Conservatives don’t favor small government

I sometimes get commenters telling me that Trump cannot be a far right politician because he favors big government. These people seem to forget that extreme rightists almost never favor small government.

There was a brief period where center-right parties did flirt with small government, but that period is certainly over:

The conservatives have undergone many transformations in their time: from the party of the landed squirearchy to that of the industrial bourgeoisie; from the post-war consensus to free-market radicalism. Now they are undergoing another. For 40 years, from the choice of Margaret Thatcher as its leader in 1975 to David Cameron stepping down as prime minister in 2016, Tories stood for small government. Today they are the party of big-government conservatism.

The budget provided a vivid illustration. By the mid-2020s public spending will be the highest, as a share of gdp, since the mid-1970s. By the same measure, taxation will be its highest since the early 1950s. But there is more to big-government conservatism than the size of the state. There is the philosophy of the state as well. And under Boris Johnson, the Conservatives have set themselves aims they think can be achieved only by big-state activism.

Remember when people said Brexit would free Britain from Europe, allowing it to become another Singapore?

The modern left has little to offer the working class, so their votes are shifting to the right in almost all developed countries:

The Conservative Party captured huge swathes of northern England in 2019, and is pouring resources into these new territories. It is increasingly the party of the working class and the elderly, so picking a fight with young and middle-aged trendies makes sense. 

So glad I live in America where none of this is occurring! Seriously, the Hispanic working class will be the next group to shift to the GOP. Meanwhile, upper middle class workers will continue shifting to the Dems.

Under a two party system where each party wins 1/2 of the presidential elections each century (in other words, in the USA) as one group shifts from one party to another, there must be a movement in the other direction of a roughly equal sized group.

PS. In a certain way I find all this to be kind of comical. Nativists like Steve Bannon became hysterical at the thought that lots of immigration from Latin America would change our politics. He was right, but not in the way he expected.

PPS. Biden is an old school Democrat, and doesn’t realize how his party is changing. I predict that Biden and Pelosi will cut my taxes, even though I’m pretty affluent. There won’t be any European style welfare state in America, not when the Dems need the votes of upper middle class professionals.

It’s no longer Biden’s party, which is both good and bad. It is increasingly Trump’s GOP, which is both bad and bad.



40 Responses to “Conservatives don’t favor small government”

  1. Gravatar of rinat rinat
    14. November 2021 at 13:41

    But again…

    anti-globalism is Not ‘hard right, and anti-globalism is NOT a rejection of trade. anti-globalism is a recognition that supranationals, where some thug in brussels seeks absolutism, is antithetical to libertarian ideals.

    Pursuing individual rights in abstract form to the extent that it becomes a “new religion” (see, BLM, Supranational thugs, social justice activists, french revolution, and 99% of the left), is a disease.

    History has shown, very clearly, (all you have to do is pick up a book Sumner), that the centralization of industry and government is a BAD IDEA!

    History has also shown that the greatest threat to social cohesion is virtual signaling, arrogant, self righteous activists (usually inspired by some academic utopian peddler). Rousseau, Paine, and the French mob (known to some libtards as the French revolution) are my favorite examples. The desire to overthrow an imperfect system and replace it with….yeah nobody knows…is precisely what creates chaos, and chaos leads to Napoleon, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, etc, etc.

    Nobody says social cohesion collapses overnight, but history has shown that radical changes can collapse society within a few years. It’s very hard to argue that the increase in crime, a degradation of discourse, the corruption of our institutions, the looting of stores, the burning of libraries, the canceling of speech, banning books, the rise of gang culture, the outsourcing of manufacturing, massive debt, mob violence, and the lack of any border control for the last twenty years (2M immigrants already this year), as something that will INCREASE or MAINTAIN social stability.

    And we don’t need to theorize. Europe is the model of radical leftward idealism, and people are starting to realize that it has failed. Apparatchiks never have your best interest in mind!

