Susan Stamper Brown

Freedom is a two-edged sword, in that it grants us the opportunity to destroy our own destiny should we make wrong choices. But it doesn't have to be that way, should we choose to learn from others' mistakes.

The voice of reason beckons those who are willing to listen: Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus sounded the warning bell regarding our economy last summer while in Berlin. "With the way your American government has been going," Klaus said, "you might be able to catch up with us - in terms of our problems - very soon."

Klaus was not kidding. Klaus was referring to America's snowballing debt and unbridled spending as compared to the dilemma faced by our European neighbors across the pond. Klaus said much of Europe's demise is due to over-regulation, an out-of-control welfare system, "new and more sophisticated forms of protectionism, and continuously growing legal and regulatory burdens on business."

Sound familiar? Klaus may as well have been describing policies under the current administration, and left unchecked, it would be arrogant for us to expect a better outcome.

Klaus has clout and knows what he's talking about. He earned a doctorate in economics, but it is the degree he earned from the school of hard knocks that carries the most weight. Having survived both the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and later, Soviet communism, Klaus has a comprehensive understanding of good and evil and liberty and suppression; his words should be taken seriously.

During the speech, Klaus blamed Europe's severe economic plight largely on its social democratic system drenched with entitlements that has all but choked the last breath out of the Eurozone's economy. Czech central bank Governor Miroslav Singer concurred in a January 8, 2012 Reuters interview expressing that bailouts have done little to solve problems in Europe, but much to feed them.

Recent history does not bode well for those following the Keynesian economics theory that ramped-up government spending spurs economic growth. Speaking about the deficit spending during the Great Depression in 1939, FDR's Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. said, "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we ever spent before and it does not work." Morgenthau went on to say, "After eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started...and an enormous debt to boot." Japan tried the same thing in the 1990's -- to no avail.

Susan Stamper Brown

Susan Stamper Brown's weekly column is nationally syndicated. She can be reached at or via her website at Her Facebook page can be found here.