What is causing the collapse of the center in Europe?
The austerity being imposed by Germany and her hard-money allies in the north of Europe on the indebted nations of the south of Europe.
Across the continent, voices are rising to demand that a growth package be attached to Angela Merkel’s fiscal pact.
But a growth package means tax cuts and spending increases. How do Europe’s nations provide these without adding to deficits and national debts, which mean new borrowing and the higher interest rates that are a primary cause of the present crisis?
The debtor nations seem to be saying this:
“Yes, we have been addicted to the narcotic of deficit spending. But we cannot survive going cold turkey. If you force us into it, our people will rebel and throw us out. Before we can give up the drugs, we need a new fix.”
From inception, the European project was built on a Faustian bargain.
If the nations of Europe would surrender their sovereignty, let their identities be diluted through immigration and open borders, and submerge themselves in a larger and more inclusive Europe, their peoples would be rewarded with an unparalleled prosperity.
Surrender your souls, and we will make you rich, secure and happy, said the eurocrats to the peoples of Europe.
After two terrible wars, Europe’s peoples took the bribe.
Free-riding off America’s defense, enjoying a prosperity produced by internal free trade and the explosive growth of their welfare states, financed at low interest rates once the euro was accepted as the common currency, they came to relish the good times.
Now the bill has come due. Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain must sacrifice and suffer to pay for these good times. Their public sectors must be pared back, pensions reduced, retirement age advanced. They must work harder and longer for all the years it takes to put their fiscal houses in order and pay back what they owe.
The left is saying: We want our pensions restored, our public employees rehired. If our leaders need more money, take it from the rich, take it from the banks, take it from the big corporations.
The right is saying: We want our countries and culture back. We want our borders closed. We want no more immigration from the rest of Europe or the rest of the world.
Let France be France again. Let Greece be Greece again.
Tribalism, radicalism and socialism are the growth stocks of the new Europe.
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