People often ask Arthur Brooks if America is in danger of becoming a European-style social democracy. "My answer is: 'No, because we already are a European-style social democracy,'" the president of the American Enterprise Institute writes in the Wall Street Journal. "The political right can crow all it wants about how America is a 'conservative country' … but at 36%, US government spending relative to GDP is very close to Spain's. And our debt-to-GDP ratio is 103%; Spain's is 68%."
Brooks blames three factors: America's left, which "is every bit as focused on growing government" as Europe's; political cronyism, which has showered handouts on favored individuals and industries; and the public's disinterest in politics—"If I don't know who my senator is, I am unlikely to know much about his bridge to nowhere." We need Americans to re-engage. We need Tea Party outrage to "become a permanent part of our political landscape," and drive out "today's noxious brew of leftism, cronyism, and general inaction." Click for Brooks' full column. (Read more Arthur Brooks stories.)