President Obama says regularly that the US needs to more look like Europe in terms of our social compact, that our social nets need to emulate those of France. Italy. Spain. Etc. He looks past the disaster that is Europe, the same disaster that is threatening our own meager recovery, a disaster caused by excessive social spending and inadequate revenue generation.
Has he not heard the recent interview with Mario Draghi, Chief of the Europe Central Bank? Draghi says that the “spending days” are over. He talks about the huge debts that have been amassed and that are crippling economies. Draghi pointedly talks about Spain, a country with unemployment that is nearing 50 percent among the young who are unable to find employment. Draghi’s message: “Europe — Austerity Is Your New Reality”. So much for Europe’s vaunted social compacts, which have helped to wreck its economies.
Hearing that “Austerity” is the new model is a tough message for any politician but Draghi is not a politician; he is the man who runs the bank that has to watch over the messes that are the economies of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and soon to be next, France. He has to be the realist in the European room. He has to deliver the tough news to the politicians in nearly every European country. The exception is Germany, whose people are being expected to finance the cleanup of other’s messes.
Here in the US, we think that we are far from being one of “those.” We aren’t. Our actual debt now exceeds our Gross Annual Product, soon by even more; this indebtedness on the books is projected to increase a trillion and a half this coming year. Ignoring this indebtedness blissfully forgets about all of the past IOU’s written out of Social Security and all of the promises for future payments linked to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Prescription Drug Program, programs which are partially or totally unfunded by revenue. We swim merrily along funding our country on borrowed money, money that comes to the US only because the bonds of so many other nations are now junk. Surprise! Our bonds have been downgraded a notch, too, and there will be more of that to come
How long will this continue? What will it take to turn our politicians away from the old social services model of most failed and failing European economies, toward the social responsibility model of Germany? Neither political party talks about this. Both parties give, and give, and give away. There is little reason to choose between Democrat or Republican because the politicians who represent those parties are indistinguishable the one from the other; their lack of attention is ruining our country. Who we vote for no longer matters because our votes result in the same spendthrift behavior by the same giveaway artists.
We are now in the middle of the Republican primary season. None of the news we hear is about the economy, about the cost of things; it is about social issues. What happened? Where and how did Clinton’s message of “It’s the economy, stupid” get lost?
Two and a half years ago on this page I expressed my dismay about the mess that is our economy. Two and a half years later we are $5 trillion deeper in debt, and looking at no end to this downward slide. As I said back then, I will not be around to pay the piper when this absurd indebtedness dance ends; but, I continue to weep for my grandchildren, who will be stuck tomorrow with what we are allowing to happen today.
Read more: Ellsworth: Washington DC’s dance with debt – Wayland, MA – Wicked Local Wayland http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinions/letters_to_the_editor/x413534873/Ellsworth-Washington-DC-s-dance-with-debt#ixzz1o4eNWLKn