Democrats at the Crossroads

Our progressive friends in the House were congratulating themselves for a famous victory at the end of last week. But then we read that Democratic senators were really mad at Majority Leader Schumer’s secret deal with Joe Manchin (D-WA). And then we have AP saying that “Democratic progressives and centrists say they don’t trust each other.”

But you and I are just scratching our heads wondering about the truth behind the blizzard of lies.

To me, the truth behind a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill and a multi-trillion dollar “reconciliation” bill is that the grab-bag of free stuff the Democrats are pushing isn’t popular.

Nearly everybody here in Pramila Jayapal’s (D-WA) district is driving around in an electric car or displaying a virtue-signaling yard sign, but when you get down to it, climate change is all about nice little subsidies and carve-outs for the politically connected. And I suspect that nobody is really that interested in universal Pre-K and free community college and free dental. After all, if they were real vote-winners then our progressive friends would be advertising them rather than “infrastructure” or “zero dollars.”

I always go back to the Moynihan Rule. You need a 70-30 vote in the Senate to pass a big change. That’s because you need to pretend that your new handout -- your new free stuff, your new loot-and-plunder -- is the most glorious advance in our democracy and justice since whenever, and also has the “consent of the governed.”

But I think I get the tactics of the progressives. Once you have created an entitlement the eeevil Republicans can never take it away. Not until the chaos of regime change. So if you load everything including the kitchen sink into this last chance at Real Change, chances are that Republicans will never have the guts to repeal most of it. E.g., ObamaCare. And the truth is that they are probably right. Because if the shortest time interval known to man is the time between getting a check from the government and deciding you deserve it, it is also true that hell hath no fury greater than an entitlement recipient scorned.

But what about strategy? Here’s the problem, it’s on usgovernmentspending.com for all to see. First is U.S. government spending since 1900 as a percent of GDP.

Do you see the point here? Government spending in the U.S. has been pretty steady at about 35 percent of GDP since 1980. I suggest this tells us something, that there is no net support for increased government spending.

Here’s the other problem, that is on usgovernmentspending.com for all to see. It is government debt in the U.S. since 1900 in percent of GDP.

I’d say that government debt is heading for the waterfall. The “tell” of course is that the progressives now say, with their MMT, that debt doesn’t matter. Of course, they do, because if they didn’t then it wouldn’t make sense to pile on more entitlement spending, from free college to pre-K.

Okay. Let’s not insult our pal usgovernmentrevenue.com. Let’s look at total government revenue since 1900 as a percent of GDP.

What do you think? I think it shows that, for whatever reason, the politicians have failed to increase government revenue as a percent of GDP since the mid-1980s. I’d say that means something. As the song goes

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City
They’ve gone about as far as they can go.

There’s a telling piece by Michael Goodwin in the NY Post. Recalling President Johnson’s frustrations with the lefties of the Sixties, he observed that at least Johnson was willing to take them on. But Biden? Last week

Biden surrendered to his party’s most radical element without a fight.

You can see why. In order to fight and win against the progressive left you need to have all your marbles, and then some. Remember, Lyndon Johnson gave up and quit in 1968 when it was clear that he didn’t have a chance against the boiling rage of the anti-Vietnam War left.

But if you don’t have any marbles left, and never had too many…

I know. Let’s count our chickens. Let’s assume that the COVID bureaucracies will stumble from mask mandates to double-booster stupidity. Let’s assume that the states with Republican governors will continue to thrive while the Dem ones regulate themselves into a death spiral. Let’s assume that America’s blacks get really pissed off by the educated class’s snobby vaccine cult. Let’s assume that the “supply chain” continues to burp and break. Let’s assume that inflation continues to inflate. Let’s assume that the geniuses at the Fed, which gave us the Great Depression and the Great Recession, remain behind the curve right through 2022 and then finally wake up in 2023 when inflation starts hitting double-digits.

Quite right @jack and Zuck. How dare those far-right bigots stain the underwear of your virginal social media.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

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