I'm so tired of the whole, Clinton's economy was wonderful, Bush's is too, et al. Everytime I listen to the radio or watch news on the TV, I can't help but think how we should require high school students to take micro and macro. Maybe then we could reconognize intellectually dishonest economic arguments or naivity.
10.19.2006 12:51am
Redael Raed (mail):
I second Randy R. on the concern about GOP invincibility to prosecution. There is a significant difference between not being able to be prosecuted because the charges are partisan posturing and not being able to be prosecuted because your "boys (and girls)" on the inside are too busy chasing down the shredded documents proving Barry Bonds is on the juice.
10.19.2006 12:55am
Randy R. (mail):
"To talk seriously about balancing the budget is to talk about cutting spending. And that Democrats will not do, since the only area where they are willing to make serious spending cuts is in the defense budget, and that they dare not do."

So then you agree that no one in the Bush administration has ever talked seriously about balancing the budget, since none have ever considered cutting spending, even while the deficit spirals out of control. And just who CAUSED the deficits in the first place? Remember -- Clinton left a budget surplus and a healthy economy. Bush cut taxes, and if you recall the reason during his first candidacy, it was because we had a surplus, that the money should be 'returned to the people.' But it wasn't. It was income re-distribution. The funds were redistributed to the wealthy and the corporations. The middle class got a $300 check -- and that was only because it was the DEMOCRATS who forced that as a compromise. The rich got a hell of a lot more than $300.

After the economy started tanking, then Bush said we had to cut taxes to revitalize the economy. So, please -- is there ANY economic situation in which tax cuts are NOT recommended? I remember Paul Krugman on Bill Maher's Real Time last year. He said we need more tax cuts. A woman panelist (can't remember her name) said what do we need tax cuts for? The economy is in the pits, and he wants to cut taxes. Krugman responded, oh no, the economy is doing really well, income is up, blah blah blah. She looked at him and said, "So then why do we need tax cuts?" He was stunned into silence.

You can't have it both ways, although Rush will tell you so.
10.19.2006 12:58am
Randy R. (mail):
Oh, and one more point. After 9/11, it was the DEMOCRATS who wanted Bush to establish a Dept of Homeland Security. Bush and the GOP fought that tooth and nail. It was the DEMS who wanted airport security to be government workers, not private industry. Bush and the GOP fought that tooth and nail (It would create more unionized government employees, was their excuse.) Public opinion was squarely on the side of the Dems on both these issues.

So who had a better sense of national security, even back then?
10.19.2006 1:00am
Kovarsky (mail):
I'm guessing, based on their understanding of history, that those commentors who find American history so bleak are in their 30s, products of an educational system that had already lost its bearings.

Yeah because sanitized history makes for compliant subjects, right?

Also, AS,

I'm going to have to remember this post, for proof that it is quite true that the left really does hate America.

I'm going to remember your post, for proof that it is quite true that the right will make idiotic generalizations about an imaginary monolithic left that exists only on fox news and on powerline.
10.19.2006 1:04am
Oren Elrad (mail):


Elliot Reed: I should add that America having been repulsively evil for most of its history doesn't mean anyone else was any better.



You know, I think that the left just hates America. Occasionally, people complain about this, saying there's no evidence that the left really does hate America. I'm going to have to remember this post, for proof that it is quite true that the left really does hate America.


So, if I love the US being fully cognizant of the awful things we've done and you love the US beleiving we've done no wrong and never need to change (and never needed to change), that makes you the bigger patriot.

That's the kind of logic that we need right now. No more introspection. No more reflection. Just national-cheerleaderism
10.19.2006 1:18am
Oren Elrad (mail):

I'm guessing, based on their understanding of history, that those commentors who find American history so bleak are in their 30s, products of an educational system that had already lost its bearings.

For such a dark place, it holds a powerful attraction to those outside it. The number of immigrants--legal or illegal--seeking to live here is actually rather high. It has been high for the past two centuries.

A comparison of the number of immigrants to the number of emigrants should say all that needs to be said.


America is indeed, a dark place with a fairly bloody history. That is simply a fact. I don't know what you find wrong about an educational system that is as willing to delve into our faults as those of others.

I'm sure you have no problem teaching about the horrible things that other countries have done (we aren't squeemish about talking about the Japanese rape of China but they sure are!).

