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Wise Words

Summary:
I normally avoid discussing specific elections, but Matt Yglesias is so well-calibrated here that I’m going to make an exception: Trump’s accession to the presidency alarmed liberals on two levels. On the one hand, there was the policy damage he might wreak. That policy worry doesn’t go away with the House in Democratic hands, since control over the judiciary and the administrative state still matters. But in truth, the GOP’s legislative accomplishments in 2017-’18 were quite modest, and Tuesday’s results mean that there will be no further Republican legislative agenda. If you were worried primarily about a new round of regressive tax cuts offset by cuts to the social safety net, you should breathe easy today. Of course, my primary worry about Trump is that he

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I normally avoid discussing specific elections, but Matt Yglesias is so well-calibrated here that I’m going to make an exception:

Trump’s accession to the presidency alarmed liberals on two levels.

On the one hand, there was the policy damage he might wreak. That policy worry doesn’t go away with the House in Democratic hands, since control over the judiciary and the administrative state still matters. But in truth, the GOP’s legislative accomplishments in 2017-’18 were quite modest, and Tuesday’s results mean that there will be no further Republican legislative agenda. If you were worried primarily about a new round of regressive tax cuts offset by cuts to the social safety net, you should breathe easy today.

Of course, my primary worry about Trump is that he would engineer the adoption of even stricter immigration legislation than we already have.  But I too breathe easy today.  As the 1965 Act shows, major legislation often endures decades, even if its effects are unpopular.  Executive action is mild, ephemeral, and symbolic by comparison.

Bryan Caplan
Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. Bryan Caplan blogs on EconLog.

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