    You are right that some conservatives don’t want smaller government. They are called RINO’s. But libertarian conservatives do want smaller government. You don’t think Ted Cruz and Rand Paul advocate for smaller government? Do you read? What world are you living in?

    You think centralizing industry, and permitting oligopolies to control production is any better than permitting the state to control production? Amazon owning everything is not any better than the state owning everything.

    And again you don’t understand Trump. Trump is not “hard right”. Trump is not even conservative. He hates 90% of the conservatives.

    To conservatives, Trump seeks to curtail the centralization of industry AND the centralization of government. And this is precisely the reason many Bernie supporters voted for Trump. Bernie advocates breaking up industry, but Bernie believes the answer to our problems is more centralization. True conservatives prefer Trump’s approach.

    In conclusion, people are tired of sending their tax money – in the form of financial aid – to prop up corrupt regimes.

    People around the world are tired of the UN distributing their tax money to politicians – and yeah, I say this a lot, but Filipinos are still waiting for their Yolanda remittances. I won’t hold my breath.

    People are tired of the IMF buying up currencies with tax dollars to subsidize bad policy.

    People are tired of their jobs and business opportunities being sent abroad. You learn to code, then the coding job gets sent to Vietnam, India, or the Phil. You learn to manufacture t-shirts, and some slave in a Chinese prison produces at a discount. Not everyone can be a doctor, a lawyer, or a highly skilled professional. It leads to a societal collapse, whereby the unskilled rise up and kill you. Seriously! Read any history book.

    People are tired of banks (private organizations) who are given risk free investment opportunities through unlimited borrowing.

    More than anything, people are tired of unelected supranationals (the lefts new king and queen) telling their elected officials what they can and cannot do.

    In my view, the left is a disease upon humanity. It’s activist arrogance attacks self determination (look at their daily and consistent attacks on the middle east, eastern europe and much of Asia), simply for pursuing self determination. Imposing your conception of universality will only lead to war!

    To illustrate this for those who don’t understand the philosophical terms: when a man is lashed 400 times because he robbed a bank in saudi, the saudi people don’t need a a European supranational telling them what is and is not acceptable. They don’t need someone in Washington or Brussels, or Shanghai, telling them that their conception of justice is wrong.

    Globalization and centralization are not “liberal” values. They are socialist values. And the only way you achieve equality or the dogged pursuit of the abstract, is through tyranny.

  2. Gravatar of henry henry
    14. November 2021 at 14:02

    There is nothing good about democrats sumner. Every policy that gives more power to Washington is a bad policy.

    Hazlitt predicted where your socialist polices would lead in the 1940’s. He has been the most accurate of any economist thus far.

    I will accept your bad/bad argument for conservatives. Although, I would say democrats are just as bad.

    And I agree with Rinat.

    Trump is not “hitler”, and to think really is “deranged”.

    Trump is not conservative or democrat. He’s authentic. He’s himself. And his policies will lead to better outcomes for all Americans.

    Out of curiosity, other than trade which I know you support, which SPECFIC polcies don’t you like?

    You don’t like lower taxes?
    You don’t like removing yourself from the supranational in Europe?
    Do you want open borders? What do you think is a reasonable immigration quota? Is 2M in one year acceptable? Is that beneficial to the unskilled and unmeployed?

    Please be specific without mentioning his hair, his fatness, an allegation made by someone you don’t know (hearsay), or regurgitating what you hear in the media.

  3. Gravatar of ankh ankh
    14. November 2021 at 14:26

    Wait, what?

    I hope Sumner is not saying democrats want smaller government. This is just too hilarious now.


    I have to face palm for a moment….lol.

    Of course, there are some republicans who don’t want smaller govt. The two Sumner quotes most often and seems to like the most: romney and Bolton, definetly don’t want smaller government. There is nothing that would destroy Bain Capital more than smaller government. There is nothing that would keep Bolton from another war than smaller government.

    I am just laughing. Really?


