NEW YORK, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- "Whether we want to admit it or not the
America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state," Newsweek Editor Jon
Meacham and Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas write in an essay opening the February
16 Newsweek cover package, "We Are All Socialists Now" (on newsstands Monday,
February 9). Meacham and Thomas write that the America of 2009 was moving
toward a European social democracy, even before President Obama proposed the
largest fiscal bill in American history. "If we fail to acknowledge the
reality of the growing role of government in the economy, insisting instead on
fighting 21st-century wars with 20th-century terms and tactics, then we are
doomed to a fractious and unedifying debate. The sooner we understand where we
truly stand, the sooner we can think more clearly about how to use government
in today's world," they write.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090208/NYSU002 )
Meacham and Thomas observe that this shift towards more government
intervention in the economy began not under a Democrat but a Republican. "The
architect of this new era of big government? History has a sense of humor, for
the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W.
Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700
billion." The Obama administration is now caught in a paradox, having to
borrow and spend to fix a crisis created by borrowing and spending. "Obama
talks of the need for smart government. To get the balance between America and
France right, the new president will need all the smarts he can summon,"
Meacham and Thomas write.
Also in the cover package, Europe Editor Michael Freedman reports on the
extent to which the United States is turning European. When Obama said that
it was time to get past stale arguments over whether government is big or
small, he was echoing the eclectic philosophy of French president Nicolas
Sarkozy, and in endorsing the "Buy American" rules, members of the Obama
administration were seconding the old French culture of "economic patriotism."
"Until the financial crisis began last year, this kind of business bashing and
protectionism was largely relegated to the far left, and it seemed axiomatic
in the United States that the business of America was business," Freedman
writes. "But with an urgency not seen since Ronald Reagan declared that
government was in fact the problem, policymakers are now reconsidering the
relationship between government and the private sector."
While it's impossible to know just what the day after the crisis will look
like, the broad contours of the new economic world are becoming visible. "Now
one of the big debates in the U.S. is how to bridge the gap between business
and government in a way that avoids stagnation while still satisfying the
intense demand for financial and social services. In other words, can America
adopt a more European model, only with a faster rate of growth?" Freedman
believes that if Obama can somehow forge a middle path that builds upon the
best of the European safety net while also encouraging the dynamism and
innovation that has helped the U.S. prosper, it will provide evidence that
government can actually be a part of the solution.
(Read cover package at www.Newsweek.com)
Big Government is Back-Big Time: http://www.newsweek.com/id/183664