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5 reasons why Europe is sick

Stack Of 50 EUR Bills

Image by Andres Rueda via Flickr

This European debt crisis you keep hearing about didn't form overnight and didn't come from nowhere. Europe has had troubles for years and they're just now coming to a crisis point. And even the $1 trillion bailout won't make these problems go away. Here are five reasons why Europe is sick:


1. It has terrible growth demographics: Europe is an older, affluent population. Which means it essentially is static, if not stagnant. Economic growth comes from young people -- some who are unskilled, some who are innovators, all of whom are willing to work for less money than their elders. According to the United Nations, Europe is the only continent where the number of people ages 15 to 59 will decrease over the next 40 years. Europe also will experience a decline in the birth rate over the next four decades. By comparison, take a look at India, which has terrific growth demographics. By 2020, says the U.S. government, nearly 60 percent of the country will be younger than 24.

2. Someone has to pay for all those older Europeans: Much has been written about Greece's profligate welfare state, and that is true. But Greece is not alone. Most European citizens enjoy cradle-to-grave government entitlements, even in prosperous nations such as Germany and France. The austerity measures imposed on Greece in order to get the bailout will only make living conditions worse for that nation, and the rest of Europe will have to go through similar belt-tightening or else get their debt ratings downgraded, which is something even Britain has been warned about.

3. Europe has treated its immigrants poorly: Immigration to, from and within Europe is part of the continent's character. But nationalistic European nations hold their immigrants at arm's length and others are outright hostile toward them. Consider recent legislation in Belgium and France that would prohibit the wearing of full burqas by Muslim women. Remember the Muslim riots in the French suburbs in 2005. Here's a good recent piece from Newsweek pointing out why immigrants are crucial to Europe's future and why European nations can no longer treat them as they have. Newsweek writes:

"Most European countries tried to protect homegrown labor by shutting out foreign workers. The efforts mostly backfired, encouraging a massive influx of illegal aliens, who tend to accept rock-bottom wages and benefits because they have no legal recourse. At the same time, Europe's generous social benefits encouraged a massive surge of 'welfare tourism.' "

4. The euro has been a restraint, not a liberator: The euro, which was introduced in 1995 and circulated in coin and paper in 2002, was supposed to create a pan-European economic superpower, eliminating all those messy currency exchanges between nations. Didn't happen. It turns out that currency exchanges were never really a problem. What turned out to be a real problem -- as euro foes predicted at the time -- was that a common currency prevents individual nations from determining their monetary policy. When the U.S. was in crisis in 2008, the Federal Reserve turned on the money spigot and the Treasury printed billions in new money. This can lead to inflation, but it also stemmed a pending liquidity crisis. The 16 nations of the Eurozone do not have that power. They can set their own budgets and rake in their own revenue, but they cannot inflate or deflate their own currency. If Greece were still on the drachma, Athens could inflate its way out of this crisis, effectively reducing the amount of debt it owes. It wouldn't be pretty, but it also wouldn't require a $1 trillion bailout.

5. Europe's only as strong as its weakest link: The other downside of a common currency is that it links weak economies, such as Greece's, with strong ones, such as Germany's. The hope was always that the stronger Eurozone nations would elevate their weaker partners. But, as with so many things in life, the weaker element is dragging down the stronger. This creates natural resentment in Germany: The Parliament put itself in political danger by voting to approve that nation's portion of the bailout, as many Germans opposed it. Further, it creates incentive to kick out the weaker members of the Eurozone, such as Greece. That may not be the worst idea, at least temporarily, but it certainly would contribute to the impression that the euro and the Eurozone are increasingly unstable.

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By Frank Ahrens  |  May 14, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Deficit/debt , The Ticker  | Tags: Economic growth, European Union, Eurozone, Germany and France, Greece, India, Monetary policy, United States  
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Comments

Good article. Shows the U.S. in the EU's shadow waiting for its own fall. Sad but true.
3 Reasons Why the U.S. is Sick

Granted, the United States economic crisis didn't form overnight. It is part of a worldwide recession as agreed upon by all economists. However, when it comes to a crisis point, certain economic principles must come into play for improvement. The TRILLIONS of dollars dumped for bailout's won't make these problems go away just as the Health Care Bill compounds the economy to make matters worse. Here are three reasons why the U.S. is sick:
1. Obama
2. Pelosi
3. Reid
It is not even worth the time to explain each reason and there is not enough room to comment here.
You have to be a simpleton to not see what those three reasons have done to this country. Look up the facts. Unemployment up, trade deficit impossible to reduce, new Obama government run bailout corporations needing billions of dollars more, first sign of ignoring constituants and Republicans that the Health Care Bill staying under $900 billion is a flat out lie. How many fools we have who voted for that is unforgiven.

