Climate Change and the Oil Barons

The Senate spent last night—all night—focusing attention on climate change and the need for new legislation. As The Hill reports, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the opportunity to attack the Koch brothers: “It's time to stop acting like those who ignore this crisis — the oil baron Koch brothers and their allies in Congress … Continue reading Climate Change and the Oil Barons

Evidence Shutdowns Increase Government Spending

A few days ago, I gave the theoretical logic for why the availability of the government shutdown results in growing government spending. Advocates of smaller government should advocate a default budget rule that is far milder than shutdown. Now, I have come across academic research by David Primo finding just this at the state level. … Continue reading Evidence Shutdowns Increase Government Spending

How Government Shutdowns Grow Government

Following Marc's great post on congressional dysfunction, I'd like to point how political science tells us that the availability of government shutdowns actually causes the growth of government spending. The analysis follows the 1979 spatial analysis of zero-based budgeting by Thomas Romer and Howard Rosenthal. Suppose that there is one dimension of politics: the size … Continue reading How Government Shutdowns Grow Government

Government by Continuing Resolution

The federal government has been running by continuing resolutions for some time—a product of the inability of Congress to execute one of its prime constitutional functions: authorizing and appropriating funds. The textbook version of the budget process is quite simple. It is also largely irrelevant given that Congress rarely passes the twelve appropriations bills by … Continue reading Government by Continuing Resolution

Defunding Obamacare: In Search of a Strategy

As we all know, if a continuing resolution (or CR) is not passed by the end of the day on September 30, the government will shut down. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has threatened to filibuster the House CR because if debate is suspended, the provisions defunding Obamacare will be eliminated via majority vote. If Senator … Continue reading Defunding Obamacare: In Search of a Strategy

Collective Action Problems and the GOP

Ezra Klein has an interesting piece (Wonkblog) on the collective-action problem facing the GOP with respect to Obamacare. Stated concisely: Here's the Republican Party's problem, in two sentences: It would be a disaster for the party to shut down the government over Obamacare. But it's good for every individual Republican politician to support shutting down … Continue reading Collective Action Problems and the GOP

Would President Paul Ever Stand Up to His Party?

Following the defeat of his amendment that would give Congress the right to vote to verify border security as a condition of permitting the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants to go forward, Senator Rand Paul has decided to oppose the immigration reform bill. While the immigration bill has many flaws, it is certainly a … Continue reading Would President Paul Ever Stand Up to His Party?