America Must Avoid European Path of Decline

Nile Gardiner, writing for The London Telegraph, argues that the U.S. must avoid the mistakes that Europe has made:

Since the Greek financial debacle last year, there has been a great deal of interest across the Atlantic in Europe’s debt crisis and the lessons that can be learned for America. Not least because the United States may face its own Greek-style economic meltdown in a few years time unless it gets its own house in order.

Fortunately, there is a new wave of political leaders on Capitol Hill who are serious about cutting spending, reining in the deficit, and challenging the Big Government culture that has dominated Washington in recent years. Principled leaders such as Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan for example, who have pledged to take an axe rather than a scalpel to public expenditure.

If any Congressman, Republican or Democrat, is looking for a succinct guide to Europe’s economic and political failure as the EU heads down the path of “ever closer union”, I would strongly recommend my fellow Telegraph blogger Daniel Hannan’s important new pamphlet, “Why America Must Not Follow Europe.”

I’ve just finished reading Dan’s latest publication, which is released this week by Encounter as part of its excellent Broadside series, and to say it is a damning indictment of the European Project would be an understatement. Having spent 11 years as an MEP in Brussels, Hannan certainly knows a thing or two about the European political model, and his warnings to America against going down the same path should be heeded at all costs.

As he points out, there is a reason why Americans have for decades been richer and more economically productive than their European counterparts – less bureaucracy, lower spending, lower taxes, faster growth, and fewer people out of work. Between 1980 and 1992, excluding the UK, “the EU failed to produce a single net private sector job,” a staggering statistic. In addition, as Dan notes, Western Europe’s share of world GDP fell from 36 percent in 1974 to just 26 percent in 2011, with a projected fall to 15 percent by 2020. In contrast, the US share has remained steady at about 26 percent of world GDP.

Gardiner goes on to quote some of Hannan’s report:

My guess is that if anything, Obama would verbalize his ideology using the same vocabulary that Eurocrats do. He would say he wants a fairer America, a more tolerant America, a less arrogant America, a more engaged America. When you prize away the cliché, what these phrases amount to are higher taxes, less patriotism, a bigger role for state bureaucracies, and a transfer of sovereignty to global institutions. In other words, President Obama wants to make the U.S. more like the EU.

He is not pursuing a set of random initiatives lashed arbitrarily together but a program of comprehensive Europeanization: European health care, European welfare, European carbon taxes, European day care, European college education, even a European foreign policy, based engagement with supranational technocracies, nuclear disarmament, and a reluctance to deploy forces overseas.

The U.S. Constitution, in particular the Bill of Rights, is mainly about the liberty of the individual.
The EU Constitution is mainly about the power of the state. Here is the categorical difference between the two unions, the elemental distinction of which all the other differences are aspects.

Because the U.S. was designed along what we might loosely term Jeffersonian lines, it has tended to have a small government, strong local authorities, a flourishing private sphere, a limited welfare system, relatively low taxes, and skepticism toward global technocracies. The EU, having been conceived around the concept of an ever-closer union, tends the opposite way.

Hannan is completely right about Obama.  He want to make the U.S. more like Europe.  He won’t get much farther with the GOP in control of the House, but much of the damage has already been done, and it could take years to fix the mistakes of Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress.

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