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Is America Doomed to Become a Failed European-Style Welfare State?
Townhall.com ^ | February 20, 2014 | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted on 02/20/2014 11:18:56 AM PST by Kaslin

When I give speeches around the country, I often get asked whether it’s time to give up.

More specifically, has America reached a tipping point, with too many people riding in the wagon of government dependency and too few people creating wealth and pulling the wagon in the right direction?

These questions don’t surprise me, particularly since my speeches frequently include very grimBIS, OECD, and IMF data showing that the long-run fiscal problem in the United States is larger than it is in some nations that already are facing fiscal crisis.

But that doesn’t mean I have a good answer. I think there is a tipping point, to be sure, but I’m not sure whether there’s a single variable that tells us when we’ve reached the point of no return.

Is it when government spending consumes 50 percent of economic output? That would be a very bad development if the burden of government spending reached that level, but it’s not necessarily fatal. Back in the early 1990s, the public sector was that big in Canada, yet policy makers in that country were able to restrain budgetary growth and put the country on a positive path. Sweden is another nation that has turned the corner. Government spending peaked at 67 percent of GDP in the early 1990s, but is now down to 47 percent of GDP after years of free-market reforms.

Is it when a majority of households are getting government handouts? That’s also a worrisome development, especially if those folks see the state as a means of living off their fellow citizens. But taking a check from Uncle Sam doesn’t automatically mean a statist mindset. As one of my favorite people opined, “some government beneficiaries – such as Social Security recipients – spent their lives in the private sector and are taking benefits simply because they had no choice but to participate in the system.”

Is it when a majority of people no longer pay income taxes, leaving a shrinking minority to bear all the burden of financing government? It’s not healthy for society when most people think government is “free,” particularly if they perceive an incentive to impose even higher burdens on those who do pay. And there’s no question that the overwhelming majority of the tax burden is borne by the top 10 percent. There’s little evidence, though, that the rest of the population thinks there’s no cost to government – perhaps because many of them pay heavy payroll taxes.

I explore these issues in this interview with Charles Payne.

Dan Mitchell Discussing the Tipping Point when America Becomes a Failed Welfare State

The main takeaway from the interview is that the tipping point is not a number, but a state of mind. It’s the health of the nation’s “social capital.”

So for what it’s worth, the country will be in deep trouble if and when the spirit of self-reliance becomes a minority viewpoint. And the bad news is that we’re heading in that direction.

The good news is that we’re not close to the point of no return. There is some polling data, for instance, showing that Americans still have a much stronger belief in liberty than their European counterparts.

And we’ve even made a small bit of progress against big government in the past few years.

I speculated in the interview that we probably have a couple of decades to save the country, but it will become increasingly difficult to make the necessary changes – such as entitlement reform andwelfare decentralization – as we get closer to 2020 and 2030.

Welfare State Wagon CartoonsAnd if those changes don’t occur…?

That’s a very grim subject. I fully understand why some Americans are thinking about the steps they should take to protect their families if reforms don’t occur and a crisis occurs.

Indeed, this to me is one of the most compelling arguments against gun control. If America begins to suffer the chaos and disarray that we’ve seen in nations such as Greece, it’s better to well-armed.

Though maybe there will be some nations that remain stable as the world’s welfare states collapse. And if emigration is your preferred option, I’d bet on Australia.

But wouldn’t it be better to fix what’s wrong and stay in America?


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: cabal; cfr; economy; google; hillary; nwo; obama; planned; soros; welfare
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1 posted on 02/20/2014 11:18:56 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

YES!


2 posted on 02/20/2014 11:19:27 AM PST by brownsfan (Behold, the power of government cheese.)
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To: Kaslin

Yes.


3 posted on 02/20/2014 11:20:46 AM PST by YourAdHere (I flip off all Obama bumper stickers.)
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To: Kaslin

Considering the general state of knowledge, reason and motivation in America today, yes.


4 posted on 02/20/2014 11:23:03 AM PST by polymuser
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To: Kaslin

Support Trey Gowdy during the coming House Member Rebellion Election to be the new Speaker of the House by April 15, 2014.


5 posted on 02/20/2014 11:24:19 AM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: Kaslin

Until CW-II, yes indeed.


6 posted on 02/20/2014 11:24:50 AM PST by Da Coyote
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To: Kaslin

7 posted on 02/20/2014 11:25:27 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Kaslin

Yes!


8 posted on 02/20/2014 11:26:52 AM PST by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: Kaslin

It appears the american intelligentsia is not really very intelligent..
That our “smartest” ones are not very smart.

The “creme” has curdled.. the head authority has become bald.. the big fish are minnows..

The FREE have become slaves.. “THE”______ (well you know)..


9 posted on 02/20/2014 11:26:54 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: Kaslin

we are in worse shape...the European countries don’t have to put up with the “diversity” that we do.....they’re one people....we are not....far from it...


10 posted on 02/20/2014 11:28:44 AM PST by cherry
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To: Da Coyote
Until CW-II, yes indeed.

Would it be CW-III?