    Okay, I want to see all Americans vote for democrats. You should make Sumner’s dreams come true and have one party democrat rule. Let’s see how long it takes before the CCP is running Washington.

    The American demise won’t bother me. More money for my country. I can take vacations in Yosemite, and the poor American can kneel down to serve my dinner.

    Hey, I like this already!

    From now on, I’m supporting Sumner! lol.

  4. Gravatar of harry harry
    14. November 2021 at 14:51

    I don’t understand the logic here.

    You say conservatives don’t want smaller government. Okay, but those conservatives are generally called RINOS right? Trump supporters don’t like them either.

    And Trump’s policies all lead to smaller government.

    So what are you trying to imply? That democrats want smaller government? Surely, you don’t believe that. A trillion dollar infrastructure bill with only 11% going to infrastructure isn’t “small government”. Saving firms from failing because they are deemed by a small group of special interests to be “too big to fail”, is not “smaller government”.

    Funding the UN and other globalist agencies is not making the government any smaller. It is also not making the world safer.

    Sending tax money abroad to the bank accounts of politicians is not “smaller government”.

    More social programs that are centralized in Washington instead of agreed upon and provided by local communities is not “smaller government”.

    You appear to be confused.

  5. Gravatar of steve steve
    14. November 2021 at 15:53

    Rather than talk about Trump’s policies what was actual spending when he was in charge? Really, you should look at the total package. He cut taxes and, as usual, we didnt see the promised increase in revenue so debt increased some more. So spending increased, debt increased while taxes were cut. This is pretty much what has happened with every GOP POTUS since Reagan.

    Now, I actually dont doubt that Republicans want smaller govt, they just dont want it enough to lose votes. Its popular to cut taxes. Its popular to provide govt services. Its unpopular to raise taxes or cut someone’s govt program. So its electoral brilliance to do what Republicans actually practice. Cut taxes but dont actually cut spending, just talk about it.


  6. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    14. November 2021 at 18:20

    To me rinat, henry, ankh, and harry, maybe even steve, are still the same person. Their writing style is so similar, so is the content, so is the use of paragraphs, so is their way of using upper and lower case. Also a similar time frame. Even their names are all five letters in lowercase, almost like an AI text program, which would also explain the not meaningless, but still somehow strange content. It looks quite human, but again somehow you hope it’s not human.

  7. Gravatar of Will Will
    14. November 2021 at 18:36

    “you hope it’s not human.”

    Well put. “nick” from the other thread shares the same kind of quasi-coherence and, to use the word loosely, substance.

  8. Gravatar of Travis Allison Travis Allison
    14. November 2021 at 18:48

    Scott, how would you square your statement:

    There won’t be any European style welfare state in America, not when the Dems need the votes of upper middle class professionals.

    with the fact that the Dems tried to push through a massive increase in government that would have moved the US closer to a European style welfare state? (E.g. Free preschool, free community college, subsidized child care)

    The only thing that stopped them was Manchin.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. November 2021 at 18:58

    Steve, No, Trump’s policies are very different from Reagan’s. Reagan actually made some unpopular cuts. He also raised payroll taxes.

    Travis, The Dems are not willing to raise taxes to the level required for a European-style welfare state. I am quite confident in that prediction. You’d need a much higher payroll tax, and also a 15% to 20% VAT. Oh, and much higher gas taxes. It’s not going to happen.

  10. Gravatar of Johannes Johannes
    14. November 2021 at 19:00

    In my opinion it’s not about republican or democrat. It’s about those who fight for individual rights and liberty.

    Trump is fighting against evil. He fights for freedom.

    As are the Kennedy’s.

    Bobby would be proud of his son!

  11. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    14. November 2021 at 19:44

    The only hope is that the two parties will hamstring each other, and very little will get done. But that has been true for a very long time.

  12. Gravatar of jayne jayne
    14. November 2021 at 20:13

    “not in the way he thought”.

    Perhaps in MA, which is like 95% Irish/Anglo.

