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"The Europeanization of America"

President Obama's stimulus plan is turning America into Western Europe, warns Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). He says it as if it were obvious to everyone that a "Europeanization of America" is a bad thing and does not require an elaboration:

David Vickrey of Dialog International criticizes that "US Conservatives Demonize Europe (Still!)" and asks:

Does that mean that the half million Americans losing their jobs each month can count on having health care, public transportation, quality education and a robust safety net? This is supposed to frighten us?


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Joe Noory on :

Apart from mocking diminution, and David's propagandistic diminution exercise, why not accept that it's plainly true? We're entering an phase of increasing dirigisme and intrusion of government of people's lives, the very opposite of what European look to America as an example. Proof to the contrary of the nanny state concept is still quite evident. Unemployment is still lower in the US, and growth took much less of a hit. So apart from the passive-aggressive desire on the part of many European to make the world after it's image of itself, a still not fully formed fantasy, I wonder where the oft-stated respect for permitting cultures to go their own way is hiding? You'll probably take this the wrong way, but it's true: Americans don't want to be European. We don't want our social environment to be a "once-glorious but sometimes tidy" color coded environment reminiscent of a transportation terminal or an Ikea, devoid of opportunity for home-made local flaws and the innosence and sincerity that makes us who we are. We do not want to live in an over-governed and over-managed human warehouse. Most of us want to live in the first-person-singular where some part of your fate is based on your own actions and acting with good sense. Hardly any of us believe in "better living through government aversion therapy" - life in a less engineered society does that for us. How many times do you have to hear that to get it?

Pamela on :

I am not so sanguine, Joe. I fear there are far too many Americans who, if not actual whores of Gramsci, are Alinsky spawn.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Newsweek: "We Are All Socialists Now" In many ways our economy already resembles a European one. As boomers age and spending grows, we will become even more French. [url=][/url]

Pat Patterson on :

Whiners? Can't really take someone too seriously when he doesn't know the difference between a resident and a citizen.

Joe Noory on :

It's a pseudonym we use for decay. It's an opinion founded on decades of observation. I realize that they aren't going to like the use of the term "European' in that way, but even a great many European economists see it that way too. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. If they want to go through life without have to face any kind of criticism, then they can also kiss goodbye any respect they get as well. You can't have it both ways.

Marie Claude on :

more French that means more "fashists" for the conservatives, in that sense that the nanny state dictate every thing in our life, more equality = less liberty also that our revolution is the origin of marxism LMAO

C. Lal on :

Let me propose a quite different view: How come it is always people who have access to a computer and read blogs who defend the right to own their own fate. These are the people who are not toiling while they blog, who are educated enough to read blogs and contribute. Of course people who can should own their own fate. But what about others? We can't deny that some people are dealt a bad hand and have issues standing on their feet. So now, you'll blame them: if only they had been more responsible, worked harder they would have succeeded in our merit based society (lol - it's not purely based on merit), and they wouldn't need help from state or elsewhere. Fine, let's not start a blame game. The fact is that they hurt the society as a whole (criminality, homelessness, hospital ER crowding, teenage pregnancies, etc.) So we have to take care of them, whether we like it or not, whether they are to blame or not. But why would we? Where is the social contract? What is the social contract? Everybody on his own? Is this the social contract? This is not a contract, let alone a social contract. This is about independence - but society is about interdependence.

Sue on :

The US will not become "more European" (i.e. more welfare state apparatus) because we cannot afford it. Neither can anyone else, actually. The welfare state depends on a favorable demographic balance between young and old that no longer exists anywhere in the west, but especially not in Europe. Even Obama has backed off some of his campaign promises because he concedes that the money for government funded health insurance, etc. is just not there. Americans will deal with this because it's never been part of the social contract in America. No one expects it, so no one will miss it.

