Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Divided government

In "Divided we thrive", Jonathan Rauch notes that there has been divided government in Washington DC for 21 of the past 30 years. He develops an explanation that goes back to the realignment of the two parties. With the demise of the Southern Democrats, the parties became more ideological and less able to compromise. "... Democrats, when in total control, have little choice but to govern from the left." It can work the other way too and that's no way to govern the country and stay in office.

But there is also the old problem that power corrupts. And hubris is a turn-off. And overreach follows.

Just the other day, Allan Meltzer wrote about Fed policy and entered the fray on what Milton Friedman would say. He also made his case for the best alternative policy. Uncertainty is the biggest problem. "I want a moratorium on new regulations and on tax rates."

Is Rauch's story the way to Meltzer's policy? Does this explain 21 for 30? Perhaps.