Socialism – a destructive luxury 32

Jeff Durstewitz writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Europe has been riding on our economic coattails and sheltering under our defense umbrella since the end of World War II nearly 65 years ago. Our markets have been open to European goods, and our strong currency and relative affluence — the product of our much-maligned free-market economic model — have provided Europe with a ready buyer. (Question: How worried were French wine-makers about Americans boycotting French wines in 2003? Answer: très worried.)

While providing a huge market for Europe’s goods, we’ve also substantially relieved the European powers of the burden of defending themselves. Yes, France has an aircraft carrier and a nuclear force de frappe, but it’s not really capable of projecting significant force around the world anymore. Germany, the world’s third-largest economy, has a vestigial high-seas fleet and a modest air force. Even the Royal Navy is a shadow of its former self. “The U.S. last year spent about 44% more on defense than all other NATO members combined,” Robert Wall recently noted in Aviation Week.

By assuming Europe’s defense the U.S. has, in effect, allowed it the luxury of extremely expensive and ultimately unsustainable social-welfarism.

The great irony here is that the European model American leftists envy couldn’t survive without its despised cowboy counterparty. If the U.S. economy weakens because of increased regulation, heavy-handed unionization, and higher taxes and debt to support an expensive social agenda — all policies Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are pushing hard — it will hurt Europe.

The market for Europe’s exports will shrink, and the U.S. will be less able to defend Europe. Europe is also facing a demographic cataclysm in the near future because of low birth rates (under 1.3 children per woman in the EU, well below the 2.1 necessary to maintain the population). Thus Europe will be increasingly unable to sustain its current welfare state, the very model that the left in the United States adores.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Europe, Socialism, United Kingdom, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, July 11, 2009

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