Government Spending

Aloha, Regulatory State!

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Arnold Kling of TCSDaily and the Cato Institute sees nothing but darkness come November:

In November, the United States may take its strongest lurch to the left since 1933. The Republicans easily could lose 10 seats in the Senate. The relative turnout numbers in the Democratic and Republican primaries are consistent with a landslide victory for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Assume that this scenario plays out, and that the Democrats sweep into office behind either the nation's most aggressive nanny or its most liberal senator (or both). What sort of consequences can we expect?…

Many Americans will welcome the regulatory state. Many others will accommodate it. Only a minority of us will oppose it. Somewhere down the road, as people see the indignity of the many intrusions and the adversity of the consequences, I hope that there will be a backlash. Otherwise, if the era of mandates emerges as I fear it will, then the engine of capitalism in America may run out of the fuel of competition.

Whole thing here.

I'm not questioning what he's saying–and certainly I'm as down on the regulatory state as Dr. Congressman Ron Paul is down with the Constitution.

But here's a real question, informed by the past decade-plus of GOP control of Congress and/or the White House: Would it really be worse than what we've seen under Bush and the Republicans or Bush and the Democrats?

I'm almost ready to believe some variation of the Nixon Going to China argument that the Dems would feel more constrained in being Big Gummint idiots than, say, George W. Bush and Tom DeLay ever did precisely because that's what everyone expects of them. Would, say, Bill Clinton have gotten away with creating a massive new entitlement? He tried and failed, right, with a Dem Congress, too. And god knows Clinton intervened militarily in a very promiscuous manner, but when it comes to foreign quagmires, there's the former Yugoslavia and then there's the former (future?) Iraq…