On to something less pleasant than Rule Five totty: The Imperial spending omnibus bill, which President Trump has signed and which I can only describe with two words: Fucking disgrace. Excerpt:
The massive, 13 percent increase in discretionary spending was prefigured by the agreement on budget caps that congressional leaders reached in February. It remains remarkable that, even with control over the branches of elected government, the GOP cannot secure funding for the military without dangling such unnecessary spending for domestic programs.
The specifics of the spending aren’t much better. The bill provides funding for immigration enforcement both internally and at the border, but the devil is in the details. Set aside that the dollar amount falls far short of what the Trump administration had requested: There are onerous restrictions even on the money that is appropriated, limiting, for instance, the number of illegal aliens that Immigration and Customs Enforcement can detain. Even with the leverage of DACA, Republicans failed to meaningfully tighten the immigration system.
On health care, the hope of deregulating the individual insurance market to counteract rising premiums has been dashed. It seems increasingly likely that the GOP has given up on repealing and replacing Obamacare and is unable even to reduce its continuing burdens on the public.
Meanwhile, the $21 billion in infrastructure funding is not offset with permitting reforms that could spur private investment. We welcome the defense spending, and the funds devoted to combating the opioid epidemic might make a difference. But if this bill winds up being the only major piece of legislation Congress passes in 2018, this year will be a legislative waste.
Apparently the GOP, who like to portray themselves as the grownups in the room where fiscal responsibility is concerned, have abandoned any pretense of budgetary restraint. Imperial profligacy is rising to ever-greater heights no matter which party has control of Congress.
For some years, even though I have been and remain a minarchist libertarian, I have regularly voted Republican at the Imperial level, mostly because the GOP more closely approximates my views on a number of issues than do the Democrats. That’s getting harder to swallow. What options are left to an actual minimal-government advocate anyway? Vote Republican and hope they send us into bankruptcy a little slower than the Democrats? Or vote third-party and consign our votes into meaninglessness – or worse, in a closely contested state like our own Colorado, effectively vote for the candidate we hate more?
We, as a nation, are fast running out of options.