Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gridlock is Good

More on gridlock from columnist Bruce Bartlett, a Republican who voted for Democrats for the first time in his life as a "vote FOR gridlock":

I think the American people like divided government. They don't trust either party to run the whole show and believe deeply in the separation of powers that the Founding Fathers established in the Constitution. To most people, dividing government by political party is just another way of separating power.

Every war in American history that lasted more than a few weeks was authorized by a unified government. It's also worth noting that every major entitlement program -- the spending programs that are bankrupting the country -- was enacted by unified governments.

I believe that the good economic times of the late 1990s resulted largely from gridlock -- Democrat Bill Clinton couldn't get his plans through a Republican Congress and he blocked its initiatives. So for a blessed six years government was basically on automatic pilot. The result was budget surpluses instead of deficits, low unemployment, high wages and a skyrocketing stock market. Who wouldn't go back to those times if we could? Bringing back gridlock could to the trick.

Divided government often helps the passage of legislation with broad support that is opposed by special interests. Neither party will want responsibility for killing it, and so they both push it forward. If one party were shut out of power, however, it would be easier for it to oppose even an overwhelmingly popular measure out of sheer partisanship.
Read more here.

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