Pamela on :

With all respect, Sue, I think you're whistling past the graveyard.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Sue, You are correct that in the long run, we cannot afford it. However, in the short run, our ability to sell Treasury Bills (T-bills), or print money, will allow Obama to take the US several large strides down the primrose path towards socialism, before it all blows up in his face. In the best case scenario, we will begin to see the signs of this blow-up around 2016, when the medicare trust fund runs out, and social security trust fund stops growing and begins to redeem its IOU's from the Treasury. In the worst case scenario, a collapse in confidence in T-bills could cause it to blow up at any time, starting today. So ultimately I don't share your judgement that the problems financing Obama's European dreams will prevent him from trying. The only thing that might prevent him, will be an outbreak of actuarial sanity in the White House or Congress. So far, I see no signs of this, but we could have a sudden "attack" of sanity any time, starting today.

David on :

It would be nice if some of the European friends here would weigh in. I've lived in both the United States and Europe,and I never felt the universal health care system I had in Europe was an "intrusion". On the contrary, as an impoverished student I welcomed it. Today I see many tens of millions of Americans living without preventive healthcare - including one quarter of the children in my state - with catastrophic consequences, both in terms of health outcomes and financial calamity. And most Americans share my point of view - as evidenced by the recent election and this CBS/NYTimes [url=]Poll[/url] from two weeks ago. ""On the matter of health insurance, nearly half of all Americans now want the government to provide it for all problems. That's up from just over a quarter of us in 1979." I would like to poll my American colleagues who comment here and have nothing but scorn for me, the Democratic majority in the US and President Obama: How many of you have children? How many of you have a serious medical condition, or have a family member with such a condition? I am sincere in wanting to know.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Your source on this, Charles Osgood, is not the CBS weatherman, but apparently thinks it adds to his gravitas to present poll numbers next to a hunk of clear plastic with a big sun on it. In other words, morning shows are not exactly known for their command of journalistic detail. The actual poll appears to be [url=]here[/url] (PDF file). No mention of margin of error except bizzarly for one question on religious attendance. According to that same poll, 57% of Americans favor building new nuclear power plants. David? Are the people always right?

John in Michigan, USA on :

I have no kids but both myself and my parents (who are retired) have significant medical needs that are unmet. I am still against nationalized or single payer health care. My neighbor has a really nice plasma. I can see it in his window, he really enjoys it. I would like to have it, but I don't walk into his living room and take it, do I? That is why I have scorn for you. If you'll plunder my neighbor, you'll plunder me once he runs out of stuff you want.

Pamela on :

The child from this household is grown. We are self-employed and must buy our own insurance. My husband is a melanoma patient. I have and will have for the rest of my life fallout from a head injury sustained in an auto accident in 1982 - such as occasional seizures. I've had three operations on my brain and endured pain that made me contemplate suicide. Now tell me why I would want a health care system that rations the care my family receives? Tell me why I want a bureaucrat in Washington telling my husband's doctors that at his age further treatment has only a 10% success rate so just let him die in as much comfort as possible? Remember that case in Oregon a few months ago? A cancer patient was denied treatment (medication, I believe) but told the state would pay for assisted suicide. Another question you might ask of Canadians. Why do so many came to the States for medical care? No. Thank. You.

Pamela on :

David? Helloooo, David, are you there? *tap* *tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

Pat Patterson on :

I think he may be trying to digest AG Holder's characterization of America as a nation of cowards!

Pamela on :

These are some UGLY people David worked so hard to get elected. For those who may not be aware of what the asshole said here it is: "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." So much for post-racial.

Joe Noory on :

That "more than half" figure comes out of the fact that there is a widespread feeling that this makes it "free", and no-one was suggesting that nationalized health-care is an intrusion, even though it only offer the life-choices that are legislated. Commenters are suggesting that it stinks. Having lives in the US, Western Europe, the Middle East, and behind the iron curtain in its' heyday (where healthcare, if you can even call it that, was nationalized) is awful. It certainly doesn't work in a society whis is progressively aging on average as well. It's not a matter of "sharing" like well behaved children. It's a matter of someone forcably taking away your shoes and giving them to someone else in order to either salve their feelings of social guilt, or buy a vote.

