Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
The Case for Divided Government
Posted by: Dale Franks on Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Cato Institute's Steven Slivinsky explains why many libertarians—both "L" and "l" types—are arguing that having the Democrats take over one house of Congress would be a good thing.
When the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, government swallowed 20.7 percent of gross domestic product. When Clinton left office, federal outlays equaled only 18.5 percent of GDP. This trend reversed almost immediately after Bush's inaugural parade.

Together Bush and a Republican Congress managed to expand government spending to 20 percent of GDP in 2006. Now, voters are stuck with a choice between the party of Big Government (the Republicans) and the party of Even Bigger Government (the Democrats). With choices like that, conservatives may not be eager to pull the lever for Republican candidates in 2006.
In short, unified government under the Republicans has become another spending spree.

Now, of course, some will say that the Global War on Terror is responsible for all this spending. All that money going to Iraq, don'tcha know.

Well, not so fast...
Only 15 percent of the entire Pentagon budget over the past five years was devoted to funding these operations.
When you look at the historical record, the numbers pretty much speak for themselves.
Since 1965, government has grown slower in periods of divided government than in periods of united government. On average, united government tends to lead to a 3.4 percent annual increase in federal spending in real per capita terms, more than double the growth under divided government, 1.5 percent.

When you look at the data in terms of how fast government grew in relation to the economy, the results still favor divided government. The average yearly increase in government above and beyond GDP growth is 25 times faster when one party has a monopoly over both the legislative and executive branches than it does when gridlock is present.
I realize that this is not an argument that makes many of our Republican readers happy. That's unfortunate, but the principle of smaller government should be one that transcends party sentiment. If you claim to be a devotee of that principle, and are disturbed by the prospect of an ever-growing government, then you should vote to accomplish that goal, rather than to keep your party in power.

My personal preference is to refrain from voting for a Congressman. I prefer that Republicans keep the Senate, and Democrats take the House.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I see your logic. But if I have to vote for Democrats on election day, I may then have to immediately commit hara-kari. This is quite a dilemma.
 
Written By: Dan Morgan
URL: http://www.nospeedbumps.com
Why vote for anyone at all? Simply refrain from voting for a Congressman. Vote for everyone else, just leave the Congressman blank.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I’m with you on being disgusted at the spending spree mentality of the GOP in recent years. However, if it’s going to happen, I’d prefer the Dems take the Senate. There are enough sane Dems in the Senate that I can live with it. In the House, seeing who would be heading the committees scares the bejeezus out of me. Only the Democrats would pass over Jane Harman — a serious, responsible Dem — for head of the House Intelligence Committee for Alcee Hastings an impeached judge.
 
Written By: Hoystory
URL: http://www.hoystory.com
Unfortunately, the Senate also confirms judges. On the whole, I’d prefer the House to go Dem than the Senate.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Dale is right — despite the fact that the Senate’s Republicans have been even more useless and destructive than the House’s, their confirmations role makes a Democratic Senate undesirable for a conservative or libertarian.
 
Written By: sammler
URL: http://stonecity.blogspot.com
Hoystory is soooo right about the liberal ideologues and whackjobs (not necessarily exclusive) set to take over the House committees. Conyers, Frank, Waxman, Wexler, Hastings, Rangel - with Nancy Pelosi and Clintonista hatchetmen/Israeli Intelligence officer Rahm Emmanuel set to take over leadership.

It could be a solid two years of inquiries and inquisitions before the 2008 elections as "pay back" for Clinton’s lame impeachment and other sins becomes the quest. That would be a mistake, to go McGovernite - right after Republicans proved themselves even more corrupt and lacking fiscal restraint than the Democrats. All McGovernitism did was set the table for Reagan. If the Democrats refrain from the payback they crave and actually LEAD and fix a good number of the proliferating messes America is in - then they have a far better chance in 2008.

I agree with those that say it is better to retain the Senate than keep Hastert Boehner, Delay, and various highly corrupted Committee heads in power. Let them waddle off to the lobbyist’s feeding troughs. The Senate, sans the hapless Frist, is a better place to resist the worst of the Democrats until 2008, and certainly after 2008 if Bush’s own acumulated messes and policy failures give the Dems the Presidency on a silver platter.

