LONDON, England - Former President Ronald Reagan said the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'
Yet the size of America's government is exploding and if you want to see where big government will lead the U.S., take a look at Britain.
Wouldn't it be great if America was more like Europe? You might not think so, but someone in Washington, D.C. apparently does. Because a lot of the legislation going through Congress, if passed, could make America look a lot more like a European nation.
Such a scenario would include government-run health care, cap and trade energy rationing and a massive overall explosion of government, which means massive government spending, massive government debt, and massive government intrusion into your life. It sounds to some people like Britain.
British author James Delingpolem wrote a book titled Welcome to Obamaland. He says he's seen America's future and it's in Britain. And he says our future doesn't work.
"I've seen America's future because what is happening in America now has been happening in Britain for at least the last 12 years," Delingpolem said. "I've seen my country pretty much ruined by what is essentially a socialist administration, presented by this plausible likable guy (former Prime Minister Tony Blair).
"And I see the same thing happening in America. And I think America should worry about that," he warned.
Delingpole says America is on the same course toward the kind of sprawling expensive big government that Britain has - one that will suffocate our economy and our freedoms.
Britain today is almost a police state. The British people are under more government surveillance than the Chinese. There are cameras everywhere.
Dr. Eamonn Butler, Director of the Adam Smith Institute in London and author of The Rotten State of Britain, said, "in the half mile between Westminster cathedral near where we're sitting and Westminster abbey I counted 160 surveillance cameras."
There's also a government plant to put cameras in the homes of families considered "at risk."
Not only that, a new law would mandate that every phone call, e-mail or Web site a person visits be stored for a year in case the government wants to snoop on them.
There's also a law under consideration that would limit energy use in Britain through an annual carbon allowance. Use too much fuel, and you could be penalized.
And big brother is also snooping through the trash. Some local governments are experimenting with smart garbage can sensors that can tell if Brits are, in the opinion of some bureaucrat, throwing away too much.
Butler said, "There's this attempt really to control our lifestyles. Now we're having more and more pressure to drink less and eat less fatty food and all the rest of it. All of these things are done with the best of intentions, but in fact you have built up the apparatus of a police state.
"We haven't voted for it, but we haven't resisted it," he said. "And we've put enormous power into the hands of our politicians. And if bad guys got into power they would have huge power and control over us."
Health Care Stalin Style
Britain also has government-run health care, like a lot of Democrats want in America.
But Delingpole has a warning.
"I'm not going to try to tell you that the American healthcare system is perfect. What I am going to tell you definitely is do not copy our healthcare system."
"We call the NHS, our National Health Service, the envy of the world. It's the envy of the third world, maybe. It's a form of health care through almost Stalinist state allocation; health care through rationing," he said.
The horror stories about care rationing in Britain's National Health Service are many. British cancer specialist Karol Sikora told CBN News how difficult it can be to get lifesaving medicines for some patients if the drugs are expensive. Katie Brickell told us how she was denied a pap smear by the NHS; after which she developed terminal cervical cancer.
Big Government = Bankruptcy?
But big government isn't just inefficient. It's expensive. And some analysts are now saying that the British government has run out of money. Delingpole said, "We are bankrupt. Britain is bankrupt."
Butler added, "The official public debt figure is 47 percent. I think the real figure is something like 147 percent because there is so much of our debt that doesn't actually appear on the government's books."
Britain has been in this mess before. It was the sick man of Europe in the 1970s; over-taxed, over-regulated, even needing a bailout from the International Monetary Fund before Margaret Thatcher's fiscal conservatism straightened out the economy.
Under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the size of government ballooned again, and now the bill for Britain's 12-year socialist experiment has come due.
So is bigger government better government? Some Britons would tell you that unless you want the government snooping through your trash can someday, it's not something America should strive for.
*Originally published November 19, 2009.