Skip Nav
18 of the Sexiest Movies You Can Watch on Netflix in July
Everything You Need to Know About Pegging With a Strap-On
Father of the Bride
5 Books For Fans of Father of the Bride

Check This: Euro-Bogeyman?

With the odds of a US recession rising, I've been thinking about economic issues lately. On Friday, Paul Krugman, one of my favorite NYTimes columnists, wrote an interesting piece about Europe — the Comeback Continent. Krugman pointed to Europe's strengthening economy to refute the notion that low taxes and a weak social safety net (nixing goodies like universal health care) are essential to prosperity.

Offering data, Krugman maintained that Europe has seen great economic growth, without dismantling strong social safety nets. He argued that by exaggerating or misconstruing Europe's woes, Americans falsely excuse their system's injustices and insecurities. He writes, "the next time a politician tries to scare you with the European bogeyman, bear this in mind: Europe’s economy is actually doing O.K."

Although I know Europe has its share of problems, I think it's a good idea to step back from typical assumptions — in this case, that Europe is socialist and therefore economically in trouble — and look at what's really going on. Check out the article. Do you think that you can have social services and not eat your economic growth, too?


Join The Conversation
designergirl designergirl 9 years
"We have black and female Supreme Court Justices." I don't think that argument holds weight when you consider that countries with egregious civil rights abuses, like Pakistan, have had a female leader, whereas in here in the States, that hasn't even happened yet. And, yes, I'm willing to pay more taxes for universal health care. Why is "socialism" such a dirty word here? And all voters should pressure the government to actually provide effective programs. The government should stop wasting money spying on us and spend it on health care, education, and social security.
ebgirl ebgirl 9 years
I agree that we need more social safety nets in this country. We absolutely could continue to have a vibrant economy and fund more of these programs. I'm not particularly for socialized medicine, but there are intrinsic issues that need to be resolved - like the power of the MD lobby to dictate policies that rule out less-costly options for Americans. Also, we SERIOUSLY need to fund our educational system to a much greater extent than we have been. People talk about the tax increases that would result from providing broader social safety nets, but what about if citizens were more aware and politically active and put greater pressure on the politicians to stop funding pork-barrel projects? And how about campaign-finance reforms that would minimize the influence of special interests? The problem is that our tax dollars now are spent on an overgrown military-industrial complex, prison systems, illegal wars, and funding illegitimate regimes around the globe. How about pressuring our government to spend our tax dollars where it matters??? We should be able to have more safety nets if tax dollars were concentrated on the citizens and not providing perks to corporations and politicians.
juva87 juva87 9 years
hmm.. Why do so many americans refere to Europe as one country? Im not being rude, it´s just something i´ve been noticing lately. For me all 44 countries are so different economically and socially, even now with the EU.
raieven raieven 9 years
I can't see the article now :(
CoconutPie CoconutPie 9 years
"Those of you who have spent years establishing yourselves, are you willing to give up some lifestyle quality?" If some you guys think that's what life is all about, I find it sad. We were not all born equal and with the same chances and opportunities, but I find we have the responsibility to make sure that our fellow citizens have a decent life. I can't understand that in the USA they refuse treatment / let die those who can't afford health care or are not eligible. And so many intelligent kids coming from modest backgrounds will never have the chance to do the studies they dream of. I just find it fair to give an equal opportunity to everybody to get a good life. And just so you know, the more intelligent ones and the hardest working ones will succeed just as well in Europe as in the USA. But the poor in Western Europe will never be as poor as the poor in the USA. I'd rather drive around in a BMW rather than in a Bentley but know that I won't have to be served by an old lady at McDonald's because she doesn't have health care or a retirement plan. I don't think the way I think because I'm from a lower class and I'm frustrated. I'm not. But I understand how those people can feel and I have a social responsibility as a citizen of my country. I mean, are our governments supposed to be there for the big corporations, for only a part of the people or for everybody? I find people matter the most.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
Asians don't fare well in Europe either. I have family and friends in France, they find it very difficult, not just to economically and educationally succeed but to walk down the street without ridiculous comments thrown at them. NOT at all saying that all Europeans are racists or that Americans are not, simply it exists there as it does in other places and should not be ignored. "Government run might not be a stamp of quality in the USA because that's the way you made it. Your government cares much more about the big corporations and power than it cares about its people." -- Our government as a whole may have its serious difficulties but it is made up of a lot of very hard working people who care deeply about this country and its people -- Things don't always work out as planned but that what happens in a democratic republic and WE the people have a chance every to voice our dismay and demand change.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I've always said that we need to adopt more of Europe's policies because they just make better sense!
