The New York Times reports that “left-leaning governments” in Europe are — surprise! — finding out that their welfare states are not sustainable:
Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism.
But all over Europe governments with big budgets, falling tax revenues and aging populations are experiencing rising deficits, with more bad news ahead.
In Rome, Aldo Cimaglia is 52 and teaches photography, and he is deeply pessimistic about his pension. “It’s going to go belly-up because no one will be around to fill the pension coffers,” he said. “It’s not just me; this country has no future.”
It’s not just the government that’ll be screwed over by this debacle — people all over Europe are have been counting on generous government pensions that won’t be there when they need them. Not because a mean fiscal conservative wants to throw granny out onto the street, but because there simply isn’t enough wealth to live beyond a country’s means. And our generation is going to have to foot the bill for this. When this happens with Medicare and Social Security for us, we’ll have spent much of our lives paying into the system and getting nothing in return.
That’s the one of the worst parts of government welfare and health care. The people become dependent on a system that inevitably fails.
By the way, “harshness of American capitalism”? Earlier this year, we found out that one of Britain’s government-run hospitals was killing hundreds of patients a year:
[P]atients were left lying in soiled sheets or on commodes, sometimes for hours, frightened and ashamed, as calls for help to use the bathroom were ignored. Some were left unwashed for up to a month, and others were left in pain, without drugs, and with food and drink out of reach. Staff failed to make basic observations and patients were often discharged before it was appropriate, with in at least one case alleged fatal results.