The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s All Stars.

On whether the U.S. is headed towards European-style social democracy:

…depends on whether this huge increase in government spending is temporary or not, and that will determine.

Look, the numbers don’t lie. The Europeans spend slightly under half of their entire economy ends up in the government hand and dispensed by the government. And that’s social democracy. It’s democratic socialism.

Here in America, ten years ago, a slightly over a third was in the hands of the government. Today, however, that number has increased. So whereas there was a 14-point spread, Europe having much more involvement, 14 percentage points in the economy, than America, that now is cut in half. It’s only seven percent.

So the real issue is whether our approaching the European model is temporary or permanent.

The administration pretends it’s temporary, but if you look at the form of spending, all that huge increase in social spending, it will be almost impossible to ultimately undo that and cut it in two years.

On Obama’s decision to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan:

The question here is why did he release this announcement right now in this way, just sort of this offhanded way? You have got several reviews happening, a White House review, a Petraeus review. You have Holbrooke out there reviewing it as well.

So why do you dribble out an announcement in the absence of a review? And I think it is because the news out of the area in the last week or so has been awful.

You have the agreement of the government of Pakistan to essentially turn over the Swat Valley to the Taliban, which is a disaster. You’ve got the announcement two weeks ago our base in Kyrgyzstan is being shut down under the pressure of the Russians. And you have the blowing up of our bridges in our supply areas into Afghanistan.

So it looks as if this was done as a way to say that we are actually going to be sending in the troops, the cavalry, on an emergency basis.

But it doesn’t inspire confidence. It’s not supported by argument and presentation and review. And it’s also about half of what our commander had asked for. So it’s puzzling.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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