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You Do Realise That You Are to the Left of Europe, Don’t You? [Updated]

March 26, 2009

I’m beginning to think that all the talk about the ‘Europeanisation’ of the US is a bit misleading. Mais non, not what you think. The French Cowboy has no doubt that Obama’s plan is to increase the US government to the extent that it will assume a European-style role in people’s lives. But it should be noted that Obama is actually to the left of some of Europe’s leaders, which makes the comparison with the old continent somewhat unfair – for Europe!

Take, for instance, Obama’s tax-the-rich philosophy. Our own Monsieur Sarko said a few days ago:

S’il y en a que ça démange d’augmenter les impôts, ils oublient qu’on est dans une compétition. Mon but, c’est de faire venir en France, faire investir en France des gens qui ont de l’argent dans nos usines et dans nos entreprises, ce n’est pas de les faire partir”, a-t-il poursuivi.

Which is French for: “Hey, Americans, if you’ve about had it with getting taxed and vilified by your government then come to la belle France where we understand that tax systems are competing for financial and human capital!” Well, this is not the exact translation, but the French Cowboy is certain that this is what American businessmen have heard.

Meanwhile, the head of the European Central Bank, Monsieur Jean-Claude Trichet who is also a Frenchman, disagrees with Obama that European governments should follow his lead and create their own gargantuan spending plans in the hope that they will revive the economy. (By the way, we Europeans are truly lucky that our central bank is much more resistant to politicisation than is the Fed. It prevents the abuse of monetary policy for cosmetic short-term improvements that help incumbent administrations to look better but that will come back to bite a few years later.)

Also, Italy’s Minister of Finance has published a negative assessment of Obama’s economic plan:

Se hai un infarto curi il cuore e non le gambe. Se la crisi ha origine nella finanza, non la curi dalla parte sbagliata, con gli stimoli (sic!) applicati dal lato dell’economia reale. […] Se il male è il debito — un eccesso di debito — la cura non è data da altro debito addizionale, privato o pubblico che sia.

Which is Italian for: “It’s the financial sector, stupid President Obama! Fiscal stimulus and increase of debt, be it private or public, are not going to cure the banks!”

British and German officials are also on the record with warnings against mounting public debts.

And then there is this comment made by Czech Prime Minister Topolanek (the Czech Republic currently holds the rotating EU Presidency) on Obama’s economic policy:

“All of these steps, these combinations and permanency, is the road to hell,” said Mr. Topolanek, who lost a no-confidence vote in the Czech parliament this week. “America will need liquidity to finance all these measures, and they will balance this with the sale of their bonds, but this will undermine the liquidity of the global financial market.”

We are in very bad times when the voices of reason use words like the apocalypse-predicting clochard who lives in the trash can behind your local Starbucks – and lose votes of confidence.


Paul Ryan had the same thought – because even Europe’s Maastricht treaty wouldn’t allow Obama-sized deficits.

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