Thursday, February 03, 2005

Great expectations

Reason has an interesting survey of commentary on hopes and fears for Bush's second term. I'll touch on three excerpts. Jacob Levy is optimistic:
...there is a silver lining in the real chance that the Commerce Clause/10th Amendment revolution will continue and finally come to its overdue fruition. One to four Bush Supreme Court nominees could lead to some genuine supervision over whether Congress is usurping responsibilities of the states and exceeding the bounds of its Commerce Clause power.
Tyler Cowen is dreaming:
To keep American taxes at reasonable levels I would eliminate all farm subsidies, tariffs, quotas, and price supports, along with other forms of corporate welfare. More important, I would repeal the Medicare prescription drug bill, slowly raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare, and introduce means testing for benefits.
I'm sure he would if he could.

John Berthoud is realistic:
By the time the books are closed on the current fiscal year, federal spending will have risen by roughly 20 percent in real terms since the last budget signed into law by Bill Clinton. This four-year spending explosion has not been limited to the areas of defense and homeland security. Spending at the Department of Agriculture will have risen in real terms by an estimated 19 percent, at the Department of Labor by 40 percent, and at the Department of Education by 74 percent.

The entire eight years of the Bush administration are thus unlikely ever to be seen as a landmark in the fight for smaller government. At best, a concerted effort at spending restraint in the second term will make a difference between a so-so record and a historically disastrous one.

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