Given the hearty support Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama received in Europe last month, he must have noticed the surprise and skepticism among some Germans when he asked that Europeans contribute more for defense. Many Europeans argue they cannot afford such an additional expenditure.
They are right. And therein lies a cautionary tale for the United States, because continental Europe has been following something like Mr. Obama's plans for spending and taxes.
Balancing the federal budget without a tax increase is possible, but will require strong fiscal restraint.
We can also secure a firm financial footing for Social Security (and Medicare) without choking off economic growth or curtailing our flexibility to pursue other spending priorities. Three actions are essential: (1) reduce entitlement spending growth through some form of means testing; (2) eliminate all nonessential spending in the rest of the budget; and (3) adopt policies that promote economic growth. This 180-degree difference from Mr. Obama's fiscal plan forms the basis of Sen. McCain's priorities for spending, taxes and health care.