• Worse than Europe

      Union protestors, angry over government spending cuts, shut down transportation in France and England today. The AP reports:

      French unions challenged unpopular President Nicolas Sarkozy with a major nationwide strike over plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, shutting down trains, planes, buses, subways, post offices and schools.

      Non-socialist parties now control both the French and the UK governments, and they seem to be getting serious about budget deficits.

      In the UK:

      Mr. Osborne also announced a two-year wage freeze for all but the lowest paid among Britain’s six million public servants and a three-year freeze on benefits paid to parents for rearing children, in addition to new medical screening for people claiming disability benefits, part of a bid to cut $16 billion from the annual welfare budget.

      In France:

      France has committed to cutting the public deficit from a projected 8% of gross domestic product this year to 6% next year, 4.6% in 2012 and 3% in 2013…

      The ironic thing is that the US government is in a worse financial situation than those countries, but it spends more than ever. Here are projections from before the French/UK budget-cutting proposals:

      (Sources: British and French projections from the IMF, which end at 2015. US data from US Budgets and Auerbach-Gale projections cited by Paul Krugman.)

      Unions protest spending cuts in the US, too. But when US politicians propose “cutting” spending, they usually just mean increasing spending at a slower rate than they planned. The Truman administration was the last one to actually reduce non-military government spending.

      In fact, by 2020 the US will have more debt than Greece does now. Will we reform -- or end up like Greece? That’s the subject of my next Fox News special, titled “The Battle For America.”  Fox has not yet told me when it will air.

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