Just thinking that the war of 1760 or so thru 1812, most heated during 1776 thru 1783, was somewhat a civil war (1/3 patriots versus 1/3 tories), somewhat a world war (England/France/etc - German Hessians, Dutch money...).

11 posted on 02/20/2014 11:29:24 AM PST by C210N (When people fear government there is tyranny; when government fears people there is liberty)
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To: Kaslin

The proof of the tipping point for me was Obama being elected for a second term. The voting public voted for more economic destruction just to get more free stuff via government debt and taxation.


12 posted on 02/20/2014 11:29:36 AM PST by DB
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To: Kaslin
Yes.And as a result I must say that I'm *very* glad that I'm far closer to the grave than to the cradle.I figure I've got a few more years left of having enough $$$ to relax a bit and have some fun but I expect the collapse to come soon.When it's arrived we'll *all* be in a world of hurt.

I fear most for the younger people of this country for they,unlike me,will never have an extended period of relative prosperity.

13 posted on 02/20/2014 11:31:15 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Obama: "I can do whatever I want")
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To: Kaslin

you mean we aren’t there yet?


14 posted on 02/20/2014 11:32:13 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Kaslin
Worse.

At least Europeans are smart. They'll figure it out and adjust. Norway is already reforming, and they're doing it without much economic pressure. The country sits on a pile of money made selling oil from the North Sea.

The USA, OTOH, is being filled with morons who will make the same mistake over and over.

Your everyday South American socialist dictatorship is the model -- lots of poor people competing with each other to breed more poor people who all want someone else to take care of their families.

15 posted on 02/20/2014 11:33:12 AM PST by freerepublicchat
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To: Kaslin; onyx; JustAmy; trisham; TheOldLady; DJ MacWoW; RedMDer; musicman; Lady Jag; STARWISE; ...

Not if we don’t surrender.

Never give-in, never give-up, never surrender!!

We don’t retreat, we reload!!

We are the resistance.


16 posted on 02/20/2014 11:33:58 AM PST by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
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To: DB
2012 WAS the tipping point.

Now all of the GOPe need to be purged.

17 posted on 02/20/2014 11:34:58 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: DB
The proof of the tipping point for me was Obama being elected for a second term.

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

I agree - the takers outnumber the makers. If we last long enough we can educate a new generation and maybe turn that around... but the takers are having babies, too.

18 posted on 02/20/2014 11:35:37 AM PST by grobdriver (Where is Wilson Blair when you need him?)
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To: Kaslin

If America falls, it will be because of Christians.

2 CHRONICLES 7:14

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.


19 posted on 02/20/2014 11:36:41 AM PST by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.)
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To: Jim Robinson
Indeed.

No surrender. No retreat.

20 posted on 02/20/2014 11:37:06 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Kaslin

I say yes because the media have been thoroughly corrupted and now belong to one side of the argument.


21 posted on 02/20/2014 11:38:26 AM PST by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: Kaslin

1) Yes
2) Yes
3) Yes
4) Yes

or

5) Yes

Mainly because our people suffer from too much insular tunnel vision to realize this idea has already FAILED everyplace else in the world.


22 posted on 02/20/2014 11:39:20 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Kaslin

Considering the concept of the “American Dream” is moving away from earning the fruits of hard work and toward collecting government checks and benefits...

Yes.


23 posted on 02/20/2014 11:40:27 AM PST by ScottinVA (Obama is so far in over his head, even his ears are beneath the water level.)
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To: Kaslin

Become?


24 posted on 02/20/2014 11:41:42 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th (and 17th))
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To: cherry

Well.. with rapidly rising muslim populations.. yeah, they do.


25 posted on 02/20/2014 11:42:42 AM PST by ScottinVA (Obama is so far in over his head, even his ears are beneath the water level.)
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To: Gay State Conservative

I’m worried about my 12 year old son.

He’s going to need to be one tough SOB to survive in the hell that is coming to this country (and the world).

I’m trying my best to prepare him, while at the same time allowing him to have a relatively worry/trouble-free childhood - but I am still worried.


26 posted on 02/20/2014 11:45:23 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th (and 17th))
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To: DB

Yup.


27 posted on 02/20/2014 11:45:40 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th (and 17th))
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To: Kaslin
Published June 28, 2012.

http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/the-republic-if-finished-and-the-america-we-knew-is-gone/

28 posted on 02/20/2014 11:47:03 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Kaslin
"I speculated in the interview that we probably have a couple of decades to save the country"

He's way more optimistic than I am. I can't believe we can continue to spend a trillion dollars a year in imaginary money for two more decades. And once the first financial domino fall the whole house of cards collapses.

29 posted on 02/20/2014 11:47:07 AM PST by circlecity
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To: DB
The proof of the tipping point for me was Obama being elected for a second term.

That's how I felt about it.
If you paid attention you knew what Obama was all about based on his books , family history,and statements made all prior to his first election.
You would have thought Americans after the first 4 years would have figured him out.
Romney was a decent person and a reasonable candidate but the voters went again with Obama.

