The election shows that a slim majority of Americans seem to think that either: 1) Europe is an appropriate destination for America; or 2) Somehow, we are not headed that way. There is, of course, the possibility that a majority of Americans are simply not paying attention.
The heart of the US problem is really no different than that of Europe -- can someone work for 30 years without saving anything and live comfortably for 85 years? That is the real issue. Social security and medicare assume that the government is doing the saving. But, as we all know, the government is always a dis-saver not a saver. So, in reality, no one is saving.
If none of the squirrels gather acorns, what happens in winter? That is the American dilemna and that is the current nightmare in Europe.
The debate about free markets is important mainly because only free markets permit savers to participate in the broader economy -- something threatened in the US by the Dodd-Frank legislation. Current government policy bristles with suggestions that savers are bad people who are only concerned about accumulating wealth. Well, that's right actually. That's why people save. But, in the aggregate, Americans no longer save. The politicians have won that battle. Only a handful of people really save any more and Obama seems determined to snuff out even that small amount of frugality.
So, winter will come. It has already come for Europe. It is only a matter of time until it comes to the US.
One consolation of the election is that free market politicians are in the ascendancy in the Republican Party. The John McCains and George Bushes are being replaced by the Paul Ryans, Mario Rubios, Nikki Haleys, Bobby Jindhals, etc. So there will be a free market voice in our future.