TGIF: Midterm Blues• by Sheldon Richman
The likely slim majority of Republicans in the House could — maybe — produce a measure of gridlock on domestic spending and regulation, and the blame for the Republicans' substandard midterm performance might fall entirely on Donald Trump, driving him from the stage. When you consider all the possible outcomes from Tuesday, that's not bad.
In most midterm years the only outcome worth hoping for is gridlock. Gridlock, however, wouldn't be the best outcome under all conceivable circumstances. Libertarians want Congress to get many things undone, especially but not limited to out-of-control military and so-called entitlement spending. The latter, which is on autopilot, finances programs that are facing insolvency. When that happens, today's spending, taxing borrowing, and money creation will look trivial.
But hardly anyone in power even talks about these and similar problems, so gridlock for the next two years is hardly likely to stop anything good from happening. In other words, gridlock was worth rooting for. It won't be worse than continued Democratic domination.
So regardless of what happens in the Senate, if the House goes Republican, even by the small margin that appears likely, we might see it block the most egregious domestic spending and regulatory measures proposed by Joe Biden and the congressional Democrats. I'd keep an eye on any more energy bills intended to interfere with the use of fossil fuels. Not that Republicans are reliable when it comes to opposing domestic spending — far from it — but we can hope. On the other hand, don't look for a freeze, much less a reduction in military and related spending. Republicans have not lost their commitment to the warfare state.