America can be horrible and still be the best. That is the sad state of human affairs. History has shown time and again that we're a racist, xenophobic and generally homocidal species.

The fact that America aspires to (but doesn't always attain) loftier goals is what makes this country great. Our modest success in lifting ourselves out of the pit that most of humanity grew up in is quite remarkable in the course of history.

I suppose the problem is that of perspective - you judge the USA against all other governments. I judge the USA against the ideals we set for ourselves. In the long run, I'd argue that you are selling us short.
10.19.2006 1:31am
Elliot Reed:
Furthermore, it's wrong for Oren Elrad to reduce the record of recent centuries to a "few hundred years of enslaving and then oppressing the black man" without also pointing out that slavery has been found in nearly every country in all of human history and that, nevertheless, it was nearly ended for the first time in history by white men during those few hundred years referenced with such opprobrium.
If everyone else started sodomizing small children, would you do it too?

"Other people did it too" is exactly the kind of moral relativism I've been complaining about. America's sins in this area are not excused by the fact that slavery was practiced in other places. In any case, chattel slavery in the Americas was (just about?) the most vicious type of slavery known in history. Slaves were for life; their children were slaves; they had no legal rights whatsoever; they were treated brutally; they were granted no moral standing in the community.
10.19.2006 1:33am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The so-called Native Americans did not face "systematic destruction" by whites. Rather, the majority died from lack of resistance to diseases that came with the European colonists, who proved much more resistant to the diseases that flowed the other way.

I'd agree that they did not face systematic destruction. A good number are still around -- about a third of my state (AZ) is composed of Indian reservations, and that's just their territory. Many intermarried, including not a few of my ancestors. In fact, if you look into AZ history, the us vs. them amounted to Apaches vs. everyone else. The Maricopas, Pimas, and Papago were allied to the Anglo and Hispanics, because they all were at war with the Apaches.

Having Geronimo and his buddies in your backyard was not a pleasant experience for anyone.
10.19.2006 1:39am
Elliot Reed:
The fact that America aspires to (but doesn't always attain) loftier goals is what makes this country great. Our modest success in lifting ourselves out of the pit that most of humanity grew up in is quite remarkable in the course of history.
Exactly. America pioneered representative democracy and freed its slaves. Over the past 150 years, we've seen a dramatic expansion of freedom the likes of which has never been seen in human history, most notably by ending apartheid, liberating women, and passing affirmative laws that ensure all people are treated as equal citizens under the law (or at least they're supposed to be). Also, we saved the world from the threat of global totalitarianism posed by the Nazis and the Soviets. So there is a lot to be said for America; it's a great country. But in part it's great because it's stopped doing (many) evil things; that doesn't mean those evils weren't perpetrated in the past.
10.19.2006 1:48am
David M. Nieporent (www):
what tortures did the Africans have to offer that compared to being locked in place in a slave ship with with insufficient food, watching about 1/3 of the ship's newly enslaved population die en route,
You know, I'm sure that happened at some point in the hundreds of years of Atlantic slave trading, but it doesn't really make a lot of sense to suggest that it was routine. Presumably (1) the slave traders had to pay for the slaves in Africa, and (2) dead slaves weren't worth a whole lot. So why would they deliberately overpay by 50%? Why not just buy the 2/3 for whom they had sufficient food? Or stock enough food for the whole group?



It was the DEMS who wanted airport security to be government workers, not private industry.
I think you're in the wrong place if you think this is a selling point for Democrats. It seems more like a reminder of why we don't want Democrats to have any power.

(That having been said, I'm rooting for divided government; I'd like the Dems to take the House and the GOP to keep the Senate -- and I only want the latter for judicial appointments.)
10.19.2006 2:26am
Truth Seeker:
America is indeed, a dark place with a fairly bloody history. That is simply a fact.

It's just a difference between half empty/half full. Leftists go around screaming "Oh my god isn't it horrible the glass is half empty! How can we live in such a society? It's pure evil! Tax the rich, punish the corporations!"

Meanwhile the right points out that a half-full glass is the fullest a glass has ever been in human history and it'll keep getting fuller if the left doesn't try to force socialism and collctivism on us.
10.19.2006 2:30am
Kovarsky (mail):
Having Geronimo and his buddies in your backyard was not a pleasant experience for anyone.