    The people in the border towns of Texas and Arizona, who have their cattle stolen and drug dealers crossing their property would not agree with your view.

    Bannon is not a “nativist”. Bannon doesn’t oppose immigration. He simply opposes mass immigration at a rate that is harmful to your communities.

    Millions are unemployed, off the books, not accounted for, etc. So so many people still on unemployment. And you think flooding our economy with more workers is smart?

    You are virtue-signaling that you love immigration. Great. I love immigration too. Welcome to America, but your policy is not smart. UK had 23,000 immigrations this year. The U.S. has now had two million. It’s not smart and practical immigration. It’s immigration that lowers people’s wages and puts more people on dole.

    You are opening a pandora’s box.

  13. Gravatar of rinat rinat
    14. November 2021 at 23:01

    Here are more examples of soviet style totalitarianism in the U.S., all policies that Sumner’s democrat party support.

    Instagram now says one can no longer mention the words “james okeefe”, or “project veritas”. Very interesting, considering his organization was recently raided by Biden’s DOJ.

    Don’t like the current state of affairs. This Biden appointee tells you to shutup, because you can “easily pay more”. They used to tell that to people in the gulags too.

    And here is RFK’s son, once again fighting for the American people when he could be sipping martinas on the beach. He’s what the old democrat party used to look like.

    Sumner doesn’t know what he’s talking about. In the U.S., you have two choices. Red and Blue. Mostly, these two pills are the same. But every so often a force of nature emerges that tries to reshape the party for the better. Reagan and Trump are similar in that regard. Trump is fighting for SMALLER govt, not larger govt as you said above. And this is why both parties hate him so much. centralized actors are not fond of influential businessman who attempt to uproot the status quo, and use personal funds to inspire others to fight for smaller government. They weren’t fond of the outsider and actor Reagan either. They also weren’t fond of T. Roosevelt, Lincoln, or Jefferson.

    Now is the time to stand with DJT as he attempts to take back your country from a very corrupt globalist class. If you don’t, you will find yourself in gulags pretty soon.

  14. Gravatar of janice janice
    14. November 2021 at 23:47

    When I read Sumner, I just see an old and bitter geezer who is way out of touch with this new counter culture revolution.

    Sumner, like most radicals, laments that corporations pay fewer taxes. What he doesn’t mention is that those behemoths make your policy.

    So get your head out of your arrogant ass. You have NO MONEY. You are NOT relatively affluent. A couple million is a joke, and I doubt you even have that. Trump doesn’t even have money. He has about 200M in cash, the rest is all tied up in real estate. You think he has power?

    You don’t have any power. And neither does Trump. You are both losers. Make no mistake, he is much more successful and much more powerful and influential then you. But he’s nothing to the people who actually influence policy. If you don’t like mega billionaires calling the shots, then you might want to support people who actually want limited government. More government means more billionaires and more concentration of wealth.

    Since you are not very bright, let me help you.

    Biden doesn’t want limited government and neither does Sanders or any of the other socialists. At least a few of the republicans do. Might want to jump on their bandwagon…

  15. Gravatar of alexey alexey
    15. November 2021 at 02:07

    Sadly, you will never convince Sumner that smaller government is the better solution. He’s been brainwashed for 65 years to think differently.

    You just have to push relics like him aside, and return to Hazlitt and others who were speaking truth to power back in the 40’s.

    Sumner is not going to suddenly admit he’s wrong at 65. He thinks you deal with multinationals through more government control. He doesn’t understand that these big companies got big because they merged with government. He still thinks the private and public sector is separate.

    In addition to that, he doesn’t really grasp the extent of the corruption. He always talks about how the U.S. is a banana republic. It’s way beyond that. The corruption is global buddy. Not local.

    He thinks the gates foundation is designed to help people. It’s designed, like most NGO’s, to fight for policy that makes Bill wealthier. And that is not because he’s a mean or terrible person. Bill is a nice guy. But nice guys still have self interest.

    The UN is not your savior Sumner. But don’t try to convince him. He’ll die living in his fantasy world.

