Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

March 29, 2007

The Democrats In Congress: History Repeating Itself

by Doug Mataconis

I can’t say that I’m surprised but it looks like the days of tax-and-spend are due for a comeback:

The new Democratic majority begins dancing the next phase of the tax-and-spend minuet in the House of Representatives today. Following the example set by their Senate brethren last Friday, House Democrats will adopt a budget resolution containing the largest tax increase in U.S. history amid massive national inattention.

Nobody’s tax payment will increase immediately, but the budget resolutions set a pattern for years ahead. The House version would increase non-defense, non-emergency spending by $22.5 billion for next fiscal year, with such spending to rise 2.4 percent in each of the next three years. To pay for these increases, the resolution would raise taxes by close to $400 billion over five years — about $100 billion more than what was passed in the Senate.

It had been assumed that the new Democratic majority would end President Bush’s relief in capital gains, dividend and estate taxation. The simultaneous rollback of Bush-sponsored income tax cuts was a surprise. This reflects Democrats’ belief that they can survive a long-term commitment to bigger government. Here is an audacious effort to raise the banner of fiscal responsibility while increasing spending and taxes.

Now, let’s be perfectly clear. The Republican Party deserved to lose control of Congress. As I said in many posts in the wake of the 2006 elections (see here, here, here, and here) they had abandoned any pretense of abiding by the limited government ideas that they had campaigned on in 1994 and had become lap dogs to a President who is more like LBJ thank Ronald Reagan.

That said, I was under no illusions about what we would be getting from a Democratic majority. The fact that they are already starting down the road toward higher taxes and higher spending should surprise nobody.

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  • Henk Lake

    Democrats are down the road towards higher spending. ?? After the gazzillions of dollars that have gone into the war on terra, can you get even _higher_??

    Truly amazing…

  • Henk Lake
  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    If you’d click on any of the four other posts I link to in the article, you’d see just how critical I have been of the GOP and it’s legacy in Congress.

    That doesn’t mean I’m going to sit back and say nothing when the Democrats start returning to their old ways.

    Let them start identifying which domestic spending programs they are willing to cut, and maybe I’ll start taking them seriously.

  • Eric Dondero(played by Nick M.)

    We went to war with Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation? Hasn’t she been through enough already?

    Nick

  • Nick M.

    D’oh, I’m not Eric anymore.

    Nick

  • R Samuel Klatchko

    Well, if we are going to spend money, I much prefer tax and spend Democrats to borrow and spend Republicans.

  • http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com Eric Dondero

    Notice how all the voices crying for a Libertarian-Democrat alliance right before the election and immediately after, have suddenly quieted down.

    Let’s go back to October, Nov. and Dec. of last year shall we.

    Remember Daily Kos’s Mark Moulitas open appeal to Libertarians to join their “Democrat coalition?”

    Remember Dave Boaz and the guys at Cato responding with the whole “Liberaltarian” thing?

    Remember all the posts on boards like this from Libertarian Party people saying that perhaps our “natural allies were the Dems”?

    Now all of a suddent, we’re in April of 2006, and you’re not seeing any of that any more. It’s all magically dissappeared.

    Libertarians are like whinny little brats. They know that they’re basically “Republicans who like to smoke pot and have sex”, but they just can’t admit it to themselves. They know deep down that they’re part of the broader Conservative/Republican coalition.

    But they gotta kick and scream about it. Thus, the whole “Liberaltarian” BS late last year.

    It appears now Libertarians, even the Great Cynic Doug Mataconis, are now returning to the fold.

    Don’t worry, we Libertarian Republicans aren’t going to make you say Uncle or apologize or anything.

    We’re just glad to have you back.

  • http://pubcrawler.blogspot.com/ tkc

    Who says we are back?

    With the leading candidates now, if there is no change before ’08 elections, I’ll be staying home… again.

    The top four people I am not going to vote for are McCain, Guiliani, Clinton, and Obama.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Eric,

    If you’d bother to actually read anything I’ve written on this site, you’d know that I was critical of the whole idea of an alliance between libertarians and Democrats to begin with.

    That said, the past six years have also shown me that the Republican Party is hardly a home for me either at the moment. Oh there are some bright spots here and there — John Shaddegg comes to mind, as does Ron Paul, and Jeff Flake — but they are a minority in their own party right now.

    If by some miracle the GOP was to regain control of Congress in 2008, the leadership would largely consist of the same old group that led the party to ruin in 2006, especially in the Senate.The only saving grace is that Bush would not be President so maybe, just maybe, the Republicans in Congress wouldn’t be tainted by his ineffective leadership and lack of committment to the principles of limited government.

    I’m with tkc. If I’m left with a choice in November 2008 between Hillary or Obama on one side and McCain or Giuliani on the other, I will either stay home or leave the Presidential part of the ballot blank.

    So, no, I am not back in the Republican Party. And I may never come back except to vote for individual candidates I support. I see no reason to believe that furthering the growth of the GOP will in any way help the advance of human freedom.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Eric,

    Libertarians are like whinny little brats. They know that they’re basically “Republicans who like to smoke pot and have sex”, but they just can’t admit it to themselves. They know deep down that they’re part of the broader Conservative/Republican coalition.

    So that’s what you think libertarians are ? Do you realize that you’re just buying into what conservatives and liberals say about us ?

    Of course, if that’s what you consider libertarians to be, and you consider yourself a libertarian under that definition, then you and I clearly don’t share a philosophy in common.

    I suggest that you pick up Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty and read an essay called “Why I am Not A Conservative.” It could be eyeopening.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    Doug,

    Mr. Dondero isn’t one of them there readin’ libertarians… He’s not interested in ideas.

    Unless you can get Hayek to an orgy in a room full of pot smoke, I don’t think Eric’s going to pay any attention to him. And I don’t think it’s worth digging up Friedrich just to impress him.

  • Nick M.

    Brad,

    Not just an orgy, an orgy with hookers. Dammit, don’t you ever forget the hookers again.

    Nick

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