Don S on :

"How many of you have children? How many of you have a serious medical condition, or have a family member with such a condition? I am sincere in wanting to know." No children, I do have a medical condition, my mother had a similar condition which eventually killed her, my uncle died last year with lung cancer after years of living with diabetes. I confess to living in the UK under the NHS, which has been a comfort in recent years. It is far from luxurious but has done a competent job on the basics, more than competent in my case. I'm not going to get into the specifics of my condition(s), but my local trust(s) have a deserved international reputation for one of my conditions and is very good with the other. So I really have few complaints with my hospital. I'm less satisfied with my GP, who seems to mail it in mostly, but again no problems at all with the staff which I mostly deal with. I have been hospitalized three times within the last 6 years, once for a prolonged period. It wasn't fun, wasn't comfortable, but there is something very relaxing in knowing that one's fiscal status isn't deteriorating daily while one is on one's back. Much, anyway, because on one occasion my employer docked my wages for some of the time off. But no bills, no insurance, no trouble at all. On my last hospitalisation I had the customary visit to the hospital cashier upon release, but they gave me money rather than the other way around. I had been holding some cash on my admittance, which they held for me at the cashiers.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I think the comparison with the UK or Canadian systems is the most informative one when we consider nationalizing US health care. There may be better alternatives in Sweden, Japan, etc. but because US culture is most similar to Canada and the UK, the Canadian and UK systems are the most likely outcome of any attempt to nationalize US care. The National Health was created in 1948, when the typical British person was expected to live to age 65 or so. That means that, to date, not a single baby born under National Health has lived and died a full, natural lifespan under National Health. And yet it is already clear that, without a massive financial overhaul, a baby born today under national health cannot possibly expect to live a normal lifespan (approx 80 years?) under National Health. The true actuarial deficit for National Health is probably several trillion pounds, and growing for the forseeable future. So guaranteed, cradle-to-grave care, which is a critical element of all anglosphere National Health concepts, has still not proven itself to be sustainable. It seems self-evident that bankrupting the next generation's health care to pay for the current generation's heath care is immoral, and indeed, makes a mockery of the concept of a "right" to health care. Why is the current generation's "right" to health care more important then the next generation's "right"?

Kevin Sampson on :

I do, and he's attending college out of state. What's your point?

Pat Patterson on :

Or the continuation of the question should be, how many of us or our relatives left the coddled and oppressed shores of Europe to escape these enlightened ideas? I think David is missing one of the essential fundamentals of the American character which is in desiring not to emulate European ideas, even when they might be good ideas. Before World War II segregation was not only pervasive but obviously popular with Americans. One could even argue that Roosevelt and Truman exhibited GW Bush qualities in doing the right thing as opposed to the popular thing during this period. Because the majority of Americans and the Democratic majority in both houses found segregation so comforting should it have continued? Thank goodness the Constitution is an anchor on the do-gooder impulses of David and his cohort.

bob louis on :

This morning I've found a letter in my box. Students are manifesting because the university tuition will be raised of 2000 $ next year... because of the crisis... This letter was so funny! You know... 2000 $ is what I paid in France for one year of university in the best university of Paris including healthcare! Good luck American student... Be proud to live in a country where only rich people can afford a house, a car, education and healthcare… Be proud to see your neighbor starving when you can afford a new plasma!

Pat Patterson on :

Of the top twenty universities in the world the US has seventeen of those spots while the best French university, Univ Paris 06, in the world came in, tied with a Pennsylavania football school, at #42 behind three English universities, one Swiss, two Japanese, two Canadian and two honest-to-God on the beach, wearing sandals and bikinis California party schools . It seems that the French students are receiving an education commensurate with the cost.

Joe Noory on :

$2000 is NOT what it costs. $2000 is what they charge. The rest is paid by society, while the only person to directly benefit from it is the student. [i]Good luck American student... Be proud to live in a country where only rich people can afford a house, a car, education and healthcare… Be proud to see your neighbor starving when you can afford a new plasma![/i] And if you really believe that nonsense, how is it that the majority of the population live in homes they own? How is it that a larger percentage of the population own their cars or have a higher degree as they do in France? Look - if you couldn't find a reason to say that "those horrible Americans are poor because they're stupid", you would be saying that Americans are somehow evil for being successful, or being rotten for living comfortably. None of this expression of yours' has anything to do with Americans. It has to do with you. It's your individual sickness.

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