The Republican Party has been telling us for the past three years that President Obama wants to turn us into Europe and WE MUST NOT BECOME EUROPE!! Their message was based on the idea that Europe is socialist, socialist policies created the EU’s economic crisis and we must avoid becoming socialist. But the reality in Europe is a group of right wing and center-right governments that have been following the same economic path the Republicans want us to adhere to – severe budget cuts to pay down national debts, constriction of social programs, protections for the super-rich.
We couldn’t not foresee how prescient their message was. We must not become Europe….
The United Kingdom is now in a double-dip recession, thanks to those conservative policies.
France’s Labor Ministry has just announced that the nation is in its eleventh month of job losses, following those conservative policies. The current unemployment rate is 9.8% and the spin is “our unemployment is less than other European countries. Just wait, the policies will work eventually.”
Spain has followed the U.K. into a double dip recession. It has had its credit rating reduced by the S&P to “BBB+”, which means “adequate payment capacity.” It’s a mid-point credit rating, half-way between the best and worst. Fitch and Moody’s still rate them as “A” – “strong payment capacity.” Spain’s unemployment rate has hit 24% overall and 50% for young people. Retail sales have slumped for 21 consecutive months. Their Economy Minister promised that recovery is about two years in the future. He announced new taxes that are going to hit the overburdened middle and lower classes, especially a new value-added tax that piles a tax on each level of a product from raw material to retail purchase. Spain is considering an equivalent of Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae to take over the toxic assets of banks left with massive amounts of defaulted mortgages and loans.
Italy’s most recent bond sale was forced to offer very high interest rates, 5.84% on a ten-year bond. The economy is expected to continue to contract.
In the past year, almost every country in Europe has seen demonstrations, even riots over the economy and the austerity budgets. The politics in Europe are getting very hairy.
In the U.K., Prime Minister David Cameron can remain in power only at the discretion of his Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Clegg is the head of the Liberal Democrat Party and formed a coalition with Cameron’s Conservatives. If Clegg backs out of the coalition, it will force a new election.
In France, in spite of a last-minute effort to restore some of France’s socialist policies, Nicolas Sarkozy is probably going to lose his presidency to the real socialist, François Hollande.
Italy is in the hands of an interim government since the forced resignation of Silvio Berlusconi. New elections will be held in Italy this spring or summer. The current majority party will probably lose.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy just took office in December, after defeating the Socialist government of José Zapatero, campaigning on a platform of labeling Zatero an “excuser” who was failing to turn the economy around and blaming the European and global eocnomic crisis for Spain’s problems. Now, Rajoy is blaming the European and global econ0mic crisis for his problems.
The coalition government in The Netherlands just fell apart, so their government is going to have to hold new elections as well.
The coalition government in Romania fractured today. It had only been in power for two months.
The Czech government may survive the upcoming confidence vote, but will be severely limited in power by the fighting among the various parties.
Europe’s crisis is being deepened by the demands of the International Monetary Fund and the government of Germany, the strongest economy on the continent, even though their national debt is just below Spain’s at 142% of GDP.
Our Republican Party has created a crisis mentality about our national debt. Let’s put it in perspective. Our external debt is hovering around 99% of our gross domestic product. That means our national debt is equal to the value of all the goods and services generated in America in one year. Internal debt, the money “owed” to Social Security and other internal programs, is not relevant in any comparison with other nations. There are 25 countries in the European Union. Our debt would rank us equal to Bulgaria, #19 in the EU. Luxembourg’s debt is #1 at 3443%. The United Kingdom is #3 at 400%, The Netherlands is #4 at 344%, France is #9 at 182%, Greece is #11 at 174%, Spain is #13 at 154%, Germany is #14 at 142%, and Romania is #23 at 67%, Czech Republic is dead last at 45%.
But Germany and the IMF have demanded austerity budgets from all EU nations, demanded that they pay down their debts and increase their GDPs without the governments investing in those economies or providing support to the poor so they have money to spend in those economies. Sound familiar?
The Republican Party is the one that wants us to become Europe – the Europe of today where the same economic policies of the Republican Party have pulled Europe into double dip recessions, reduced national credit ratings and caused governments to collapse.
The right wing in Europe and our own Republican Party failed to make one thing abundantly clear to the people and corporations backing and funding them….someone has to invest in a country. If a government cannot invest in the country and the rich won’t invest, the country collapses.
The Republicans want us to reject becoming like Europe. That can only be accomplished by rejecting the Republicans. Sorry about that.