Monday, October 08, 2007


The EU is where it's at

From this weekend’s Outlook section in the Post: 5 Myths About Sick Old Europe

Never mind that these so-called myths enjoy no real cachet that I am aware of (and I am certainly no Europhile), Steven Hill uses these strawmen as an excuse to extol the virtues of life in the EU.

Here’s a cornerstone virtue:

“Europeans still enjoy universal cradle-to-grave social benefits in many areas. They get quality health care, paid parental leave, affordable childcare, paid sick leave, free or nearly free higher education, generous retirement pensions and quality mass transit. They have an average of five weeks of paid vacation (compared with two for Americans) and a shorter work week. In some European countries, workers put in one full day less per week than Americans do, yet enjoy the same standard of living.”

All wondrous things but if you were to emigrate to Europe, would it primarily be because you want to contribute to the welfare state…or partake of it? Immigrants – legal and otherwise – come to the US because they seek an opportunity to be directly rewarded for their efforts. Long term, that’s got to be a healthier motivation for future economic growth.

I’m still betting on us.

Side Notes: “The European Union's $16 trillion economy has been quietly surging for some time and has emerged as the largest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the global economy. That's more than the U.S. economy (27 percent) or Japan's (9 percent). Despite all the hype, China is still an economic dwarf, accounting for less than 6 percent of the world's economy. India is smaller still.”

OK – but the EU has a 50% greater populace. So, if we were as efficient as the EU, we’d have only 22% of the world’s economy.

And look at China – less than 6% of the world’s economy…yet somehow they've become #1 in carbon emissions despite an economy only 1/4th our size.

Noted without comment:

“Europe is more of a "workfare state" than a welfare state. As one British political analyst said to me recently: "Europe doesn't so much have a welfare society as a comprehensive system of institutions geared toward keeping everyone…working."

“Unemployment for the entire European Union, including the still-emerging nations of Central and Eastern Europe stands at a historic low of 6.7 percent. Even France at 8 percent, is at its lowest rate in 25 years.”

“That's still higher than U.S. unemployment, which is 4.6 percent,…”

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