Daniel J. Mitchell

The wailing and hysteria in Washington is over. The politicians now have the authority to borrow more money and the bureaucrats are all back at work (rested and refreshed after their paid vacation, so they’ll probably tax, spend, and regulate with extra fervor).

So what can we say about this fight? I have five semi-random observations about what happened.

1. It was a fight worth having, even though there was virtually no chance of derailing Obamacare.

With America’s separation-of-powers system, the House of Representatives had the ability to force a fight about Obamacare, but it didn’t have a realistic shot at winning the fight. I suspect President Obama would have chosen to deliberately default if necessary to thwart Republican efforts to defund or delay the law.

That being said, I’m glad the Tea Party-oriented members chose to take a stand. They focused attention on a bad law. They forced the left to play defense. Simply stated, they were willing to take a stand against the ongoing Europeanization of the American economy. That’s something to admire, not criticize.

2. Any strategy to reduce the burden of government will have to overcome an establishment media that is philosophically biased and politically partisan.

Maybe it’s just my own naiveté, but I’m surprised that so many journalists are one-sided partisans. They don’t write stories explaining that the government shut down because Democrats rejected House-approved legislation defunding Obamacare (which accurately depicts the shutdown as being the result of a disagreement between Democrats and Republicans). Instead, they have screaming headlines about “Republicans shut down the government.”


Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.