Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Will Absolute Power Corrupt Democrats Absolutely?
Latest polls indicate Democrats are maintaining significant leads in the big ten battleground states such as Florida and Ohio, in addition to Michigan and Pennsylvania. While it is understandable after eight disastrous years of Bush-Cheney administration, it is ironic that John McCain, a moderate and maverick Republican, is being tarred and feathered as another Bush. The latest financial crisis has clearly added to the Republicans woes. Based on all of the polling data, it appears that a super majority of of 60 or more Democrats in the US senate and Democrat Barack Obama in the White House together will enjoy absolute concentration of power, unhindered by the fear of fillbuster or the veto pen of the president to stop misguided spending and legislation.
Can the US afford total control by Democrats at a time of huge national debt and large budget deficits? The history tells us that Social Security and Medicare, the two massive entitlement programs, were created during Democratic administrations of FDR and LBJ. Now, more than half of the $3 trillion budget is allocated to these programs. Another $250b pays for interest on the national debt, but it is growing rapidly with the debt. The rest covers everything else. The discretionary spending accounts for less than one-third of total US spending. Such figures limit any reasonable options open to the incoming administration. However, given the absolute control over both the executive and the legislature, will Democrats exercise restraint? Given their past record, the chances are that Democrats will go for big spending programs, including new, popular entitlements such as a massive national healthcare program for all. Cutting discretionary spending will not free up enough dollars for it. Ending Iraq war or cutting military budget will not do it either, particularly if Obama makes the expensive mistake of following through on his hawkish statements to send troops in to Pakistan. Of necessity, Democrats are going to have to dramatically increase taxes or heavily borrow from foreigners. Either of these two options will hinder economic recovery.
Democrats, like Republicans before them, will likely abuse their power in the executive and the legislature to enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of ordinary Americans. After having given George W. Bush almost a blank check for most of the last eight years, Americans appear ready to make an even bigger mistake: Give Democrats total control of the U.S. government for the next several years.