Sunday, May 23, 2010

More on the impending death of the welfare state (and the euro)

This time in the nyt. Even the lefties are beginning to understand the failures of the welfare state. Someone actually has to work.

Crisis Imperils Liberal Benefits Long Expected by Europeans

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.
Payback Time

Pension Problems
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.

With low growth, low birthrates and longer life expectancies, Europe can no longer afford its comfortable lifestyle, at least not without a period of austerity and significant changes. The countries are trying to reassure investors by cutting salaries, raising legal retirement ages, increasing work hours and reducing health benefits and pensions.


Powell lucas said...

et tu Canada.

Anonymous said...

Canada has also lived off the largesse of the Americans. That is coming to an end - as the US takes on more debt and has fewer productive citizens paying taxes. Its not ordinary citizens that are rioting in Greece - its the civil service (government bureaucrats) who don't want to give it up for the good of country. Cheers. FernStAlbert

been around the block said...

Powell lucas: "Et tu, Canada." Right on.

Here's what I cross-posted a few minutes ago at SDA regarding this article:

... Aris Iordanidis, a Greek 25-year-old: “As for us, the way things are going we’ll have to work until we’re 70.”

Dominique Alcan, a French 49-year-old: “ … I’m afraid I’ll never reach the same level of comfort” (as the workers who retired in their 50s and are now in their 60s, 70s, and 80s).

Because I stayed home with our children, my husband and I talk about “Freedom 85,” not really joking.

I’m sick to death of people not facing up to reality, which is, if you don’t have kids, if you abort, en masse, your future citizens, and still expect to live the “comfortable” life on someone else’s dime, there have to be some “someone elses” to pay the ticket.

I suspect that life after WWII – lots of nuclear/mom/dad/kids households, the work ethic in tact, savings being de rigeur – has, sadly, become an anomaly: Each person or family owning their own house and living an autonomous existence is a thing of the recent past. I suspect that the only good to come out of our profligacy and our willingness to snuff out the lives of children in the womb – over 100,000 each year in Canada and over 1,000,000 each year in the States, and figures in Europe are probably higher – is that we’ll be forced to look after our parents and grandparents ON OUR OWN DIME AND IN OUR OWN HOMES. (In my case, it’s my kids who may have to allow my husband and I to live with them. They’ve actually said, “Mom and Dad, you took care of us when we were young and we’re going to take care of you when you’re old." One daughter has made it clear to her (probably future) husband that any house they buy will have to include a granny flat! [Whether it actually happens is anybody’s guess, but my husband and I appreciate the sentiment …])

It’s time for everyone to WAKE UP and GROW UP: We are not owed anything. Life is a gift and we need to cherish it, nurture it, work hard at it, and SHARE it, not expecting others to support our narcissistic lifestyles till we die.

BTW, the NY Times writer should be giving a hat tip to Mark Steyn. Yeah, sure: Left-libber acknowledges that "extreme right wing" columnist Mark Steyn hit the ball out of the park four years ago in his book "America Alone." 'Too bad no one was listening.


MIkhael said...

Ironically, now that the Europeans are starting to get the tiniest bit of a clue, the Americans are accelerating down the same stupid pathway.

Human stupidity is infinite.

Aviator said...

Yup, Obama a day late and a dollar short (well, several trillion actually). Too bad politicians are not required to study history or economics - or anything else worthwhile for that matter.

I Support Lord Black