Last week, I was speaking with the Club For Growth’s Pat Toomey for an article on another topic, and he made a good point as to why gridlock caused by a Democratic takeover of Congress would be unlikely to restrain spending. Toomey noted that if Democrats take over, funding for the Iraq War is going to become a major bone of contention between Congress and the White House. If President Bush wants to get the Iraq War funded, it’s unlikely that he’d be able to convince Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cut domestic spending too. Far more likely is a compromise whereby President Bush gets the Iraq spending he wants, but only if he agrees to a budget that grants more domestic spending to the Democrats’ pet projects.
I’m sure this is an argument that has been made before, but I thought it was worth repeating given our ongoing discussion on the consequences of Republicans losing control. In my view, if spending is the only issue you care about, gridlock can work under certain conditions. But I’m not convinced that it would work in the current environment.