Thank god for John McCain and John Warner understanding that the worm always turns and the nuclear option the Right to Life Fanatics wanted - would make the Senate a Democratic rubberstamp if the Dems later won it back, and had to be opposed by the Gang of 8. If Bush & the Republicans bungled too many things up and the DEms got a majority, as they threaten to do now, the Senate can still resist the worst of the House excesses to come from Speaker Pelosi and pals. But while control by Dems, thanks to Warner & co. doesn’t mean everything, it does matter immensely with the effort to end the activist Leftist Judiciary the ACLU and others put in place as a sort of legal Imam setup where the Ayatollahs in robes had final say over all American society - voters, Congress, States, the President be damned. I’ll take a Republican Senate over the House anyday, and even if the Reps lose the Senate, they can still thwart the House with the filibuster or getting the 10 moderate Dems to swing over now and then to oppose the more extreme elements of the Dems overreaching.

 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
I laugh at you folks... you sound like POLITICAL Economists of the 1950’s and 1960’s...Fine-Tuning the Economy. I believe as L/libertarians you would deride those who would attempt to micro-manage the US economy, but here you are micro-managing the Congress!

Congress MAY be become Democratic and you don’t get much say in whether it’s the HOUSE or the SENATE, more than likely IF Democrats take control they will take congtrol of CONGRESS. You don’t want Harry Reid confirming judicial nominees, then you’ll probably have to accept Hastert as Speaker. It’s funny to see folks saying, "Oh now I want them to retaint the Senate, but LOSE the House." When generally it doesn’t work that way in the Real World. You want "Divided government" what you’ll get, IRL, not libertarian Dream World, is the Executive, Republican and Congress, Democratic. Anything else is just silly fantasy... "What if Eleanor Roosevelt could fly?"

Bottom-Line: CONGRESS may switch hands this year. And I don’t think that there will be "soft landing" to cool this "Market Exuberance."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Why does anybody think that a Democratic Congress with a Republican president will lead to less spending? The historical case is pretty weak. The only reason we got a brief decrease in the rate of increase in spending from 1995 to 1998 was the ideological bent of the Republican congress at the time. There will be no such ideological bent to a Democratic congress, nor a president who has shown any inclination to veto spending legislation, espeically when he has a war to pay for. Many of you will be extremely disappointed.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
C. Ford is right, that, barring some highly improbable self-organizing large voting block, it is impossible to "fine-tune" the result of the mid-terms. However, that does not mean that we should not speculate and promote an optimal result for the election. (FWIW - I speculate about how such a voting block could work with libertarians, DINOs, and RINOs voting based on a Divided Government organizing principle in my post Hand Wringing Libertarians" As I said - improbable.)

It appears that some of Slivinski’s work is based on fellow Cato Institute William Niskanen’s work.
His paper (linked here) suggests that the optimal result in 2006 (considered exclusively from the point of view of restraining federal spending growth), is if the Democrats win a majority in just one legislative branch of Congress, the second best scenario is if they win a majority in both the Senate and the House, and the worst case would be if the Republicans were re-elected to a majority in both the House and Senate.

These three scenarios also have implications for the divided government voting strategy in ’08. The second scenario mandates a divided goverment vote for a Republican President in ’08, the third scenario mandates a divided government vote for a Democratic President in ’08, while the "optimal" first scenario suggests there would be no "divided government" presidential vote in ’08, but only a vote to maintain a divided congress (essentially a vote for congressional incumbency). All assume that Congressional incumbency advantage re-asserts itself in ’’08.
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/
If there actually was a "unified government under the Republicans" I could see your point, but with moderates putting their votes up for bid, it makes the whole thing a big "food fight."
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
"My personal preference is to refrain from voting for a Congressman. I prefer that Republicans keep the Senate, and Democrats take the House."

Whatever happened to voting for the BEST candidate?

Why not compare the reords of the two individuals and go form there?

Interesting that i hear so little talk of Allen’s record. Isn’t that the best way to judge an incumbent? His voting record.

Buzz....Buuzz...
 
Written By: mosquito
URL: http://mosquito-blog.blogspot.com
Why does anybody think that a Democratic Congress with a Republican president will lead to less spending? The historical case is pretty weak. The only reason we got a brief decrease in the rate of increase in spending from 1995 to 1998 was the ideological bent of the Republican congress at the time. There will be no such ideological bent to a Democratic congress, nor a president who has shown any inclination to veto spending legislation, espeically when he has a war to pay for. Many of you will be extremely disappointed.
Do you have any data supporting the inference here that Democrats spend more than Republicans?

