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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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The Benefit to Republicans in Losing the House


If Republicans lose control over the U.S House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, they don’t have to be totally depressed. The reason? They will then be able, once again, to campaign in the 2020 elections on the promise that if control over the House is restored to the Republicans, they will be able to rein in the out-of-control federal spending and debt that is threatening to take our country down.

Remember: That has been a favorite campaign ploy of the Republican Party whenever there has been a Democrat president or whenever the Democrats controlled one or both houses of Congress. Republicans would tell voters, “Those big-spending Democrats are taking our country down with their out-of-control federal spending and debt. The reason we Republicans can’t rein in federal spending and debt is because the Democrat big spenders are blocking us from doing so. If the voters will just give us control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, those Democrat big spenders will not be able to stop us from finally reining in the out-of-control spending and debt and even abolishing a number needless departments and agencies.”

That campaign ploy was used for ten years — starting with the 110th Congress, which ran from January 2007 to January 2009, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress in the last two years of George W. Bush’s presidency.

After that, Barack Obama was elected president and then reelected, with his term ending in January 2017. For the first six years of Obama’s presidency, the Democrats controlled one or both houses of Congress, which enabled Republicans to blame the ever-increasing, out-of-control federal spending and debt on those Democrat big spenders.

In the 114th Congress, which ran from January 2015 to January 2017, the Republicans were in control of both the House and the Senate. Those were the last two years of Obama’s presidency. That enabled Republicans to say to voters, “If you’ll just keep us in charge of both houses of Congress and also give us the presidency, we will finally, finally, be able to rein in the out-of-control federal spending and debt. Those Democrat big spenders will not be able to stop us.”

In the November 2016 elections, the electorate gave the Republicans what they asked her: the presidency and control over the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

But then you’ll never guess what happened. After 10 years of railing against those big spending Democrats and pleading with voters to give them control over the executive and legislative branches, it turned out that those Republicans were themselves big spenders and big borrowers too, just like the big spending Democrats they had railed against for a decade. Despite their ten years of promises to rein in federal spending and debt if the voters would give them full control of the federal government, the Republicans have supported the same out-of-control federal spending and borrowing scheme that the Democrats support.

In his 2019 budget proposal, President Trump is trumpeting the cuts in spending that he is proposing for particular welfare-state and regulatory-state agencies. But the bottom line? CNN points out that owing to Trump’s increases in money for his beloved national-security establishment, “The overall proposed spending is about on par with last year, at $4.1 trillion for 2018.”

Whoop dee doo! Let’s all celebrate Trump’s switching around of the chairs on the Titanic.

Republicans need not despair if they lose control of the House. Voters have short memories. If they lose the House, Republicans can return to the campaign trail in 2019 arguing that if voters will just reelect Trump and restore Republican control over both houses of Congress, Republican big spenders will finally, finally, be able to rein in the out-of-control spending and debt of those big-spending Democrats.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.