Most of all they were amused by the constant refrain from the American Right that if the nation doesn’t change course it will end up as mired in statism as Europe.
“Americans love Big Government as much as Europeans,” one chap told me. “The only difference is that Americans refuse to admit it.”
He attributed this to our national myth-making — “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.” Maybe they should change it to “at least I know it’s free.”
In 1979, 7 percent of Americans received means-tested government benefits; by 2009, it was over 30 percent.
In 2000, 17 million Americans were on food stamps; today, it’s 46 million.
In the last three years, 2.6 million Americans have signed on with new employers, but 3.1 million have signed on for disability checks.
In little more than a generation, dependency has metastasized in America. Workplace death and accident rates have fallen by 40 percent since the Sixties, but apparently the safer the American work environment gets the more people are disabled by it.