Join Date: February 14, 2006
I don't have much to add that Koler hasn't already said. Very thurough. This is the most sophisiticated debate I have yest seen, and I ma impressed.
First, I'd like to add that we have the highest tax compliance rate of any nation on earth. We actually PAY our taxes, while europeans as a matter of course, in the latin speaking countries at least, consider it a game to try and pay as little in taxes as possible. We also keep lowering our taxes and getting MORE over all revenue as a result. January tax reciepts were 28 billion more then expected by the Treasury. We've some how set up our system to thrive on low taxes.
Our Federal Reserve, our central bank, has a target inflation rate of 3%. They stomp on it if it gets much above that, and add money to the economy if it gets much below that, unless something else comes up, like new technology. Wal-mart exists on computer controled inventory and just in time delivery, for example.
Asian countries own so much of our public debt they could ruin the value of the dollar any time they want by dumping their bonds on the open market, causing the value of the dollar to drop like a rock. Oh wait, Japan tried to do that in the early 90's and the value of the dollar dropped like a rock. They had to stop selling the bonds because it was reducing the value of the bonds, so they were stuck with it. Now its china that's basically screwed the same way. Seriously suckers.
Of course, they owe us. If we could stop the piracy of our music and movies our trade deficit would vanish overnight. We got china into the world trade organization just so we could use it to try and force them to stop the rampant piracy.
Our social saftey net varies actually around the coutnry. Outsiders sometimes forget that we are a federation of states, not unlike the EU, but with a stonger Brussles, I mean central government. Our states are nearly as independant as EU states. I happen to live in a high social safty net state. We have quality health care available to our poor and working poor. My medications are covered under this plan. There is plenty of work available, but it falls into two catagories, low skill low pay, high skill high pay. Of course you should really only be paid in proportion to your contributions to the end product, whatever it is. We actually produce the same amount of steel today as we did thirty years ago, but with one tenth of the work force.
See, capitolism does one thing really well, it destroys capitol. Consider the telegraph. The first telegraph companies had a license to print their own money, but now western union sent its last telegram, and they weren't really used for almost 70 years now. Capitolism rewards new ideas by making whoever implements the new technology first wealthy beyond the dreams of averice. But it also makes the old skills obsolete.
No wants to be told your skills are totally useless, you have to go. If you have organized labor, and Europe has it in spades, they tell the governemtn to stop it. They make deals that prevent comapanies from inovating and steam lining, because damn it, keeping skills up to date is hard, and finding a new job is worse. The US is breaking its unions though. Our Unionized comapnies like Ford and Northwest Airlines are going bankrupt to escape the unions. If Northwest's pilots strike when the Judge voids their contract, then North west goes into recievership, the company closes, all the assets are sold to pay of creditors, and the workers are all out of work with no pensions and no work. Dead. And you know what, Our government is going to let it happen. Its a good thing for the economy as a whole, but sucks for the airline workers. The point being, I don't think most european governments would let a big comapny like BMW or KLM fold, and say we're all stronger for it.
Thats why europe laggs behind econmically. But as I think Redcar pointed out, Europeans likes it that way. Frankly a 32 hour work maximum week and the month of august off sounds like a sweet to me. And every one skipping out of work on mondays, like in Ireland, I'd love to be able to get away with that too. I'm told at dinner with aquaintences Europeans don't even ask what your job is, which is nice. In the US studies show many of us (not me) prefer to be at work rather then home with our families.
If economics was a contest, the US is set up to win. But it actually isn/t a contest. Its a means of allocating scarce resources. Capitolism uses money to do this because of information costs. It is too hard for a central authroity to know what people want. I think the differences in Europe and the US economically are the results of just wanting different things. Its not wrong, not like communism, just different.
A British Deputy Coucil (assistant to a low ranking ambassador) from chicago spoke at a local university, and I was able to attend. He said of all his posting, the United States was the most different. In other countries people are polite, ask about opportunities for trade, oppinions on international issues etc. We bitch about having to rename our cheeses. We're not gonna by the way, even if our chedder is a freakish yellow-orange instead of proper white. Kraft makes white cheddar by the way, it is very good.
Any ways, no other people on earth are going to walk up to a representative of the British Empire and say "We don't want to rename our cheeses and you can't make us."
Which I did do. But I was more polite about it then that, but that was the basic message. He understood, suggested we call it american cheese. We already have that, and it is that nasty cheep veveta like stuff, its quite nasty I told him. He politly dropped the topic, diplomatically, and I chose not to press it, because I ma basically a nice person and was just teasing the Diplomat with the economic portfolio out of chicago who I knew would have to deal with wisconsin cheese makers all the time. If you ever have a chance to tease a diplomat from one of the Great Powers I highly recomend it, it is quite fun.