Daniel Hannan is a writer and journalist, and has been Conservative MEP for South East England since 1999. He speaks French and Spanish and loves Europe, but believes that the EU is making its constituent nations poorer, less democratic and less free. He is the winner of the Bastiat Award for online journalism.
Here is what he is saying about the election.
“The cause of America,” wrote my countryman Tom Paine, “is in great measure the cause of all mankind”. That statement now has a practical, financial truth which Paine couldn’t have imagined in 1776. The US is the world’s leading economy, the dollar its reserve currency. American prosperity is especially critical to Britain, its single largest overseas investor.
That, above all, is why Britons should take satisfaction from the return of candidates committed to restoring order and sanity to the federal budget. Virtually the first thing John Boehner, the new Speaker of the House, said in his acceptance speech was that Congress would “cut government spending”. Not before time. Under Barack Obama, US debt has risen from 40 per cent of GDP to 62 per cent and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it was on course to rise to 87 per cent by 2020, 109 per cent by 2025, and 185 per cent by 2035.
Yesterday, American voters reminded their politicians that they are servants, not rulers: that elected representatives are there to carry out the will of a people who, as the experience of many ages shows, are generally wiser than their leaders. Americans understand that governments, like individuals, must live within their means.
The Founders knew what they were doing when they put Congress in Article One of the Constitution, before the Presidency. The House of Representatives is supposed to control spending: its failure to discharge that duty properly is what brought America to its present predicament. Two years ago, this blog predicted that voters would punish those Congressmen who backed the bail-out; and so they have.
The US is at last returning to the sublime principles on which it was founded: principles, as I never tire of pointing out, inherited from this country. I leave the last word to Thomas Jefferson, whose bust stares at me from my desk as I type this blog:
I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.