Those three have created the most partisan government in the history of the world. Obama guaranteed crossing the isle and all he does is make matters worse with his continual sarcastic rhetoric.

Please America, research. Get the facts and stop making up BS to say it's OK. The economy is not getting better.

Sure, the EU is sick, but so are we. Vote with your brain and not your heart. Hard party lines is just plain ignorant.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 14, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Good information. First thing I thought of is that we should be encouraging more, not less, immigration from our southern border. They are young workers who will be paying into the entitlements systems to support other citizens.

Posted by: Bartolo1 | May 14, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Well. Many open fallacies I read here. I know it is an article made for the common american people. But you are my friend talking about european. First. Innovation can be youngs task. But wisdom and lots more of common sense usually is not. Second add hominem. France and Belgium have made legisation against some religious muslim symbols. But nothing similar to the neccesary counter-racist fight for the afroamerican to take their rights. Few years ago. It is not neccessary to go backward in the History. Hipocritic.

Posted by: Vercinget333 | May 14, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Well. Many open fallacies I read here. I know it is an article made for the common american people. But you are my friend talking about european. First. Innovation can be youngs task. But wisdom and lots more of common sense usually is not. Second add hominem. France and Belgium have made legisation against some religious muslim symbols. But nothing similar to the neccesary counter-racist fight for the afroamerican to take their rights. Few years ago. It is not neccessary to go backward in the History. Hipocritic.

Posted by: Vercinget333 | May 14, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Well. Many open fallacies I read here. I know it is an article made for the common american people. But you are my friend talking about european. First. Innovation can be youngs task. But wisdom and lots more of common sense usually is not. Second add hominem. France and Belgium have made legisation against some religious muslim symbols. But nothing similar to the neccesary counter-racist fight for the afroamerican to take their rights. Few years ago. It is not neccessary to go backward in the History. Hipocritic.

Posted by: Vercinget333 | May 14, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

There is little doubt that there is less reality to the European Union than there is to the United States. There is also little doubt that some of the European Union countries have particularly weak economies. But those who think the United States can deal with the reality of changing lifetimes and birth rates by a Ponzi scheme of continually importing cheap imigrants to make up the slack and do the dirty work are living in denial of reality. Like other advanced economies, the US is going to have to adjust to limitations on global resources, limitations to economic growth, changing demographics, and the reality of global economic competition. The US has the particular problem of a history of rejection of any constraints on consumption that are likely to make our adjustment to reality particularly difficult.

Posted by: dnjake | May 14, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The BIG REASON, you left out. A lot of European country's invested their retirement accounts and those artificially high rated Ponzi schemes run by Wall Street. In particular, the subprime mortgage bundles and other "hedge funds". They lost nearly everything. It bankrupted Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and did grave harm to Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and a bunch of other economies. The total world loss, not widely reported, amounts to more than 30 trillion dollars. That money just out and out disappeared and no one can account for it. So, blame Europe's retirement programs and their safety net all you wish, but this country's version of the Somali pirates stole that money and THAT is what underlies Europe's current economic problems.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 14, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Not bad article.
Lived and led there for 20 years, many nationalities.

First problem, there is no common language between the masses; thus, no common culture and way of thinking. (Multi-Culturism is the death of Europe and the reason for all past and future wars)

Second, no one can work with the French; Europeans still mistrust the Germans (the reason for the common currency and EU to keep Germany tame); Italy is dirty and corrupt; Spain on another planet and developing; Portugal small, impoverished and on its own; Belgium and the Netherlands small and on their owns; Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland small but ok on their own; the Brits out for good reason; Austria small and beautiful with Switzerland; Chechie and Slovakia corrupt and emerging; Greece, let's not go there; ...it goes on.

Third, Immigrants and illegal immigrants are mostly uneducated, backward, underskilled and mostly from emerging, Islamic North Africa and Middle East regions.

