The GOP has released its 2012 platform, and it has some rather interesting suggestions relating to spending and the supposed crystal ball that is the euro crisis.
Unsurprisingly, the GOP has made a push to emphasize the state of the economy, and the platform warns early on of the perils of overspending and what the future looks like without reform:
Unless we take dramatic action now, young Americans and their children will inherit an unprecedented legacy of enormous and unsustainable debt, with the interest alone consuming an ever-increasing portion of the country’s wealth. The specter of national bankruptcy that now hangs over much of Europe is a warning to us as well.
American politicians and policy makers have been talking about the threat of “European Socialism” for a while, and recently Mitt Romney made a jab at the President while on his memorable foreign excursion, saying:
If we keep going down the path we're on, we're gonna end up like Europe or worse. It's time to have leadership that will put aside Republican and par-- and-- and Democrat, and instead focus on what's necessary for the nation. I'm willing to do that. I think others in Washington have recognized the need to do that. I see hopeful signs we're gonna finally get America on track again.
Not sure exactly what Mitt meant by “Europe”, but America has been enjoying levels of public debt similar to many European nations for some time. The Economist’s debt clock (last updated this month) has the U.S. and Spain enjoying equal levels of public debt as percent of GDP (71.9 percent). The last year the U.S. had a lower public debt as percent of GDP figure than Spain was 2007.
It is important to mention that Spain did not get itself into its current troubles by spending like the Greeks and Italians. Spain had a huge property bubble that popped causing a series of events that looks almost certain to result in the latest European sovereign bailout.
It is true that many European countries have spent irresponsibly and are causing many in the rest of Europe to pay for their mistakes. That said, many American politicians would be happy to see America with debt figures like those of the Netherlands, Luxemburg, or the Czech Republic.
In the coming months we will almost certainly hear the Republicans speak more about the dangers of overspending as the euro-crisis worsens. What is important is to remember that a continent of almost fifty countries, hundreds of languages, and hundreds of millions of people is not bound by a single economic or political policy. Maybe when politicians begin to realise this we can start asking them exactly what they mean by "Europe" or "European socialism".