Archive for December 30th, 2022

I’ve shared some notable tweets this year.

Today, we’re going to expand on this list with the “most laughable” tweet of 2022. But this tweet from the Republican National Committee is a case of accidental humor rather than deliberate humor.

As you might expect, the RNC did not bother trying to prove its statement.

That’s because the Republican party generally does a terrible job. Donald Trump expanded government. George W. Bush expanded government. And George H.W. Bush expanded government.

You have to go all the way back to Ronald Reagan to find a Republican who actually was on the side of taxpayers (and before him, you have to go all the way back to Coolidge).

Indeed, Republicans usually wind up expanding government faster than Democrats.

And that’s not because of the defense budget. Even when looking at just domestic spending, Republicans (other than Reagan) have a worse track record.

I have to wonder whether the folks at the RNC were doing hallucinogenic drugs when they sent out that tweet? Or was it a naive intern who heard a few speeches and was tricked into thinking the GOP actually cared about shrinking government.

The latter possibility is a good excuse to share this cartoon.

But let’s also look at some serious analysis.

Here are some excerpts from a column in the Wall Street Journal by Kimberley Strassel. She was motivated by a pork-filled handout to the tech industry this past summer, but then proceeded to list many other sins.

The GOP that is assisting in this quarter-trillion-dollar spendathon is the same GOP that last year provided the votes for a $1 trillion infrastructure boondoggle. The same GOP that in 2020 signed on to not one, not two, three or four, but five Covid “relief” bills, to the tune of some $3.5 trillion. The same GOP that…blew through discretionary spending caps. The same GOP that has unofficially re-embraced earmarks. The party occasionally takes a breather—say to gripe about the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion Covid bill in 2021—but then it’s right back to the spending grindstone. When was the last time anyone heard a Republican talk about the need to reform Social Security or Medicare? That disappeared with the election of Donald Trump (opposed to both)… Instead, a growing faction of the party sees a future in buying the votes of working- and middle-class voters with costly new entitlement proposals of their own, such as expanded child tax credits.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

But since laughing is more fun, here’s a cartoon about earmarks (which recently were endorsed by Republican lawmakers).

I’ll close with a tiny bit of optimism.

I’ve dealt with hundreds of politicians over the years, most of whom were Republicans.

By and large, they usually understand that big government is bad for prosperity. But there are two things that have an impact on their voting behavior.

  1. They are afraid of being rejected by voters who want freebies (especially the ones they already are receiving).
  2. But they might be willing to cast courageous votes if there is a real chance of a long-run change in policy.

To elaborate on the second point, there have been three periods of spending restraint in my lifetime: 1) the Reagan years, 2) the Clinton years, and 3) the Tea Party years.

In all three cases, there was a critical mass of lawmakers who were willing to do the right thing in spite of the usual incentives in Washington to do the wrong thing.

Is there a 4th period in our future? That depends on whether the GOP returns to Reaganism.

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