Clintonista-Obamanoid John Podesta notes that an American value-added tax is more likely to become reality when American deficits are enormous. This outcome is to be celebrated in Mr. Podesta's view, as it would "bring a balance" between the American economy and its Japanese and European counterparts.
For those who wonder, a value-added tax is like a sales tax, only more insidious. Americans presently pay state and local sales taxes, which are added to the cost of a purchase when one pays for the purchase, calculated as a percentage of the retail price and clearly listed on a sales receipt. Value-added taxes, by contrast, are assessed more furtively. When raw materials are made into goods, a percentage of the "value added" to those materials at each stage of production is calculated and recorded. Those taxes are paid finally by the consumer, who forks over a retail price that adds a predetermined percentage of the pre-calculated "value added." The tax is thus entirely opaque to the buyer, who simply grumbles at how high prices are and blames the rapacious retailer for his unseemly greed.
How Mr. Podesta thinks that an additional tax that raises retail prices will bring the American economy into "balance" with other economies in a way that benefits Americans is not exactly clear, but that's not our point. Certainly Japan and Europe have had such taxes for some time, which is more to our point.
Our point is to ask why the left always thinks that European approaches are superior to American ones. As a frequent visitor to Europe and one-time expatriate resident of an EU member country, we appreciate many aspects of European life and culture. Europe is scenic, friendly, artsy and tasty. But we fail to see what is inherently superior about its mode of governance.
Moreover, we think it's obvious why so many Europeans, the SWNIDish ancestors among them, left the Old Country for the New World. The spirit of individual initiative and opportunity that has historically attracted immigrants to these shores continues, despite various moves away from its nurture, to exist in a measure that is palpable when one compares other industrialized countries, most particularly in Europe. It has its upside as well as its downside, certainly, but it is nevertheless a key ingredient in the growth in prosperity and sharing of opportunity that have been the hallmark of the American republic and continue to distinguish it from its competitors in the eyes of still-teeming immigrants to the American republic.
So why is it that lefties think that the mantra "Europe does it" is sufficient to imply, "So should we"? These days the politics of Europhilism applies in American discourse to such far-flung matters as taxes, trains and health insurance. Why?
We're not going to quote stats on employment, economic growth or social mobility to make our case. We aren't going to note how often and expensively in the last century the American part of "the West" came to the rescue of its European counterpart. We are simply wondering why, mostly having left Europe long or not so long ago, Americans now want to go back, and not just to see 23 cities in 25 days.