Thursday, March 05, 2009

One France Is Enough

By ROGER COHEN
NYT

WASHINGTON

The French writer François Mauriac once said during the cold war that he loved Germany so much, he was glad there were two of them. After what an undivided Germany had done to France in World War II and before, that was understandable.

To paraphrase Mauriac, I love France, but I don’t want there to be two of them, least of all if one is in the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, I think President Obama’s counter-revolution goes in the right direction. In fact, it’s less a question of right and wrong with his budget than of necessity. After the excesses of Reagan-inspired deregulation and the disaster that unfettered markets have delivered, the pendulum had to swing.

Still, the $3.6 trillion Obama budget made me a little queasy. There is a touch of France in its “étatisme” — the state as all-embracing solution rather than problem — and there’s more than a touch of France in the bash-the-rich righteousness with which the new president cast his plans as “a threat to the status quo in Washington.”

(More here.)

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