Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This is above and beyond the call of duty. Daniel Gross reads George Will on Mitch Daniels:

Daniel Gross: November 27, 2005 - December 03, 2005 Archives: FAILURE OF THE WILL: Talk about willful ignorance. Can George Will really be this clueless?

Answer: Yes.

And doesn't he have an editor?

Answer: No:

In Sunday's Washington Post, he rhapsodizes about the brilliance of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and his budget-cutting ways. "Ending bottled water for employees of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (annual savings, $35,000). Ending notification of drivers that their licenses are expiring; letting them be responsible for noticing (saving $200,000). Buying rather than renting floor mats for BMV offices (saving $267,000 this year). Initiating the sale of 2,096 surplus state vehicles (so far, $1.95 million in revenue from 1,514 sales). Changing the state lottery's newsletter from semimonthly and in color to a monthly and black-and-white (annual savings, $21,670). And so on, and on, agency by agency.

Such matters might be dismissed by liberals who think government spending is an index of government "caring," and perhaps by a new sect called "national greatness conservatives" who regard Daniels's kind of parsimony as a small-minded, cheeseparing exercise unworthy of government's great and stately missions. But it seems to be an Indiana approach.

What is it about Indiana? In this annus horribilis for conservatives, one of their few reasons for rejoicing has been the ascent to influence in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Republican Study Committee, more than 100 parsimonious members under the leadership of Mike Pence, a third-term Hoosier from a few miles east of here. The RSC's doctrine, a response to a one-third increase in federal spending during the current president's first four years, might be called Danielsism, which is: There is more to limited government than limiting its spending, but there will be nothing limited about government unless its spending is strenuously limited.

So "Danielsism" means responding to the "one-third increase in federal spending during the current president's first four years"?

People who were awake during the first part of this decade may have a different definition of "Danielsism." People who were awake then might recall that Mitch Daniels was the head of the Office of Management and Budget, through June, 2003. They might also remember that while he was nicknamed "the Blade," he did nothing to cut federal spending, and in fact was a key player in the events that led to the "one-third increase in federal spending during the current president's first four years."

Oh, and one of the first things Daniels did upon taking office was to call for increasing marginal tax rates on the wealthy.

"Danielsism" a sounds an awful lot like Fiorello LaGuardiaism.


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