The situation there is grim, and the financial and social systems there are buckling:
The worst nightmares of [...] Euroskeptics have been exceeded. The United States carried the luxury-goods industries of France and Italy and the engineered-products industries of Germany on its back for decades, but it will not and cannot do it anymore. Decline is reversible; more complicated is a death wish as thoroughly installed in the attitudes and practices of whole peoples as that of most of Europe.
If Europe cannot spark a demographic renewal, with a work force comprising fully half the people, flexible labor markets, tax rates that encourage savings and investment, an end to stealthily galloping inflation, and a reactivation of the economic and military muscle that alone confer credibility, it will quietly perish.
These are the results of cradle-to-grave statism, and Euro-socialist economic policies. There is no reason why this cannot happen here in the United States, in fact it probably already is happening. The laws of economics and common sense apply in our country as well as in Europe.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition backed higher health-insurance premiums, a move some critics from her own party said will fail to curb rising health-care costs and might undermine the German economic recovery.
Coalition leaders meeting in Berlin today agreed to raise health premiums to 15.5 percent of gross pay from 14.9 percent, Health Minister Philipp Roesler said. Employers will contribute 7.3 percent with 8.2 percent paid by employees.
“We’re including everybody, workers, employers and taxpayers,” Roesler said in a statement distributed to reporters in Berlin.
The measure is part of an overhaul of health care intended to plug an 11-billion euro ($13.8 billion) deficit in the public health-insurance system in 2011. It follows Cabinet agreement on June 29 to cuts in spending on drugs to reduce soaring costs to public health-insurance funds.
This is what happens when governments create massive entitlements designed to “benefit” the population–ineptitude, mismanagement and a complete waste of resources.
Eventually the bureaucracy becomes so big, it needs to be fed with the blood and sweat of the taxpayers, as politicians scramble to find more and more sources of revenue to plug the inevitable funding shortfalls, while praising the purported benefits to the people.
After 14 months, there’s a discernible pattern in how Obama operates and what his motives are.
In his most recent piece, Hanson puts it all together:
Utility means nothing. So long as the next proposed program enlarges a dependent constituency and is financed by the “rich” through higher taxes and more debt, it is, de facto, necessary and good. Equality of result is to be achieved both by giving more to some and by taking even more from others.
[A]fter 14 months [...] the Obama particulars add up to a remaking of America that is now clear and consistent: Grow government; redistribute income; establish permanent political constituencies of dependents; increase entitlements; hike taxes; demonize “them” while deifying their supposed victims; seek global neutrality abroad; and always play fast and loose with the truth.
Just in case MSNBC or CNN decide to leave the parts of healthcare reform that will significantly affect the lives of middle class Americans, out of their incessant praise of the proposals, here are some highlights:
- IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage;
- IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage;”
- IRS can confiscate your tax refund;
- IRS audits are likely to increase;
- IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade;
- IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans; and
- Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four.)
You should make an appointment with a therapist if you still believe that “healthcare reform” as the Democrats are about to pass, is about reforming healthcare and not the expansion of Federal powers.
Steyn is spot on with this morning’s column, as usual. It’s a must read.
The money quotes:
Obama is government, and government is Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. You elected to the highest office in the land a man who’s never run a business or created wealth or made a payroll, and for his entire adult life has hung out with guys who’ve demonized (deemonized?) such grubby activities.
Many of which associates he appointed to high office: Obama’s cabinet has less experience of private business than any in the last century. What it knows is government, and government’s default mode is to grow, and grow [...]
Look around you, and take it all in. From now on, it gets worse. If you have kids, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have kids, you better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to.
The unfunded liabilities of current entitlements are $100 trillion. Try typing that onto your pocket calculator. You can’t. There isn’t enough room for all the zeroes, and, even if they made a pocket calculator large enough, and a pocket large enough, you’d be walking with a limp.
To these existing entitlements, Obama and his enforcers in Congress propose to add the grandest of all: health care, on a scale no advanced democracy has ever attempted.