  16. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    15. November 2021 at 06:54

    It was Milton Friedman who pointed out that you could have open borders or a nice welfare state, but not both. Democrats don’t get this. I’m ok either way, but the American people, given the choice, seem to prefer a nice welfare state. Simple as.

  17. Gravatar of steve steve
    15. November 2021 at 07:42

    Scott- What was total spending under Reagan? Didnt he also increased some spending? By my reading he increased total spending in real dollars. He cut stuff he didnt like but increased stuff he did like. He increased payroll taxes, but as I recall that was after it was clear his other tax cuts increased deficits well beyond what he expected.


  18. Gravatar of bill bill
    15. November 2021 at 08:09

    I love these types of posts. Keep them coming!

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. November 2021 at 09:12

    Alexey, You said:

    “Sadly, you will never convince Sumner that smaller government is the better solution.”

    I believe that smaller government is the better solution. Sadly, you will never convince Alexey that he’s an idiot.

    Brian, Whenever a commenter says “open borders” I know they are being a troll and I stop reading.

    Steve, Yes, he increased military spending, but his overall policy was nowhere near as reckless at Trump’s. The comparison is insulting.

  20. Gravatar of Student Student
    15. November 2021 at 10:19


    Look at what Friedman was actually saying, not just the part nativists like to quote. What he was saying was that immigration for jobs was good for everyone, immigration to sit and collect benefits and not work was not a good thing… in fact it was incompatible. The implication is almost self-evident… just don’t allow recent immigrants access to welfare benefits.

    For example, take a look at his “What is America” lecture where he says this almost specifically:

    “ Look, for example, at the obvious, immediate, practical example of illegal Mexican immigration. Now, that Mexican immigration, over the border, is a good thing. It’s a good thing for the illegal immigrants. It’s a good thing for the United States. It’s a good thing for the citizens of the country. But, it’s only good so long as its illegal.”


  21. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    15. November 2021 at 10:32

    I favor open borders, and I’m not a troll. I think people from anywhere should be allowed to come to the US and stay and work as long as they want. They should be able to start businesses, own property, and should pay taxes.

    We should be highly selective with citizenship though, because we can’t afford to extend all the benefits of citizenship to all who may come through open borders. Also, this would help control influence of immigrants on US elections.

    Politically, there are obvious problems with this idea, but morally and economically, there’s little question that the free flow of labor and general trade across borders is good for all sides, in the aggregate.

  22. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    15. November 2021 at 10:43

    I’ll go a little further, and say that revealed preference suggests that Republican leaders have been Keynesian since at least Nixon. George W. Bush was openly Keynesian, recalling his explicit Keynesian tax rebates after the 9/11 attacks. Greg Mankiw, a New Keynesian, was his chief economic advisor. Ben Bernanke, a Bush nominee as Fed Chairman, is also New Keynesian.

    Republicans have long favored Keynesian stimulus, always involving both tax cuts and spending increases, during Republican Presidential administrations, and fiscal austerity during Democratic administrations, irrespective of the economic circumstances.

    It’s all 100% political to them. It’s realpolik. They have zero interest in issues involving fiscal balances for their own sake, with rare exceptions like Warren Rudman or John Kasich, popping up here and there.

    Run up the debt and deficits while passing popular tax cuts and increasing spending, and then let the Democrats wring their hands about what to do when they take over the White House. Democrats are typically serious about fiscal issues, and are left with the dilemmas about how much of their social spending agendas to surrender in favor of moving toward balanced budgets, while trying to weight effects on the “business cycle”.

