The gap in the political landscape that separates the US and Europe is shrinking, writes Crook. European governments from both the left and right have adopted ideas from American capitalism in recent years, while Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms show the US is being influenced by policies on the other side of the Atlantic. Crook says that in general this is to be welcomed, although the US must be careful about some of the influences it embraces. European governments have become more moderate in recent years, and governing from the center ground is well suited to making a success of welfare policies. With the Democrats and Republicans seemingly moving towards opposite political poles, US policymakers will find it harder to make welfare reforms workable.