87 Republicans joined 198 Democrats to support legislation to end the government shutdown and prevent a default on the national debt. This was the key vote to ending the standoff. The Senate and President Barack Obama had been ready to support this legislation from the beginning. But Speaker of the House John Boehner was reluctant to bring a bill to the floor that would rely on Democratic votes to pass. Speaker Boehner has relied on Democratic votes before, but only on a few occasions and usually as a last resort to end some kind of legislative crisis like the recent shutdown. Much more could be accomplished in Congress – and we could stop governing by crisis – if Speaker Boehner was willing to work with Democrats to govern. Continue reading
Conservatives first used the term “Starve the Beast” in the Reagan Administration. The strategy was to cut taxes, and then use the resulting deficits as leverage for spending cuts. After George W. Bush signed massive tax cuts into law in 2001 and 2003, the deficits materialized, but not the spending cuts. William Niskanen of the Libertarian CATO Institute looked at the evidence from 1981 to 2005 and found that “most of the changes in the relative level of federal spending were coincident with changes in the relative federal tax burden in the opposite direction.” He declared “Starve the Beast” a failure.