I wrote in praise of Canada yesterday; today Conrad Black surveyed the dismal international scene and concluded that the United Kingdom, along with Canada, offer hope for western-style democracies to survive:
When Barack Obama took office, the official normal money supply of the United States was about $1.1-trillion. The $3-trillion in federal budget deficits that have been run up since then have largely, technically, escaped the money supply, though accretions have almost doubled the official total, an unheard of rate of growth (about 40% annualized) in a hard-currency country. About 70% of this debt has been paid by the issuance of bonds to the central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve, a subsidiary of the United States government. …
The EU is in hot contention with the United States as the Sick Man of the Great World Economic Powers, because less than 40% of Eurozone citizens work and over 60% are on benefits of some sort. But not to be discounted in this gripping Olympic contest for total fiscal immolation is geriatric, debt-ridden, stagnating Japan, a great but terribly beleaguered and demoralized country.
If there are signs of hope, the place we might look is Britain. Unlike the United States, the European Union and Japan, the United Kingdom is making a respectable effort to reduce unsustainable debt rather than simply devaluing the currency in which the debt is denominated. Britain’s fiscal deficit is more than 10% of GDP, approximately twice Canada’s rate and slightly higher than that of the United States, but its government does have a somewhat believable plan for reducing it. …
The adaptability, durability and astuteness of the British should not be underestimated. Canada has inherited, refined and demonstrated some of those qualities, and has a North American work ethic and immense resources to boot.
Both countries, as they shore themselves up and brace themselves for the disarray that the Americans and peripheral Europeans and Japanese seem determined to generate, should keep their nerve, stay in close touch, be prepared to embrace Germany and a few others when they tire of being Europe’s baggage animals, and get ready for great opportunities to lead and renovate.
Under President Obama, the United States appears determined to shrug off the mantle of international leadership and continue careening toward the financial cliff that will condemn our children to something like poverty. Thankfully, there are outposts of sanity here and there around the world where perhaps, if we do collapse, as will surely happen if we continue on our present course, the principles of liberty may survive.