  23. Gravatar of Max Max
    15. November 2021 at 11:11

    I’m actually quite happy with the more than deranged comments by the Trumpsters on here over the last few posts. They must be getting pretty desperate. Perhaps the normal, boring Biden presidency has them in need of the good old days where total crazy illegality/irresponsibility/irrationality ruled. “Trump is fighting evil”, someone on here posted. Haha who makes this stuff up?? One of my neighbors has crazy homemade signs and one of them also claims “Biden and Friends are Evil”. It appears the imagination for these nuts is running dry. I actually think Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “Jews are starting wildfires in CA by shooting space lasers” was the high water mark of total Republican BS, and now they’re just scraping the bottom of the can for whatever dumb shit they can think of. Hopefully Mike Pence will have the courage to do to Trump in the primaries what Elizabeth Warren did to Mike Bloomberg and we’ll be done with this whole sick charade.

  24. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    15. November 2021 at 11:12

    Scott, what major policies of each party favor or disfavor the working class?

    I’d have thought things like infrastructure, child care and various tax credit and payments favored by the Dems would favor the working class. So would policies they have been trying to pass (although obviously not all Dems), such as lowering Medicare prescription drug prices, Medicare coverage for dental, eye and hearing, paid family and medical leave and universal pre-K for children, each of which gets between 67% and 88% support in recent polling.

    OTOH, the GOP economic policy seems to be help the best off, with some nativism and anti-liberal ranting thrown in for popular consumption.

  25. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    15. November 2021 at 11:14

    Michael S, paraphrasing Dick Cheney, deficits don’t matter when Rs are in power, but provide a convenient cudgel when Ds are in power.

  26. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    15. November 2021 at 11:18


    Yes, thank you for reminding me of that quote. The media’s been very slow to recognize this pattern, apart from people like Chris Wallace on Fox News, who, ironically, seems to do the best job at trying to hold Republicans accountable.

  27. Gravatar of harry harry
    15. November 2021 at 12:58

    Seems the radical socialists never learn.

    After his defeat, will humankind finally be free of totalitarian socialists?

    Can we put them all on Bezos rocket ship? We’ll keep Musk and people who love the constitution and bill of rights. You can have Bezos and the socialists.

  28. Gravatar of nick nick
    15. November 2021 at 14:19

    This is encouraging. Time for real intellectuals to push back against Sumner’s corrupt dotards.

    Thank you, Texas.

  29. Gravatar of Mark Z Mark Z
    15. November 2021 at 14:21

    In the US, the working class shift toward the GOP is almost entirely mythical, and in both countries, the conservative party is generally still the party of smaller government compared to the alternative. Politics has not, in practice, changed that much.

    Michael Sandifer, you say, “Democrats are typically serious about fiscal issues, and are left with the dilemmas about how much of their social spending agendas to surrender in favor of moving toward balanced budgets…”

    I had a good laugh at this one. The limiting factor on Democratic fiscal irresponsibility is Republicans. Congressional Republicans imposed fiscal responsibility on Clinton, and to lesser degree on Obama. They were as fiscally as responsible Gingrich and Ryan forced them to be.

    Congressional Republicans are able/willing to impede Democratic presidents’ spending to an extend congressional Democrats are not able/willing to stop Republican presidents’ spending, probably largely because, whereas Republicans are only fair-weather fiscal hawks, Democrats pretty much consistently support more spending, even when out of power (with the exception of Joe Manchin).

  30. Gravatar of Harry Harry
    15. November 2021 at 14:46

    You are welcome, Nick.

    I can ensure you that we will be the last bastion of liberty.

    And if we fail, we’ll fall with our boots on.

  31. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. November 2021 at 22:09

    Michael, I was talking about people who claim that the other party favors open borders.

    Foosion, “Infrastructure” is not about infrastructure. It’s a codeword for bigger government, which does not help the working class. Very little of what Biden is proposing will help the working class.

    Mark, You said:

    “In the US, the working class shift toward the GOP is almost entirely mythical, and in both countries, the conservative party is generally still the party of smaller government compared to the alternative.”

    The GOP talks about small government, but they expand government by just as much as the Dems when they are in power, maybe even more.

    And you are completely wrong about the working class, which is certainly shifting to the GOP. All across America, working class towns are shifting strongly to the GOP and affluent suburbs are shifting strongly to the Dems.

