Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cut The Europe Envy, Please

I'm so sick of Americans feeling inferior to Europe. The Progressives in this country do not have their eyes lined up with the holes in their head, as they say in French. ("Ils n'ont pas les yeux en face des troux.")

How much longer do we have to put up with this lack of vision? What is this global fascination with trying to hang on to elements of socialism as though it were a sign of religious virtue, when in fact it's a symptom more common to that horrid personage the ancients named Envy?

[Thanks to Karel Dujardin for this (edited) rendition of the goddess, published at]

There are even economists, apparently, who feel that socialism is a good thing, even though "socialist economics" is an oxymoron. Tech Central has a nice piece on the subject by a Dane named Henrik Rasmussen, in response to a series of articles by Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic (available here but only to subscribers.)

Let me give you Rasmussen's little black list of three economists who should know better:

Kevin Hassett, who said this: "The Scandinavians show that you don't have to have a terrible economy if you have a big welfare state and high taxes." (It helps (a) to reintroduce some free-market elements into your socialist soup, and (b) to calculate your unemployment by a method that shaves off 1.6% vis-a-vis the European method. Oh, and did I mention that Denmark has a huge and burgeoning oil industry?)

Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia: "A generous social-welfare state is not a road to serfdom but rather to high levels of satisfaction, fairness, economic equality and international competitiveness." (Hayek must be spinning.)

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin: "I think I would like to move to Denmark." (Well sir, please do, and you can take the whole bunch of Progressive legislators with you.)

What always amazes me is that most people who revere European socialism haven't lived there. Rasmussen, on the other hand, was born there, and he makes a very convincing case about how misguided these people are.

Among his best points:

"In recent years, [...] globalization and freer movement of labor within the European Union have given many young Danes opportunities to live and work in countries with lower tax-rates than Denmark. As more and more Danes realize that high taxes are a bad deal, the political elites will either have to lower tax rates and cut social spending or face a massive exodus of the people that suffer the most in the current system: Talented and hard-working citizens with high incomes. In fact, this mass exodus is already taking place. For instance, estimates of Danes living in London vary between 35,000 and 70,000, which is roughly 1% of the total Danish population of 5.4 million. According to the leading Copenhagen business daily Børsen, the average income of these Danish Londoners is more than $100,000 per year."

Must one say more? Why don't all economists get this basic point? What is the employment equivalent of the Laffer Curve? Somebody, quick: Create one now on this conjecture: Smart and able people just will not stand to be shorn like sheep but will rather move out of the country to greener, freer pastures. Call it *Your Name Here* Curve.

I've given Europe its comeuppance in this article and in this article a year or so ago. Now it's your turn.


Anonymous John Fleming said...

You could also have chosen the title 'Cut all envy' or 'Clean up your own mess'.
Those foreigners who envy Europe are, or retired people who enjoy all different cultural and environmental attractions Europe has to offer, but who will never have to contribute to its trillions swallowing garbage side.
Or it are poor people from former and collapsed socialist regimes or
old colonies where the whole world
fought its ideological and economic
wars and probably still do.
We load the young generation with private debt for their lifetimes, because we envied the Anglosaxon way of living. We load the young generations with all the debt created to pay for a social security system which runs bankrupt since decades and of which we think that whoever touches land in Europe has the 'human right' to profit of it.
On top we give our young generations the 'Mount Everest of debt' to pay for an aging population who forgot to learn to make enough offspring necessary to finance their 'irrational exuberance'.
What kind of futur do most European youngsters have when they can't even find a decent place to live without leaving more than half their pay and being forced to work both when a couple, just to provide also the pocket money for the spoiled generations who have their mouths full of political correctness but never, ever talk economics.
Europe is dying. It's just running
a last round on the chemics of world credit.
So who do we have to envy?
Nobody. Maybe some wild tribes in
Amazonia or ancient tribes in Africa who have lack of ideologies but learn their offspring how to survive without debt to futur generations or other tribes.
Am I desperate?
Never. But well aware of what might
be in front of Western Society(including US).
I hope one day my children can be part of a society that will find back it's 'joie de vivre'.
But before that, we will all have to clear our own mess and unload those debts.

3:57 PM  

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