Donald Trump

Will New Bosses Be the Same as the Old Bosses?

Republican control of the White House and Congress doesn't necessarily mean limited government.

|

Congress
KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom

For only the second time since the early 1950s, a Republican president will wield power with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress. With that incredible power, small-government advocates can't help but hope that this change will bring about good policies and much less government than under President Barack Obama. Maybe.

The first time we had a unified Republican government since the '50s occurred just a little more than a decade ago, when then-President George W. Bush enjoyed Republican control of Congress for 4 1/2 of his first six years in office. Four months into Bush's first term, Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont declared himself an independent and caucused with the Democrats, thus breaking a 50-50 tie and giving Democrats slight control of the Senate until the GOP recaptured it just over a year later.

Most readers have probably forgotten about Jeffords, but what shouldn't be forgotten is the massive growth in federal power under a Washington dominated by the GOP. Allow me to quickly refresh your memory.

The following is a rogues' gallery of Republican-engineered expansions of the federal government's size and scope: the No Child Left Behind Act, the Patriot Act, McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a bloated farm bill, the expansion of Medicare through the creation of a prescription drug benefit, a crony energy bill, a pork-ridden transportation bill and war, war and more war.

In President Bill Clinton's last year in office, the federal government spent $1.86 trillion. Six years later, under Bush and a Republican-dominated Congress, the figure was $2.73 trillion. As a share of the economy, spending went from 17.6 percent of gross domestic product to 19.1 percent of GDP during that time, and it went on to be well over 20 percent by the time Bush finally left office. Critics of the Obama administration rightly scold it for the large growth in federal debt under its watch, but the Bush years set the table; Obama delivered the turkey.

That last point is critical to understand. The Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress played a major role in making the excesses of the Obama administration possible. The present concern should be that excesses of both administrations will help lay the foundation for the excesses of the new one. That means it isn't just liberals who should be worried about President-elect Donald Trump and a complicit Republican Congress. Conservatives, libertarians, and anyone else who cares about free markets and the need to constrain our overgrown federal government should be just as concerned.

If we are to take Trump's campaign promises seriously, then his anti-free market stances on international trade are alarming enough. Unfortunately, we shouldn't underestimate the willingness of congressional Republicans to throw trade under the bus if it means appeasing parochial demands for federal protection.

While there is a real possibility of repealing the Affordable Care Act, the risk of a replacement plan that is best described as "Obamacare light" is also very real. And it isn't difficult to imagine that no reforms of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will take place, either, especially because many in Congress will be happy to embrace the magical thinking that "growing the economy" will sufficiently cover the escalating bills for entitlements. We already know that Trump has the Republican support to turn the spending spigot back on for the Pentagon and defense contractors.

For those who think Trump's campaign promises will turn out to be much more malleable, there's always the hope he will be persuaded to pull back from the more destructive ideas and instead focus on much-needed reforms, such as corporate tax reform. But Trump comes into office with no government experience and a small network of loyalists. That means that with thousands of appointments to make and not nearly enough true believers available to fill those roles, the president-elect will be forced to rely on the very same political insiders he decried during his campaign. So rather than a draining of the swamp as Trump has promised, there is a risk that the swamp won't shrink at all.

Finally, a good number of his appointees will probably have served time in the aforementioned Bush administration and the Bush-enabling offices of Republican members of Congress. If that isn't cause for concern, then I would suggest rereading the beginning of this piece.

COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM

NEXT: Michael Barone on the election

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I thought the answer to a question in a headline is supposed to be “no,” but I doubt that will be the case here.

  2. RE: Will New Bosses Be the Same as the Old Bosses?
    Republican control of the White House and Congress doesn’t necessarily mean limited government.

    Of course the republicans bosses will be the same as the old bosses.
    Positive change in the economy, international affairs, domestic issues, etc will only annoy and complicate life for the ruling elitist filth in the republican and democratic parties.
    Life is one big cocktail party in DC, and nobody in their right mind wants to change that.

  3. it doesn’t mean a limited government

    But it could means a more limited one.

    Reason all to often goes these “extreme” position to “prove” their side — which may be true but also misinform

  4. the president-elect will be forced to rely on the very same political insiders he decried during his campaign

    Citation needed.

