With Greece's financial meltdown threatening to spread, the European Union has approved a $1 trillion rescue program to support countries buckling under massive debts. But economists warn that even nations with stronger debt profiles than Greece face long-term collapse unless they cut spending significantly on universal health care, retirement, and other social programs. Is Europe's debt crisis proof that socialized medicine and other generous government entitlements are unsustainable? (Watch Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) urge Europe to change its spending habits)
This is the end of the "welfare state": This isn't just Greece's problem, says Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post. Nobody — including the United States — can "overspend and over-borrow forever." Modern governments have promised aging populations "huge health and retirement benefits" without collecting the taxes to pay for them, and now we're witnessing "the death spiral of the welfare state."
"The welfare state's death spiral"
Socialized medicine isn't the problem: Robert Samuelson is wrong, says Dean Baker in Blog for OurFuture. "Most European countries have been willing to pay the taxes needed" to pay for their health and retirement programs and have done so while maintaining productivity rates on par with the U.S. It was the housing bubble's collapse that made "sustaining the welfare state" — and every other aspect of the economy — more difficult.
"Robert Samuelson didn't hear about the recession"
Greece should turn over a new, capitalist leaf: "Greece has long been serving as a worst-case-scenario example of experiments in central, socialized government," says Jazz Shaw in Hot Air, and, clearly, "the lab rat is pretty close to the grave now." Even The New York Times — a big cheerleader for Obamacare — reports that economists are recommending Greece abandon nationalized health care. Maybe now Greece can do some good by demonstrating that "moving back to the free market" is the solution.
"NYT tells Greece to abandon socialized medicine?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- What I learned from totally unplugging and shutting up for three days
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
- Immigration, charity, and conservatives' unholy assault on Glenn Beck
Subscribe to the Week