Monday, July 9, 2012

On Statism, Cronyism and Disinterest – or better yet – “Politicos”!

From John Sykes

We often use far too many words to hide that we are almost as far down the rabbit hole as Europe. The only three nouns necessary to understand our plight are:

  • statism
  • cronyism
  • disinterest

More succinctly, just back from Spain and Portugal, I found their hardworking cab drivers distilling their situation to one noun – “politicos” – politicians!

Arthur Brooks at WSJ in America Already Is Europe! does a great job on this subject with relatively little verbosity:

I'm often asked if I think America is trending toward becoming a European-style social democracy. My answer is: "No, because we already are a European-style social democracy." From the progressivity of our tax code, to the percentage of GDP devoted to government, to the extent of the regulatory burden on business, most of Europe's got nothing on us.

In 1938—the year my organization, the American Enterprise Institute, was founded—total government spending at all levels was about 15% of GDP. By 2010 it was 36%. The political right can crow all it wants about how America is a "conservative country," unlike, say, Spain—a country governed by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party for most of the past 30 years. But at 36%, U.S. government spending relative to GDP is very close to Spain's. And our debt-to-GDP ratio is 103%; Spain's is 68%.

At first blush, these facts seem astounding. After all, Spanish political attitudes differ dramatically from our own. How can we be slouching down the same debt-potholed, social-democratic road as Spain? There are three explanations, all of which point to a worrying future for America.

Read the rest here …

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