    1. [1] Mitch McConnell
      [2] Paul Ryan

      1. Indeed, and McConnell is already parading around talking about that ‘infrastructure’ bill that unsurprisingly contains very little infrastructure from what I’ve heard. They’re giddy with the chance to spend tons of money on shit they want, which is exactly the opposite of what the base wants at this point. We’ll see if they notice the disconnect this time, after all those other times before.

  5. Alt-text: “Now we’re *having* some fun!”

    1. It’s like they just saw a small black child slip and fall on a patch of ice.

        1. Definitely white ice. Black on black slipping never gets reported.

          1. [mic drop]

            1. BRAVO!

              For once, today, I may *applaud* instead of scowl!

  6. Hey. We are THEIR bosses.

    Do you even libertarian, bro?

    1. You must understand, libertarian, I would use this office from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power to great and terrible to imagine.

    2. “Hey. We are THEIR bosses.”

      Ha, ha, ha.
      That’s hysterical!

  7. I’m guessing it will mean more limited government in some ways and more government expansion in others.

    The talk of deregulation and tax cuts/reform is mostly good. The infrastructure spending would be less good. And if he really means what he says about illegal immigrants, there will have to be a lot more police state, which is bad.

    1. National conceal-carry? Good, or trigger for second Civil War (which may be one of the shortest in history)?

      1. I just want some way to restore the rights stolen from me by the ‘SAFE’ act and its precursor legislation. Is that too much to ask?

        1. Yes. Why do you want to be un-SAFE? It’s irrational.

      2. Good but unlikely. I think it’s better dealt with by states.

        Further court action against the states with clearly unconstitutional gun laws would be good, though.

  8. And they will still be a bunch of smug assholes. But with a whole different style.

    1. a bunch of smug assholes

      Nice band name.

  9. Where did any Republican offer limited government during the campaign?

    1. Rand Paul? Justin Amash? Thomas Massie?

      Not a large group, to be sure.

  10. always the hope he will be persuaded to pull back from the more destructive ideas

    “Hope and change!’

  11. Great piece, Ms. de Rugy.

    I’d like to think that the rise of the Tea Party Republicans might have a little chance of putting a little pressure on the GOP against giving us a return to the Bush GOP, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.

  12. “epublican control of the White House and Congress doesn’t necessarily mean limited government.”

    It doesn’t? FUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKK ME!

    No, seriously, of course these corporatists are to what limited government what diarrhea on a plate is to a good lunch. I pleaded with you to take a look at Bernie Sanders and his record of opposing wars and loan guarantees for big banks, but you guys wanted the same old Republican assholes. And now you’re stuck with them– so instead of admitting that you’ve been duped for the 30th time, you wile away you’re days bitching about these kids these days on college campuses. I say, warts and all, they’re probably wiser than suckers who voted for Trump because Clinton emailz.

    1. Please don’t feed the troll.

      1. But Dalmia article is one down on the front page…

        Oh, I see. Good advice!

      2. Wait, I thought it was you running that puppet? I can never keep up.

    2. I pleaded with you to take a look at Bernie Sanders and his record of opposing wars and loan guarantees for big banks, but you guys wanted the same old Republican assholes.

      Bwuhahahahahaha! You’re on the wrong site for that; you need to be on the DNC site talking to Hillary and her bud Wasserman-Schultz. The Democratic primaries were not what you’d call a “level playing field”.

      In other words, you have Democrats to thank for the fact that Bernie wasn’t the Democratic nominee. How does it feel to be buttfucked on TV, Dwayne?

      1. You don’t think I’ve been down that avenue. My plan was to show up at the nearest local Democratic Party meeting and scream at them for, oh, about 6 hours. That should be enough for starters. But while I say that I can still look at the triumphantilism on this webpage and wonder how exactly deep is the commitment to limited government when you have the usual suspects talk about how whiny the students are these days who are protesting Trump’s immigration policies or his promise to punish people going to get an abortion. Shouldn’t we be on their side? Orwell once famously said that he knew his place in a street fight between the police and the people (psst, he spent his time manning the barricades against the police). What side are you guys on?

    3. Ah yes, noted small-government proponent Bernie Sanders.

  13. alt text: “He told Chris Christie they had a place for him in the administration.”

