Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Lessons from Abroad for Obama and the Congressional Liberal Democrats

In my August post, A Lesson from Italy for Obama and the Congressional Liberal Democrats, I observed how Italian voters had voted for Italy’s conservative government in local elections as a referendum on its pledge of reducing its budget deficit without raising taxes.

In Sweden, the liberal party that has ruled that most famous welfare state for most of the last several decades failed to win a majority in the recent parliamentary election over the ruling conservatives. The Swedish conservatives had succeeded in cutting taxes and spending, as they had promised during the previous election. However, they were unable to win an electoral majority this time, which has resulted in a hung parliament. A handful of Green party and independent members of parliament holding the balance of power are likely to join the minority liberals in a leftist coalition government.

The results in Sweden were similar to the election last month in Australia, where the ruling liberals failed to win a majority in parliament. The liberals had promised to raise taxes on Australia’s significant mining industry to finance welfare. Three independents and one Green party member broke the tie and formed a leftist coalition with the minority liberals in order to form a government. Thus, in both Sweden and Australia, the main liberal parties were unable to win a majority outright and had to depend upon a coalition in order to govern.

These results, combined with the elections earlier this year in the United Kingdom, where the ruling liberal party lost to a conservative party that was able to form a coalition government that pledged to reduce the British deficit, suggest public anxiety over excessive government spending, borrowing and taxing, and the willingness of an increasing number of voters to elect conservatives promising to reduce spending.

It is not surprising then, that there has been a rise of tea party movements abroad, as the Conservative News Service recently reported. According to CNS, Tea party protests against big government welfare statism have occurred in Italy, Australia and the United Kingdom, along with the Netherlands.

United States President Barak Obama and the liberal Democratic majority in Congress should draw the lesson from these developments that the governed no longer consent as they once did to the redistribution of their wealth through government confiscation. If Obama and his allies truly want the U.S. to be more like Europe – especially Sweden – then they should start to reduce the size of government, or lose elections.

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