President Obama is welcoming European Union officials to the White House for a summit today. What could go wrong?
There is one message and only one to the U.S. from Europe’s deepening financial crisis: Don’t go there.
It is healthy that in the U.S. we are having heated discussions right now about our spendaholic ways. And it was a huge relief (to me, at least) that the super committee ended in deadlock rather than new taxes.
One of the president’s concerns is that “the contagion” of the European debt crisis will spread to the U.S. The situation is Europe is frightening for all of us. But Nile Gardiner, the U.K. Telegraph columnist points out that it is ironic that the president lectures European leaders while pursuing policies that will take us where they are already:
The Obama administration’s track record of out-of-control government spending and borrowing, a $1.3 trillion budget deficit (the largest since World War Two), combined with mammoth bailouts, has been nothing short of disastrous. 14 million Americans are out of work, the housing market is in a state of collapse, and job growth is practically non-existent outside of the Washington Beltway. And the advice his flailing government is now giving across the Atlantic will inevitably prolong the huge economic turmoil in Europe, rather than help bring it to an end.
Gardiner further noted that in many ways the president is “quintessentially European-style official, who believes that government knows best when it comes to the economy, health care and key aspects of domestic policy.”
But of course what we need is less government. I hope that President Obama and the European 'crats will read a column by another Telegraph writer, Janet Daley. Headline: “A daring idea to fix the economy: try doing less.”
Perhaps [the politicians] just lack the political courage to admit that, in our present crisis, the best thing that the Government can do is to get out of the business of running (or subsidizing, or initiating, or incentivizing) things altogether – not just in the interests of saving money, but because the effects of such interference are counter-productive.
What the economy is suffering from is not an insufficiency of overweening, fussy, bureaucratic initiatives that inevitably unleash an avalanche of unintended consequences, but a lack of cash in the hands of people who might spend it in ways that would actually create wealth and stimulate (in the proper sense of the word) economic growth.
Of course, in the U.S. (as in Europe) there are a lot of regulations that do need some doing—undoing that is. The next election will determine whether we do away with some or do some more.
Columnist Robert Samuelson suggests today that two teams of experts create two different kinds of medical reform for the next president. One would be more free-market and one more European. The next election determines whether the U.S. is going to take an extended European vacation from frinancial reality.