You don’t. If you did, you would not that the case is VERY strong that spending is better with a divided government, whether it is Dem legislature and Rep executive or vice versa. Ans spending is worst when one party, ANY party, has a monopoly on power.

I know it’s conventional wisdom, "tax and spend liberals" and all that, but we have this whole long modern history of Democrats and Republicans in power. I know that past performance is no guarantee of future results, but just damn, why not KNOW the past results. Democrats don’t spend any more than Republicans, and they both become more fiscally responsible when they share power.

Here is some valuable information that I think makes an excellent case for putting Democrats in power in at least one branch NOW, and then electing a Demcoratic President (please not Hillary) in 2008... assuming at least one branch remains Republican. (It’s from before the 2004 elections, but the point is still valid)

William Niskanen, former acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, has put together a fascinating analysis of government spending since 1953. Real federal outlays grew fastest, 4.8% annually, in the Kennedy-Johnson years (Vietnam War) , with Congress under Democratic control. The second-fastest rise, 4.4%, occurred with George W. Bush during Republican rule. The third-biggest spending explosion, 3.7%, was during the Carter administration, a time of Democratic control. In contrast, the greatest fiscal stringency, 0.4%, occurred during the Eisenhower years. The second-best period of fiscal restraint, 0.9%, was in the Clinton era. Next came the Nixon-Ford years, at 2.5%, and Ronald Reagan’s presidency, at 3.3%. All were years of shared partisan control.

Bush officials argue that it is unfair to count military spending, but Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan also faced international challenges that impeded their domestic plans. Moreover, if you do strip out military spending and consider only the domestic record, GOP chief executives emerge in an even worse light. In terms of real domestic discretionary outlays, which are most easily controlled, the biggest spender in the past 40 years is George W. Bush, with expenditure racing ahead 8.2% annually, according to Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth. No. 2 on the list is Gerald Ford, at 8%. No. 3 is Richard Nixon. At least the latter two, in contrast to Bush, faced hostile Congresses.

Given the generally woeful record of Republican Presidents, the best combination may be a Democratic chief executive and Republican legislature. It may also be the only combination that’s feasible, since in 2004 at least, it will be difficult to overturn Republican congressional control: Redistricting has encouraged electoral stasis in the House, while far more Democrats face reelection in the Senate. Thus, the only way we can realistically keep Congress and the President in separate political hands is to vote for John Kerry in November.

Returning to divided government would yield another benefit as well: Greater opportunity for reform, whether of the budget process, tort liability, Medicare, Social Security, taxes, or almost anything else. Niskanen has observed that the prospects for change "will be dependent on more bipartisan support than now seems likely in a united Republican government." He points out that tax reform occurred in 1986, and agriculture, telecommunications, and welfare reform a decade later, all under divided government.

The deficit can be cut in half if Congress "is willing to make tough choices," says President Bush. But GOP legislators are likely to make tough choices only if he is replaced by a Democrat. History teaches us that divided government equals fiscal probity, so vote Democratic for President if you want responsible budgeting in Washington.

This article originally appeared in Fortune on April 20, 2004.

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
We already have divided government.

Not in terms of party loyalties, but in terms of ideology. Here again, we’re talking not about party, but about ideas. Billy I think would call them "principles".

Dale...(And I presume the gent he quotes) take(s) one look at the situation, sees all three branches of government ostensibly in the hands of Republicans... and without bothering to look at the ideology of the individual Republicans involved, figures that the problem is party loyalty, and the number of D’s and R’s in the mix. I suppose it’s a lot simpler to look at things that way, by way of a quickly applied label... that way, we don’t have to look at the individual facts and do some serious analysis.

The fact of the matter is that the Republican majority itself is divided with a goodly number of Republicans siding as a matter of routine, ideologically, with the Democrats. (here’s where your statement about principle comes into play.... if we had only a few more people willing to stick to the ones they claim to be behind..... this post wouldn’t even be needed....) That, primarily, ... the RINO problem.... and not party affiliation is why government is still growing today.