    1. But they’ll need his stapler.

  14. My mothers neighbour is working part time and averaging $9000 a month. I’m a single mum and just got my first paycheck for $6546! I still can’t believe it. I tried it out cause I got really desperate and now I couldn’t be happier. Heres what I do,

    —————– http://YoutubeJobs.Nypost55.com

  15. Republican control of the White House and Congress doesn’t necessarily mean limited government

    If Reason thinks that statement is necessary, something is terribly wrong here.

  16. So rather than a draining of the swamp as Trump has promised, there is a risk that the swamp won’t shrink at all.

    I’d say that damn near a certainty. Nothing can drain that big of a swamp.

    1. To be fair, before we drain the swamp I think we should (rhetorically, always rhetorically) poison the alligators

      Hi Preet, how they hangin’?

  17. Let’s just admit that NOBODY wants limited government. The politicians (D or R) want to help their friends and feel good about themselves and the voters mostly want free shit. Occasionally, people may complain when the government tries to take away something they like (guns, cigarettes, abortion), but all but a few libertarian kooks love it when it spends money on them.

  18. Trump comes into office with no government experience and a small network of loyalists. That means that with thousands of appointments to make and not nearly enough true believers available to fill those roles, the president-elect will be forced to rely on the very same political insiders he decried during his campaign.

    This country has hundreds of millions of people. Who said they had to have gov’t experience? Are you saying there’s some magic about gov’t that gives employees experience that makes governance better? Like experience in biz wouldn’t do it? Look at all the people handling $ all the time in the private sector?Trump himself, for instance!

    And even if there were some magic about gov’t experience, there are millions of employees at all levels of gov’t across the USA. The armed services alone comprise vast nos. Teachers, police, firemen, sanitation? The General Accounting Office? Forest Service? Welfare workers? Inspectors? Surely you could find enough people w gov’t experience who weren’t political insiders.

    1. Advertise for the jobs on Craig’s Lists, fer gosh sakes! Ms. de Rugy, are you saying the problem with gov’t is…people? That the vast majority of people have the wrong stuff, & it’s only a tiny select few who have the judgment that could improve the world or the country?

  19. “Republican control of the White House and Congress doesn’t necessarily mean limited government.” I don’t think there was really any need for the qualifier.

  20. File under the the magical commerce clause…

    Judicial Activism, Marijuana and the Interstate Commerce Clause

    Justice Clarence Thomas cut through that fog in his dissent when he said that the people involved in this case “use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana.”

    Instead of going in for fashionable “nuance” talk, Justice Thomas drew a line in the sand: “If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything ? and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.”

    http://capitalismmagazine.com/…..ce-clause/

  21. Republican control of the White House and Congress doesn’t necessarily ever mean limited government

    FTFY. The Bush era Republican trifecta was only an age of brutally austere restraint in media imaginations and by comparison to his successor.

  22. Republican control of the White House and Congress doesn’t necessarily mean limited government.

    You don’t say!

    But it does mean undoing some of the cronyism of the past administration, and that takes time. It also takes time for Republicans to wind up their own corrupt spending spree. That’s why it’s good to go back and forth between the two parties.

  23. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    >>>>>>>>>http://www.centerpay70.com

  24. I get Paid over ?80 per hour working from home with 2 kids at house. I Never thought I would be able to do it but my best friend earns over ?9185 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.

    ??..>>>>>> http://www.jobmax6.com

  25. Facebook gives you a great opportunity to earn 98652$ at your home.If you are some intelligent you makemany more Dollars.I am also earning many more, my relatives wondered to see how i settle my Life in few days thank GOD to you for this…You can also make cash i never tell alie you should check this I am sure you shocked to see this amazing offer…I’m Loving it!!!!
    ????????> http://www.factoryofincome.com

  26. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    >>>>>>>>>http://www.centerpay70.com

  27. I get Paid over ?80 per hour working from home with 2 kids at house. I Never thought I would be able to do it but my best friend earns over ?9185 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.

    ??..>>>>>> http://www.jobmax6.com

  28. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

  29. Everybody can earn 150$+ daily… You can earn from 4000-9000 a month or even more if you work as a full time job…It’s easy, just follow instructions on this page, read it carefully from start to finish… It’s a flexible job but a good earning opportunity.. go to this site home tab for more detail
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.