I'm sure Geronimo enjoyed having Custer's buddies in his.
10.19.2006 2:45am
Lev:

Anyway, there is no certainty that continued Republican control of Congress would assure extension of the tax cuts


There is no certainty the cuts could be made permanent, but there is a reasonable certainty they could be extended with the extensions included in a budget bill, not subject to filibuster, the same as the original cuts.
10.19.2006 2:55am
Pantapon Rose (mail):
And the Department of Homeland Security that Dems insisted on creating has been such a smashing success in the one crisis that it's faced--Katrina...
10.19.2006 3:43am
Kovarsky (mail):
And the Department of Homeland Security that Dems insisted on creating has been such a smashing success in the one crisis that it's faced--Katrina...

Uh, the one the Democrats wanted and the Republicans administered. What are you talking about....?
10.19.2006 3:45am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Randy R.-

Oh for God's sakes. Clinton raised taxes in 1993 and we had the best economic period in years. Bush cut taxes and the economy tanked, and is just now recovering.

The Clinton administration benefited from a one-of-a-kind historical event - the Digital Revolution. (The Internet, E-Commerce, etc.) This - and the Fed providing ample amounts of cheap credit as gasoline to the fire - swamped the drag on the economy that raising taxes would normally cause.

After the economy started tanking, then Bush said we had to cut taxes to revitalize the economy. So, please -- is there ANY economic situation in which tax cuts are NOT recommended?

No - tax cuts, assuming like cuts in spending, are always recommended. Taxes above those necessary to fund basic services always weaken and put a drag on the private economy. The funds left in the hands of the rightful owners go to savings, investment, and consumption and therefore strengthen, grow, and expand the private economy. This leads to number of beneficial developments: unemployment tends to decrease, invention and innovation tend to increase, the standard of living rises, entrepeneurship is incentivized, labor is incentivized, etc, etc, etc...

It's amazing what happens when property is left in the hands of its rightful owners. And the more property that is left in the hands of the rightful owners, the better.
10.19.2006 3:47am
Pantapon Rose (mail):
America has had some dark spots in its history, but its greatest gift to the world may have been its role in destroying and preventing the re-establishment of European empires that controlled and exploited much of the world for so long.
10.19.2006 3:50am
Pantapon Rose (mail):
My point is that pointing to the establishment of the Dept. of Homeland Security as positive credentials for the Dems is absurd. Three cheers for another layer of ineffective bureaucracy!
10.19.2006 3:52am
Kovarsky (mail):
And the more property that is left in the hands of the rightful owners, the better.

i'm guessing your ambidextrous entendre was unintentional.
10.19.2006 3:53am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
i'm guessing your ambidextrous entendre was unintentional.

Yes, it was unintentional.
10.19.2006 3:59am
Angus:
Does anyone still really think that small tax cuts can affect the overall economy in any significant way? Bush's tax cuts represent about $2 trillion spread over 10 year from the estimates I have seen. Sounds big, until you find out that the GDP over those same 10 years is expected to be a combined $150-160 trillion. That means the tax cuts amount to just 1.25% of the overall economy.

Take a smaller scale example: a middle class family making $40,000/year on average. Dad suddenly gets a raise to $40,500 per year ($1.25%). I'm sure Dad and family are quite pleased to be makingn more money, but would it have a major impact on overall household finances? No.

It's fine whether lowering taxes is the right thing to do on general principle, but this economic "cut taxes or else the economy will tank" argument looks really lame. Raising or lowering tax rates seems to have a huge influence government revenue, but not on the economy as a whole.
10.19.2006 8:45am
Native American Lawyer (mail):
If everyone else started sodomizing small children, would you do it too? "Other people did it too" is exactly the kind of moral relativism I've been complaining about. America's sins in this area are not excused by the fact that slavery was practiced in other places.

Mr. Reed, I don't think any reader on this thread finds credible your analogy. Nothing in my comments supports your claim that I argued "other people did it, so Americans are excused." I did not and do not advocate moral relativism. What I do advocate is historical reporting that includes at least the major material facts. It is wrong to rant about centuries of "enslaving and then oppressing the black man" by whites as though the black man had never heard of slavery before the white man came along and without pointing out that those centuries included the white man leading a largely successful global effort to eradicate slavery.
10.19.2006 10:14am
TDPerkins (mail):
And as the "America is horrible" string of posts here shows, the opposition party is not currently in the sway of adults.

