For the past century, the United States has been in a league of her own. From the first flight and the mass production of automobiles to the advent of radio and television through to the digital revolution, almost all the great innovations have happened in America.
Europe might have been home of the world’s first industrial revolutions, with the Dutch leading the way in the 18th century and the English in the 19th. But the United States has pretty much eclipsed any European achievement ever since.
Today those living in the United States have tended to live better, longer, and more prosperous lives than people anywhere else on the planet. For all the talk of income inequality in the US today, the lowest quintile of Mississippians enjoys a standard of living beyond the reach of the richest Americans 50 years ago. Even poor Americans generally live better lives than the richest Asians and Africans – and even middle-class Europeans.
America’s success has not happened by accident. The United States did not prosper because of geography or the uniqueness of the landscape. Still less was America’s economic advance a product of exploitation and slavery, as some of the radical left insist. America’s industrial take-off happened after, not before, the abolition of slavery.
No, the thing that puts America in a league of her own is her commitment to the ideas of liberty and limited government. Her founding ideals are her secret sauce.
Yesterday, however, President Biden set out a path that would take America in a very different direction. What Biden proposes is nothing less than the “Europeanization” of the United States. Instead of limited government, the new administration is looking to drive US government spending to the levels it is in many of those less happy lands across the Atlantic.
The radical progressives in DC are proposing a European style system of wealth redistribution. Under the guise of fighting climate change, federal fiat will command and control economic activity. There will be punitive increases in corporation and capital gains taxes.
“Don’t worry” the progressives tell us. “Only companies are going to pay higher corporation taxes”. Claiming that only companies pay for corporation taxes is a bit like claiming that it is my car, not me, who pays for gas tax.
As for the idea that only the super-rich will have to pay more personal taxes, that is what they once said in Europe. Today tens of millions of Europeans hand over almost half of what they earn in one form of tax or another.
Under Biden’s ‘American Families Plan’ the federal government is going to have a plan for your family. There is due to be a quasi-socialist expansion of federal oversight of childcare and education, with government taking control of nurseries and classrooms.
The Biden administration would make the United States less American and more European. As the federal government grows bigger, the economy will become less dynamic and innovative. The United States, rather like Europe has opted to do, would take a holiday from history – all at the moment China has begun to challenge the global order.
Fortunately, not all is yet lost. Thanks to the genius of the Founding generation, the United States is still a union of states, not a centralized province run directly from DC. The States – with their governors, legislatures, and courts – are the last line of defense against overbearing government. That is why we at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy are working to outline an agenda for economic freedom and limited government that can be delivered here in the Magnolia State.
What we are working towards is a national movement to restore and renew the American republic, and to make good the Founding Ideals that have made America such a success.
For the past century, the Western world has prospered and prevailed less because of Europe, but because of the United States. If the West is to flourish in the future, it will be because we make Europe more like America, rather than America more like Europe.