Author Mark Steyn: National Might and Economic Might Inexorably Linked

Wednesday, 03 Oct 2012 09:28 AM

By Henry J. Reske

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When money drains from a nation, power drains with it, author and critic Mark Steyn said in an interview with National Review Magazine.

Steyn, the author of two recent books dealing with the fate of America, “America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It” and “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” made his comment in response to statements made by Barack Obama when he was running for president in 2008.

During the debates, Obama said repeatedly that no nation can be a military power, a global power without also being an economic power.

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“I agree with Sen. Obama,” Steyn said. “Condi Rice said it slightly differently at the Republican Convention this year. That a nation that loses control of its finances, loses control of its destiny. I put it a different way on page two of the book. I say that when money drains, power drains. And that is true for all declining powers throughout history, that when you’re broke, other people make decisions for you.”

Steyn recounted that during the Suez crisis in 1956 the United States forced the British to back down by threatening a run on the pound. He explained that the United States was able to bend England to its will because the United Kingdom owed so much in debt to America at that time.

“And that is a very good lesson,” he said. “At some point, someone’s going to stick the United States with a Suez magnet. It will be the United States bankers in Beijing or it might be somebody else, but the United States will have its Suez magnet when you still have the aircraft, you still have the bombs, you still have the soldiers, you still have the missiles, you still have the tanks but you don’t have the money and people who control the purse strings, in the end, control your destiny.”

Steyn argues that “politicians in the United States and the rest of the Western world have, in effect, looted the future to bribe the present.” He cites the example of a teacher who is able to retire in her 50s with generous benefits while a hardware store owner will work until he “drops dead of whatever age to pay for the benefits of the woman next door.”

“There’s nothing fair about asking the hardware store owner to pay for the unionized teacher to spend three decades of her adult life as a long holiday weekend,” he said. “And what those guys in Wisconsin were doing, they’re saying, ‘I don’t care about fairness. I don’t care if it’s bankrupting this state.’ That’s what they’re saying in Greece.

“That’s what unionized workers are saying all over the planet. Keep the benefits coming, keep the checks coming ‘til I’m dead and I don’t care about anything else. In other words, there’s nothing more selfish than this so-called public communitarianism. And, in the end, that hardware store owner at 21 Elm Street and the unionized teacher at 23 Elm Street, they cannot continue living on the same street together. Something will give.”

He added that the pushback from Govs. Chris Christie, R-N.J., Scott Walker, R-Wisc., and John Kasich, R-Ohio, is important because “every year that slips by it becomes harder and harder to push back.”

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