Based on this (rather lacking) judgment, Franks and Slivinski promptly go marching off in exactly the wrong direction. And what do they offer as a response to this misdiagnosed problem? At best, a holding action.

We don’t need a holding action. We need repair. That’s not going to happen with the gridlock hoped for.

And here’s a newsflash...with the combo of Democrats and RINOS as I’ve described them here, gridlock will be the LAST thing we’ll get. Given the liberal ideology prevalent in many northeastern "republicans" what we end up with as a result of an exact balance of R’s and D’s is a liberalism that is empowered beyond anybody’s worst nightmare.

We already have divided government. What we have, as both of you rightly point, out isn’t working.

Trying to find a solution by re-running the same liberal play, is foolish in the extreme. The same inputs and the same program will end up with the same results. That is so obvious as to be axiomatic.

Well, here’s a novel suggestion; Let’s try something we haven’t done before, whaddya say?

Let’s try giving the majority to real Republicans... people who vote like it. Barring that, let’s get enough of Republican majority going, where the Republican party is not beholding so greatly to it’s left wingers like Lincoln Chafee, John McCain and so on. Dale, I’m sure, is going to suggest that this is pure party loyalty speaking. However, a little basic logic should show that what I propose is the one thing that hasn’t been tried yet.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Bithead,
As I poste in the comments on your blog, you change the definition of "Divided Government" then claim we already have it. This is nonsense. Changing the definition does not change the facts. The studies that show the benefits of divided government are based on party affiliation not ideology. The definition of "Divided Government" is a different PARTY than the PARTY of the president having the majority in one of the legislative branches.

The historical fact documented in the Slivinski and Niskanen work shows that it is divided PARTY control of the legislative and executive branch that restrains that growth of spending, and single PARTY control of the legislative and executive branch results in out of control spending and bad governace.

You are correct that some kind of a "ideologically pure" Republican Government has not been tried. Maybe it will work. Maybe it will not. Regardless, what you propose cannot happen between now and November. The first opportunity to try an "ideologically pure" Republican Government would be ’08. My guess is that you might as well try to get Libertarians elected to a majority, but hey - knock yourself out.

Since re-electing this particular crop of Big Spending, Big Deficit, Big Government Republicans to a majority in congress, to serve for two more years under this Big Spending, Big Deficit, Big Government President will certainly result in ... I’m tired of typing it ... it’s too depressing.

On the other hand, divided [PARTY] government is documented to work to restrain the growth of spending, and can be implemented in ’06.

BTW - Divided Government got a plug in MSM when Chris Matthews interviews Norman Ornstein (author of "Broken Branch")on Wednesday. Ornstein is another scholar that is an advocate for divided government. Link to a youtube clip of the exchange is posted on my blog.
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/
So, tell us, MW, what the difference is between a Lincoln Chafee, and a Nancy Pelosi, in terms of what they produce within government.

It’s the ideas that count, not the labels.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
It’s the ideas that count, not the labels.
No, really, it’s not.

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Over and over and over again, they just can’t help themselves.

And you want to suggest that if the entire government were made of Tom Delay’s (or pick your hard right flavor of the month), we would have a better country???

Yeesh, I am relatively liberal, similar in ideology to Joe Biden or John McCain, but I would not either of them getting their way on everything. But your Republican clone theory is just that.

Haven’t you learned anything in the last 5 years???

Seriously, this is close as I ever want to see America get to having one tightly knit group in charge.

Wow, just, damn.

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
No, really, it’s not.

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
That rather depends on whom you have in power, which is suppsoedly what elections are about.

And you want to suggest that if the entire government were made of Tom Delay’s (or pick your hard right flavor of the month), we would have a better country???
Without any question are hesitation, and the facts back me up on this.

Yeesh, I am relatively liberal, similar in ideology to Joe Biden or John McCain, but I would not either of them getting their way on everything. But your Republican clone theory is just that.
Why on earth if you have someone who is right, would you compromise with someone who is decidedly wrong? That seems at least counterproductive to me.
Seriously, this is close as I ever want to see America get to having one tightly knit group in charge.
Really? perhaps a look at the Congress from reconstruction right up until Gingrch will give you an indication as to what that’s all about. The Democrats were in power for all that time.

Had you forgotten, or did you hope the rest of us had?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider