Until recently the European countries changed their economic policies to emulate the US system. Now the financial crisis makes the US move toward a more European system, writes the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. is spending hundreds of billions of dollars -- including increased assistance to the unemployed -- to prop up the economy, and wants Europe to follow suit. But most of Western Europe already has a strong, if costly, social safety net, so governments feel less pressure to spend their way out of trouble. The irony is that for years, Europe tried to rein in its own worker protections -- long considered a drag on growth in good times -- to emulate the faster-growing U.S. economy. Now the U.S. is moving toward a more European system.
Yes, the WSJ also points out the benefits of the current US system and writes that most economists expect the US to recover faster than Europe, because "Europe's high payroll taxes, along with restrictions on when and how companies can lay off workers, make employers slower to rehire when a recession ends." Okay, but all this comes at the price of more panic during every recession. Europeans panic less due to the cushions built into the system, which the WSJ considers so important that they start with it: "In Germany, losing his factory job didn't stop Alfred Butt from taking a Mediterranean vacation this winter."What system do you prefer?