Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died today at the age of 87, and we here in the United States should take good note of her accomplishments. Thatcher’s life’s work is of immense relevance because today’s United States has more in common with the Great Britain that Thatcher took over in 1979 than with the United States of 1981 when Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency after the inept Jimmy Carter administration.
Today the United States is as far gone into statism as Britain was when Thatcher became Prime Minister—perhaps farther, in fact, when one considers the powerful surveillance tools today’s U.S. government has and its lack of scruples in using them. The contemporary U.S. entitlement crisis, government debt disaster, and power of government-employee unions are disturbingly similar to the woes Thatcher faced.
Undaunted by the huge challenge that faced her, Mrs. Thatcher transformed a socialized, backward, union-dominated British economy into a modern success story in just a few short years, through market-opening, individual-empowering policies. For this she was vilified as heartless and mean-spirited. But to those of us who really want the poor and underprivileged to have a chance to succeed and to benefit from a growing economy, she was and remains a true heroine.
Thatcher’s success shows that the state can be rolled back—even if only temporarily, as happened in Britain after Thatcher left office and the forces of big government returned to their arrogant, profligate, and reckless ways.
Margaret Thatcher achieved something very few politicians have ever done: She left her nation better off than she found it. In economic policy, fostering of social order, and national defense, Mrs. Thatcher was a true champion of liberty.