Boy am I glad my grandparents decided to leave Italy for a new life in America. They may have traded sunny beaches for cold winters in New York, but the positives still far outweigh the negatives. Europe today is in shambles, and things only appear to be getting worse.
Economically, the European Union is pathetic. Only Paul Krugman has the lack of intellectual honesty to claim that the European economic model of excessive taxation, and more importantly regulation, is superior to a more free economy such as the USA’s. Even before the crisis in 2008, the EU’s unemployment rate was consistently 4 points higher than the United States’. Today, It is not uncommon to see European unemployment rates over ten percent as Europe appears to be sliding into another recession. For all of Obama’s faults, at least America has been growing (if only at an anemic pace). Ill credit the growth to the GOP, who are blocking Obama from forcing through even more bad legislation like Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and the stimulus. But you also cannot discount the unbeatable American spirit and work ethic. It takes a lot more than one bad president to keep us down.
Europe has always shown its lack of economic competence by supporting continually expanding government (except in places like Scandinavia, where they are actually paring back government). But more recently the world has been reminded that Western Europe is also unwilling to stand up to bullies like Putin, even as he rolls tanks into Ukraine. You would think the Europeans would be tougher. Men and women are still alive who have memories of the horrors that came about the last time an autocrat decided to annex large swaths of territory. But alas, Russian natural gas is simply too important to Europe (I thought they were supposed to be using all renewables by now?). So Germany, the only country on the continent with any relative economic strength, lets Putin off with light slaps on the wrist. Part of this is President Obama’s fault, of course. Before he came along, the USA would have at least tried to be a leader in sanctioning Putin in a meaningful way. Instead, we put light sanctions on him in a reactionary way because we didn’t want to “escalate” the situation and prompt him to do something drastic like annex Crimea or invade Eastern Ukraine. Oh wait…
It remains to be seen what will come of Europe’s economy and Putin’s aggression. Hopefully all will end well, with an economic boom and a dialing back of military tensions. No use cheering for more human suffering to occur.