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January 29, 2004

The Base Rumbles

Michael Williams notes some movement among Congressional Republicans to curb spending and writes:

Apparently President Bush's mention of fiscal discipline was more than window-dressing. I hope Republicans will quit doing all the things we castigated the Democrats for when they controlled Congress.

Meanwhile, John Hawkins notes that Republican Congressmen are none too happy about the President's immigration proposal. They're right to be concerned. I can't be the only Republican voter to come to the conclusion that national security concerns make Congress the place in which we ought to express our displeasure.

I'm sympathetic to the argument that the ways in which President Bush is spending taxpayer money will, in the long run, move the country to the right. Perhaps that, of itself, will take an ironic turn in the distant future and result in a smaller government. That would be a long-shot argument, though, and a gamble that the purpose wouldn't be subverted before the effects could manifest.

Moreover, such an objective doesn't justify much more than maintenance of spending. The fact that a cause is worthwhile doesn't mean that the government ought to fund it — let alone continue to increase its funding. Roger Kimball praises (and spins) the President's increased funding of the National Endowment for the Arts by noting the improvements in its activities under Dana Gioia. I'll admit that I'm not constitutionally opposed to there being an NEA, but even Shakespeare's belt can be tightened when there's a war effort during an economy that has not fully recovered.

Posted by Justin Katz at January 29, 2004 2:38 PM

Thanks for the link.

I think the thing most people don't realize is that Bush isn't a small-government-Republican. In fact, most Republicans aren't, I don't think -- historically anyway. Nowadays I think that's changing. Lots of people liked Newt's work, and I think they expected more of the same from Bush (as did I).

Posted by: Michael Williams at January 29, 2004 6:19 PM