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A new New Deal?
What the Democrats could do with an electoral sweep
 

"A fortnight away from the electoral abyss," said Bruce Reed in Slate, "conservatives are down to their last flare: warning what Democrats might do if there aren't enough Republicans left in Washington to stop them." Conservative commentators have even gone so far as to warn that the Democrats could win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and "usher in a 'crypto-socialist' era."

That's not just fear-mongering, said Paul Rubin in The Wall Street Journal. During the Great Depression, Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt pushed through the New Deal and expanded the role of government in "once unimaginable" ways. If Barack Obama—"one of the most liberal members of the Senate"—wins with an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress at his side, he'll have tremendous power to "push a liberal agenda."

The pundits are going overboard with their predictions of a "New Deal on steroids," said William Stuntz in The Weekly Standard. The financial bailout uses government money, but it's temporary—not some long-term nationalization of banks. "As for more New Dealish issues like health care, I wouldn't bet the ranch on radical change there either—even if November produces a Democratic sweep." The government just doesn't have the money.

 

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