In a surprising article, it is the New York Times, by Mr. Stephen Erlanger, titled Europeans Fear Crisis Threatens Liberal Benefits, it is noted that ‘Socialism’ may be the cause of all of Europe’s financial ills.
PARIS — Across Western Europe, the “lifestyle superpower,” the assumptions and gains of a lifetime are suddenly in doubt. The deficit crisis that threatens the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II.
Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism.
Europeans have benefited from low military spending, protected by NATO and the American nuclear umbrella. They have also translated higher taxes into a cradle-to-grave safety net. “The Europe that protects” is a slogan of the European Union.
But all over Europe governments with big budgets, falling tax revenues and aging populations are experiencing rising deficits, with more bad news ahead.
The reaction so far to government efforts to cut spending has been pessimism and anger, with an understanding that the current system is unsustainable.
In Athens, Aris Iordanidis, 25, an economics graduate working in a bookstore, resents paying high taxes to finance Greece’s bloated state sector and its employees. “They (government employees and Socialist Elites) sit there for years drinking coffee and chatting on the telephone and then retire at 50 with nice fat pensions,” he said. “As for us, the way things are going we’ll have to work until we’re 70.”
“The easy days are over for countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain, but for us, too,” said Laurent Cohen-Tanugi, a French lawyer who did a study of Europe in the global economy for the French government. “A lot of Europeans would not like the issue cast in these terms, but that is the storm we’re facing. We can no longer afford the old social model, and there is a real need for structural reform.”
President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to pass major pension reform this year. There have been two contentious overhauls, in 2003 and 2008; the government, afraid to lower pensions, wants to increase taxes on high salaries and increase the years of work.
But the unions are unhappy, and the Socialist Party opposes raising the retirement age. Polls show that while most French see a pension overhaul as necessary, up to 60 percent say working past 60 is not the answer.
The problems are even more acute in the “new democracies” of the euro zone — Greece, Portugal and Spain — that embraced European democratic ideals and that Europe embraced for political reasons in the postwar era, perhaps before their economies were ready. They have built lavish state systems on the back of the euro, but now must change.
Under threat of default, Greece has frozen pensions for three years and drafted a bill to raise the legal retirement age to 65. Greece froze public-sector pay and trimmed benefits for state employees, including a bonus two months of salary. Portugal has cut 5 percent from the salaries of senior public employees and politicians and increased taxes, while canceling big projects; Spain is cutting civil service salaries by 5 percent and freezing pay in 2011 while also chopping public projects.
But all three need to do more to bolster their competitiveness and growth, mostly by changing deeply inflexible employment rules, which can make it prohibitively expensive to hire or fire staff members, keeping unemployment high.
Hmm, Socialism does not work. Who would have guessed. Seeing as it have never worked, not once in history.
The writing has been on the wall for Socialist Europe for quite some time. Only their dependence on the USA for national defense needs has allowed them to continue for this long. By gutting their military budgets, they were able to pay for all of their Socialist programs while looking upon the USA in disdain for not offering the same Socialist benefits.
Reducing the hourly work week, increasing vacation time and lowering the retirement age, all seem like great ideas, but eventually someone has to pay for it all. With a declining population, coupled with an increase in life expectancy, it becomes apparent that there are not enough people working to support the ones that are not. Add in the cost of a bloated and highly inefficient government and you have all the ingredients for one huge and utter failure. Who could not see this coming?
I do not know what it is about liberals, Socialists and elected officials. It must be a combination of a lack of common sense and a defective education. Why else would they want throw away everything that made this country a great nation in order to experiment with a Socialist model that everyone already knows will fail. Once that failure happens, there is no turning back because you have already destroyed the foundation that success was built upon.
Look at Europe now. The people are angry, but they do not want to change. They want the same simple benefits, that they never had to work for, to continue unabated. They will not accept the type of change that would be necessary to pull them away from the abyss. One can bet that any changes that are made will simply be band aids used to kick the can down the road another decade or so.
While Socialism provides short term rewards for the lower classes of Society, it always results in longer terms pain for the lower classes once the Socialist have run out of other peoples money to spend. Once they have placed so many restrictions on business and manufacturing, that the economic engines that create wealth can no longer turn a profit, then everything comes tumbling down. That is what has happened in Europe and that is what will happen here if we do not put a stop to it.
The policies that President Obama and the Democrats have already passed are designed to kill Capitalism. Capitalism is the only proven method of enriching a country in the history of the World. It is Conservative Capitalism that made this country great. It is Liberal Socialism that is out to destroy it.
Our current President and his Socialist allies are plotting to do to America exactly what the Socialists did to Europe. They and the lame stream media largely ignore what is happening outside our borders and push to install the same failed programs here that will kill our manufacturing, enrich and empower unions and the Socialist Elites, and eventually destroy our economic engines and destitute the average citizen.
I believe it was Dr. Freud that said ‘the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over, while expecting a different outcome’.
If that is the case then President Obama and the Socialist Democrats are definitely insane. Because nothing they are doing has not already been tried and proven to be a disastrous failure.