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Who's dreaming now?

Joe's Dartblog points out an op-ed piece by David Brooks in the New York Times. It could serve as a partial reply to Andrew Marovcsik's "Dream On, America" article that ran in overseas editions of Newsweek:

Most of the policy ideas advocated by American liberals have already been enacted in Europe: generous welfare measures, ample labor protections, highly progressive tax rates, single-payer health care systems, zoning restrictions to limit big retailers, and cradle-to-grave middle-class subsidies supporting everything from child care to pension security. And yet far from thriving, continental Europe has endured a lost decade of relative decline.

...Right now, Europeans seem to look to the future with more fear than hope. As Anatole Kaletsky noted in The Times of London, in continental Europe "unemployment has been stuck between 8 and 11 percent since 1991 and growth has reached 3 percent only once in those 14 years."

The Western European standard of living is about a third lower than the American standard of living, and it's sliding. European output per capita is less than that of 46 of the 50 American states and about on par with Arkansas. There is little prospect of robust growth returning any time soon.

...The core fact is that the European model is foundering under the fact that billions of people are willing to work harder than the Europeans are. Europeans clearly love their way of life, but don't know how to sustain it.
As they say, read the whole thing. (I am still cooking up my own response to the Marovcsik piece, which I aim to have ready soon.)




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