Let me make clear right off the bat–I abhor the idea of a relentless expanding government. Every task which the government undertakes to perform outside of its necessary function of the providing for the common defense (not the imperialistic offense) represents yet another encroachment on individual liberty and initiative. I want most of all the freedom to be left alone; to meet the existential challenges of life on my own terms. Collectivist government makes the notion increasingly impossible. Both parties are to blame.
But the Republicans are the most disingenuous about it. Review and Outlook of the Wall Street Journal (part of the journalistic cabal of the Republican Party) ran a column today describing the dire consequences of an Obama reelection. Here’s part of what it said:
Democrats of the Obama era are united by cultural liberalism, but above all else they agree on the goal of expanding the reach of government. The Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist idea shop of the Clinton years, is moribund. The vanguard of ideas for the Obama White House is the Center for American Progress, which churns out proposals for government to mediate every sphere of economic life.In this view, the entire American economy is a giant market failure—except perhaps Silicon Valley. Health-care costs can be controlled by dictating prices and medical practice. The climate can be controlled by putting coal out of business and subsidizing wind, solar and ethanol. Wall Street can be controlled by more rules and hanging the occasional banker in the public square as an example.
Most important, government spending can conjure private growth by “investing” in whatever seems like a good idea. So taxes must rise and rise again to pay for these “investments.”
While all the charges are more or less true, they’re also more or less true about the Republicans. Here’s an excerpt of a piece that ran in the Journal (the very same Wall Street Journal as ran the piece above) last week about the American entitlement state:
In current political discourse, it is common to think of the Democrats as the party of entitlements, but long-term trends seem to tell a somewhat different tale. From a purely statistical standpoint, the growth of entitlement spending over the past half-century has been distinctly greater under Republican administrations than Democratic ones. Between 1960 and 2010, the growth of entitlement spending was exponential, but in any given year, it was on the whole roughly 8% higher if the president happened to be a Republican rather than a Democrat.
This is in keeping with the basic facts of the time: Notwithstanding the criticisms of “big government” that emanated from their Oval Offices from time to time, the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush presided over especially lavish expansions of the American entitlement state. Irrespective of the reputations and the rhetoric of the Democratic and Republican parties today, the empirical correspondence between Republican presidencies and turbocharged entitlement expenditures should underscore the unsettling truth that both political parties have, on the whole, been working together in an often unspoken consensus to fuel the explosion of entitlement spending.
So someone please tell me: What possible difference could it make that the occupant of the White House is Republican or Democrat, so far as subduing the encroaching Leviathan of government goes? Except perhaps to ensure it grows even more robustly under a Republican than it does under a Democratic Administration? Either way, the Leviathan will continue grow, ultimately devouring its creators, the American people, like a Frankensteinian monster, grief-stricken at its incapacity to be loved.
To my mind, it matters not a whit who is elected President. And the Wall Street Journal needs to see a psychiatrist.