Does a more divided year lie ahead?

The American governments are doing and spending more and more every year. In 2017, the direction of the ever more powerful federal government changed significantly.  With so much at stake, on top of our natural philosophical differences, it is no wonder that America became more divided than ever in 2017.

Our combined state, local and federal governments spend nearly $6 trillion dollars. That is roughly 37% of the U.S. economy.  That equates to enormous power – for those that hand out those spoils. It also leads to an enormous competition among those seeking that money. It is little wonder that politicians and voters alike are fighting bitterly over the change in direction.

Not all changes between one party and another lead to significant changes in policy.  In our own time, the change between George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, was not dramatic.  Consider the fact that both presided over tax increases and that President Clinton enacted welfare reform.  For his part, Bush 41 placed David Souter on the Supreme Court, one of the most liberal Supreme Court Justices of any era.

The change between President Obama and President Trump is far more dramatic. The significant changes in policy are numerous:

It started with the Supreme Court.  Justice Gorsuch could not be more opposite to Justices Kagan and Sotomayor.  The rest of Trump’s judicial picks have been a departure from Obama of the same magnitude.

From there the Republicans attempted to repeal what President Obama considers his signature achievement, Obamacare. Although full repeal has not yet occurred, the core of the program, the individual mandate has been repealed.

The changes are hardly limited to those major policy areas.  Trump has done a U-turn on regulations of all natures and as well as with respect to many Obama era labor laws. He ended the war on coal, re-oriented the EPA and other federal government agencies, pushed spending cuts and instituted a hiring freeze.  Oh, and let’s not forget the total change with respect to immigration policy and now a huge tax bill.

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