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Finnlover, I don't disagree with most of your basic points. However: * I don't want government in my life any more than necessary, it's not their right to tell me how to live. * Some older folks work because they want to stay active and engaged. My grandparents and father were able to retire because they lived within their means and saved their money. * You may want to ask the French-born citizens of middle-eastern parents how many options they have. Oh, that's right, they are widely discriminated against--that's why they have riots in the (racially-segregated) suburbs of Paris! * You may also want to ask about the neighborhoods in England which were recently recognized as "no-go" zones to non-Muslims--who are frequently threatened or attacked if they enter the area. Los Angeles has a Hispanic mayor. New York has a Jewish mayor. We have black and female Supreme Court Justices. We even have some diversity in presidential candidates. Success always requires work (unless you're a Paris Hilton!).
CoconutPie CoconutPie 9 years
Government run might not be a stamp of quality in the USA because that's the way you made it. Your government cares much more about the big corporations and power than it cares about its people. I used to think that it wasn't the primary purpose of a state to take care of everything and to make sure that the less fortunate live in decent conditions, but that was until I spent a few years in Europe. Life across the Ocean is a lot less stressful. You know that whatever happens, you'll still have somewhere to live, food, free education, health care, ... at the end of the day, and until the end. You'll never see an 80 year old work at a grocery store or at Wal Mart there. And seriously, is it normal that we do in the USA? And some of you said that racism is an important issue in Europe. Well those minorities have the same rights and privileges as any other citizens in those countries. In the USA, many minorities have to struggle much more to have a decent living. Who thinks it's fair?
onabanana onabanana 9 years
Yea, I agree...Government run isn't really a stamp of quality for me....hello FEMA and HUD. Each system has its plus and minuses. What really annoys me is when people act like Europe is a wonderland free of problems etc. Like any place its got its problems, and for me the thing that stood out most was the racism. Really sucks to be a minority in most countries in Europe.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Remember that those broad social programs have a cost. Those of you who have spent years establishing yourselves, are you willing to give up some lifestyle quality? Also, from what I have heard (and seen with family members in Europe), national health care is frequently mediocre. One older relative had great difficulty getting effective and timely care for a hip replacement. She had greatly impaired mobility for many months, as a result, and could not get up the stairs to the second floor of her home. Besides, I'm suspicious of anything run by the government. They can't even keep roads and bridges in good repair, I sure don't want them in charge of rationing my medical care!
CoconutPie CoconutPie 9 years
What about Canada? We have our own system, right in between, and I think we're doing quite good. You don't have to go from one extreme to the other. It's not black or white. And not all countries in Europe are doing good. They're all so different in their way of doing politics and dealing with the economy.
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
One of the keys to Europe’s broadband success is that unlike U.S. regulators, many European governments have promoted competition, preventing phone and cable companies from monopolizing broadband access. Deregulating the cable and phone companies is one of the few things that clinton did that i disagree with. i think its funny though because the hope and pray method of economics (cut taxes and hope and pray that it gets put back into the economy) has never really worked for the economy but it makes for really good sound bite that voters go for every single time
raieven raieven 9 years
My husband is European, we will be moving there in a few years. Woot! Off to read the article now...
dblgoldens dblgoldens 9 years
omg, do you ever have a totally egotistical moment and go back to your comment to see if anyone responded and then got a hit of instant karma by finding a HUGE TYPO in your comment? lol, what a spaz. I meant "aloud" not "allowed" duh. and back on point, we are the ONLY INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY ON THE PLANET without universal health care. the Europeans have it right. we should pay attention. get ready for a big fat recession people.
bibelot bibelot 9 years
I think that Americans can learn a lot by looking at how Western European economies function. Their national support systems (healthcare, welfare services, etc.) prevent people who are struggling from falling through the cracks. That, in turn, makes their economies more stable...people don't lose their houses or declare bankruptcy because they owe too much for medical care, and companies don't go belly-up or abandon benefit plans for retirees because the cost of (private! for-profit!) health care can't bleed them dry. It's high time that we stopped pretending national health care is a "socialist" concept - it's a SENSIBLE concept.
DCStar DCStar 9 years
I think that a well-managed universal healthcare plan would improve our economy. There are so many people who are sick and too poor to improve their own standards and the rich people telling us that universal healthcare is a bad idea have no idea how many more people could be productive.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Paul Krugman is the only man I've interviewed who made me break out in a lusty sweat. Smart and sexy. Rrrowl.
dblgoldens dblgoldens 9 years
Krugman is an excellent source being an economist and all! I am a huge fan too and am enjoying his latest book "Conscience of a Liberal." I think that economic growth for the majority is actually NOT possible without well-funded (yes, that means taxes!) social programs. I thought Michael Moore said it best at the end of "Sicko" when he wondered allowed about Americans and their lack of universal health care, 'Who are we?"
Megan Couto Becomes First Woman to Captain the Queen's Guard
Prince Philip Over the Years
Monaco Travel Tips
Lake Como Travel Tips
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds