Not Reagan's Style, but ...

Maybe the giant building symbolizes Ronald Reagan's stature in modern American politics - rather than contradicts his distaste for big government. Most of the 40th president's many admirers would prefer to see it in that light.

The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is a colossus of federal construction. Only the Pentagon exceeds it. It'll soon be home to 7,000 employees. Among those, of course, will be many of the regulators that Mr. Reagan labored to rein in.

The $816 million it took to assemble the concrete and limestone structure represents yet another federal project that jumped the corral - going $448 million over initial projections. A few of Reagan's political inheritors in Congress are gnashing their teeth over that - regardless of whom the building is named after.

Yes, the Reagan years marked a turning point in American government. But in the 1980s as now, when a president says "The era of big government is over," the words have to be weighed by something concrete - like the Reagan Building.

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