Still Like the European Model?

When I was a kid, my family used to go across the state line to Clarksville, TN to shop and eat at Shoney’s.  (Hey, don’t laugh.  For us it was a big deal.)  Admittedly, there was more to do in Clarksville than in Hopkinsville, our home town, but not that much.  The difference was perceptual.  Like a horse sticking its head over the fence to eat grass, we liked it because it was far away and exotic.

Many of my friends and a goodly part of our nation’s citizens fawned over the “European model” for years.  We backward Americans apparently had it all wrong because we weren’t quite as sophisticated as our brethren and sistern across the pond.  An acquaintance of mine who never quite recovered from his education at Berkeley once marveled to me that every industrialized nation (he loosely meant Europe) had government health care except us.  To which I replied, “And this makes it good because…”  He didn’t get it.

To this person, socialism was OK as long as it wasn’t too socialist.  Like say, Stalinism.  Further, I sensed that it was good in his mind because it was far away and exotic.  As many in the U.S. clamored for European socialism, I kept wondering why we should want to be ahead in the race to economic oblivion.  I knew, as did many other skeptical people, that Europe could not possibly maintain its devotion to the welfare state.  Today we are witnessing the final death throes of that monster.

The above chart appeared in Casey’s Daily Dispatch.  The long and short of it is that many of these countries are bankrupt.  As Casey explains, they are technically incapable of paying back their debt–at least in currency that has the same value as today.  In a shell game involving figures too big for most of us to truly grasp, Europe is robbing Hans to pay Sean in an effort to stave off the inevitable.

It does not take an economic genius to figure out why a system like Europe’s cannot work.  As soon as enough people realize that they can vote themselves benefits, they do, right up until the point where there is no one left to produce those benefits.  Socialism is not something one can lightly endorse or participate in only a little.  It is an evil premise resting on the assumption that the production of one is the rightful property of another.  No amount of “the grass is greener” thinking can change that.

Worse yet, if you took the time to read Casey in its entirety, is that our leaders have the perfect excuse to lie.  They reason that if the truth were known, we would all panic and start drowning ourselves in the river.  I suppose they think it is better to wait for the flood to come to us.  How about neither?  Tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  We don’t need Europe to show us what to do.  We need to look at the facts and behave like the Americans we used to be.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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1 Response to Still Like the European Model?

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