I wonder why

It argues the European Union have been gravely damaged by three core problems – economically it is falling far behind the U.S. and Asia, politically it is deeply divided on issues like Iraq, the new EU constitution and the euro and its legitimacy has been shattered by a crippling ‘lack of popular understanding and enthusiasm’.

‘Europe’s share of the world economy is shrinking as the United States constantly outstrips European growth and the Asian economies surge ahead,’ it warned.

Idiots… when are the Eurocrats going to realize that you can’t tax and grow at the same time.

I’ll be happy to see the EU go.

19 thoughts on “I wonder why”

  1. To be more specific: The countries that have joined up had to conform to certain criteria concerning the respect for civil rights, transparency etc. That helped the Eastern European former canditates, and now members, to integrate into the Western world.

    The same salutary effect can be seen in Turkey. To become a candidate for membership, Turkey has legalized the use of the Kurdish language and has reformed its legal system. It’s not there yet, but torture is used much less frequently and civil rights are much more often respected now.

  2. I don’t know about transparency. The EU government seems, at least from this side of the Atlantic, an opaque conglomerate of bureaucrats accountable to no one. I read somewhere that in an audit, the EU could only account for where 10% of its funding are going. Without direct elections for office, I would guess there are more avenues for corruption.

    With respect to civil rights, that’s debatable as well. Basically civil rights in the EU is what Brussels says it is. If I were a citizen of the EU, I’d be wary of that. The EU seems to be dominated by anti-religion socialists. I sure as heck wouldn’t want to concentrate power in their hands.

    They wouldn’t even put a reference to God in their constitution. A comparison I like is that the US revolution and the French revolution happened roughly at the same time, both with a “bill of rights” protecting citizens. The difference is that the US Bill of Rights is specifically designated as God given rights inalienable by man. The French set up a council of human rights if I remember correctly. Look what happened. Rights given by man can be taken away by man.

    A little off topic, but it goes to my thinking.

  3. Ralf, you’re right in principle, but in practice the
    EU bureaucracy is ruining the theoretical promises of economic growth and security. In my view its worst offense is trying to force the new members in Eastern Europe to buy into its own failed welfare state policies. Europe could solve many of its own problems by becoming more hospitable to risk-taking and innovation, but appears to be culturally and instinctively unable to come to grips with that. The nanny state regulatory impulse is part of that problem.

  4. Like we don’t have corrupt politicians and a federal budget so opaque it can hide the budgets of how many blcak intelligence departments and operations? If the Europeans are happy with it, what’s it to us as long as they don’t start another war?

  5. What a corrupt, misbegotten system. The best you can say for the EU is that it is an open door invitation for muslim immigrants to move in and take over. It won’t be long now.

  6. Funny, yes I too think our government is an opaque conglomerate of bureaucrats accountable to no one. Here’s the problem though. I’m willing to bet the next economic crisis has something to do with the Euro.

    For example, the underlying value of the Euro, like all currencies, is backed by the full faith and credit of the EU government. Which in practice translates to the full faith and credit of each member country. When you get a hodgepodge of different economies with different levels of economic development, you destabilize that currency. With the baltic states and former Soviet block joining, you’re either saying those countries are on par with say France or Germany, or you’re diluting the Euro.

    Or say the EU piles on the regulations since each member nation has to conform to EU laws. You stifle EU economic growth, which hurts a big chunk of the world economy.

    The US has a tendency to bail out other countries with US tax payer dollars. Which affects you and me.

  7. The part that bothers me is that they set up the EU with the regulations that the countries needed to meet a level of debt to GDT of 3%. They tried to force Spain and Italy to submit to the EU Central Bank when they went over 3%. France and Germany have been over 4% for the past few years and they are kicking and screaming that they don’t need to meet the 3% limit. So long as they have a union of different standards depending on the country (France and Germany don’t have to meet any standards and the new countries have to jump up their taxes so they meet the same as the other countries which then destroys the economies of the new countries) then the union will not work. Some of them are even afraid to have their citizens vote on the Constitution. There are so many things rotten with the EU that it is not even funny.

    Read on a British weblog concerning the EU that they are now forcing Britain to stop recycling their waste. The Brits had developed a methodology for recycling their waste that made it non-lethal and were actually making money on it. The EU says they have to close down this factory. Now the Brits will have unemployed citizens and be stuck with all the waste they were recycling all because of the EU.

    They are also bitching over who gets what number of votes in their European Parliament. They are afraid to put that one to the voters as well. We hear all about how the French and their Rights of Man are so beneficial to the citizens. Looks like just another chimera to me. They talk a good setup, but it looks like just more socialism without the people even getting a chance to vote in many cases. I will stay right here where I know I have a voice in what happens. I may not like what the government does, but I do have a right to have my say. That is more than many in the Euro area do. They are not concerned in individual rights so much as society rights and they want to dictate what that will be.

  8. Incognito,

    With our balance of payments deficit, rising oil prices, declining economic indicators and the amount of our debt held by China, I wouldn’t count on the Euro being the cause of the next economic crisis. I suspect, instead, the Euro will fail eventually because of a political crisis; some countries will rebel against the amount of suffering they endure because of economic policies emanating from Brussels.

  9. “Americans just don’t appreciate what an import stabilizing factor the EU is.”

    No, Ralf, you’re completely wrong. The Europeans cannot seem to understand what an important stabilizing influence the United States is!

    There’s an old, old joke about the role NATO played in European defense. It exists to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.

    Security from Russian aggression was bought and paid for by America, not Europe. Social welfare programs that prop up political parties and allow administrations to last for decades are possible due to the fact that Europe is counting on the US to provide for their defense. The very idea of another major war between European countries is ludicrous, and it’s entirely due to American foresight and sacrifice instead of European statesmanship.

