Will Divided Government Result in Gridlock?
That is my hope, but I have to wonder if it really will mean a slowdown in government spending. Over at Cato Stephen Silivinski writes the following,
Despite what Republicans have been saying the past few weeks, the Democratic takeover of the House won’t necessarily be a bad thing for the economy. That’s not because the Democrats have good ideas on economic policy. They don’t. Instead, the benefits will come from the presence of a divided government and its ensuing gridlock. For instance, gridlock usually slows down the rate of growth in federal spending. That will likely lead to a reduction of the size of government as a percentage of GDP, and that’s always a good thing for the economy.
Also, the Democratic takeover of the House will likely not have much of an effect on the Bush tax cuts. The cuts don’t expire until 2010 and, in the meantime, Bush would discover where he stashed his veto pen if a Democratic Congress tries to reverse them. Besides, Democrats won’t have a veto-proof majority in Congress, and many red-state Democrats are not going to be eager to raise taxes anyway. Couple that with the gridlock-related slowdown in the rate of budget growth and you have the ingredients for a better set of fiscal outcomes than supporters of limited- government have seen in six years.
In the past six years President Bush, admittedly with the help of Republicans in Congress, has shown that he is not at all adverse to spending more money and expanding the role of government. As such, I have to wonder if suddenly he is going to get some sort of ideological backbone when it comes to spending proposals put forward by the Democrats. I have to say I’m quite skeptical about it and I don’t think we are going to see the kind of constraint gridlock puts on spending that we saw under Clinton when the Republicans took power in 1994. Hell, back then the Republicans were so adverse to spending increases they in budget showdowns they shut down the government. For some reason I don’t think that Bush will do anything like that.