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Takers Taking Over


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American Thinker:

In case anyone hasn't noticed it yet, Europe is in crisis. Faced with violent protests and general strikes, European politicians seem unwilling to take the necessary steps of structural reform that would save their economies. With rigid labor laws, bloated government workforces, declining birthrates, and universal welfare schemes, Eurozone economies have experienced subpar performance for decades and are now sliding into recession once again. The model of the European-style welfare state simply does not work.

Unfortunately, when the percentage of those receiving government aid exceeds 50%, it is difficult to cut benefits. The threat of cutbacks in Greece has brought chaos to that country. The sight of thousands of left-wing thugs, marching in close ranks and armed with large batons and Molotov cocktails, is now a common one in central Athens. These blackshirted youths form a paramilitary force of a sort that has appeared in other European nations as well, adding a dangerous element of uncertainty to the future.

Government's response to civil unrest has been to appease the protesters. Greek officials have dragged their feet finalizing proposals for "voluntary" write-downs of 50% on their sovereign debt since those write-downs come with stringent conditions of structural reform. From all appearances, it looks like the Greeks are angling for debt forgiveness with no substantive change in the Greek welfare state. In other words, they are asking investors to continue subsidizing their enormous deficit spending.

If all this sounds a lot like what's happening in the U.S., it is. Like the socialists who govern Greece, Obama's left-wing administration depends on the support of left-wing activists, unionized government workers, radicalized students, and welfare recipients. All of these groups have been pressing for more government spending, and Obama has not disappointed them.

In just three years, discretionary spending has increased by 24% (not counting an additional trillion dollars of stimulus spending plus two rounds of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve), all of it funded with deficit spending. Obama's 2012 budget, which was rejected by every member of the Senate, called for continued spending at 2011 levels, even as his own budget supercommittee struggled to come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts.
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