by JOEL B. POLLAK 17 May 2013
In the midst of the scandal over the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) unconstitutional and likely criminal targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups, the Wall Street Journal released some fascinating data about the comparative performance of the U.S. and European economies. Both fell and rose at roughly the same pace from 2008 to early 2011. But beginning in early 2011, they diverge sharply, with the U.S. continuing to recover slowly and the Euro zone falling back into a decline.
The timing of the split is no coincidence.
Early 2011 is when the Tea Party-backed Republican majority officially took the House of Representatives. And though the Tea Party was maligned by the media, lost some of its political momentum, and failed to reach many of its own ambitious goals, it imposed a modicum of discipline on Washington that created much-needed economic stability.
Most significantly, the Tea Party ensured that there would be no more bailouts–especially of profligate “blue” states; no large tax increases; and no new major regulations by Congress.
The President, his party, and the many Keynesian enthusiasts for government spending in the mainstream media derided what they called the Tea Party’s “austerity” policies. They even cast the Tea Party as “hostage takers” or “terrorists” for being willing to face sequestration or default rather than accede to large tax hikes or spending increases. They point to Europe’s ongoing struggles as evidence that fiscal discipline does not work, and they have continuously warned–against the evidence–that lower spending will doom our own recovery.
Yet Europe has not been experiencing actual “austerity,” but half-hearted reforms instead. Though increases in government spending have slowed in many European countries, few have carried out real spending cuts, and many have enacted self-destructive tax increases.