Washington frustrates me. The entire town is based on legalized corruption as an unworthy elite figure out new ways of accumulating unearned wealth by skimming money from the nation’s producers.
But one thing that especially irks me is the way people focus on the trees and forget about the forest. Politicians and journalists are now engaged in an inside-baseball game of analyzing every twist and turn of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
That’s all fine and well, but perhaps it would be a good idea to talk about the need to fix the real crisis of excessive spending instead of arguing about how fast we should be traveling in the wrong direction.
And let’s not delude ourselves. In the absence of real entitlement reform, the United States is doomed to repeat Europe’s mistakes.
And how are things going in Europe? Well, I’m glad you ask. Let’s look at some excerpts from an Associated Press report:
Another month, another record unemployment rate for the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro. Figures released Friday by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, showed that the recession in the eurozone pushed unemployment up in the currency bloc to 11.7 percent in October, the highest level since the introduction of the euro in 1999. …Eurostat found that 18.7 million people were out of work across the eurozone, an increase of 173,000 on the previous month and 2.2 million higher than the year before. The wider 27-nation EU that includes non-euro countries such as Britain and Poland had an unemployment rate of 10.7 percent in October and a total of 25.9 million out of work. …”Talk of a `lost generation’ of young people now looks like an alarming possibility,” said Andrea Broughton, principal research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies.
In other words, we may complain about America’s miserable track record on jobs during the Obama years, but at some point in the future we may someday look back on 8 percent unemployment as good news.
Unfortunately, the crowd in Washington doesn’t want to acknowledge that the real problem is spending. And I’m particularly irked (but not surprised) that Republicans now seem willing to go along with Obama even though they won this fight back in 2010 when they didn’t control the House and had fewer seats in the Senate. Here’s what I said to one of the local DC stations.
I realize I’m sounding glum, so let’s close out this post with a couple of amusing cartoons about America’s European future.
I’ve already shared the “European Lemming” cartoon. This one has the same theme.
(Cartoon: Eric Allie)