Jun 01 2005
Our liberal media sometimes shows itself bright and true, like today in the Washington Post when Harold Meyerson reveals that not only does he pine for Europe over the US, but he is fairly blinded in his love.
You can’t make these things up:
The rejection of a more unified Europe is understandable, but from the standpoint of superpower politics and global social models, it’s regrettable.
Whatever the divisions between the United States and Europe, two democratic superpowers are better than one — not least because Europe, at its best, espouses values of equality and fraternity in which we in the States are frequently deficient.
Nothing defines US liberalism better than its self loathing and feeling of inferiority to the European socialists. To begin with Europe is not a super power and nor would the EU be if it were not for the British investment in their military. The EU has modern equipment and trained troops, just not enough to deploy in any manner similar to the US (and China of course). And the only people these days FAILING to espouse equality and fraternity are liberal leaders and thinkers in the US, since they cannot handle being in the minority. Their vitriol at Bush and his administration – which can be found in Washingotn Post to some degree, but drips from the NYTimes, LATimes, CBS News, etc. – is the source of much of the anger in this country. If the left would show some restrain, respect and maturity, the tone in this country would be incredibly upbeat.
It’s fashionable these days for American commentators to chastise Europe (at least, continental Europe) as an economic basket case, so bogged down by regulations that its two largest economies, the German and the French, suffer from double-digit unemployment.
Oh I see, 10 percent unemployment and virtual stagnation in their economies is nothing to poo, poo about. It just means some people’s lives are totally stuck in a rut and they are wasting time on welfare – a cruel punishment for someone who WANTS to make something of themselves and provide for their family.
In fact, in an era of globalization dominated by finance, neither the U.S. nor the European economies have struck a happy or sustainable balance between security and dynamism:
Security that is handed out by the government and not attained by the fruit of one’s own efforts applies a negative force on economic dynamism. Security gained personally through hard work adds to the overall economic dynamism, while security managed by government sucks the energy and drive out of the economy.
Meyerson assumes security can only be handed out by the government, illustrating his blindness to what makes America great. Our unemployment rate is around 5% which can be the simple, normal churn of an economy as it moves and breathes. Most of our people live long, productive lives, earn wealth and retire into reasonable economic conditions. We have welfare, medicare, medicaid, social security and access to emergency medicine and local medical clinics. But what would he have us gain if we only traded in our independence and self made security?
We extol our model but still covet the universal health insurance that Europe enjoys.
Only some one with a death wish born of ignorance covets the European health system. Health care costs are what they are – it does not matter whether you pay by reduced take home income so the company can buy insurance or by reduced income from the taxes required for the government to buy it. Meyerson lives in a fairytale land if he thinks health care costs would go down and our quality of care would go up if we went from 100’s of companies vying for the best quality services to a monopoly called the US Federal Government buying services for all of us without any competition. The single payer plans just suck money out of the masses to pay for the beaurocracy required to ration the services based on their idea of priorities for the common good.
There never was a more socialist concept than universal health care, and like communism before it, it is failing in the comptetition of the open market.
We take pride in our job creation, but the wages of blue-collar Americans have slipped well beneath those of their Western European counterparts.
So their workers make more, but more are unemployed so fewer actually get the pay. Their workers do not make more – especially their white collar workers. Meyerson must be using one of those fantastically tilted statistics that can make it seem like Cuba’s health care system is one of the best on the planet.
I don’t have any statistical data to back me up, but my hunch is that the authors of such pieces aren’t among the 45 million Americans compelled to go without health insurance.
The only true statement I have seen in the entire piece.
Yet, while Europe still remains a bastion — an embattled bastion — of social democracy
Embattled because social democracy is a failure, not because we pick on it. If simply ragging on an nation could bring down its economy we would have lost ours decades ago given the way the Europeans and others always look down on us. But of course they are trying to look down from perches that could never compete with our economy. Our standards of living are basically equal – yet we sustain greater growth, a comparatively massive military that spans the globe stabilizing every region, and massive charity to those in need across the world. When you combine everything we accomplish while retaining a slightly better standard of living (in my opinion) then Meyerson’s misty-eyed visions become clear. He just can’t see clearly.
Had they been asked to ratify such a document a decade ago, when the union had not yet been expanded to include the much poorer nations of Eastern Europe, the vote might have gone the other way. But with unemployment high, and with the specter of border-crossing, low-wage Polish plumbers haunting the French working class, the constitution was probably doomed from the start.
The truth is the Eruopean model has been supported by decades of denial and government barriers to outside influences. Europe is a sea of economic cocoons that cannot sustain themselves isolated from the outside, yet cannot compete with the outside either. The one time their little homogenous world had to consider a diverse population (like ours does with our constant influx of immigrants, another feature they do not share with us) they realized their purely perfect world would be disrupted. So selfish socialists refused to allow the poor Polish Plumber to ruin their way of life. BTW, what a disgustingly racist example he and the French used to scare the masses – I guess that is another wonderful aspect of good ‘ol Europe.
In America, our divisions over free trade mirror the divisions within Europe over unification. Both these internationalizing projects are the babies of business and political elites that haven’t engendered much trust on these issues among their own peoples.
Few people complain about NAFTA today. It is not nearly as good as it was supposed to be nor nearly as bad as it was predicted to be. NAFTA is not going to make and shape our democracy and free markets for decades to come. Talk about your ridiculous comparisons!
His comparison is from the myopic perch that sees only the protestors at the world economic events, not the hundreds of companies working internationally and expanding. I love working internationally as most people do. They d0 not like unfair trade practices, what NAFAT is meant to control to some degree. Meyerson must not be in business, or at least has been out of if for a long, long time to have missed the sea change in America since the 1970’s, when international business was relegated to a very few people high up in the companies.
I don’t mean to equate the two projec ts substantively. European unification aims to create a supranational order with at least some social democratic rules of the game, while the American free-trade order chiefly protects the interests of property and neglects those of labor and the environment.
OK, this is a classic liberal myth. Free trade with Mexico will help boost the border economy on their side and give them the means (and hopefully the incentive) to clean up their mess which seeps onto our side. Their wages will be increased and our prices for many common goods will go down allowing us to spend time and money on other priorities.
And the EU treaty defined an imperial socialist state with control taken from elected officials and grabbed by Europe’s elite political class – which is not a metaphor or adjective. Europe does have a elite political class which is separate from, and rarely polluted by, the uneducated masses (does Meyerson think a Bill Clinton would ever be Prime Minister in stuffy old Europe?).
Twelve years after passage of NAFTA, congressional Democrats seem finally to have realized that trade accords absent labor standards undermine all they stand for domestically, while rural Republicans are hearing from some powerful agricultural interests that CAFTA would threaten their profits.
For all the evil Meyerson attaches to NAFTA, here he slips up and nearly tells the truth. NAFTA had broad political support and was passed overwhelmingly under Clinton. So all these business elites and power grabbers where….
George W. Bush, call Jacques Chirac. The two of you may have more in common than you ever dreamed.
Ah, the liberal dream of dreams. Bush, you too could be a failure. Except Mr. President you were right about tax cuts – our economy is growing, home ownership is at all time highs, unemployment is low and inflation under control.
Other than that you could be in trouble because Chirac screwed up.