Europe's Shift to the Right of Obama

Mitt Romney made the news claiming that Obama's economic policies are "awfully European."  Comparing responses to the economic crisis, Romney argued,

When the Europeans were in trouble economically, they spent more money and they borrowed more money.  That's just what he did... [Obama] has been awfully European. You know what?  European policies don't work there.  They sure as heck aren't going to work here.

To an extent Romney is correct.  I myself have argued that Obama is a classically European socialist who would fit in with most major left-wing parties in Europe.  It also appears that when Obama imagines what he would like America to look like, he glances over across the Atlantic and sees the traditionally high taxes in Europe, nationalized health care, and the big government behemoth of the European Union.  This can be seen not only by Obama's attempt to nationalize healthcare with ObamaCare, but also the reliance on stimulus spending, a dismissive attitude to deficit reduction, as well as the talk in the 2011 State of the Union address of possible tax increases for the rich and further "investment" spending on big government projects such as high speed rail.  

So in that sense Romney is correct.  However, in his statement he is really giving Obama too much credit; for the "European economic policies" that Obama is following and to which Romney is referring, aren't even being pursued by Europeans anymore, who are increasingly realizing the errors of their ways and shifting to the right.

This has been demonstrated by two events within the past week.  The first was in Portugal where the traditionally left-wing nation has abandoned socialism and has overwhelmingly elected a center-right government into power under the leadership of Pedro Passos Coelho.  Coelho is expected to form a coalition between his center-right party and the free-market CDS -- a party that has drawn its highest share of the vote in its party's history.  The Socialist Party that was in power until last week (and who would be the closest to Obama's economic policies) managed a meager 28% of the vote.  It is expected that Portugal will now aggressively cut public spending, divest itself of state-owned assets, and significantly reduce corporate contributions to social security; almost the exact opposite of Obamanomics.

The second event was the IMF judgement of the economic policies of Great Britain.  Since the election of the center-right conservative-led Coalition government in May 2010, significant spending cuts have been announced, causing howls of derision amongst left-wing activists, public-sector unions, and special interests, leading to full-scale riots in the capital in recent months.  Additionally, in the latest budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a cut in corporation tax and a raising of the threshold at which an earner pays tax, which will benefit all who earn a wage.  Further income tax cuts are expected, possibly in the next budget in 2012.

Consequently, many left-wing activists were hoping for the IMF's latest report to support their Keynesian economic outlook -- the same outlook that Obama and the Democrats believe in -- and condemn the new approach of cutting spending, shrinking government, and reducing taxes.  Yet no condemnation came.  In fact, not only did the IMF support the new approach to deficit reduction, but their one suggestion for future growth was yet more tax cuts, specifically for job creators -- all while across the Atlantic, Obama wishes to increase taxes on the very group the IMF singles out.

These two examples demonstrate what is now a trend across Europe.  Yes, there is still the largely unelected European Union trying to force their hard-left agenda down the throats of nations, and the socialist systems set up in individual nations will take a long time to deconstruct; but voters across Europe have made it clear that they want socialism to be their history, not their future.  Of the 27 EU states, only five now have center-left governments: Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, and Spain.  Daniel Hannan MEP has calculated that if Spain swings to the right in its next election (as is predicted) then 96% of the EU's population would be living under center-right governments.

Europe is still a socialist continent, but the tide is turning, and most countries are now actively working to end socialism, not to establish or expand upon it like the current President of the United State is trying to do.  It is therefore inaccurate for Mitt Romney to imply that Obama is following European policies, for even Europe has realized that such policies lead only to destruction, and has consequently abandoned them.

High-spend, high-tax Keynesian economics do not work, and such policies have been destroying European nations for decades now.  Should Americans not get rid of Obama and Obamanomics in 2012, then Europe's failed past will be America's failed future.