Americans need to know that Europe and its member states have little in common with each other. The modern economies, especially Germany, is meant to prop and pay for the others...socialism at the European state level.

Germans hate this also. Where will it all lead? Ideas?

Posted by: Accuracy | May 14, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"By comparison, take a look at India, which has terrific growth demographics. By 2020, says the U.S. government, nearly 60 percent of the country will be younger than 24."

why they need our jobs...

Posted by: DwightCollins | May 14, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Another factor is that Greece has a very healthy black market economy. Only a fraction of business is conducted in such a way that it can be taxed, and few people pay their fair share of income taxes. There is a culture of corruption and bribery that is largely accepted, and the government beauracracies are bloated with political cronies that can never be fired.

Posted by: kschur1 | May 14, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

kschur1 - "There is a culture of corruption and bribery that is largely accepted, and the government beauracracies are bloated with political cronies that can never be fired."

And, tell me, how is this any different than the U.S.? No government contract is ever issued without some palms being greased. Either "campaign contributions", a job for a spouse or other relative, some sort of quid pro quo, a "favor", and more rarely just as outright exchange of cash. And, as for public employees, you don't get to be one without knowing someone and, after being hired, and they are well know (deservedly) for incompetence, laziness, and just plain bad work.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 14, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Good article. Shows the U.S. in the EU's shadow waiting for its own fall. Sad but true.
3 Reasons Why the U.S. is Sick

Granted, the United States economic crisis didn't form overnight. It is part of a worldwide recession as agreed upon by all economists. However, when it comes to a crisis point, certain economic principles must come into play for improvement. The TRILLIONS of dollars dumped for bailout's won't make these problems go away just as the Health Care Bill compounds the economy to make matters worse. Here are three reasons why the U.S. is sick:
1. Obama
2. Pelosi
3. Reid
It is not even worth the time to explain each reason and there is not enough room to comment here.
You have to be a simpleton to not see what those three reasons have done to this country. Look up the facts. Unemployment up, trade deficit impossible to reduce, new Obama government run bailout corporations needing billions of dollars more, first sign of ignoring constituants and Republicans that the Health Care Bill staying under $900 billion is a flat out lie. How many fools we have who voted for that is unforgiven.

Those three have created the most partisan government in the history of the world. Obama guaranteed crossing the isle and all he does is make matters worse with his continual sarcastic rhetoric.

Please America, research. Get the facts and stop making up BS to say it's OK. The economy is not getting better.

Sure, the EU is sick, but so are we. Vote with your brain and not your heart. Hard party lines is just plain ignorant.

Posted by: TRUTH2
-----------
Typical cherry picking myopic of the blame on why the US is sick on three reasons:
Here's my reasons:
1. Reagan
2. Clinton
3. Bush Jr
4. Banks/Investment banks
5. Federal Reserve
6. Republicans

All were part of the part of the problem that led to where we are today. It is 30 years in the making. All advocated deregulation of the industries even in cases of blatant abuse have gotten off the hook.
I do not have to explain them because there are not enough space.

Many economists, particularly Mark Zandi, have said that without some kind of stimulus we would have been in a depression.

The last reason created the most partisan government both while in power and a miNOrity because they insist that their way is the right way only way because it gets the base(puppets) riled up instead of compromising to get something done right and better.

Posted by: beeker25 | May 14, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

This article is typical non-sense and LIES out of the US (right-wing) Media. To be exact there is some truth to this article, but in the whole it is the same rubbish that comes out of the right-wingers in US to oppose all social services that Europeans have which would mean that rich and Big corporations need to be Taxed more. Put another way, as you read this article you would think that Euro has collapsed under the weight of all those (fake) problems listed, but in fact Euro is still MUCH MORE VALUABLE than the US Dollar. It closed at a mighty 24% MORE VALUABLE than US Dollar. So Euro is and will remain MORE VALUABLE than US Dollar, you an bank on that, Because Europeans are not suffering from a party of Lunatics as US is with the Republican party and Europe is not suffering from a right-wing (aka Lying) war-mongering media as US is with such lying machines as Fixed news, Talkradio, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, etc. etc., as a result of which:
1- European Governments invest much more of their People's money (Taxes) in their people and cities via such things as Universal nationalized health care, Universal education to Ubiquitous (electric powered) public transportation etc.
2- European Governments do not waste their people's money on Unnecessary Wars (Iraq War, Vietnam War, etc.) or on a Gargantuan Military

So Euro is KING and will continue to be KING, will continue to be MUCH MORE valuable to the US Dollar, as long as the above problems (FACTS) with US exist. More on these points here:
http://RealNewsPost.com?n=think.34892

Posted by: RealNews1 | May 14, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

In addition to the problems of stagnant populations, aging pensioners, and excessive deregulation, I think there is a problem with the "mature corporation." They cannot compete with the younger developing companies. So their Sr. Mgt juscies the books!

