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January 31, 2011


Stimson accurately equates "demand for more government" with "liberal". The Dems are not only the party of big government; they're the party of continually growing government.

Yglesias accurately points out that federal government has been growing even under Republican Presidents. State and local governments have been growing as well.

Sargent accurately points out that if Republicans try to shrink government, they will be attazcked for cutting popular programs. They will lose popularity and lose elections. That's what happened when Bush tried to reform Social Security.

So, it seems that government will continue to grow indefinitely despite the Tea Parties. Yet, the government cannot grow to unlimited size without destroying the private economy, which is the sole source of wealth. As Margaret Thatcher put it,
eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]

IMHO Herbert Stein's law will come into play. Stein's law says:
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

The government will eventually stop growing. It would be wonderful if statesmen and stateswomen in both parties joined to make necessary cuts in government. However, what we see from the Dems is a plan to use the necessary cuts to win back power. Sadly, it may take Greece-style riots and/or some economic disaster for the US government to get its spending under control.

Illustrating Sargent's point is this comment from Harry Reid:

As Congress debates measures to reduce the deficit, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared Social Security "off the table" in a web video posted Monday.

Reid's sweeping rejection comes as congressional Republicans are calling for reductions in Social Security benefits, arguing that cuts to the program should be part of any long-term deficit reduction plan.

"The reason they're going after Social Security is that's where the money is," Reid said. "They want to take money that isn't theirs."


I do not know whether Reid's preposterous comment is demogoguery or ignorance. Either way, with this sort of irresponsible "leadership", the US financial system is in for a rough time.

In the past, Democrats have been responsible about SS. I once had a conversation with Robert Myers, the long-time chief actuary of SS (and an arch conservative). Myers praised Wilbur Mills, who was head of the Ways and Means Committee, for passing benefit increases only if they were affordable.

Brendan -

I'm surprise you would link to Waldman's ridiculous column.

Yes, he cites your well taken point, but follows up with a bunch of straw men myths that I suspect very few people believe - "Reagan never compromised his conservative beliefs", "Reagan was stunningly popular", "always saying that government can't do anything right".

Having him include your analysis in this list of tripe actually weakens it.

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