Adam Shaw is a conservative writer based in Manchester, England.  His blog is The Anglo-American Debate.  Follow him on Twitter: @ACShaw 

Mitt Romney made the news claiming that Obama's economic policies are "awfully European."  Comparing responses to the economic crisis, Romney argued,

When the Europeans were in trouble economically, they spent more money and they borrowed more money.  That's just what he did... [Obama] has been awfully European. You know what?  European policies don't work there.  They sure as heck aren't going to work here.

To an extent Romney is correct.  I myself have argued that Obama is a classically European socialist who would fit in with most major left-wing parties in Europe.  It also appears that when Obama imagines what he would like America to look like, he glances over across the Atlantic and sees the traditionally high taxes in Europe, nationalized health care, and the big government behemoth of the European Union.  This can be seen not only by Obama's attempt to nationalize healthcare with ObamaCare, but also the reliance on stimulus spending, a dismissive attitude to deficit reduction, as well as the talk in the 2011 State of the Union address of possible tax increases for the rich and further "investment" spending on big government projects such as high speed rail.  

So in that sense Romney is correct.  However, in his statement he is really giving Obama too much credit; for the "European economic policies" that Obama is following and to which Romney is referring, aren't even being pursued by Europeans anymore, who are increasingly realizing the errors of their ways and shifting to the right.

This has been demonstrated by two events within the past week.  The first was in Portugal where the traditionally left-wing nation has abandoned socialism and has overwhelmingly elected a center-right government into power under the leadership of Pedro Passos Coelho.  Coelho is expected to form a coalition between his center-right party and the free-market CDS -- a party that has drawn its highest share of the vote in its party's history.  The Socialist Party that was in power until last week (and who would be the closest to Obama's economic policies) managed a meager 28% of the vote.  It is expected that Portugal will now aggressively cut public spending, divest itself of state-owned assets, and significantly reduce corporate contributions to social security; almost the exact opposite of Obamanomics.

The second event was the IMF judgement of the economic policies of Great Britain.  Since the election of the center-right conservative-led Coalition government in May 2010, significant spending cuts have been announced, causing howls of derision amongst left-wing activists, public-sector unions, and special interests, leading to full-scale riots in the capital in recent months.  Additionally, in the latest budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a cut in corporation tax and a raising of the threshold at which an earner pays tax, which will benefit all who earn a wage.  Further income tax cuts are expected, possibly in the next budget in 2012.

Consequently, many left-wing activists were hoping for the IMF's latest report to support their Keynesian economic outlook -- the same outlook that Obama and the Democrats believe in -- and condemn the new approach of cutting spending, shrinking government, and reducing taxes.  Yet no condemnation came.  In fact, not only did the IMF support the new approach to deficit reduction, but their one suggestion for future growth was yet more tax cuts, specifically for job creators -- all while across the Atlantic, Obama wishes to increase taxes on the very group the IMF singles out.

These two examples demonstrate what is now a trend across Europe.  Yes, there is still the largely unelected European Union trying to force their hard-left agenda down the throats of nations, and the socialist systems set up in individual nations will take a long time to deconstruct; but voters across Europe have made it clear that they want socialism to be their history, not their future.  Of the 27 EU states, only five now have center-left governments: Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, and Spain.  Daniel Hannan MEP has calculated that if Spain swings to the right in its next election (as is predicted) then 96% of the EU's population would be living under center-right governments.

Europe is still a socialist continent, but the tide is turning, and most countries are now actively working to end socialism, not to establish or expand upon it like the current President of the United State is trying to do.  It is therefore inaccurate for Mitt Romney to imply that Obama is following European policies, for even Europe has realized that such policies lead only to destruction, and has consequently abandoned them.

High-spend, high-tax Keynesian economics do not work, and such policies have been destroying European nations for decades now.  Should Americans not get rid of Obama and Obamanomics in 2012, then Europe's failed past will be America's failed future.

Adam Shaw is a conservative writer based in Manchester, England.  His blog is The Anglo-American Debate.  Follow him on Twitter: @ACShaw 

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