Going back to the first development of the dot.com craze in the 80s and 90s, major established nuts and bolts corporations could not compete for financial resources. The stock market was rewarding the new corporations, and even seasoned employees wanted to leave law firms and established companies to get in on the dot.com craze.

Therefore, the banks, and established corporations had to "juice" their accounting books to stay in the same "ball park" as their dot.com competitors. (Similar to the steriod craze in sports.)

Banks and other companies, like Eron, took "items" off the books, to make their 1/4 earnings look better to the market, and to the senior officers' bonus pool short term $$$$.

Now the question is, among others, how do you rejuvinate mature companies, as well as mature populations? Reregulation is esier to do.


Posted by: Robe2 | May 14, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou59 | May 14, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

The new year approaching, click in. Let's facelift bar!
====== http://goph3r.com/189 =====
fr ee sh i pp ing

(jordan shoes) $32

(air max) $34
++++ http://elurl.com/atn ++++++++++
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Posted by: itkonlyyou59 | May 14, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Good article. Shows the U.S. in the EU's shadow waiting for its own fall. Sad but true.
3 Reasons Why the U.S. is Sick

Granted, the United States economic crisis didn't form overnight. It is part of a worldwide recession as agreed upon by all economists. However, when it comes to a crisis point, certain economic principles must come into play for improvement. The TRILLIONS of dollars dumped for bailout's won't make these problems go away just as the Health Care Bill compounds the economy to make matters worse. Here are three reasons why the U.S. is sick:
1. Obama
2. Pelosi
3. Reid
It is not even worth the time to explain each reason and there is not enough room to comment here.
You have to be a simpleton to not see what those three reasons have done to this country. Look up the facts. Unemployment up, trade deficit impossible to reduce, new Obama government run bailout corporations needing billions of dollars more, first sign of ignoring constituants and Republicans that the Health Care Bill staying under $900 billion is a flat out lie. How many fools we have who voted for that is unforgiven.

Those three have created the most partisan government in the history of the world. Obama guaranteed crossing the isle and all he does is make matters worse with his continual sarcastic rhetoric.

Please America, research. Get the facts and stop making up BS to say it's OK. The economy is not getting better.

Sure, the EU is sick, but so are we. Vote with your brain and not your heart. Hard party lines is just plain ignorant.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Actually I see America as sick due to folks like you that turn against elected replacements for the GW Bush,ET Al, that ruined this country for 8 years. With your kind of love for the Repubs we do not need enemies

Posted by: RPLCO | May 15, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Good article. Shows the U.S. in the EU's shadow waiting for its own fall. Sad but true.
3 Reasons Why the U.S. is Sick

Granted, the United States economic crisis didn't form overnight. It is part of a worldwide recession as agreed upon by all economists. However, when it comes to a crisis point, certain economic principles must come into play for improvement. The TRILLIONS of dollars dumped for bailout's won't make these problems go away just as the Health Care Bill compounds the economy to make matters worse. Here are three reasons why the U.S. is sick:
1. Obama
2. Pelosi
3. Reid
It is not even worth the time to explain each reason and there is not enough room to comment here.
You have to be a simpleton to not see what those three reasons have done to this country. Look up the facts. Unemployment up, trade deficit impossible to reduce, new Obama government run bailout corporations needing billions of dollars more, first sign of ignoring constituants and Republicans that the Health Care Bill staying under $900 billion is a flat out lie. How many fools we have who voted for that is unforgiven.

Those three have created the most partisan government in the history of the world. Obama guaranteed crossing the isle and all he does is make matters worse with his continual sarcastic rhetoric.

Please America, research. Get the facts and stop making up BS to say it's OK. The economy is not getting better.

