Although American politics is interesting International politics can sometimes be insightful. As America plunges deeper into debt and the Washington politicos seem bent on staying the course, Europe continues to be worth watching.
The European Union is in trouble. Massive budget cuts have been made in Greece and France, but the populace is not happy. On May 6th the French people elected an avowed socialist, Francois Hollande, to the Presidency of that country. Running on a platform of higher taxes and repealing much of the austerity measures put into place by Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s new president is determined to expand the nation’s social welfare state and pay for it with more taxes and more debt. Now the European Union is in jeopardy, some say its days are numbered; and the Euro continues to teeter on the edge of disaster.
Compare the outcome of the French election with the defeat of longtime Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar in that state’s Republican primary. The moderate to conservative Lugar was defeated by a Tea Party Candidate, State Treasurer Richard Murdock, who accused Lugar of being too close to Democrats. Murdock ran on a platform of bringing fiscal sanity back to Washington. Democrats, including President Barack Obama, lauded Lugar for his years of service and cried that bipartisanship has died on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately for Sen. Lugar it is that kind of praise that proved the point to Indiana Republicans who see Washington as a do nothing place where compromise is the Democrats' way or the highway.
These two elections offer a stark contrast to two different views of two different economies of two different nations. The French people, at least the majority who voted that day, said loud and clear we like our gravy train, and we like having someone else pay for it. “We want the freebies!” Indiana voters, reflecting the views of many Americans, spoke clearly that the runaway train of federal spending must stop. The unfunded freebies must end.
When we look at Europe and particularly France and Greece, we can see where the United States is headed. In Europe the national debt of many countries is already a train wreck. With so few paying taxes and so many getting so much for nothing, a train wreck is inevitable. At home the deficit continues to climb as our economy struggles to gain solid footing in a world bracing for economic collapse.
Here in the U.S. the American people have choices to make. While members of Congress talk about the deficit, neither side has done much to change the pattern of outrageous spending. It is no answer for liberal politicians to say you cannot cut funding for this program or that one. It is no answer to say you can’t cut national defense. It is no answer to say raising taxes on the rich will make the budget work when raising taxes doesn’t have any noticeable impact on the federal budget. All sides must work together, leave politics at the door, and put America back on a solid path of economic prosperity by ending reckless spending.
The American people can send this message to Washington this year by voting for fiscal responsibility not political propaganda and self-serving rhetoric. America will have to bite the bullet and do this sooner or later; and, as bad as sooner is, later will be much worse.
Same sex marriage…The worst kept secret in Washington is now out thanks to Vice-President Joe Biden who spoke publicly on Meet the Press in support of gay and lesbian marriage. President Obama in typical Washington double talk said he was opposed to same sex marriage, but his position was evolving. What in the world does that mean? It means he supported gay and lesbian marriage all along but did not want to tell anyone. The gay and lesbian community gave him a pass on his double talk knowing that in a second term he was likely to openly support it. But Vice-President Biden was not letting that happen. Once again he put his foot in his mouth and put the President in a position where he had to speak out and at considerable political risk. Sadly, all of this could have been avoided if the president had just spoken out early on and stated his position publicly. At least that would have been the honest thing to do.