Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good intentions and catastrophic outcomes

Here's a great essay by Walter Russel Mead on the troubles of Obama's home state, Illinois, as well as California and New York. These states are the greatest fortresses of Democratic power in the country. But they are becoming fiscal catastrophes, undermining the support for the poor and disadvantaged that politicians had championed.

American liberalism today is in an advanced stage of intellectual decline. Cynical and short sighted interests wrap themselves in the increasingly tattered mantles of sacred ideas. Liberals are right to feel that social justice matters, that the poor should have greater opportunity and that government in a democratic society cannot remain indifferent to the existence of great social evils.

But where liberals in America have the freest hand—in states like New York, California and Illinois—we see incontrovertible evidence that the policies they choose don’t have the consequences they predict. California by now should surely be an educational, environmental and social utopia. New York should be a wonder of glorious liberal governance. Illinois should be known far and wide as the state that works.

Just like Europe, which is also clearly in trouble, massive debt and busted pension promises are the result. Good intentions are not enough.

Incidentally, Gallup polls suggest if Europeans had a vote in the US Presidential election, 96% of Irish and 97% of Germans would support Obama. Extraordinary.


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