Election 2012

America is Closer to Levels of "European" Spending Than the GOP Would Like to Admit


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". 


NEXT: Court Hears Tale of "Anarchist" Soldiers Plotting Revolution

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  1. and recently Mitt Romney made a jab at the President while on his memorable foreign excursion

    I forgot about that.

  2. Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves.

    Third system, here we come!

    1. Progressives: We will put the miracle in chimerical.

    2. Hey, it worked for Greece. Wait, no it didn’t.

  3. I just don’t understand why anyone worships at the altar of John Maynard Keynes.

    1. It is precisely because the US engaged in more Keynesian action than Europe that the US is actually doing better in terms of joblessness–and we’d have less of a debt problem if it were confined merely to the effects of the recession and not mostly caused by reckless tax cuts at the same time of trillions of dollars in extra spending on wars and other things.

      1. Because everyone knows how jacking up government spending helps with sovereign debt crises every. single. time.

        1. Money is wealth and wealth is money!
          Government has the power to print money, which means it can create wealth!
          The more money the government prints, the wealthier we all are!

          1. It’s this sort of thinking that has made Zimbabwe the economic powerhouse that it is today.

            1. Come on! We all know that Zimbabwe’s economy failed because of insufficient stimulus!

      2. The current lousy US jobless numbers are the same as excellent jobless numbers in most of western europe during good years. The unemployment rate in France in 2004 was 10.1%! The differences are structural in nature (labor market rules, very cushy welfare state, free or near free education, etc.) and have pretty much nothing to do with Keynesian action or non-action.

    2. I think you just got your answer, FIFY.

    3. You expect most economists to admit that they really don’t know anything and that the economy can’t really be managed? Ha! Good luck with that one.

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