Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Big Government Bugaboo

George W. Bush is leaving conservatives with their worst nightmare, an economic disaster that will, in David Brooks' words, bring on a "Gingrich revolution in reverse and on steroids...a big increase in spending and deficits...The over-reach is coming."

In a moment when government held hostage by Bush-Cheney has brought on economic disasters that are forcing socialization of banks and a foreign policy that is dumping $10 billion a month into an avoidable war, Brooks' worries that Democrats may spend money to save the economy are, to put it kindly, overwrought.

The "Gingrich revolution" served only to bring government to a standstill by holding budgets hostage and pushing the impeachment of Bill Clinton at a time when the US was running surpluses, only to be followed by an all-Republican regime that went on a monstrous binge of deficit spending.

The overriding issue is not big vs. little government but smart vs. dumb, government with some heart vs. a Scrooge-like counting house, government that will spend its way out of recession on bridges that don't fall down, decent education and health care for kids rather than bridges to nowhere and the wrong wars.

As Bush and Paulson undertake their socialist intervention in the banking system they failed to regulate, that kind of big government may appeal to most voters.

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