The Corner

Continental Drift

The lead editorial in today’s Washington Post admits that the Omnibus spending bill for the rest of FY2009 is filled with earmarks and acknowledges that “the significant jump in domestic spending that is built into the annual baseline [. . .] raises both short- and long-term concerns.” 

But the Post says that Republican-supported legislation to keep spending at today’s levels, “would deny the needed flexibility to reallocate money among programs or ramp up for particular costs, such as conducting the census or improving food safety.”

Come on. It is an outlandish use of the Washington Monument syndrome to cite food safety as a reason to pass an aggregate eight-percent spending increase (in addition to a so-called stimulus bill that increases the burden of government spending by another $1 trillion). The bigger question, though, is whether America should become more like France and other European-style welfare states. I left France for the United States because I wanted more opportunity. I love my home country (well, I really love the wine, the cheese, and four-hour meals), but excessive spending and intervention have stifled growth and resulted in living standards that are about one-third lower than American levels (see the final page of this for the depressing figures).

Veronique de Rugy is an economist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.