Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not Happy Forever

Crisis Imperils Liberal Benefits Long Expected by Europeans

Most of the universal health care discussions mention Europe and how far behind we are. I was fascinated by the above article, and by the coming demise of socialism in Europe (others may call it something different). In 1980 the European Union countries devoted 16% of their  GDP to welfare and in 2005 devoted 21%, with France at 31%. We devote 15.9% to welfare. Because of the reduction in workers, they are in a bind. Their lifestyle, healthcare and early retirement are not sustainable. Retirement ages are increasing, and healthcare benefits reducing. Are we attempting to copy a broken model?

1 comment:

Kate said...

Their lifestyle, healthcare and early retirement are not sustainable. --- Mr. Kim

So the next question is: What is sustainable?

Lower pay, less health coverage, higher retirement age, and a dismantling of a good chunk of the welfare system.

Working till old age for next to nothing. Sustainability for all.

I think we really need to ask ourselves how this perception of future scarcity affects our behaviors and our policy.

(Hurley on Lost offered an interesting meditation regarding the idea of scarcity back when he had to decide what to do with the food found in the hatch.)