We all know we will drive smaller cars, will pay dearer for a gallon of petro and will eventually be chided into accepting the Euro-zone led carbon-cap emission trading scheme and a concomitant universal expansion of the power of government to regulate and restrict. All this to save the world from an imaginary environmental apocalypse. It’s a twee pipping of course yet it’s as clear as a glass of Chateau De Maligny Chablis. It simply must be. Or as Dylan put it, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Sensing the irrelevance of any evidence that refutes their views (because the drive-by media simply do not report it) promoters of a Europeanization agenda for the United States are getting pushier. An op-ed published in the December 13th issue of the New York Times, is a paean to European national health care. In it, the writer, Pamela Druckerman, slobbers giddily about a state health system that “pays 60 percent to 100 percent of the cost of ‘re-education’ for all women after they give birth.” Re-education is a French term for a formal exercise program for tightening up the post-partum belly and birth canal. The author concludes: “Do I want the government in my crotch? Of course I do.”
Across the page from this bon mot another editorial argues incomprehensibly that revisions to the U.S. tax code should “consider new taxes that both raise revenue and distribute the burden even wider, including value-added taxes that have worked well in Europe(my emphasis).”
Ironically, in the same issue, a front page story documents the social and economic decline of Italy, a country with the fewest children under age 15 in all of Europe. In Italy, like the rest of Europe, people simply can no longer afford to raise a family. The trend threatens to undermine social order. Unemployment among the young is especially high, about 21 percent for people under the age of 25 in Italy. The article posits no specific analysis of the problem. Several Italians interviewed mention losing hope while another man identifies a growing nation-wide angst, saying, “The whole kettle of fish stinks to high heaven.”
Investigative reporting apparently stops at analyzing the ingredients, but it is highly likely that kettle contains national health insurance and VAT taxes. Having lived in Canada for a number of years I can attest that national health insurance is not free—taxes are double, even for low and medium income earners, of those in the U.S. and Canadians save at about half the rate that Americans do. VAT, service and vice taxes eat away at the disposable income of Canadians, which is more than 20 percent lower than the disposable income of Americans. Curiously, most economic models downplay the effects of VAT and service taxes because they are after income and do not directly effect investment, which is one reason European countries come out comparatively well in economic indexes purporting to measure overall economic freedom. But mounting evidence shows that these taxes, one of the linchpins of the European welfare state, have an insidious effect on the standard of living and long-term social order. Case in point: In order to raise revenues Germany’s Merkel-led government raised the country’s already repressive VAT 20 percent in early 2007, putting the kibosh the country’s mild economic momentum. Despair is warranted as the entire system is apparently un-reformable—look at the protests in France when president Sarkozy attempts to begin even modest restructuring.
The Euros have a smug saying: Americans live to work, Europeans work to live. Such an outlook would be admirable if it weren’t founded on a magnificent deceit: Someone of course needs to keep paying the bills. The Euros had a good run but even their sugar daddy, the state, can’t spend what it can’t collect. Freedom from anxiety comes with a high cost. American admirers of all things Euro need to keep this in mind. Dependency creates dependency creates despair. The youth in Europe ultimately must organize social unrest aimed not at maintaining the social welfare state but overthrowing it. This will happen. All lies, no matter how beautiful, eventually suffocate under the social and cultural weight needed to maintain them. And remember you heard it here first.
Value Added Commentary: Raise your blogging hand if you’ve noticed a profound lack of media coverage on the following two news items. One of the mildest tropical storm seasons on record in the southern U.S. and Caribbean, countering the dire predictions associated with global warming theory. Two, a record breaking cold winter in the planet’s southern hemisphere in 2007.