I advocate the re-election of Republicans in large numbers if only because it will likely motivate the Democrats to throw out the moonbats.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl &pfpp
10.19.2006 10:26am
JonC:
Randy R.:

The Republicans cut thousands of committee staff positions when they took control...Don't you find this alarming, if true?...I mean, are you conservative[s] PROUD of the fact that you have emasculated the prosecutorial functions of government that keep our politicians somewhat clean?


First, I thought that the "prosecutorial functions of government" are vested in the executive branch, not the legislative branch. Second, no, I don't find it particularly alarming that in this one small way, Congressional Republicans did in fact stay true to their limited government ideals. Third, the notion that Congressional committee staffers are a critical bulwark between clean government and the dark night of corruption and evil is quaintly amusing. If anything, placing too much authority in a vast number of unaccountable staffers seems, to me at least, to be more likely to contribute to government corruption and general misfeasance, not less.
10.19.2006 10:27am
Native American Lawyer (mail):
America has had some dark spots in its history, but its greatest gift to the world may have been its role in destroying and preventing the re-establishment of European empires that controlled and exploited much of the world for so long.

There may have been a net gain from this, but it's hard to speculate about how things might have been different if colonial rule had persisted in many places. But I do think the record of history supports the conclusion that the loss of rule by the European empires in Africa has resulted in increased hardship for the ordinary native. I may have overlooked something, but I can't think of a single African nation in which the average native has seen his lot improve under indigenous rulers, whereas I can think of many African nations that are now much worse off under native rule.

To be sure, the native rulers blame lingering foreign influences for all of their problems, but Europeans are not to blame for the return of the thuggish tribal governments that were the norm before the colonials arrived.
10.19.2006 10:38am
Native American Lawyer (mail):
I advocate the re-election of Republicans in large numbers if only because it will likely motivate the Democrats to throw out the moonbats.

The only problem with this theory is that it's even more likely that a majority of those now in power in the Democrat Party would conclude the reason they didn't quite win was that they were insufficiently true to their principles...
10.19.2006 10:42am
JRL:

"Take a smaller scale example: a middle class family making $40,000/year on average. Dad suddenly gets a raise to $40,500 per year ($1.25%). I'm sure Dad and family are quite pleased to be makingn more money, but would it have a major impact on overall household finances? No.

It's fine whether lowering taxes is the right thing to do on general principle, but this economic "cut taxes or else the economy will tank" argument looks really lame. Raising or lowering tax rates seems to have a huge influence government revenue, but not on the economy as a whole."


Come on, haven't you ever heard of Wickard v. Fiburn? It's aggregation, baby!
10.19.2006 10:55am
JRL:
er, Filburn.
10.19.2006 10:56am
TDPerkins (mail):
The only problem with this theory is that it's even more likely that a majority of those now in power in the Democrat Party would conclude the reason they didn't quite win was that they were insufficiently true to their principles...


I submit that in doing so they so marginalize themselves that a third party movement would become successful--still a net plus.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.19.2006 11:13am
A.S.:
So, if I love the US being fully cognizant of the awful things we've done and you love the US beleiving we've done no wrong and never need to change (and never needed to change), that makes you the bigger patriot.


No. Saying you "love the US being fully cognizant of the awful things we've done" is completely inconsistent with saying America was "repulsively evil".

It simply is not possible to love America and simultaneously call it "repusively evil". Sorry.
10.19.2006 11:41am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
well, going from 4% to a negative income tax is a "tax cut," no?


No, it's not. A tax cut is letting a person keep more of their own money by not taking as much from them in taxes as the government would but for the tax cut. A "negative income tax" (an ridiculous term) is giving someone more of someone else's money which makes it no different than a welfare check.

Does anyone else see a benefit in having control of the gov't split between the parties? Officials will be faced with the choice between (a) doing nothing and (b) comprising to enact policies that occupy a middle ground between the ideologies.


