How bizarre is it when news accounts of rioting in Europe describe the frenzied protesters as an “anti-government mob?” Is that an accurate description? The criminals setting fire to banks and murdering their fellow citizens are public-sector workers. In other words, they’re a “government mob” — plain and simple.
I was reminded of that image when I noticed this morning that officials in several European nations are bracing for mayhem in anticipation of widespread strikes by public-sector workers. A number of labor leaders as well as the head of the European Socialists party howled in outrage at the proposed cuts in public-sector spending. And the only solution they seemed to be offering for the crisis was to tax the banks.
That, combined with today’s Thomas Friedman column in the NYT, got me to thinking about people who complain loudly about perceived problems but offer no viable solution. Friedman, who usually irritates me to no end, nonetheless did a commendable job of boiling the noisiest and most incoherent faction of the Tea Party down to its essence. He calls them the Tea Kettle Party — just a bunch of alienated folks loudly blowing off steam to little effect (other than generating lots of cable news coverage!).
I’d say the government mobs in Europe display much of the same tendencies, although to be fair, the Tea Partiers appear to be far less violent. Still, both sides are in high dudgeon but are at a loss to offer any long-term solutions to systemic governmental and economic problems. Actually, I’d say they’re in denial.
The Tea Partiers think we can cut taxes yet again, take a meat axe to the federal budget and everything will be fine. The government mobs think Europeans can simply tax and spend their way to prosperity — the mob’s prosperity, I guess.
And then there’s would-be U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal. He thinks we can sue our way to prosperity, but ah, that’s another matter entirely …