Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Washington Post Writer Thinks Europe Is Losing the Economic Race and America Is Winning????


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

It is amazing to me that anyone can understand anything anymore. The Washington Post hands over the editorial pages, like the NYT does, to total idiots who don't know or understand basic economic facts or any facts at all. Here is a typical example.

From the Washington Post:
By Fareed Zakaria
Tuesday, February 14, 2006; Page A15

Cartoons and riots made the headlines in Europe last week, but a far less fiery event, the publication of an academic study, may shed greater light on the future of the continent. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), headquartered in Paris, released a report, "Going for Growth," that details economic prospects in the industrial world. It is 160 pages long and written in bland, cautious, scholarly prose. But the conclusion is clear: Europe is in deep trouble. These days we all talk about the rise of Asia and the challenge to America, but it may well turn out that the most consequential trend of the next decade will be the economic decline of Europe.
Yeah. Europe, who runs a collective as well as individual trade surpluses with America, are stumbling, while America, deep in the red on nearly every level, bad economic data up the yin-yang, is triumphant. Gads. Talk about insane. I see no other explanation for this. This week, I blogged the news that Europe is hitting us for...Protectionism! Whoo hoo.
It's often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the E.U. has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the United States, and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years.
OK, what happened in the last 15 years?

Oh! The European Union has grown! It added some really poor countries that used to be Soviet states. So if you average things out, it looks as if the Europeans have gotten poorer! Isn't that cute? Like as if we suddenly took over Mexico (I know, we run the joint secretly), our statistics would stink, too.
In March 2000, E.U. heads of state agreed to make the European Union "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010." Today this looks like a joke. The OECD report goes through the status of reforms country by country, and all the major continental economies get a B-minus. Whenever some politician makes tiny, halting efforts at reform, strikes and protests paralyze the country. In recent months reformers such as Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels and Angela Merkel in Germany have been backtracking on their proposals and instead mouthing pious rhetoric about the need to "manage" globalization. E.U. Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's efforts to liberalize trade have been consistently undercut. As a result of the European Union's unwillingness to reduce its massive farm subsidies, the Doha trade expansion round is dead.
The European farm policies are wonderful. They prevent mega farms from taking over everything like we have here. The family farm has been utterly destroyed in America thanks to the big corporate entities.

I applaud the European farmers for fighting back unlike the farmers here who, probably because few owned the same farm for more than a generation, didn't give hoot about losing the farm but the Europeans owning farms dwellt there often for a hundred or more generations! I had a girlfriend in Germany, Beate, whose family farm house was 500 years old and the family lived there since the end of the Roman empire. I couldn't picture them throwing this all aside and leaving.

America was settled by second sons. The first son got the land, the second had to find his own homestead. So they colonized like crazy.
And I haven't even gotten to the demographics. In 25 years the number of working-age Europeans will decline by 7 percent, while those older than 65 will increase by 50 percent. One solution: Let older people work. But Europe's employment rate for people older than 60 is low: 7 percent in France and 12 percent in Germany (compared with 27 percent in the United States). Modest efforts to allow people to retire later have been met with the usual avalanche of protests. And while economists and the European Commission keep proposing that Europe take in more immigrants to expand its labor force, it won't. The cartoon controversy has powerfully highlighted the difficulties Europe is having with its immigrants.
What a stupid, right wing tool this clown is. I wish the gods would make this lazy man work in Walmart when he is 65 years old! The fact that we force the elderly to work isn't something to celebrate!

It is a sign we are heading towards third world status! DUH!
Its dwindling defense spending weakens its ability to be a military partner of the United States, or to project military power abroad even for peacekeeping purposes. Its cramped, increasingly protectionist outlook will further sap its vitality.

The decline of Europe means a world with a greater diffusion of power and a lessened ability to create international norms and rules of the road. It also means that America's superpower status will linger.
Is "projecting power" helping us? I see rising fury, rising hate, boycotts, embargoes caused by American aggression. I see more and more people secretly working to undermine us because they fear our power and our very nasty rulers, one of whom just showed himself to be a psychopath quite openly, trying to hide the fact that he carelessly shot a friend, nearly killing him! Shock and awful!

Why should Europe be our military partner? This makes zero sense. We are abusing our power by attacking the wrong people like invading Iraq and we are going around, threatening war with Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Russia, everyone. Our demented howls of rage are now deafening. We run a gigantic budget deficit which is $500 billion in the red which matches our military budget which happens to be around half a trillion, too! Far from making us strong, this has destroyed our ability to project power or do anything since we constantly have to beg the Chinese and Japanese for spare change!

Europe doesn't do that.

So, who is going to get the last laugh here?
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