Government indicators suggest that GDP has shrunk by 0.1% in the last quarter. Many wonder why our economy continues to stagnate but in answer to this question Rick Santelli states, “We have become Europe.” Europe for the past few decades has seen slow growth and periodic recessions.
There is a reason that America is no longer considered the "new" world. Of course in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Americas were, as far as Europeans were concerned, new. That moniker was kept long into the 19th and the early 20th century, even though in reality America was no longer all that new.
The U.S. was populated by all of the western escapists trying to leave the command and control economies of the “old world.” Nowadays, Europe and the U.S. share many of the same political traits that caused the first immigrants to leave Europe in the first place. It has taken over a hundred years to bring the American economy to the point of stagnation.
What has brought this European growth model to these shores? The answer is simple elitism in the federal government. Europe has been rife for centuries with government agencies, run by an elite circle, that think they know what's best for everyone. The U.S., on the other hand, had few agencies and few places where well meaning aristocrats could force their way on everyone. Now in the U.S., you cannot go throughout your day without running into some new regulation: the size of your toilet tank, the temperature of your water heater, or the size of your fountain drink. If it is not already regulated, there is some government bureaucrat who can find ways to make your life difficult until you comply with every one of his whims.
The vast size of government was also something of the "old world" that has been revived in the U.S., from the shallow grave it was buried in. Federal spending in the U.S. has been on a sharp increase since the turn of the last century and is only getting worse. The U.S. would not be experiencing any change in economic output in the 19th century due to cut backs, since government spending barely got above 5% of GDP on a bad year.
Government spending is now well over 20% and if trends continue and the market continues to stagnate that will only increase. That does not even account for the Federal Reserve and its policy of dispersing the value of your diluted dollars to those who sing their praises.
Finally, having lived in both Europe and the U.S., I have personally found that Europeans have come to accept that the regression of their freedom as if it were inevitable. It is illegal in the U.K. to have a pot-luck dinner at Church or to have light switches in a bathroom (who has ever been shocked by a light switch in a bathroom?!) to name a few. People just casually mention it as if this is how the world should be. The U.S. is becoming that way more and more. That is what scares me the most! The casual acceptance of absurd government decrees and inconveniences caused by our benevolent regulators.
Europe is not a terrible place and there are many great things about Europe, their economy and their regulations are not any one of those things. I had a friend from the Netherlands stay with me for a couple days in a small town in Alabama, and I brought him to what I considered a small grocery store and he was amazed at the vast amount of choice and products that he could get. I have been to the Netherlands, and it is absolutely beautiful and rich in culture, but the people who live there want to have the choice we still nominally have in the U.S.
We take for granted just how incredibly great it is to be able to contract, buy, and sell with whom we please without the prying eyes of government.