Sure, the EU is sick, but so are we. Vote with your brain and not your heart. Hard party lines is just plain ignorant.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Actually I see America as sick due to folks like you that turn against elected replacements for the GW Bush,ET Al, that ruined this country for 8 years. With your kind of love for the Repubs we do not need enemies

Posted by: RPLCO | May 15, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Europe is a collection of nations who are aging, stagnant, and sterile. The continent has not been the same since the "Great War" of 1914--18, which shattered its confidence and fatally undermined its economy. The war of 1939-45 left the whole continent broken, the population of Germany, its greatest state, decimated and occupied by its conquerers. The invention of the pill and the anti-authoritarian revolt of 1968, have resulted in a decision not to have children. Within a hundred years, the descendents of the English, French and germans will be few and under the government of the immigrants.

Posted by: RobbyS | May 15, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

The world economic downturn has caused a drastic decline in tax revenues and greatly exacerbated deficits. Efforts to stimulate demand by government programs against the deflationary pressures have also exacerbated deficits. What and who brought about the economic downturn? Reckless speculation by big banks and other big money entities. But older people and working people are blamed for everything in this article. No mention of the role of banks and others that have created so much economic ruin. So we must now cut spending so working people and older people will suffer and take money out of the economy so the economic downturn will be made even worse. This one-sided article does not qualify as a respectable analysis.

Posted by: twm1 | May 15, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

Note to the WP: people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Posted by: rbe1 | May 15, 2010 4:24 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the Euro was introduced as a currency of accounting in 1999. Otherwise very good analysis.

Posted by: jackdonaghy | May 15, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

#1 & #2 are generally true. However, were it not for a constant influx of big family foreigners (legal and illegal), the USA would face a demographic crisis also. Americans of long standing don't have large families anymore.

#3 is generally false with regard to legal immigrants. Regarding illegal immigrants, the EU may be as hostile as the USA to its own illegal immigrants, but it's debatable.

#4 is true in that the Euro has been like taking some countries back onto a gold standard, which broke a lot of economies in the 1930s. Regarding printing money to ease the crisis, the Central European Bank has started to do that, but they are more afraid of inflation than the USA is.

#5 is no different than America. For example, California is the powerhouse of America. It carries a lot of its poorer relations.

Regarding "multi-culturalism" in one poster's comments, the unavoidable fact is that the world is made up of many cultures. What are the alternatives? Either try to make them work together or destroy all of them but one? The surviving one being the American culture?

Posted by: Matthew_DC | May 15, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with Europe, unions, deficit spending and socialism. Coming to the USA soon!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | May 15, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The question is when the EURO was created, the entering nations were required to make a full and complete disclosure of their finances. If Greece and the other PIGS - I like how Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain are described - had been honest, Europe would not be in the crisis over the Euro. The question is who helped the Greeks and other cook the books? If you read European newspapers, the correct answer is GOLDMAN SACHS. If you think the mess is Europe is bad, it is coming to this country. The only question is when.

Posted by: jeffreed | May 15, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

This article is typical non-sense and LIES out of the US (right-wing) Media.

After all Euro is still MUCH MORE VALUABLE than US Dollar and no less. Again Euro is MUCH MORE VALUABLE than US Dollar and no less. As of this writing Euro is a MIGHTY 24% MORE VALUABLE than US Dollar!

So what Euro collapse are you talking about!

To be exact there is some truth to this article, but in the whole it is the same rubbish that comes out of the right-wingers in US to oppose all social services that Europeans have which would mean that rich and Big corporations need to be Taxed more.

So Euro is and will remain MORE VALUABLE than US Dollar, you an bank on that, Because Europeans are not suffering from a party of Lunatics as US is with the Republican party and Europe is not suffering from a right-wing (aka Lying) war-mongering media as US is with such lying machines as Fixed news, Talkradio, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, etc. etc., as a result of which:
1- European Governments invest much more of their People's money (Taxes) in their people and cities via such things as Universal nationalized health care, Universal education to Ubiquitous (electric powered) public transportation etc.
2- European Governments do not waste their people's money on Unnecessary Wars (Iraq War, Vietnam War, etc.) or on a Gargantuan Military

So Euro is KING and will continue to be KING, will continue to be MUCH MORE valuable to the US Dollar, as long as the above problems (FACTS) with US exist. More on these points here:
http://RealNewsPost.com?n=think.34892

Posted by: RealNews1 | May 20, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

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