In December 2010, I wrote that “An indicator of the incoming House Republican majority’s seriousness about cutting spending will be which members the party selects to head the various committees.” The final roster ended up leaving a lot to be desired from a limited government perspective.
One of the few things that politicians in the United States are good at is dealing with a problem by kicking the can down the road. That’s what happened in August 2011 when Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement to avoid breaching a statutory ceiling on the federal government’s mounting debt.
If you’re a hockey fan, you’re probably pretty irritated that the National Hockey League’s owners and players still haven’t reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement, and thus the 2012-2013 season remains in limbo. You also probably know that negotiations got off to a rough start after the owners, who are presumed to have the upper hand, made a rather insulting initial offer to the players.
According to the New York Times, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s congressional delegation want the federal government to pay for $33 billion in storm damage from Hurricane Sandy plus another $9 billion for preventative measures:
House freshman Allen West (R-FL) – a tea party and Fox News favorite – finally conceded defeat to his Democratic opponent on Tuesday. According to a Politico article, “The congressman’s unexpected loss left his advisers, donors and legion of tea party fans searching for answers.”
According to the Hill, policymakers are “scrambling” to do something about the U.S. Postal Service in the current lame-duck session of Congress. The USPS’s recently announced $15.9 billion loss for 2012 apparently inspired policymakers to act.
Supporters of limited government have little to cheer about today (and Romney winning wouldn’t have changed that in my opinion), so I’m going to point out a small glimmer of hope. In Pennsylvania’s 79th district, voters elected a local finance professor and radio host named John McGinnis to the state House of Representatives. A lot of Republicans talk a good game about liberty and smaller government – “Dr. John” eats it for breakfast.
Proponents of an activist federal government are citing the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy as evidence of the need for big government to manage and finance disaster relief. Of particular worry are possible cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's budget and devolution of responsibility to the states.
The title of a New York Times editorial claims that “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” The Times implies that when confronted with a major natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, Americans would be screwed if they didn’t have bureaucrats from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.”
Back in August, Cato adjunct scholar Veronique de Rugy expressed concern about Republican campaign rhetoric on Medicare. As Republicans tell it, they want to “protect” and “strengthen” Medicare, whereas President Obama wants to “cut” and “weaken” it. Veronique thinks that the GOP’s “Mediscare” campaign could end up backfiring by making it harder to reform Medicare if Republicans succeed in taking control of Washington.