More labor problems for Europe

In case you might be wondering why I keep bringing this up, I’ll tell you. Europe is at the precipice of collapse because of its devotion to socialist policy. Greece is only the tip of the iceberg. Germany, probably the strongest financially of the EU partners, will ultimately have to shoulder an increasing burden for the weakest states – Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain. This does not sit well with most Germans, especially the ones who are finally waking up to their own unsustainable economic situation. The bottom line is that Europe has mortgaged their welfare states on the backs of declining populations. Pretty soon there won’t be a large enough productive class to pay off the mortgage.

What bothers me the most is that this could happen in America. In fact, it is happening – we’re just 10 or 20 years behind Europe and, at least right now, still have a sustaining population growth.

Back to Europe:

Europe has been hit by a wave of industrial and social unrest in recent days and weeks, as workers across the continent push back against efforts to cut government spending and drive down wages. The uncoordinated strikes and protests, which have taken place in at least a dozen European countries and have threatened to paralyze much of the continent, may be a harbinger of more unrest to come.

With much of Europe in or just barely out of recession and many millions of Europeans out of work and collecting welfare checks, governments large and small are scrambling to fix gaping budget holes in an effort to stave off financial disaster. In Spain, for example, the government spent twice as much as it took in during 2009, with unemployment benefits constituting the largest single component of government expenditures.

Many other European countries are in a similar bind. Indeed, with millions of long-term unemployed Europeans on track to becoming permanent wards of the state, the European social model is under strain as never before.

The European social model has fostered an entitlement mentality in its workforce. The article lists a summary of some of the recent labor unrest in various EU countries. It is apparent that European workers are going to resist any efforts by their respective governments to address economic issues.

Although many of the strikes and protests have been relatively short-lived, they represent growing popular resistance to attempts by European governments and corporations to cut back on spending. It remains to be seen whether European governments, which derive much of their political legitimacy from doling out social welfare benefits, will buckle under popular pressure and abandon reform.

However, if European governments stand firm and push through the painful austerity measures that many countries need to return to economic health, more labor strife will almost certainly follow. According to one analyst, the recent wave of protests could be “just the start of the greatest demonstration of public unrest seen on the continent since the revolutionary fervour of 1968.”

In any case, even if European publics are in denial about the future viability of the European social welfare state, a growing number of European governments seem to be acknowledging, albeit reluctantly, that their social and economic model is unsustainable. Strange, then, that many Americans view the European model as something to emulate rather than avoid.

As the situation in Europe demonstrates, this is a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Our geniuses in government would be wise to wake up to this before it’s too late.


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