No I don't see a real benefit. The biggest financial problem at the federal level is entitlement programs of which only Republicans seem interested in trying to fix before the baby boom generation begins to retire (at which point any attempt to fix them will be decried as a "cut"). Option (a) means that we put off reforming Medicare and Social Security for another two years which makes the problem that much more expensive to fix. As far as Option (b), we've already seen what happens when you try to fix entitlements with "divided government" when a Republican President and Senate and a Democrat House dealt with Social Security in the 1990's. The result was no personal accounts, a minor adjustment to eligibility for the disability portion, a slight bump in the retirement age, and a huge tax increase -- the latter of which is the only "reform" that Democrats have endorsed. For those of us who would prefer reforms that focus on personal responsibility and who oppose to raising taxes, divided government would be a disaster.

Also for those who are most concerned about spending, we HAD divided government when Democrats took control of the Senate during Bush's first term. The result was Ted Kennedy's education bill and Tom Harkin's farm bill -- both of which were more expensive than the versions offered by the Republican House. Giving Democrats control of the comparatively more fiscally conservative House of Congress would only exacerbate the problem of discretionary spending (to say nothing of entitlement programs which are the bigger problem).
10.19.2006 11:54am
Houston Lawyer:
For those of you who have forgotten, the stock market took off after the Republicans took control of congress in 1994. It was the Republicans who held spending in check against the Clinton administration. Clinton moved substantially to the right after he lost congress and even signed welfare reform.

After a few years in control, however, the Republicans began in many ways to act like the Democrats did before them.
10.19.2006 11:55am
Jon Black (mail):
"Repulsively evil."

What's your major?
10.19.2006 11:58am
Arbusto Spectrum (mail):

A tax cut is letting a person keep more of their own money by not taking as much from them in taxes as the government would but for the tax cut. A "negative income tax" (an ridiculous term) is giving someone more of someone else's money which makes it no different than a welfare check.

I think that the first way that we should address this situation from a states' rights perspective is to pass a constitutional amendment saying that the Federal government can not use the income tax as a way to redistribute income and wealth from one state to another; in other words, Federal revenues derived from income taxes should be spent in the states from which they were derived on a proportionate basis. That way, we would eliminate not just the Welfare State, but all of the welfare states. Are the libertarians who post on this site on board with that?
10.19.2006 12:32pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
For future reference, the point at which we all realized that you're a fraud and throwing out the red herring of "blue States are subsidizing red States"rather than espousing a serious idea is when you wrote the words "states' rights."

As far as constitutional amendments go, repealing the Sixteenth Amendment would do just fine.
10.19.2006 12:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
Rose: My point is that pointing to the establishment of the Dept. of Homeland Security as positive credentials for the Dems is absurd. Three cheers for another layer of ineffective bureaucracy!

But the Dems didn't propose an ineffective bureaucracy. You know, there are some things the government actually does well, despite people like Rush. Homeland Security could actually check cargo at our ports, or prepare for the inevitable hurricanes. And it makes sense to coordinate emergency functions under one roof, especially when this War on Terror is the Most Important War We Have Ever Faced, according to Bush. Don't blame the dems for screwing it up -- put the blame where it belongs, on Bush and Co.
10.19.2006 12:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
American: No - tax cuts, assuming like cuts in spending, are always recommended.

On this we can agree. Trouble is, Bush and Krugman have NOT agreed, and just want to cut taxes. At best, they hope that cuts will somehow follow after a crisis has been induced. Or maybe not even then. I don't know -- you'll have to ask them.
10.19.2006 12:44pm
Randy R. (mail):
JonC: Third, the notion that Congressional committee staffers are a critical bulwark between clean government and the dark night of corruption and evil is quaintly amusing

Quaintly amusing? I didn't get the sense that the GOP was quaintly amused when it forced an independent counsel to seek the impeachment of Clinton.

So I guess political corruption should just go unpunished. I guess it's quaintly amusing that people like me expect our politicians to be honest and follow the laws they pass.
10.19.2006 12:47pm
Chumund:
I believe that in the last few decades, looking at the average annual spending increases under various political scenarios involving the White House and House of Reps, federal government spending has increased the most when Republicans are in control of both the White House and the House of Reps, followed by when the Democrats are in control of both. Next is when the Republicans control the White House and the Democrats control the House of Reps, and finally the lowest-spending combination is when the Democrats control the White House and the Republicans control the House of Reps.

