Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ross Mackenzie: Europe shows America's future

I have heard many, many people talking about the financial fall of Greece, the problems of Britain's health care industry, the socialism of Europe ... and they shake their heads at the bull-headed (or perhaps dim-witted?) liberals leading America down that path.

Freight train roaring toward America's living room? That's what Ross Mackenzie writes about today in his Richmond Times-Dispatch column.

Mr. Mackenzie gives one pause as he begins:
In precisely the Europe for which Barack Obama and his cronies hunger here, America may be able to see glimpses of its future in 3D.

Greece is one of the poorest kids on the European bloc. It also is one of the most carelessly socialistic, which largely explains why it is so poor.

The birthplace of democracy, today it is a model of socialistic excess: deficit spending, confiscatory taxation, Marxist public-sector unions, government ownership, nationalized health care, excessive federal intrusion into private lives. Greece's debt obligations exceed its gross domestic product (GDP) by a factor heading fast toward 2. In today's jargon, the place is a paradigmatic entitlement society.
His conclusion is that Americans are not quite accepting of socialism ... yet ... providing evidence in the recent elections that turned out Democrats:
Despite what Obama wants for them, Americans are not yet so socialized as most Europeans -- not so accepting of the socialism that describes the European continent.
Here, in for instance California and Minnesota, Republican governors cannot get significant budget-balancing measures through their legislatures. And the times, they may be a-changin'. Think Jon Corzine (New Jersey), Martha Coakley (Massachusetts), Charlie Crist (Florida), Robert Bennett (Utah), and Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania). What's more, last weekend Maine's Republicans adopted a wholly new platform -- committing it to the principles espoused in the U.S. and Maine constitutions. Both documents, by the way, mention rights to such things as life and liberty. Neither mentions any entitlement to government cash.

In Greece and the American states, are we seeing at last an end to welfarist, socialistic, entitlement societies? Maybe. Or maybe we are getting 3D glimpses of our own chaotic entitlement future. In Europe and here, the light on the freight train heading toward the living room now is clearly in view and growing bigger. Some, here in the States anyway, are doing what they can to scramble into the engine house and pull the brake. Yet the more predictive scene may play out on the barricades in the Athenian streets where representative democracy began.
Read his entire column here. (Sunday is not complete until I've read Ross Mackenzie, the common sense retired opinion editor from the TD.)

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