“Looted the future to bribe the present”

Mark Steyn responding to the president’s campaign line about (the republicans’ alleged) “on your own economics”:

In what area of life are Americans now “on their own”? By 2008, Fannie and Freddie had a piece of over half the mortgages in this country; the “subprime” mortgage was an invention of government. America’s collective trillion dollars of college debt has been ramped up by government distortion of the student-loan market. Likewise, health care, where Americans labor under the misapprehension that they have a “private” system rather than one whose inflationary pressures and byzantine bureaucracy are both driven largely by remorseless incremental government annexation. Americans are ever less “on their own” in housing, education, health, and most other areas of life — and the present moribund slough is the direct consequence.

It would be truer to say that the present situation reflects the total failure of “you’re not on your own” economics — the delusion of statists that government can insulate millions of people from the vicissitudes of life. Europeans have assured their citizens of cradle-to-grave welfare since the end of the Second World War. This may or may not be an admirable notion, but, both economically and demographically, the bill has come due. Greece is being bailed out by Germany in order to save the eurozone but to do so requires the help of the IMF, which is principally funded by the United States. The entire Western world resembles the English parlor game “Pass the Parcel,” in which a gift wrapped in multiple layers of gaudy paper is passed around until the music stops and a lucky child removes the final wrapping from the shrunken gift to discover his small gift. Except that, in this case, underneath all the bulky layers, there is no there there: Broke nations are being bailed out by a broke transnational organization bankrolled by a broke superpower in order to save a broke currency. Good luck with that.

The political class looted the future to bribe the present, confident that tomorrow could be endlessly postponed.

The smart guy made a bet on government and lost. That’s where the rest of us are headed: The “you’re not on your own” societal model of Western Europe has run out of people to stick it to

In Europe, the political class is beginning to understand that the social-democratic state created to guarantee permanent stability risks plunging the Continent into the worst instability since those happy-go-lucky days of the 1930s. By contrast, in Kansas, the president of the United States is still riding the tie-dyed wind turbine and promising to waft you to Oz. These are dangerous times — and, as many will discover, whatever assurances the statists give, in the end you’ll be on your own.

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One Response to “Looted the future to bribe the present”

  1. Paul Marks says:

    Agreed.

    The degree of collectivism in the United States (not just Europe) may well ALREADY be past the point of no return (“After America” may well be correct).

    However, the philosophical mistakes came before the bad policies (such as the “Great Society” programs) indeed they were the CAUSE of the policies that are leading to collapse.

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