Europeanizing America into crisis

(Centennial Fellow) President Barack Obama’s $840 billion stimulus contained more than a million dollars to study erectile dysfunction, and yes, I know, any complaint will be identified as a war on men.

That would be in addition to a Republican war on women as alleged by zanies not liking perfectly sound criticisms of Obama’s health insurance mindlessness.

Let’s get serious, because there is a real issue here, namely that the runaway, reckless stimulus is part of an Obama agenda Europeanizing America and bringing us ever closer to a disastrous tipping point.

It would be one in which our program bloat, romance with debt, smothering regulation and other governmental excesses get even more out of hand, creating a mess resembling what we now see most vividly in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.

Much of the rest of Europe is not that far behind, thanks to trying to give the public more and more with policies that leave businesses producing less and less. When escaping reality became impossible, officials tried timid austerity measures. In some elections this month, spoiled voters cast ballots as if the diet would kill them. It’s actually governmental obesity that could prove fatal.

America has long thought of itself as different — an energetic, freedom-hugging land made splendidly successful by self-reliance and individual initiative. There has been a lot of truth in that description, despite an ever-growing federal government that is spending a fifth of a borrowed billion every hour, according to an article by columnist Mark Steyn in Commentary magazine.

That extravagance means our pursuit of happiness could become a run for survival.

The Obama stimulus is part of the overkill. It included defensible provisions, indefensible hubris and unrivaled amounts of pork. The recently publicized research on erection dysfunction is laughably far from the kind of project that spurs quick economic recovery, and the stimulus has loads of similar stupidities.

Estimates of stimulus benefits cannot possibly calculate the pluses of leaving more money in the private economy, and the Congressional Budget Office is among those worrying about long-term harm offsetting current advantages.

Thanks not just to the stimulus, but to fervor for more spending generally when revenues are down, the debt has grown by $5 trillion under Obama. That renders us vulnerable to immediate danger on top of saddling our grandchildren with impoverishing repayments.

Unfathomably, the president ignored corrective recommendations of his own debt commission, and this year offered a $3.8 trillion budget defeated 99-0 in a Senate vote that left Democrats making flimsy excuses for what was really a rejection of ruin.

Ours is a president of spectacular negligence. A prime example has been his refusal to propose changes in Social Security, Medicare (beyond cuts that were not overall budget deductions) and Medicaid, even though those three entitlements and debt interest will consume all federal tax revenues as soon as 2025 if not restructured.

Obama himself has acknowledged that something has to be done, but instead of doing it, created a new health care entitlement worsening the jam we are in by more than a trillion dollars over the next decade.

Obamacare malfunctions keep popping up. One is a tax levied on manufacturers of medical devices, causing some of them to give up plans for new factories and depriving Americans of still more jobs. And then there is the ending of insurance copayments for contraceptives, even though basic kinds are cheap, the poor can get them for free and those getting a break at the expense of everyone include millionaires and billionaires.

You might remember that, during the health care debate, European systems were held up as the cat’s meow, even though they themselves have a host of issues. Obama and Congress headed in that direction, ending up with a mishmash that ignored straightforward, relatively cheap alternatives.

Sadly, this administration has a European cast of mind, and America will pay dearly if a second term eventuates.


Jay Ambrose was formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver. He is a columnist living in Colorado and a Centennial Institute Fellow.

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