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Crisis Imperils Liberal Benefits Long Expected by Europeans

RightinNYC

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Payback Time - Deficit Crisis Threatens Ample Benefits of European Life - NYTimes.com

Across Western Europe, the “lifestyle superpower,” the assumptions and gains of a lifetime are suddenly in doubt. The deficit crisis that threatens the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II. Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism. Europeans have benefited from low military spending, protected by NATO and the American nuclear umbrella. They have also translated higher taxes into a cradle-to-grave safety net. “The Europe that protects” is a slogan of the European Union. But all over Europe governments with big budgets, falling tax revenues and aging populations are experiencing rising deficits, with more bad news ahead. With low growth, low birthrates and longer life expectancies, Europe can no longer afford its comfortable lifestyle, at least not without a period of austerity and significant changes.

...

Figures show the severity of the problem. Gross public social expenditures in the European Union increased from 16 percent of gross domestic product in 1980 to 21 percent in 2005, compared with 15.9 percent in the United States. In France, the figure now is 31 percent, the highest in Europe, with state pensions making up more than 44 percent of the total and health care, 30 percent. The challenge is particularly daunting in France, which has done less to reduce the state’s obligations than some of its neighbors. In Sweden and Switzerland, 7 of 10 people work past 50. In France, only half do. The legal retirement age in France is 60, while Germany recently raised it to 67 for those born after 1963. With the retirement of the baby boomers, the number of pensioners will rise 47 percent in France between now and 2050, while the number under 60 will remain stagnant. The French call it “du baby boom au papy boom,” and the costs, if unchanged, are unsustainable. The French state pension system today is running a deficit of 11 billion euros, or about $13.8 billion; by 2050, it will be 103 billion euros, or $129.5 billion, about 2.6 percent of projected economic output.
The gist of this article should not come as a surprise to anyone, but the specifics astonished me. 50% of French people retire by age 50? Are you kidding me?

We need to be doing everything we can to avoid falling into the same trap, to the extent that we haven't already done so.
 

jujuman13

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Payback Time - Deficit Crisis Threatens Ample Benefits of European Life - NYTimes.com



The gist of this article should not come as a surprise to anyone, but the specifics astonished me. 50% of French people retire by age 50? Are you kidding me?

We need to be doing everything we can to avoid falling into the same trap, to the extent that we haven't already done so.
Too late, way way too late.

You should have realized that(while he went about it the wrong way) McCarthy had very real and genuine concerns.
 

jujuman13

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Does this mean his Priests are to be vied as ETHICAL human beings?
 

PeteEU

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Nice hit piece.... :roll:
 

Morality Games

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No danger of that.

American welfare only helps the very poor and old people.

You should have realized that(while he went about it the wrong way) McCarthy had very real and genuine concerns.
Is this some kind of Gettier problem? McCarthy's concerns didn't relate to anything real, they related to things he invented and could never be found or proved in spite of his rigorous and constitutionally dubious investigations.
 
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RightinNYC

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No danger of that.

American welfare only helps the very poor and old people.
Even if this were true, a huge portion of the country falls into the "very poor" and "old" categories. However, our welfare subsidizes many who don't fall into those categories - a family making as much as $80k will receive thousands of dollars in health insurance subsidies each year under our new health program.
 

Groucho

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The gist of this article should not come as a surprise to anyone, but the specifics astonished me. 50% of French people retire by age 50? Are you kidding me?
No wonder Europeans always rate themselves happier than Americans. ;)

It's a completely different culture and way of looking at the world. They pay huge taxes (based on American standards) in exchange for month long holidays, full health care, free college, and early retirement. And that's what they want. They figure they're getting their money's worth.

Of course, when the economy crumbles, it hurts, but hey, it hurts us too.
 

Deuce

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Too late, way way too late.

