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.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Don't Expect Anything Bold" from Democrats

Mark Thoma catches one:

Economist's View: "Don't Expect Anything Bold" from Democrats: Robert Reich says you shouldn't expect much from Democrats, their power will be limited:

The Democratic Victory: Keep Your Expectations Low, by Robert Reich: Hold the champagne. Don’t expect anything bold to come out of the new Democratic House.

First, Dems don’t have enough votes to overcome Bush vetoes. Second, the new Dems are from marginal districts where they will have to be moderate-to-conservative in order to be reelected. Third, the Dem leadership has its eyes on the big prize – the 2008 presidency – and doesn’t want to do anything to scare off voters.

Barney Frank at the financial services committee will, at most, require more company disclosure of executive pay... John Dingle at energy and commerce is so concerned about the auto industry he won’t try to increase auto mileage standards (he has opposed increasing CAFÉ in the past). George Miller at education and commerce will at most seek additional money for Pell grants, but there won’t be additional money unless Dems cut defense discretionary, which they won’t do.

Dems will demand that Robert Gates, the new defense secretary, keep them in the loop over Iraq, but Dems won’t push him... they’ll have lots of hearings and do very little.

In other words, keep your expectations low....

[T]here's one huge plus: Bush's next Supreme Court nominee (should he have the chance to nominate) won't get easy passage.

Bob is right. The Democrats now have agenda-setting and oversight powers. But as to legislative oomph... Up until now it has taken the middle 20 senators and George W. Bush to pass laws, and that is still the case.

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