    European physical security is provided by US taxpayers. European political security is possible because the politicians can use money that would normally go towards defense to pay off the voters through welfare programs. The lack of strife between European nations is due to the fact that they know any aggressor would have to face the American military, an obvious impossibility.

    So far as European economic prosperity, America did it’s part to provide for that as well. Anyone here remember the Marshall Plan?

    To claim that the EU is the cause of this security and stability shows an alarming disregard of history. In fact, it appears to most outside observers that the EU is coming very close to screwing up this ideal situation that we Americans have provided for Europe. Considering the way they’ve been acting lately, there’s a chance we won’t bail them out if they do.


  10. Of course you can tax and grow at the same time. Look at Sweden and Caifornia. Taxation may have an impact on how muc growth you can achieve but it need not be a problem if the trade-off is acceptable to voters, businesses and the other parties involved. The problem in Europe is that tax has been used to fund both entitlements and expectations at a growth rate larger than anything these mature economies can sustain; Take Sweden; in 1965, tax revenue as a share of GDP was about 35%; by 2000 it was 54%. This growth is just not sustainable. European politicians know this and, for much of the past decade, have been able to use scapegoats such as the EU, “globalization” and the WTO to more or less do the right thing. The EU, however, is another ballgame entirely. Its obsession with “harmonisation” is essentially and self-destructively meant to deny a comparative advantage to its more dynamic – and usually smaller – members over the other, usually larger, ones. And the frightening bit is how popular such an agenda is in the larger countries.

  11. Dick, funny story about UK recycling. I like also how UK farmers have to give pigs toys so they’re not bored.

    Richard, the big difference between US & EU is of course less taxes and regulations. We tend to grow our way out of rough spots.

    James, you can even argue European economic prosperity is bought and paid for by US taxpayers.

    Sylvain, touchee, I should have written “can’t tax up the whazoo and grow”. This pan Europe unity feel good garbage is a vehicle for grabbing power. Sooner or later the masses will figure it out.

  12. James, I should have typed more: you can argue EU economic prosperity was paid for by US taxpayers because they didn’t have to spend for their own security, and because we created a “safe and stable zone”, which allowed for economic prosperity.

  13. I have never understood why the EU wants to superimpose an undemocratic, corrupt, and unresponsive ruling clique on top of a set of functioning democracies. Since a “no” by any referendum effectively kills the deal, maybe the redesign will be better. As a free-trade zone and customs union, it makes sense. As a federal entity, it makes none.

    Even at its heart, the EU has a conflict of principles. Germany wants to obliterate its past and rejoin Europe as a normal nation. It is a sort of national self-abnegation. France, on the other hand, has never renounced using the EU to further its national interests. Remember the shunning of Great Britain? The benefits the French farmers harvest from the CAP? The petulance when the east missed their “opportunity to shut up”? How about the violation of the budget deficit rules?

    Economically, it would be difficult for Europe to maintain its welfare state while integrating the poorer nations in the east (as Germany can attest). Add the inflexible monetary policy and the spiteful attempt to slow down the thriving countries like Ireland and the UK by “harmonizing” their tax levees to continental rates and it becomes improbable. Mix in the social disruption of unassimilated Muslims and the need to replace the US defensive forces, and it becomes comletely unrealistic. Ten years, no more; less if the “no” votes start coming in from the referedums.

  14. To claim that the EU is the cause of this security and stability shows an alarming disregard of history.

    James, whenh I wrote that “Americans just don’t appreciate what an import stabilizing factor the EU is” I meant general American public opinion. And I also meant what I meant, no more, no less.
    Making a point in favor of the EU isn’t the same as making a point against America. To claim that it does shows an alarming tendency for zero-sum thinking.

    I really don’t understand how you can read any denigration of American-provided protection and security into this. In fact, furthering the expansion of the EU has been one of the instruments and goals of American policy. That’s why Turkey’s membership has been one of the cornerstones of American foreign policy for many decades, just to name one example.

  15. Mitch,

    the attempt to harmonize taxes is misguided, but not spiteful. Ireland has enjoyed a boost is prosperity due to EU subsidies and the so-called cohesion fonds that was intended to make countries that were below the average wealthier, so that they would fit into the Euro-area. And most of this money was paid for by Germany.

    It is to Ireland’s credit that it didn’t fritter away those contributions and used them wisely; they used (and still use) these funds to substitute tax-revenues so that they could lower taxes, boosting their growth.

    But you can’t blame German politicians if they aren’t amused when Ireland uses these low tax-rates to lure companies away from Germany. Misguided or not, it is unfair to ignore German contributions to other countries wealth *and* to call any misgivings spiteful on to of that.

    Spain is another country that has profited greatly from the same mechanism. Spain receives as much as 3 % of its GDP from the EU, also mostly paid for by Germany. Not to bang Germany’s drum too much, but we have been very generous to the poorer EU members. Now, the Spaniards are too proud to admit how much they get from us, but whenever Germany talks about reducing the cohesion fund Spain makes a huge fuss.

  16. –I have never understood why the EU wants to superimpose an undemocratic, corrupt, and unresponsive ruling clique on top of a set of functioning democracies.–

    Because that’s what they’ve been for 1000 years, I call it “mutated monarchy.” Unelected 1, unelected brusselsprouts, still unelected elite.

    We, the riff-raff actually having a chance to rise to the top scares them.

  17. Correct me if I’m wrong, Ralf, but I thought now that Ireland’s successful, they don’t want to give back to others what they’ve received.

  18. Sandy,

    nobody. not even Chirac or Schröder are talking about making them give back anything. They’d like to have equal tax-rates in all EU member countries, which is wrong. Ireland wil have to contribute for the new members, though, just as other paid to helped Ireland.

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