Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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05 September 2008

Congressional Spending Chaos

Over the last 25 years, it has been hard to reign in the spending of Congress no matter which party controls it. As John McCain pointed out in his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party to run for the Presidency, when the Republicans had control of Congress and the Presidency, they lost the trust of the American people by going on a spending binge. From time to time, it is pointed out that if Congress is controlled by one party, then it is better for the purpose of controlling the size of government that the President be of the other party. But, even better, Richard Rahn points out is a divided Congress, since it is Congress that makes the laws and creates new taxes and new agencies. He has written an article called "The Economy and the Congress," which was published in the Washington Times on 4 September and provides interesting data on this issue.

His principal points are:
  • The economy grew best when the Democrats controlled the House and the Republicans the Senate in the middle Reagan years and when the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate in the last six Clinton years.
  • The deficit was lowest and a surplus even occurred when the Republicans controlled the Congress under Clinton.
  • In the 5 years between 1983 and 2007 when Congress was divided, the economy grew at a 4.1% annual rate, when the Republicans controlled Congress for 11 of those years the growth rate was lower at 3.3%, and when the Democrats controlled Congress for 9 of those years the economy grew still more slowly at a rate of 2.8%.
  • When Congress was divided, the deficit decreased as a % of GDP by 4.2%, while it decreased under Democrat control by 3.4%, and only by 1.0% when Congress was controlled by the Republicans.
One of the things McCain promised tonight was that he would veto pork-barrel bills passed by Congress. On the other hand, Obama has promised to hugely expand the service agencies of government and to create many, many new spending programs. Despite the fact that Congress is held in lower esteem than is President Bush, it is likely to remain in the control of the Democrats. So, it will clearly be much better for the country if McCain wins the presidential election and reigns in what would otherwise be an out-of-control Congress.

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