Jump forward to today. I believe it is fair to assert that most conservatives believe that if the Republicans could gain control of the House, Senate and Presidency, the United States would become a much better place. With total control of the executive and legislative branches of government we would see a return to the Republican principles of reduced government, lower taxes, lower spending, fewer regulations, and encouragement for free market capitalism. The problem with this belief is that the situation desired by conservatives so strenuously today existed just a few short years ago. What happened then? Republican control of the House, Senate and Presidency did not bring about the political heaven that it was supposed to. Republican control of federal politics was an unmitigated disaster. Why would this time be any different?
The years were 2002 through 2005. The Republicans had control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency. They could do anything they wanted to and no Democrat could stop them. So, what did they do? They grossly expanded the size of government. They grossly expanded government spending. They grossly expanded federal regulatory control over business. They grossly expanded welfare programs. They did essentially everything I was told was characteristic of the Democrats. Everything they did was the exact opposite of what I was told Republicans should do. Let's take a minute to consider just four legislative actions taken by the Republicans when they exercised total control over the legislative process.
- In 2002 the Republican controlled political apparatus enacted Sarbanes/Oxley. This extensive package of financial regulations was designed to buy the votes of disgruntled shareholders by blaming and punishing companies for the 2001 stock market crash. The fact that there was precious little corporate fraud leading up to the crash had no impact upon the Republican legislators. The fact that the crash was not the result of corporate malfeasance was irrelevant to the legislators. The fact that the crash was a result of a speculative bubble fed by Federal Reserve inflation did not matter to the legislators. What mattered to the legislators was that millions of people had lost billions of dollars because they foolishly purchased shares of "dot com" companies with inflated goodwill and no earnings. When the entire house of cards came predictably falling down somebody had to be blamed. The allegedly pro-business Republican majorities decided to crucify businesses in order to procure votes. The impact of Sarbanes/Oxley continues down to this day. Corporate CEOs can easily be arrested for securities fraud simply because they have an optimistic public opinion about the future of their companies and their stock goes down. The depressing effect that Sarbanes/Oxley has had upon capital and wealth creation is impossible to measure. But I am sure it is immense. It became rather obvious to me that, when votes are at stake, Republicans are not pro-business. Thanks, Republicans.
- In 2003 the Republican controlled political apparatus enacted the Medicare Prescription Drug Act. This act was larger and more far reaching than the "Hillary-Care" proposals which had been shot down by Congress a decade earlier. Although more limited in scope than Obamacare, this expansion of federal entitlements was the single largest expansion of the welfare system until that time. It was estimated that it would cost US taxpayers $1.2 trillion dollars for the period from 2006-2015. Now that we are nearing the end of that time period it is obvious that that cost estimate was too low. It became rather obvious to me that, when votes are at stake, Republicans are not opposed to socialized medicine. Thanks, Republicans.
- The Homeland Security Act immediately created the third largest bureau in the history of the United States federal government. Overnight, 200,000 government jobs were created. Over $66 billion of taxpayers dollars were funneled into this department in 2011. What has the act given us? It has given us the TSA where you have a wonderful choice between being subject to nude photography or being groped in a secluded room prior to taking any airplane flight. Recently the TSA has expanded into railroad, bus and automobile travel. New VIPR teams of TSA agents patrol the nation's highways looking for terrorists. In April of this year the TSA authorized the purchase of 450 million rounds of hollow point bullets. For an agency that is assigned to make the homeland secure, what possible reason could there be for the ammunition purchase? They now have about 1.5 rounds of ammo per American citizen. It seems rather obvious that leaving citizens alone to pursue their own interests in no longer a plank in the Republican platform. Thanks, Republicans.
- Not to be forgotten is the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Despite all of the Republican criticism of Obama for his energy policies, it seems to have been forgotten that when the Republicans had total control of the political apparatus in Washington they passed this dreadful bill. This act mandated the use of biofuels and has cost the US taxpayer over $1.5 billion. The harmful repercussions of this bill are being felt today as reduced supplies of corn (because of the nationwide drought) are being used to produce useless biofuels rather than feeding US citizens. Farmers have no choice. The law mandates particular percentages of biofuel creation and they must be met in order to avoid serious financial penalties. This bill also has the dubious distinction of initiating the practice of subsidizing wind energy, thus bringing about the proliferation of wind towers across the land. Despite their official stance against government interference in the free market, when there were votes to be purchased the Republicans dramatically expanded federal control over the energy business in this land. Thanks, Republicans.
The Patriot Act was passed in 2001, prior to Republican control. The Patriot Act is the worst piece of legislation to be passed in this country since the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) in 1933. Under the terms of the NIRA the federal government effectively socialized all of American industry. It was a part of FDR's New Deal. The Supreme Court had the constitutional courage to nullify the entire thing in 1935. Republican control of the House, Senate and Presidency provided the perfect opportunity to nullify the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is patently unconstitutional. It eviscerates due process. It suspends habeus corpus. It grants police state powers to the government in actions taken against its own citizens. It provides for secret searches, secret evidence, secret hearings and secret trials against US citizens accused of terrorist activities. In a word, it destroys the Constitution. What did the Republicans do to stop this egregious expansion of government power? Nothing. In fact, they renewed it. Thanks, Republicans.
This brief glance at recent political history leads me to the conclusion that there is no practical difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Both of them want bigger government. Both of them increase spending. Both of them increase taxes. Both of them increase government regulations. Both of them oppose free market capitalism. And, perhaps most importantly, both of them desperately crave power. They will do anything they have to do to obtain and retain political power. If that means selling their political souls to an envy filled electorate, so be it. If that means doing the exact opposite of what they have promised to do, so be it. No, we do not need more Republicans in office. We need uncompromising men of stringent moral integrity who are dedicated to limited government in office. We need men who really mean it when they swear the oath of office to "Uphold the Constitution of the United States." It is too bad there are no men like that around today.