So, recent history suggests that turning the House of Reps over to the Democrats is likely to lead to spending increasing at a lower rate than it has since 2000. History also suggests that switching it around (D in WH and R in HOR) would be even better, but obviously that couldn't happen until 2008--although that may well be the scenario in 2008, if the Republicans get their act back together in time for the next House elections.

Of course, history is not guaranteed to repeat itself, and perhaps this particular Republican President will be less of check on government spending than the other Republican Presidents in the recent past. But I am somewhat hopeful.
10.19.2006 12:47pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Chumund:

Do you correct for military spending in your analysis? Such spending, unlike many of the Democratic Party's sacred cows, are actually allowed in the Constitution.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.19.2006 12:55pm
Chumund:
TDP,

What do you mean by "correct for military spending"? Do you mean we simply shouldn't count "military spending" when considering any policy matter involving government spending? Because that strikes me as a bad idea--for example, it is just as possible to waste taxpayer money on unnecessary porkbarrel projects under the heading "military spending".

In any event, as I recall, it doesn't actually change the analysis whether or not you include defense spending. In other words, on average nondefense spending also has increased at the highest rate in the WH:R/HOR:R scenario, followed by the WH:D/HOR:D scenario, followed by the WH:R/HOR:D scenario, and finally the WH:D/HOR:R scenario. Similarly, I also don't think it matters whether you break out entitlement spending increases and discretionary spending increases.

What this suggests to me is that there is a basic political dynamic involved here, one which goes beyond any particular spending category. And basically, each party seems to like a relatively big government when they control the White House, and a relatively small government when they don't. Also, I'd suggest that House Republicans are more inclined to oppose--or are simply better at opposing--spending by a Democratic President than House Democrats with a Republican President, in both minority and majority scenarios.
10.19.2006 1:11pm
JonC:
Randy R.:


I guess it's quaintly amusing that people like me expect our politicians to be honest and follow the laws they pass.


It's not quaintly amusing to expect politicians to be honest and follow the law. It's quaintly amusing to posit that an army of democratically unaccountable committee staffers will have any effect on whether they do so. And in any event, it's not as if it will be impossible for Democrats to re-fill those committee positions if and when they so choose. So I guess I just disagree that this matter is anywhere near as "alarming" as you have made it out to be.
10.19.2006 1:14pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Chumund, I as saying I am only distressed by characteristically Republican spending when it is uneccessary, as opposed to the usual Democratic spending which is not in fact authorized by the constitution.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.19.2006 1:37pm
Arbusto Spectrum (mail):

For future reference, the point at which we all realized that you're a fraud and throwing out the red herring of "blue States are subsidizing red States"rather than espousing a serious idea is when you wrote the words "states' rights."


If that's the case, why did you bother to continue reading?
10.19.2006 1:43pm
Chumund:
TDP,

As an aside, it seems to me that those are both valid concerns (whether spending is unnecessary and whether it is unconstitutional), and of course often both could be applied to the same issue.

Anyway, I'm not sure I understand your terms "characteristically Republican spending" and "the usual Democratic spending". Putting their rhetoric aside, as I recall the numbers show that when Republicans are in the mood to increase spending, they do so in all the major categories, not just defense. And the same is true of Democrats--they increase spending in all the major categories including defense. So, there really isn't a distinctive pattern of Republican spending versus Democrat spending.

Accordingly, if you are concerned about nondefense spending for any reason--legal, pragmatic, and so on--then all the same analysis applies.
10.19.2006 1:54pm
JRL:
I think that the first way that we should address this situation from a states' rights perspective is to pass a constitutional amendment saying that the Federal government can not use the income tax as a way to redistribute income and wealth from one state to another; in other words, Federal revenues derived from income taxes should be spent in the states from which they were derived on a proportionate basis. That way, we would eliminate not just the Welfare State, but all of the welfare states. Are the libertarians who post on this site on board with that?

Are you talking just from the perspective of federally-funded state social programs? That would be a workable policy. It would also be a great idea as anything that serves to limit the reach of such programs is desirable. If you're talking about 'general' government functions it would be impractical, if not impossible, to spend revenues only in the state from which they were derived.
10.19.2006 2:42pm
Jam:
All you lawyers in here, what is your take on this?

Was the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was Pocket Vetoed?

I heard a caller in the Alex Jones program that the Act was signed after the Constitutionally defined 10 days, after the Congress adjourned.

