One must tear apart the right wing of the Republicans for their social politics; however, it is worth looking closer at their economics.
These days, whoever questions whether the world economy is in a debt crisis would be nervous: With the EU and United States, the two biggest economic zones in the world are at the brink of insolvency. A good number of politicians on this side of the Atlantic like to attribute it to unpropitious markets. It is clear that the danger is not over with the second aid package for Greece; as the situation in Italy shows, the confidence of investors is being rapidly lost.
Everyone knows what will happen if Italy were to go bust: No aid package or financial stabilization package could help the euro any longer. The common currency in its present form would be history. No one wants to say that; who wants to tell their citizens that one misjudged the situation for two years? Seen this way, the debt dispute in the United States comes at the right time for European politics. It is “in” to point fingers at the superpower. After all, the blockade politics of the evil Republicans are not only endangering the presidency of Barack Obama, who is popular on this side of the Atlantic, but in reality, the entire world economy. Instead of finally raising the debt limit at least $2.4 trillion, the fight goes on to the bitter end, even if that may mean the inability to pay.
In fact, it would now be easy to simply lift the limit. Backed by the dollar as the base currency, the United States would hardly have a problem obtaining money in the capital market. At 98 percent of the economic output, the indebtedness is high, but far from the Greek or Italian spheres. And the rating agencies would also be gracious should the United States just rubber-stamp the savings package proposed by the Democrats.
And yet the Republicans are obstructed by the pressure from the tea party. And that is good. One must attack the tea party for their social politics; Muslims are extensively hounded and homosexuality is classified as an illness. But economically, it will be the Republicans, and with them, above all, the tea party, who save the United States from Europe's fate.
Low taxes, a manageable budget and individual freedom are the core values with which the United States rose to be a superpower. The idea of a government winning more power rubs Americans the wrong way, but this is exactly the goal Obama is pursuing: According to the neutral Congressional Budget Office, the president wants to raise the expenditure rate from 20 to 22 percent — a low number, but a trend in the wrong direction. And to raise taxes to fund the deficit simply doesn’t conform to the ideology of the Americans.
Obama’s objection to any compromise that doesn’t lay the debt question to rest by 2013, when the next presidential election will be over and done with, is to be evaluated with skepticism. Only someone for whom considering possibilities for debt reduction is unpleasant speaks in this way. In fact, the Americans will have to digest heavy cuts. The structure of expenditures must be fundamentally reformed, and with it public health care: The costs of Medicare and Medicaid programs will climb 50 percent by 2035, if it goes according to Obama.
Of course, it is true that the current plan of the Democrats provides for considerable savings; however, and the Congressional Budget Office points to this as well, the plan assumes economic growth of 3 percent. In the first half of the year, the U.S. economy grew about 1.9 percent. If the economic growth doesn’t rapidly start, the savings goals of the Democrats will miss the mark. That awakens memories: Greece also once referred to the disappointing economic system carrying the blame for the debacle.
Still, the United States is far from the Greek fate. Therefore, criticizing exclusively the “hardliners” in the ranks of the Republicans would only occur to the debt-enamored Europeans.