Today France, Tomorrow the USA?

As that rail and subway strike continued to paralyze travel in Paris and across France into the third week, President Emmanuel Macron made a Christmas appeal to his dissatisfied countrymen:

“Strike action is justifiable and protected by the constitution, but I think there are moments in a nation’s life when it is good to observe a truce out of respect for families and family life.”

Macron’s appeal has gone largely unheeded.

“The public be damned!” seems to be the attitude of many of the workers who are tying up transit to protest Macron’s plan to reform a pension system that consumes 14% of GDP.

Macron wants to raise to 64 the age of eligibility for full retirement benefits. Not terribly high. And to set an example, he is surrendering his lifetime pension that is to begin when he becomes an ex-president.

Yet, it is worth looking more closely at France because she appears to be at a place where the rest of Europe and America are headed.

In France, the government collects 46% of the GDP in taxes and spends 56% of GDP, the highest figures in the Western world.

And Paris appears to be bumping up against the limits of what democratic voters will tolerate in higher taxes, or reductions in benefits, from the postwar welfare states the West has created.

A year ago, when Macron sought to raise fuel taxes to cut carbon emissions, the “yellow vests” came out in protests that degenerated into rioting, looting, arson, desecration of monuments and attacks on police.

Paris capitulated and canceled the tax.

How do we compare?

The U.S. national debt is now larger than the GDP. Only in 1946, the year after World War II, was U.S. debt a larger share of GDP than today.

In 2019, the U.S. ran a deficit just shy of $1 trillion, and the U.S. government projects trillion-dollar deficits through the decade, which begins next week. And we will be running these deficits not to stimulate an economy in recession, as President Obama did, but to pile them on top of an economy at full employment.

In short, we are beginning to run historic deficits in a time of prosperity. Whatever the economic theory behind this, it bears no resemblance to the limited government-balanced budget philosophy of the party of Ronald Reagan.

The questions the U.S. will inevitably face are the ones France faces: At what point does government consumption of the national wealth become too great a burden for the private sector to bear? At what point must cuts be made in government spending that will be seen by the people, as they are seen in France today, as intolerable?

While a Republican Congress ran surpluses in the 1990s, when defense spending fell following our Cold War victory, Dwight Eisenhower was the last Republican president to run surpluses.

Opposition to new or higher taxes appears to be the one piece of ground today on which Republicans will not yield. But if so, where are the cuts going to come from that will be virtually mandated if U.S. debt is not to grow beyond any sustainable level?

America’s long-term problem:

Deficits are projected to run regularly in the coming decade at nearly 5% of GDP while economic growth has fallen back to 2%.

With taxes off the table, where, when and how do we cut spending?

Or does each new administration kick the can down the road?

The five principal items in the federal budget are these:

Social Security, which consumes 25% of that budget. Yet, Social Security outlays will reach the point this year where payroll taxes no longer cover them. The “trust fund” will have to be raided. Translation: The feds will have to borrow money to cover the Social Security deficit.

Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and other health programs account for another fourth of the budget. All will need more money to stay solvent.

Defense, which used to take 9% of GDP in JFK’s time and 6% in Ronald Reagan’s buildup, is now down to 3.2% of GDP.

Yet, while defense’s share of GDP is among the smallest since before World War II, U.S. commitments are as great as they were during the Cold War. We are now defending 28 NATO nations, containing Russia, and maintaining strategic parity. We have commitments in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and the global war on terror. We defend South Korea and Japan from a nuclear-armed North Korea and China.

Yet another major item in the budget is interest on the debt.

And as that U.S. debt surges with all the new deficits this decade, and interest rates inevitably begin to rise, interest on the debt will rise both in real terms and as a share of the budget.

Again, is France the future of the West?

By Patrick J. Buchanan
Source: Creators

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One Comment

  1. Dude! Hi. :]

    Macaroni malthinks, he’d have to “NOT” take power, but plays the on-talker of exactly idiots. How HE talks, he’d get a tomato onna head in a normal world – NOT, only ALMOST. 🙂 a mean that metaphorical, merely virtually strict:

    Also You: Hello. The french govvie governedementum isen not “having to make decisions”, but is plain OVERTAXING apparently even or simply, THE simply MID-rich; BY not even GETTING to any bigger, “BIG” global dough (money : ):

    obviously. 🙂

    Depardieu who FLED to RUSSIA from high – french – taxes;

    mega. !

    Macron the noodle didn’t close nuke fission reactors;

    he provenly, as You don’t comment aptly on it, tried to play the demagogue, insofar Ye commentedst SUPER mainly, even punkishly as in (using the term) “degeneration” there, yet Macron’s wrongly by him handled PENSION system is obviously a maldoing, idiocy of his, which needs more analysis, revelation, is there any underserved content, stuff, in there, but that the french government “collects” a huge part of – french – Wealth, HATH, has been said and thusly criticised BY You: Yet simply, in other easier words, it COLLECTS dough of any – rich – People – hopefully not AT ALL of any simply poor People below yearly income of around surely some even 150’000, better 200’000 $ — but it collects there too much, where it obviously EVEN domestically can’t simply oversee it all, can’t even FIND “anything” – OR is in cases BRIBEABLE simply, which results in hidden bloodmoney “all over”; Even independent of that, overtaxation is simplestly why also lately a rementioned ma own funny selfchosen selfinvented title “Antanotaxos”, i remember now that so nice greek Fella uhnlaan, who told me all bout da greek so MEGA MEGA Lango, whoa – I just re-remembered this now more precisely, since actually quite some few YEARS actually, as I typed this, LOL; Antanotaxos simply would mean, against taxes.

    macron is just a slimer. I really think, he assumes, one couldn’t oneself take power BY merely insight – he HAS none! 🙂 he lets A LOT of dull people with DEGREES n so, influencers of no smart type, TAWK inta HIS earen. He didn’t apparently lower taxes for the midrich (which midrich ARE ALREADY quite very rich, but deserve no insanely high as in, simply no over 40 percent of taxes, I say, all else is THEFT, exploitation, horrendous!), and then ta belook some few MEGA ULTRA richest capitalistas in peace yo with laak, an individual fair judgement just personally, objectively, and to in general also there not overtax, means also to be informed about zuckie zucker and suckerberg’s idiocies of late, LOL to say le least, an laak, I got a BIG moutho, yeso, LOL, but a say le same “than”, LOL, as Ye doest, cuz You’re Catweazle an I carrot. 🙂 AS it seems. 🙂 nay nay. so. 🙂 ciao til nex taam ultra Punko Oldie. :] JMT WMP. Siempre. :} Der Cabbalist mit der Skateboard he never rode uhn inna head. :] The normalo who talks in EVERYwhea. :] that be me. :] I stand entirely under Ye, good Citizen. We are Anon-Supporters from remotely an period. Long live Assange. A hope They there in eng fuckin “land” treat Him betta now and me not sayin that “TO” anything, TO “do” anythang. betta thinking n thusly seein, that runnin round for shit. The chinese government is next right after Iran as target done in ba our USA. period. so. goes that. Anyway. thx, supa article. You’re a super Dude. ciao til real soon. a wonda how all that out there goes now. is like a chess board. a got better also there by just usin the Jerry super Linux chess program, me sometimes RETRACTIN own moves, so I can then more than better see in there, play onward, but more, all these moves are not even actually all so very nor at all individual, but all parts of simply all of this universe, of all the combinations, there merely by comparison of course of memory and configurative structure of any existence, which relates more than anywhen too normally beseen.

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