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/art1.htm
Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 2
... If any bill shall not be returned by the president within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militar...ns_Act_of_2006
Military Commissions Act of 2006
Legislative History
The bill passed the Senate, 65-34, on September 28, 2006.[7]
The bill passed in the House, 250-170-12, on September 29, 2006.[8]
President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on October 17, 2006.

Congress sends military commissions bill to White House
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchas...ommissions.php

Day Date (if any)
—- ———- ————————-
Sep 28 Passed Senate
Sep 29 Passed House
Sep 30 House Adjourns
Oct 1 Sunday
1 Oct 2 Monday
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15 Oct 17 POTUS signs the Bill

By my reckoning the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was Pocket Vetoed! The signing did not occured until the 15th day (excluding Sundays) after the Congress adjourned.
10.19.2006 4:16pm
Mark Field (mail):
Jam, I vaguely recall there was some method by which the time to sign was extended. It might have been the Senate's adjournment. I wish your argument were available, but I don't think it is.
10.19.2006 4:37pm
Mark Field (mail):
Found it. The explanation is here.
10.19.2006 4:41pm
Jam (mail):
Thank you.

Wow. Think of the possibilities. It all depends on when a Bill is presented!
10.19.2006 4:53pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Angus-

Does anyone still really think that small tax cuts can affect the overall economy in any significant way?

Take a smaller scale example: a middle class family making $40,000/year on average. Dad suddenly gets a raise to $40,500 per year ($1.25%). I'm sure Dad and family are quite pleased to be makingn more money, but would it have a major impact on overall household finances? No.

Well there a couple issues here. First of all there is a moral one - that money is rightfully the taxpayer's. So in your household example if the additional $500 was a tax refund this moral argument would apply - the more money returned to the people it was taken from the better.

As far as the effect on the economy, when the money was originally taxed it was in a state sort of like the broken window fallacy. When it was originally taxed we'd never have known what the money would have been used for and what it's beneficial effect on the private economy would have been. (Like money spent on repairing a broken window that could have been employed elsewhere.) It might have been used as seed money to start a business, put towards further education or job training, etc. But even if it were used in consumption it would have a beneficial effect in stimulating the private economy through the market mechanism. (Versus government spending and ever-present government friction.)
10.19.2006 7:11pm
Aleks:
And in anything other than the immediate short term, I'd add, everyone gets hosed by the economic damage caused by wanton tax increases.

And the Clinton tax increase of 1993 ("largest tax increase in history") had such dreadful consequencse we all know-- the 90s were the worst decade in this country since the Great Depression! (You are of course free to claim that that tax increase was not "wanton"; be good to hear someone finally admit it!)
But anyway, the Dems will not be passing (and succeeding at) tax increases or anything else (like gun control bills) that isn't "mom and apple pie" stuff. As Clinton said in 1995, the presidency will still be relevant. As for their supoenas, let them waste their time and the voters' patience with such sideshows-- it will keep them out of mischief (and just maybe convince the Bush administration to clean up its act a bit too).


America is indeed, a dark place with a fairly bloody history.


And except maybe for a handful of mini-states (San Marino, Andorra etc.) every other country of comparable age has a record just as bloody, if not more so. That's what history is: a record of humankind's crimes and follies.
10.19.2006 10:39pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Yes, the Democrats' control of the House would not affect things too much. Bush would have to deal with them on some issues, that is all, instead of ignoring them.

The Democrats' control of the Senate, in addition to the House, would mean legislative stalemate on major issues. The Republicans would suddenly become fond of the filibuster, and forget about the "nuclear" (constitutional) option. Bush would be a true lame duck, but his influence over foreign policy, of course, would continue. I don't predict any major changes if the Democrats take control.
10.20.2006 12:38am
Lev:
Note that the border fence bill was passed a while ago and has not yet been "presented" for signature as the Repubs in Congress want it signed in a big todo closer to the election.
10.20.2006 2:48am
therut:
Wasn't that so called 300.00 tax cut to the so called middle class actually a welfare check to those who pay no federal income taxes?
10.20.2006 10:39am
Randy R. (mail):
Nope. Actually, the $300 check was an advance on the tax cuts they were expecing to get the following April. So for many people, mostly middle class Americans, they simply got a reduced refund the next year.

Surely, rut, you remember getting the check too?
10.21.2006 3:40am