Where would we be right now if the Socialists/Communists that have the Presidency and Senate had control of the House of representatives?-Tom

30 posted on 02/20/2014 11:47:23 AM PST by Capt. Tom (Don't confuse U.S. citizens and Americans. They are not necessarily the same. -tom)
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To: Graewoulf

Trey Gowdy supports amnesty, no thanks.


31 posted on 02/20/2014 11:49:13 AM PST by LowTaxesEqualsProsperity
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To: grobdriver
There's an invisible civil war going on and the takers are cranking out more and more troops. Unless conservatism finds a way to accept subsidized contraception of the takers, all is lost.

Opposition to contraception is a bit like being a conscientious objector. I can appreciate the principle, but there are times when we need a draft and stiff penalties for desertion.

32 posted on 02/20/2014 11:50:07 AM PST by freerepublicchat
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To: LowTaxesEqualsProsperity

Why would anyone as smart as Trey Gowdy support amnesty for Illegal Alien Invaders from Mexico?

It doesn’t make sense!


33 posted on 02/20/2014 11:52:31 AM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: Kaslin
"Is America Doomed to Become a Failed European-Style Welfare State?"

No. The piece doesn't even depict the situation as it is. The bureaucrats and their associates are not pulling a wagon. They haven't done any real work in their lives. From desks, they're piloting the economy and society to ruin while sucking far more money out of the kitty. They've outlawed most kinds of work with their regulations and laws.


34 posted on 02/20/2014 11:58:06 AM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: familyop

America, as it is today, is a kleptocracy. The rich join Congress, become governor, join a city council, and then get richer.

DC and NY are basically the same city separated by some coastline.

What’s going on is essentially Guan Xi. A pay to play system.


35 posted on 02/20/2014 12:01:17 PM PST by RinaseaofDs
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To: Kaslin

36 posted on 02/20/2014 12:02:27 PM PST by Oatka (This is America. Assimilate or evaporate.)
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To: Jim Robinson
We don’t retreat, we reload!!

Resolutely!

37 posted on 02/20/2014 12:22:27 PM PST by RedMDer
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To: Jim Robinson
Not if we don’t surrender.

Never give-in, never give-up, never surrender!!

We don’t retreat, we reload!!

We are the resistance.

**********************************

Amen, Jim.

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it."

~Thucydides

38 posted on 02/20/2014 12:23:08 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: circlecity

Yes we certainly agree the time will come when the markets puke on our fake money.

The challenge (to become wealthy and avoid the ongoing problems) is to have a good forecast of timing.


39 posted on 02/20/2014 12:27:03 PM PST by nascarnation (I'm hiring Jack Palladino to investigate Baraq's golf scores.)
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To: Kaslin

“Is America Doomed to Become a Failed European-Style Welfare State?”

Absolutely not! America is doomed to become a failed FASCIST European-style welfare state.


40 posted on 02/20/2014 12:27:47 PM PST by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: freerepublicchat

Thing is, that everyone is looking for that magic person who will solve all their problems for them and still take flack from a spoiled public. GW protected the US from a world of hurt, but he was still mouthed off to via the spoiled university crowd and our pampered media. Even conservatives whined about how he wasn’t doing one thing or another for them, while they sat fat and glassy eyed in front of TV. I’m certain that if the US decided to start making changes for themselves we wouldn’t be in this fix.

Honestly, when the economy and system collapses, it’ll be for the better in the end. Time to shed the dross and have ourselves a little Darwin experience. It’s inevitable.


41 posted on 02/20/2014 12:32:32 PM PST by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)
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To: Kaslin


42 posted on 02/20/2014 12:45:28 PM PST by Iron Munro ("Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime." - Lavrentiy Beria (& Eric Holder))
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To: brownsfan

Doomed? Can someone be “doomed” after the fact?


43 posted on 02/20/2014 12:48:28 PM PST by sefarkas (Why vote Democrat Lite?)
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To: Kaslin

Anyone who can perform mathematical functions would tell you that America is past the point of no return. For now, the burden of the debt is lessened by ZIRP. When it starts to go up and it will, those left believing in unicorns and rainbows, will have to work harder for less.


44 posted on 02/20/2014 12:52:38 PM PST by griswold3 (Post-Christian America is living on borrowed moral heritage)
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To: Kaslin

Yes - without a doubt.


45 posted on 02/20/2014 1:01:44 PM PST by Jack Hammer
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To: Kaslin

I thought we already were.


46 posted on 02/20/2014 1:33:49 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Kaslin

I fear we are doomed to become a failed Stalinist State, after the financial collapse and social upheaval.


47 posted on 02/20/2014 1:35:35 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: Jim Robinson; Kaslin; onyx; TheOldLady; RedMDer; DJ MacWoW; trisham; musicman; moose07; ...


Bite Hard




48 posted on 02/20/2014 2:27:53 PM PST by Lady Jag (Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society. - Aristotle)
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To: RedMDer




Support Free Republic



49 posted on 02/20/2014 2:34:15 PM PST by Lady Jag (Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society. - Aristotle)
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To: Iron Munro

The sign says “Work makes you free” and Obama doesn’t like work. Just more taqiyya?


50 posted on 02/20/2014 2:36:24 PM PST by Lady Jag (Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society. - Aristotle)
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