Walter E. Williams

Democrat control of the White House, House of Representatives and the Senate has produced an unprecedented level of political brazenness and contempt for the limitations placed on the federal government by the U.S. Constitution. As such, it has raised a level of constitutional interest and anger against Washington's interference in our lives that has been dormant for far too long.

Part of this heightened interest and anger is seen in the strength of the tea party movement around the nation. Another is the angry reception that many congressmen receive when they return to their districts and at town hall meetings. According to the most recent Gallup poll, only 20 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, but that's up from a March 2010 low of 16 percent.

The smart money suggests that there will be a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate. The question is what can liberty-minded Americans expect from a Republican majority? Maybe a good starting point for an answer might be to examine how Republicans have handled their majority in the past.

Democrat President Lyndon Johnson's term of office saw massive increases in federal spending. When Johnson was elected into office in 1964, federal spending was $118 billion. When he left office in 1968, federal spending was $178 billion, a 66 percent increase. Worse than the massive increase in federal spending, his administration and Democratically controlled Congress saddled us with two programs that have helped fuel today's fiscal disaster -- Medicare and Medicaid.

The 1994 elections gave Republican control of both the House and Senate. They held a majority for a decade. The 2000 election of George W. Bush as president gave Republicans what the Democrats have now, total control of the legislative and executive branches of government. When Bush came to office, federal spending was $1.788 trillion. When he left office, federal spending was $2.982 trillion. That's a 60 percent increase in federal spending, closely matching the profligacy of Lyndon Johnson's presidency.

During the Republican control, the nation was saddled with massive federal interference in education through No Child Left Behind. Prescription drug handouts became a part of the Republican-controlled Congress' legacy. And it was during this interval that Congress accelerated its interference, assisted by the Federal Reserve Bank, in the housing market in the name of homeownership that produced much of the financial meltdown that the nation suffered in 2008.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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