You might want to mark March 17, 2005 as the end of an era, the day that the spirit of the Contract With America finally died. On that day, the Senate balked at the lightest touching of entitlements by rejecting President Bush’s modest cuts in the runaway growth of Medicaid increases over the next five years. This is a body with 55-45 control by Republicans, supposedly empowered for fiscal discipline and entitlement rollback by four additional seats in the last election. If there is no courage for restraint of the most out of control entitlement, how can there be hope for tackling the mother of all entitlements, Social Security and Medicare? How can there be a transformation from the “entitlement” society to President Bush’s “ownership” society if the party of the Revolution isn’t totally committed to the concept? Who speaks now for the Reagan themes, “government is too big and spends too much” and “government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem”? In a new essay collection from the Cato Institute, The Republican Revolution, the pluses and minuses of the past ten years are spelled out. It’s a mixed bag, with welfare reform the highlight, but the recent trends are not positive—a 34% increase in non-defense discretionary spending during Bush’s first term, complete abandonment of the term limit movement, no changes to the spending bias in the budget process, and the largest new entitlement since the Great Society in the prescription drug benefit for seniors. Clearly, the comforts and prerogatives of entrenched incumbency have come to the Republican majority, but, in reviewing the collection, John Fund wonders whether the next revolution against big government might come only after Hillary Clinton’s first term as President.
You are here: / / The End Of The Revolution Of ‘94