In Rome, Aldo Cimaglia is 52 and teaches photography, and he is deeply pessimistic about his pension. “It’s going to go belly-up because no one will be around to fill the pension coffers,” he said. “It’s not just me; this country has no future.”
Changes have now become urgent. Europe’s population is aging quickly as birthrates decline. Unemployment has risen as traditional industries have shifted to Asia. And the region lacks competitiveness in world markets.
According to the European Commission, by 2050 the percentage of Europeans older than 65 will nearly double. In the 1950s there were seven workers for every retiree in advanced economies. By 2050, the ratio in the European Union will drop to 1.3 to 1.
1.3 workers to every 1 retiree. That is not workable. The poor workers paying into the system will have to be taxed at over half their gross just to keep the system going. They won't do it. They will quit. Quiting will easily look like the best option. “Better,” the workers will rationalize, “to go on the dole then have to be the sucker that pays for it.”
European politicians knew that this day was coming. They knew that their welfare state was based on Ponzi scheme economics. It was the reason that they opened their borders to immigrants from Muslim nations. They had hoped that these new immigrants would help them maintain a high worker to retiree ratio. They had also hoped that the new immigrants would feel invested in the success of Europe and in the welfare of those that they would be supporting in retirement. (Can we say - Epic Fail!)
What then for Europe?
Can they find a way out of this catastrophe?
It may be too late for them.
But what about for us?
Is our social welfare system really that much better off than the European's? Or are we seeing in Europe, a harbinger of our own doom?