Saturday, May 22, 2010

Europe – Retiring On Empty?

See: Crisis Imperils Liberal Benefits Long Expected by Europeans

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?


  1. Europe needs to be retired. If we haven't been propping them up and paying for their defense since the end of WW2 this collapse would have come long ago.

  2. RW, check your Email.

    I screwed up and accidently deleted your post. I don't know how to undo what I have done.

    Would you please repost your comment to this?



  3. Reply to soxfan4life
    I agree.

    Propping up Europe after WWII was a short term good idea, but a long term disaster.

    It made the conflict between the US and the USSR seem to Europeans as if it was a tiff between two foreign powers that would be fought in their back yard. Europe was living in an illusion of safety that was created by our best intentions.

    I wonder if Europe's move to statist-socialism was due to the fact with the US guaranteeing their security, there was no need for their own hard-men that could or would protect them.

    When your whole life is feasting on a cornucopia of security and abundance provided and guaranteed by distant and alien people, what need is there to be jealous of your rights and your freedoms?

    What do rights and freedoms mean to a people that have been reduced to little more than protected children?


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