  32. Gravatar of henry henry
    15. November 2021 at 23:35

    This is another really good video that shows the differences in generations, and highlights how the baby boomers destroyed the “American Dream” (Sumner’s generation). Kennedy and Reagan often disagreed but they were always able to speak cordially, find common ground, and create sensible policy.

    For reference, Reagan was born in 1911. Bobby Kennedy in 1925.

    As you are watching this video, take note of the disposition of the two older genetlemen in comparison to the boomers asking them questions who, at that time, were about 20-25. The hatred, the lack of sensibility, and the brazen disrespect is all on display.

    That late 1960’s/70’s “cultural change” was NOT for the better.

  33. Gravatar of MichaelM MichaelM
    16. November 2021 at 04:56


    “I had a good laugh at this one. The limiting factor on Democratic fiscal irresponsibility is Republicans. Congressional Republicans imposed fiscal responsibility on Clinton, and to lesser degree on Obama. They were as fiscally as responsible Gingrich and Ryan forced them to be.”

    Sometimes it’s conservative Democrats doing it, too. Early efforts to bring the budget under control in the Clinton administration are as much the brainchild of Senator Bentsen as they are of the Gingrich Revolution.

    Unfortunately for American fiscal stability, the conservative Democrat is an extinct species in the North and well on the way there in the South. Manchin is one of the few and it’s no coincidence he’s the one forcing the Dems to keep their pants on this time around.

  34. Gravatar of Sven Sven
    16. November 2021 at 04:58

    you are still trying to understand the pattern of political economy. It is very simple. It is about ultra low interest rates. Because, cheap money attracts both the voters and politicians. Fiscally conservative political movements are easily sidelined by voters.
    It is about capitalism.
    After great depression we had a world war and fascism due to ultra low interest rates. Since great recession we have constantly growing welfare states all over the world.
    I wonder how long you will be surprised about this simple phenomenon.

  35. Gravatar of bb bb
    16. November 2021 at 06:45

    You might be right about your taxes. A contingent of Dems are fightling to restore the SALT deduction, which is large enough to turn BBB from a progressive bill to a regressive bill. It’s the moderates leading the charge, to include a lady from Orange County, which fits with your narrative. I’m not a fan of Trumps tax bill, but I think removing the SALT deduction was good policy, even though it hurt me a bit.
    I’ve reached the point where I don’t care that much, as long as we remain a republic.

  36. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    16. November 2021 at 08:02

    Nice dodge Scott. Didn’t think you’d run from Milton Friedman like that. You must hate Brian Caplan and Matt Yglesias, the way they go on about the subject.

  37. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    16. November 2021 at 08:07

    FRED claims Federal Receipts have never exceeded 20% of GDP ever. It almost touched 20 in WWII and the end of Clinton presidency. The average is about 17% with a tight range. It is less than 17 now. I am obviously missing something as this seems too low—-but in any event, it obviously does not matter what party controls government.

    FRED demonstrates, with exception of WWII, we did reach expenditures of 20% of GDP until 1980. We are over 30% in 2020. Reagan was higher than Carter and Clinton. Clinton was lower than both Bushes—-GWB was lower than Obama who was higher than Trump pre-Covid. Average is about 20-21%.

    On taxes and expenditures both parties have been the same. If anything, Dems seem slightly lower.

    They both suck.

  38. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    16. November 2021 at 08:09

    Correction —“we did NOT reach expenditures of 20% of GDP until,1980.

  39. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    16. November 2021 at 08:56


    Ah, okay. Yes, conservatives who paint the Democratic Party as being the party of open borders is very, very off, unfortunately. The majority of Democrats want far less immigration than I do.

  40. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. November 2021 at 16:03

    bb, My view as well. I benefit from SALT limits, but regard them as very bad policy.

    Brian, Glad to hear you agree with Friedman that illegal immigration is a good thing.

    And I love reading Caplan and Yglesias on immigration—they make far more sense than you do.

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