Jewish World Review August 25, 2003 / 27 Menachem-Av, 5763

Neil Cavuto

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Consumer Reports

Friends and hypocrites | Please tell me if this has ever happened to you. I'm at the doctor's office, and after a full check-up, the guy in the white coat lays it on me. "Well, Mr. Cavuto, you could afford to lose a few pounds."

Point taken. But this doctor made me look like Brad Pitt! I mean the guy had to be at least 300 pounds! I kid you not. And he was as serious as a heart attack (apparently mine or his). Believe me, he wasn't telling me something I didn't know, but couldn't he have brought in his much thinner and much more attractive nurse to give me the advice? At least from her, I could take it . . . not happily, mind you, but better a weight lecture from a person who doesn't need to worry about it than from someone who clearly does.

That's why I never walk into fancy restaurants and yell at the big guy in the booth next to me, "Try the salad bar, tubby!" (not after I've just ordered a prime rib the size of Rhode Island).

That's why I also ignore the Europeans. Let me explain. In one of the best examples of trans-Atlantic chutzpah I've ever seen, at least since Iraq, our friends across the pond are telling us how to run things on this side of the pond. I don't mind advice, dietary or political, but again, I do consider the source.

And right about now, the Europeans are the last ones who should be lecturing anyone on things economic. Trust me, our economy ain't exactly firing on all cylinders. But at least it's firing on some. The French and Germans would be lucky to have it firing on any!

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But here's the kicker: these guys are telling us to start stimulating job growth. Last time I checked, France was looking at 9.5 percent unemployment. The Germans are at 10.6 percent, Italy's at 8.9 percent, and Spain's battling a jobless rate of more than 11 percent. These aren't exactly the kind of folks who should be lecturing anyone on anything having to do with jobs.

What's more, most of their economies are mired in recession, and those that aren't are, at best, looking at growth so tepid, it makes ours look gangbusters by comparison. Yet the people who lecture us on deficits are the very ones whose own red ink as a percentage of GDP makes ours look fiscally stellar by comparison!

I'm not saying France isn't right when it says our government spends too much here, but first take a look at what yours is spending there, because news flash to Jacques Chirac: Your socialist state is breaking your banks and your people.

And I have no problem having Germany correctly scold us on government intransigence. But this coming from a cradle-to-grave state that can't get its unions to budge on even the most basic of free market principles is a little galling.

Look, anyone is free to criticize. I just think it's good form to be in good shape when you do. Just like I won't tell you to put the cannoli down in the bakeshop, France or Germany shouldn't be telling us to put the waste down in our financial shop.

We know we have problems, and from what I can see, we're addressing a good many of them and making a good deal of progress. These things I know. Unemployment is heading back down. Theirs is going back up. Factory orders are improving. Theirs are worsening. Confidence numbers are advancing. Theirs are declining.

They're right. We're not perfect. But they're worse.

Brad Pitt has nothing to worry about from me. And we have nothing to worry about . . . from them.

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Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News Channel. He is also the host of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and "Cavuto on Business." Comment by clicking here.


08/18/03: When good news goes bad
08/04/03: PHONY BALONEY!
07/28/03: The meaning of a pin
07/21/03: We are what we eat
07/14/03: Don't like it, don't keep it!
07/07/03: The check, and the recovery, is in the mail!
06/29/03: Who says Al's our pal?
06/23/03: The big pitch for the "big get," no big deal!

© 2003, Neil Cavuto