From Daniel Henninger:
Anyone who isn’t welded to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid ball and chain has their campaign issue for November’s election and 2012: spending.
Republicans, Lieberman-Bayh Democrats, tea partiers, it doesn’t matter. Spending, spending, spending. This is bigger than drill, drill, drill. Way bigger.
Finally, after a nonstop, nearly 80-year upward climb, government spending has hit a wall. It didn’t seem possible but this is a big wall. It’s the American voter.
This has been an unforgettable year in the history of American spending.
It began with an eye-popping $800 billion stimulus bill that came from nowhere and went to nowhere. Done with that, the Washington Democrats turned to President Obama’s health-care reform, which looked big at first, but turned out to be bigger. A well-publicized June estimate of the Senate bill’s cost by the Congressional Budget Office put the 10-year price tag at $1.6 trillion. So $800 billion, then a trillion.
Dollar signs rocketed into the sky all year: hundreds of billions on various TARP salvage projects, much drawn from some magic stash held by the Federal Reserve. The Obama cap-and-trade bill was going to use an auction to siphon $3.3 trillion from various states to Washington over 40 years. Oh, almost forgot—an FY 2011 $3.8 trillion budget.
The message of Massachusetts, of the tea parties, of Evan Bayh and the other retirements in Congress, and of the palpable disaffection of voters in states like California, New York and New Jersey is that the moment is ripe for an historic reordering of American politics.
All the anxiety coursing through the country now is over the scale, size and scope of government, in Washington or where people live, in the states. The issue that Barack Obama’s presidency has put squarely before the American people is how big is too big? How much is too much?
This central question is emerging in the unlikeliest of places, such as Massachusetts, our latest cradle of liberty. But also in hopelessly profligate New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie just announced a freeze on unspent monies. Finding precisely the right metaphor, Gov. Christie said, “The days of Alice in Wonder Land budgeting in Trenton end.”