You should have realized that(while he went about it the wrong way) McCarthy had very real and genuine concerns.
*facepalm*
 

texmaster

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Payback Time - Deficit Crisis Threatens Ample Benefits of European Life - NYTimes.com



The gist of this article should not come as a surprise to anyone, but the specifics astonished me. 50% of French people retire by age 50? Are you kidding me?

We need to be doing everything we can to avoid falling into the same trap, to the extent that we haven't already done so.
France is also one of the hardest places to lay anyone off. I remember a contract was expiring that required a presence in France but even after it was up we could not let them go even though they were no use to us because of the labor laws.
 

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Well, in France it is one of the hardest places to be laid off if you have a contract--excluding criteria include being Black, Muslim or under 30 years old. I mean, there's a reason they decide to burn down cars every four or five years.
 

jujuman13

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No wonder Europeans always rate themselves happier than Americans. ;)

It's a completely different culture and way of looking at the world. They pay huge taxes (based on American standards) in exchange for month long holidays, full health care, free college, and early retirement. And that's what they want. They figure they're getting their money's worth.

Of course, when the economy crumbles, it hurts, but hey, it hurts us too.
While I am none too certain about mainland Europe.
Within the UK, yes they pay horrendous taxes but they get up to 6 weeks vacation per year, Full Health care but may be required to pay towards prescribed medications (unless they are Diabetic, in which case it is free), Free College is not available, early retirement is also not available.
And yes they do seem content or rather more so than citizens in the US, but then they are not subjected to as restricted a lifestyle that US citizens are.
 

PeteEU

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Do you have a more substantive response than this?
It is substantive.

First off they focus as usual on France. France aint Europe, there are 30+ other nations than France. But because France is the usual punching bag for American's when it comes to anything European, then France is focused on. I repeat, France is not Europe. France does not represent European welfare in any way.

Secondly they comment on Spain using joining the Euro as an excuse to start up a massive welfare system. That is so incorrect. It is a laughable comment to say the least, and show a total lack of knowledge on Spain and European affairs. The Spanish welfare system was started after the civil war to care for the many wounded and disabled people from this war.

Thirdly, it is a typical over generalization with twisted facts. Greece does not have a retirement age of 55 years. The private sector has a retirement age of 62 or so. It is the public retirement age that is low, but to make the biggest impact they claim that the over all retirement age is 55. But Joschka Fischer word is taken as fact because it looks good. How about independent research? The average retirement age in Europe is only slightly lower than in the US for example.

Fourthly, it comes with one economic claim after another without much basis to support the comments. For example when it compares Gross public social expenditures vs GDP.

Figures show the severity of the problem. Gross public social expenditures in the European Union increased from 16 percent of gross domestic product in 1980 to 21 percent in 2005, compared with 15.9 percent in the United States. In France, the figure now is 31 percent, the highest in Europe, with state pensions making up more than 44 percent of the total and health care, 30 percent.
Its links are for France with a French focus, yet it claims "the European Union". And then to push home the Francofobe comments it promotes one set of figures with comparison to the US and not others. Funny enough it does not compare figures when it comes to healthcare.. wonder why..:roll:

Fifthly it uses the widely spread debunked demographics issues that Europe faces. Yes Europe is getting older and so what. So is the US and many other countries. We aint a 3rd world country with 20 children in a mud hut for god sake. What it forgets to mention is that birth rates among "natives" is climbing... but it does mention that they are falling.. yea they were... 20 years ago, which is probably where they got their figures. One can at least be thankful that they did not mention muslims as being a threat.

And finally it is a typical American focused article starting out with the idea that welfare systems are bad and left wing politics are bad. Just look at the title and subtitle. Just look at the typical right wing comment on America protecting Europe with its nuclear shield and so on. Fine, if the article brings that in, then that should also be mentioned when comparing to the US.. military budgets gone crazy. But no, nothing is mentioned.. and military budgets are social programs also in many ways.

So yes it is a hit piece, so my comment was very substantial.
 
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