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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is Iran America's Future?

It has been a while since I have agreed with Thomas Friedman, but Mr. Friedman has a good observation on the economic forces which may lead to the collapse of the Iranian regime:
Under Ahmadinejad, Iran’s mullahs have gone on a domestic subsidy binge — using oil money to cushion the prices of food, gasoline, mortgages and to create jobs — to buy off the Iranian people. But the one thing Ahmadinejad couldn’t buy was real economic growth. Iran today has 30 percent inflation, 11 percent unemployment and huge underemployment with thousands of young college grads, engineers and architects selling pizzas and driving taxis. And now with oil prices falling, Iran — just like the Soviet Union — is going to have to pull back spending across the board. Fasten your seat belts.
Two thoughts about this. First, isn't the Iranian policy of "buying off" the people the Persian version of Obama's economic plan? Large government subsidies (for example, tax refunds for people who don't pay taxes) may be popular and help win elections, but they don't grow the economy. Large government without economic growth is a house of cards which eventually crumbles.

Second, if Iran is the greatest benefactor of terror, should we embrace the Iranian leadership with President-to-President photo-ops? Having our President meet with the Iranian leadership, regardless of the words spoken, will have the effect of strenthening the mullahs at the very moment when we should be rejecting the legitimacy of the mullahs in favor of the Iranian people.

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