If you’re going to have a Euro-scale welfare state with a Euro-scale regulatory state while plumping up Euro-scale labor unions and ossified Euro-scale crony capitalists… well… guess what? You’re going to get Euro-scale unemployment. There’s no way the White House didn’t see this coming.
There are, however, two things the administration didn’t see coming.
First, they really did believe the economy would come back. Maybe not with as many jobs as other people hoped — but, hey, that’s just the price of “fundamentally transforming” a nation. All they had to do was goose the economy enough for Big Labor and Big Business and Big Finance to keep the campaign coffers full. And all of those unemployed? What are they going to complain about, once they’ve been given “free” health care, ever-extended unemployment benefits, and the promise of a “jam tomorrow” union gig?
That must’ve looked like a pretty sweet strategy early in 2009, when it was first being formulated.
But the second thing the administration didn’t see coming might just be its undoing.
Except for the 20% of Americans who call themselves “liberal,” Americans never wanted a cradle-to-grave welfare state. Americans are (still) Americans, and we want to work.
Talk to the rioters in Manchester, and they’re quite happy to live comfortably on the dole — and to set their own cities on fire if they can’t get even more. Years ago I saw an English actress on a talk show — I believe it was Alex Kingston. She was telling the host how “refreshing” it was to be in American. In the UK, you see, everyone asks, “What does your father do?” And over here, she said, people ask “What do you do?” In fatherless Britain, Big Daddy Parliament pays all the bills.