…or at least so says Newsweek in its Feb. 16th cover story by that title. Although American political proclivities are still far to the right of many European countries, we are still clearly moving in that direction, the article contends. The gap between the average European government spending as a percentage of GDP and our own has shrunk significantly over the past decade as the U.S. government’s budget has moved ever closer to 40% of our GDP. The fault for this expansion of government, however, cannot be assigned exclusively to any one group or person in particular:
History has a sense of humor, for the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W. Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700 billion…During the roughly three decades since Reagan made big government the enemy and “liberal” an epithet, government did not shrink. It grew. But the economy grew just as fast, so government as a percentage of GDP remained about the same. Much of that economic growth was real, but for the past five years or so, it has borne a suspicious resemblance to Bernie Madoff’s stock fund.
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