There is a metaphysical truth that most small-government types would likely agree on but rarely admit: most of the time doing nothing is a lot more constructive than doing something. And no one’s done nothing quite like the Boehner-led House. Sure, there’s a lot of big talk from Republican Senators, but it’s the House that doesn’t get stuff done.
After the passage of health care reform, the most consequential legislation in many of our lifetimes (enacted without a single vote from the minority), a new regulatory regime for the financial sector and a near-trillion dollar stimulus that funded an array of left-wing hobbyhorses, proper checks and balances finally kicked in. The House slowed the progressive agenda in 2010, stopping the majority’s steamrolling. Unless the GOP loses House in 2014, Obama’s seen his last major reform.
And when the House anarchists do hold out, as they did with the debt ceiling in 2010, they’ve compelled the majority to genuine compromise. Now, according to the Congressional Budget Office, sequestration only trims around $44 billion in 2013— or a 1.5 percent of the budget. Sad as it is, that makes sequestration one of the most successful spending cuts in the past two decades. Even more significantly, it illustrated to many voters that, contra the Chicken Littles, a cut isn’t tantamount to national suicide.