Monday, October 30, 2006

Carnival of Divided Government - Quintus - Halloween Edition

Welcome to the fith edition of the Carnival of Divided Government - the special All Hallows Eve edition. As explained in Carnival of Divided Government Secondus, we have adopted Latin ordinal numeration, in order to impart a patina of gravitas reflecting the monumental importance of the series. In this, Carnival of Divided Government - Quintus, like in every edition, we include volunteers and draftees from both the blogosphere and main stream media on the singular topic of government divided between the major parties.

This week's special Halloween edition has some very scary selections indeed...

What can be scarier than this? According to Blogpulse, the guy in the picture was the "burstiest" person in the blogosphere today, as a direct result of his very scary message. His name... "Ever heard of David M. Walker? He's today's burstiest person for a reason: an all-out warning that the U.S. is headed for financial ruin. (You mean, it's the economy, stupid, after all?)":
GAO chief warns economic disaster looms
"Walker can talk in public about the nation's impending fiscal crisis because he has one of the most secure jobs in Washington. As comptroller general of the United States -- basically, the government's chief accountant -- he is serving a 15-year term that runs through 2013.... "You can't solve a problem until the majority of the people believe you have a problem that needs to be solved," Walker says. Their basic message is this: If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America -- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included. A hole that big could paralyze the U.S. economy; according to some projections, just the interest payments on a debt that big would be as much as all the taxes the government collects today. And every year that nothing is done about it, Walker says, the problem grows by $2 trillion to $3 trillion... The current political climate doesn't help. Washington tends to keep its fiscal house in better order when one party controls Congress and the other is in the White House, says Sawhill. "It's kind of a paradoxical result. Your commonsense logic would tell you if one party is in control of everything they should be able to take action," Sawhill says. But the last six years of Republican rule have produced tax cuts, record spending increases and a Medicare prescription drug plan that has been widely criticized as fiscally unsound. When President Clinton faced a Republican Congress during the 1990s, spending limits and other legislative tools helped produce a surplus. So maybe a solution is at hand. "We're likely to have at least partially divided government again," Sawhill said, referring to predictions that the Democrats will capture the House, and possibly the Senate, in next month's elections."
Okay. That really does send chills up my spine, and I am not comforted by the efforts of the appropriately named Dumb Ox News explaining there is nothing to fear except "Deficit Fear-Mongering Socialists!?"
"A new angle by Liberals: deficits are scary! Yet another reason, according to the G.A.O's "neutral" opinion, to vote Democrat. Ha! Note the "brilliant" strategies at work for the Democrats: Big Republican Deficits to keep the fiscal conservatives away from the polls, and Big Republican Pedophiles (sssh! Homos) to keep the cultural conservatives at home! Will their strategery work, and put the real Socialists and the real Hedonists in power? That's up to you... They claim that surplusses occured in the 1990's because of "divided government" and Bill Clinton's leadership! Double ha!! Earth to G.A.O. - Those surplusses were the result of spending restraints imposed by Republicans, yes, but mainly due to a huge economic boom created by the investment environment from Ronald Reagan's tax cuts...and big deficits! How can you resist the brainwashing, Socialist scare-tactics of the Government Accounting Office?"
Well, I guess one way to resist these "socialist scare-tactics", is to follow the incoherent economic ramblings of Dumb Ox news. Who would you rather pay attention to, Dumb Ox or Mike Walker,Comptroller General of the United States. Choose wisely.

Matt Lewis at the Human Events blog, The Ballot Box, finds something to fear in his post Dem Victory Would = Less (Not More) Harmony. For partisan Republicans like Matt, the most frightening words in the english language right now are "divided government":
"In today's Washington Post, David Broder uses the Bill Clinton example to argue that divided government could be a good thing: "What are the chances that divided government could also be productive in the final two years of the Bush presidency? Better than might be imagined -- especially given the president's agenda." But the analogy is false. First, Clinton had six years -- not a mere two -- to work with the other side. Second, Republicans in Congress (who foresaw six years of a Clinton presidency) were probably more willing to work in a bi-partisan fashion than Democrats would be. And finally, many (including those who helped elect Clinton) would argue with the premise that the "divided government" resulted in Clinton failing to accomplish anything."
Fear not Mr. Lewis, for your weak argument flies in the face of historical fact, as documented by fellow conservatives at the Cato Institute, like William Niskanen and Stephen Slivinski.

Now true conservatives (as opposed to partisan Republicans), claim there is nothing to fear from divided government. In fact it is a state to be hoped for.

