Republicans hate big government? On the contrary, they love it!


Ezra Klein NAILS IT:

The budget talks are foundering on a Republican demand that the federal government start predicting the deficit 30 years into the future. The immigration bill is hung up over Republican demands that the government achieve full control over the 1,969 mile border between the United States and Mexico. But the Obama administration’s had some good news on its spying: Republicans are pretty comfortable with the federal government tracking our calls and mining our e-mails.

Here’s what I don’t understand: How can Republicans who think themselves skeptical of the federal government also believe it capable of predicting the path of the economy 30 years into the future while locking down the border and picking through all electronic communications?

…Take the budget. Politico reports that “White House chief of staff Denis McDonough privately met with more than a dozen Senate Republicans who outlined their view of the budget picture over the next three decades instead of over the 10-year window.”

The political calculus behind this is clear: The budget deficit looks much worse over 30 years than it does over 10, lending urgency to Republican efforts to cut federal spending. But the implied confidence in the government’s powers of prognostication is extraordinary…

A core insight of conservatism is that central planning fails because economies are too complicated for governments to effectively predict. But if you believe the government can usefully predict the path of the economy not just over the next 10 years but over 30, then you should be begging the government to intervene more directly in economic affairs.


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