Get Ready To Be Disappointed By The 112th Congress

One day before the new Congress is sworn in, the guys at Reason.tv remind us that, if history is any guide, it’s time to be ready to be disappointed:

Is it too soon to declare the new Congress a failure?

Ever since their midterm election triumph, Republicans have talked tough about cutting spending. Here’s hoping they make good on those promises, but they spouted the same tough talk after their 1994 election triumph and look what happened.

Back then the GOP revolutionaries targeted more than 200 programs for complete and utter elimination. They scored some minor victories (adios helium fund!), but a decade into their “revolution” (and after they gained a Republican president) inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs slated for elimination actually increased by 27 percent.  And since then total federal spending has continued to soar, so why should we take Republicans seriously this time?

I’m prepared to be surprised by the incoming Congress. They may actually come up with a plan to reduce federal spending. They might start eliminating unnecessary and wasteful government program. Heck, they could even sit down with the Democrats and the President and hammer out a long-term plan to bring spending and the deficit under control.

Past experience, however, tells me that none of this is likely to happen and that we’re in for two more years of partisan hackery.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    And since then total federal spending has continued to soar, so why should we take Republicans seriously this time?

    You shouldn’t. Ever.

  2. Ernieyeball says:

    Unlike the investing disclaimer, the political warning reads “past performance is a sure sign of future results.”

  3. sam says:

    “Heck, they could even sit down with the Democrats and the President and hammer out a long-term plan to bring spending and the deficit under control.”

    Writing that sentence would have caused me a nosebleed.

  4. tom p says:

    Holding your breath? Don’t worry, I at least will pick you up off the floor.

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    Of course we will be disappointed. The question is how disappointed. Congress hasn’t done anything good for years so success can very well be measured in how little they do and if they cause less damage than in previous years.