The Harford Republican quotes a missive from noted conservative Richard Viguerie, and declares that "GOP Scare Tactics Won't Work".
The following was a press release sent to me that I found quite interesting.
Richard Viguerie: Halloween Scare Tactics Won’t Work for GOP;
Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of, warned Republicans that scare tactics against Democrats will not succeed in increasing social or economic conservative voters on Election Day. “The big-spending, high-deficit, morally-deficient Republican Party hasn’t anything to offer conservatives except Halloween scare tactics about the Democrats. But since the GOP majority in Congress has engaged in an unprecedented spending spree, conservatives know that Democrats cannot be any worse and that divided government may lead to less spending.”
Abiola at Foreign Dispatches offers some unsettling thoughts about How the GOP Lost it's way:
"What is the solution to this dilemma? I don't know myself, but as a libertarian my own preferred answer is as follows: that we need a major new political realignment, under which either the GOP jettisons the fundies and makes an appeal to the more freedom-loving elements of the Democratic Party, or else the Democratic Party shorns itself of the socialists, protectionists and other assorted riff-raff and reaches out to disaffected believers in limited government. Neither of these two possibilities seem very realistic now, given the extent to which both parties are in the grip of their worst constituencies, but failing a major shift along these lines, I see a very long period of incoherent, unprincipled politics ahead, only possibly kept in check by divided government."
Michael Cael at Financial Methods look at the data, and concludes that Divided Government = Bull Market. He finds nothing to be afraid of, but, being an Investor, he still finds something to be nervous about:
"I'm not entirely convinced that the democrats will win enough seats to control the House; or that the republicans will retain enough to maintain control of the Senate. Election Day is still more than a week away and sentiment can shift quickly, especially in a tight contest. Yet it seems clear that the probability of a change of control in both chambers is remote. The market seems to like the idea of a divided government. I suspect that the market would pull back significantly if it becomes apparent that both chambers will change control as well."
Issac Smith at The Old Line faces his "Fear of a One-Party Planet":
"In both the Post's tepid endorsement of Bob Ehrlich today and Barry Rascovar's mash note to the Governor from last week, one of the most prominent reasons they give for voting for Ehrlich is not so much his accomplishments, which have been mediocre, nor Martin O'Malley's (perceived) shortcomings, but the belief that, as the Post put it, "an O'Malley victory would herald a return to the brand of one-party Democratic rule that has served the state poorly in the past." This strikes me as misguided, even though I recognize the value of divided government -- we could certainly use some of it in the federal government right now."
Finally, as is our carnival tradition, we choose one Off Topic submission each week for inclusion in the Carnival. Criteria is simple, if the post does not mention "divided government" it is categorized as off topic. This weeks winner: John B at Rebuilding Eden for a post that has moved beyond fear, and beyond the next election, and offers some excellent advice in "So, You Want a Better Government".
The Executive Branch is running amok.
The three branch form of government is a great idea, however there have been numerous instances throughout history that the executive branch has userped power that did not belong to it and was not returned to its rightful owners ( most commonly the people). The present administration is a showcase for this brand of governance.

The Judicial Branch wants to legislate, not interpret.
I hesitate to even mention this, but there are cicuit courts all over the nation that are remove powers from the people by creating law, rather then interpretting it. We need to hold them accountable and show them that one mistake is one too many for those in our highest courts.

Congress is asleep at the switch.
While Congress is busily making new laws, forming new departments and defining new ways to extract and spend the American publics money, the largest issues continue to be ignored. American businesses can no longer compete and the goose who once laid all of those golden eggs left the country. Our Military and Social Services spending is out of control and needs to be re-written from square one, not amended endlessly making it larger and less efficient. The Federal Reserve act needs to be repealed and Americans should no longer spend billions of dollars yearly in interest on debt generated by our own country, yet managed by a privately owned bank. The list of do-overs required is a long one, but I will stop here without touching on education, energy policy and agriculture.
That concludes this edition. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to all for the submissions. The next special Election Eve Edition of the Carnival of Divided Government will be posted one week from today, sometime before 11:59 PM PST on Monday November 6. Submit your blog article at carnival of divided government using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

Just Vote Divided.


Anonymous said...

Nice round up, nice blog. I'd only point out in "choosing wisely" that y'all might want to consider that my muddled opinion tracks with record stock market indicators: the current deficits are not the problem you "true conservatives" think. The market loved Reagan's higher deficits but hated Carter's lower ones. Figure that muddle out and you will see that millions of investors, with a lot of smart cookies (G.A.O. technocrats no doubt included) who do not see the boogeyman everywhere like you "true conservatives" trying to sell the wisdom of divided government. My guess is that Laurence Kudlow takes the Dow Jones more seriously than the election bettors!

Halloween is over. The U.S. government's already divided enough thank you very much, if we can only get the judicial branch back to its limited constitutional role--on that last proviso we presumably agree.

If you have any reply or want to promote some post of yours, feel free to pop over. I have daily open trackbacks.

All the best,
D. Ox

mw said...

"My guess is that Laurence Kudlow takes the Dow Jones more seriously than the election bettors!"- D.Ox

Mr. Ox,
Thanks for the comments and the invitation. I am sure we'll take you up on it from time to time.

Regarding Mr. Kudlow - He tracks both the Dow Jones Index and the election betting markets, and takes them both seriously. In this video clip from his show, he attributes the recent surge in the Dow to Investors embracing a "Divided Government" outcome in the midterms: "Republican polls down, markets go up". It's not me saying this - it's your buddy Larry. He even call it the "Nancy Pelosi Rally." Check it out.

Longer term, deficits will corrode the country and the economy. Its like a heroin habit. Feels good at first, but eventually the needle comes out of the arm. Then it hurts a lot. Deficits have to be repayed by tax receipts or inflation - there are no other options.

I agree, that we'll get an increase in receipts just from economic growth, but this crop of Big Spending, Big Deficit, Big Government Republicans managed to still outspend even that prospect for growth.

Thanks again for stopping by.