Lessons from Italy for America's sequestration
WSJ's Bret Stephens weighs in
- Duration 4:06
- Date Feb 27, 2013
WSJ's Bret Stephens weighs in
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
It's become a constant drumbeat if you will talk of the budget cuts that would -- in.
On Friday if lawmakers don't make a deal we've heard the dire warnings from the white house of how the sequester will affect all of us.
-- writing in the Wall Street Journal Brett Stephens says the drastic cuts could prevent the United States from seeing the kind of economic collapse are seeing another European nations he writes quote.
Yes it's a hatchet not scalpel yes it will hobble our defenses.
Yes it avoids making cuts the entitlement programs that are the real drivers of our national debt and yes President Obama will want to gain -- ties to his political advantage regardless of consequences were in a little deeper beyond just -- with random moment just say could see what we're talking about here there's a sobering comparison.
And the united -- in Greece and Italy when it comes to the size of our -- compared to the size of our entire economy concede there our screen we're not that far away from Italy.
And Greece joining us now Bret Stephens foreign affairs columnist of the Wall Street Journal with an -- because really optimistic let's get -- -- sure.
Even the -- -- that they have nowhere to go but I hit right exactly.
We've agreed to this is screener because often we hear over gonna be like grace that you point nine near your com this week -- -- Italy.
That we should look at why.
-- look Italy just had an election which had effectively new results.
The failed many time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi came in a strong second you have this kind of faceless ex Communist.
-- minor and it might not be able to form a government he comedian got 25.
Percent of of the vote Italy is basically ungovernable -- -- comedians let's.
No I like comedians as comedians not necessarily as politicians.
But the country is ungovernable why is -- why is that the case because they've had an entitlement problem that they've been racking up for the past.
Thirty years you know for the first after this people think oh Italy's this big economic basket case it's always been that way.
Not true first 25 years after World War II Italy -- -- -- -- -- -- political economical the economic miracle Italy's growth -- succeeded Germany's.
Then things began to slow why it correspond with the massive expansion of their entitlement state.
Let's pick up up one of the points that you made.
Which is that an I say this and as pat Italian Jenna Delfino -- got -- would go in the background about the Italians represented you know and boxing is Brent.
But it seems in times that we talk about it Italy's economy or -- We often make references in the culture a business Europeans.
This is part of their culture and this is who they are.
What do you think about that -- What my mother's -- OK okay so we're even but we also it's soft it's not just oh you know I've been up to Goran and people just taking these -- and drinking cappuccinos.
It's a system it's a series of policy errors that have been accumulating for decades in 1978.
What does -- do it -- universal health care.
Between 1980 and 99.
Italy's debt doubles it goes from 50% of GDP around 1980 to a 100% roughly where -- the united since our.
1990 what happens for the next two decades.
Total economic stagnation these -- policy errors it's not culture.
So let's bring it to today we had the sequester.
On Friday the deadline how does a sequester fitting -- to whether or not our destiny is the same or could be the -- -- -- Look the tragedy of Italy is that you get the sense that maybe this is a country of its past the point of no return that -- so mired.
In debt and asserted over regulation over taxation so that there's no getting back from the sequester really is a question as to whether we can even begin to make.
Relatively small cuts to spending before we take off -- -- -- telling wrote we think we're immune from the forces of history Europe they used to think it was immune from the forces of.
As a matter of policy your thoughts and sequester.
Would let it happen let's do it.
Let's just do it let's show we have the political courage to cut spending in government and if we don't.
I've -- we're not a word word even more trouble than we think we're drinking cappuccino says it's thanks Harris today.
I like --