Step by step, at times bogged down but never quite in retreat, the Democratic Party has pushed the U.S. toward the European model of the 20th-century welfare state. Indeed, it has clearly bothered our political class that it’s taken until the second decade of the 21st century for us to have begun in earnest to nationalize health care and auto production. It is therefore strange that the chattering leftists who’ve longed for the Europeanization of the U.S. economy find themselves bothered and bewildered by our nonexistent recovery. They should be of good cheer, because 9.5% unemployment is moderately robust performance by European standards:
You can hide a tax from the voters, perhaps, by making it a mandate, and apparently you can easily hide it from the Congress by putting it in a 2,000-page piece of legislation. But you can’t hide from its consequences. Welcome to the new normal.