Thanks to Ed Morrissey for making this last night’s quote of the day, otherwise I would not have read it, and it’s an interesting piece to say the least.
Remember all those Hollywood types who said mean and capitalistic America should be more like cultured and fair Europe? Well, now that these Hollywood types have Obama, their dream candidate, as America’s president, they’re panicking. Why?
Because they’ve come to realize that Obama actually is making America more like Europe, and they don’t like it. They know Europe is a continent filled with nations in decline because of their massive social programs that are running their budgets deep into the red in spite of very high taxes. Apparently, these folks liked the idea of America adopting the European policies of redistribution of wealth in theory, but when those policies are put into practice, well, that’s an entirely different story (emphasis mine):
“If you’re asking if the United States is about to become a socialist state, I’d say it’s actually about to become a European state, with the expansiveness of the welfare system and the progressive tax system like what we’ve already experienced in Western Europe,” Harvard business and history professor Niall Ferguson declared during Monday’s kickoff session, offering a withering critique of Obama’s economic policies, which he claimed were encouraging laziness.
“The curse of longterm unemployment is that if you pay people to do nothing, they’ll find themselves doing nothing for very long periods of time,” Ferguson said. “Long-term unemployment is at an all-time high in the United States, and it is a direct consequence of a misconceived public policy.”
Ferguson was joined in his harsh attack by billionaire real estate mogul and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman. Both lambasted Obama’s trillion-dollar deficit spending program–in the name of economic stimulus to cushion the impact of the 2008 financial meltdown–as fiscally ruinous, potentially turning America into a second-rate power.
“We are, without question, in a period of decline, particularly in the business world,” Zuckerman said. “The real problem we have…are some of the worst economic policies in place today that, in my judgment, go directly against the long-term interests of this country.”
Zuckerman added that he detects in the Obama White House “hostility to the very kinds of [business] culture that have made this the great country that it is and was. I think we have to find some way of dealing with that or else we will do great damage to this country with a public policy that could ruin everything.”
Ferguson added: “The critical point is if your policy says you’re going run a trillion-dollar deficit for the rest of time, you’re riding for a fall…Then it really is goodbye.” A dashing Brit, Ferguson added: “Can I say that, having grown up in a declining empire, I do not recommend it. It’s just not a lot of fun actually–decline.“
Ferguson called for what he called “radical” measures. “I can’t emphasize strongly enough the need for radical fiscal reform to restore the incentives for work and remove the incentives for idleness.” He praised “really radical reform of the sort that, for example, Paul Ryan [the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee] has outlined in his wonderful ‘Roadmap’ for radical, root-and-branch reform not only of the tax system but of the entitlement system” and “unleash entrepreneurial innovation.” Otherwise, Ferguson warned: “Do you want to be a kind of implicit part of the European Union? I’d advise you against it.“
This was greeted by hearty applause from a crowd that included Barbra Streisand and her husband James Brolin. “Depressing, but fantastic,” Streisand told me afterward, rendering her verdict on the session. “So exciting. Wonderful!“
Brolin’s assessment: “Mind-blowing.“
I find it particularly interesting that Niall Ferguson called Paul Ryan’s ideas in his Roadmap for America’s Future “radical” when they are basically what economic and fiscal conservatives and libertarians have promoted for years: low taxes and reduced government regulations and intrusion so as to unleash American ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. These ideas may be radical to Mr. Ferguson and his Hollywood friends because they have occupied their efforts over the past few decades with promoting the very policies that have brought us to the very place we are now that scares them so much.
Now that Barack Obama is working to reduce America’s position of power in the world, Hollywood’s elite are suddenly a wee bit uncomfortable with the idea. Perhaps it is because they are beginning to understand that if America isn’t in the world’s most powerful and prosperous nation, then another nation will naturally come forward to take our place, and the only other nations capable of holding that position are China and Russia, neither of which values or promotes freedom and liberty.