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Worrying About a Democratic Supermajority

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The Wall Street Journal gives us the conservative doomsday scenario of a Democratic supermajority. The Journal is certainly right that we may be on the verge of liberal hegemony not seen since 1965 and the mid-1930’s. Question is: is the paper right about the damage that control would cause?

The Journal warns:

In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today’s left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for “change” should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.

The Journal lists a long grab-bag of concerns, some trivial, some hyperbolic. But some are worth considering, particularly by those of us who don’t reflexively believe the Democrats have a monopoly on wisdom and good intentions. Here are three worth discussing:

Government-controlled healthcare: Barack Obama’s plan could very quickly become the nation’s largest insurer, thus giving the government more and more market power to set prices, regulate access and control the system. Ultimately, we could lose choice, lose quality and have no recourse because the government plan would be impossible to repeal.

Onerous business regulations: Democrats bent on punishing corporate malfeasance could go overboard and impose arduous regulations that result in giving the government increased power over commerce and markets, ultimately reducing our nation’s ability to compete.

Taxes: The repeal of income caps on Social Security and Medicare would change those programs from retirement plans to massive wealth-redistribution plans. Plus, while Obama may have a very targeted tax increase, there’s no reason to assume that Congress won’t be more expansive in raising taxes and that Obama wouldn’t sign such legislation.

I’m not saying that any of the above issues would turn out as disastrously as I described. But as we march toward giving the Democrats a potential supermajority, we really should consider the possible consequences. One-power rule is always a recipe for overreach.