First, (Via Steven DenBeste- hope his vacation went well, good to see him back.) we have the state of France- which is one of the scariest things I've read this year. Sometimes I think Canada is messed up, but then I read something like this and begin to appreciate exactly how much worse it could be.
"I first saw l’insécurité for myself about eight months ago. It was just off the Boulevard Saint-Germain, in a neighborhood where a tolerably spacious apartment would cost $1 million. Three youths—Rumanians—were attempting quite openly to break into a parking meter with large screwdrivers to steal the coins. It was four o’clock in the afternoon; the sidewalks were crowded, and the nearby cafés were full. The youths behaved as if they were simply pursuing a normal and legitimate activity, with nothing to fear.
Several things struck me about the incident: the youths’ sense of invulnerability in broad daylight; the indifference to their behavior of large numbers of people who would never dream of behaving in the
same way; that only the elderly tried to do anything about the situation, though physically least suited to do so.
Another motive for inaction was that, had the youths been arrested, nothing would have happened to them. They would have been back on the streets within the hour. Who would risk a screwdriver in the liver to safeguard the parking meters of Paris for an hour?
As for the police, he added, they did not want to make an arrest in a case like this. There would be too much paperwork. And even if the case came to court, the judge would give no proper punishment. Moreover, such an arrest would retard their careers. The local police chiefs were paid by results—by the crime rates in their areas of jurisdiction. The last thing they wanted was for policemen to go around finding and recording crime.
Not long afterward, I heard of another case in which the police simply refused to record the occurrence of a burglary, much less try to catch the culprits. "
The artcle has to be read to be believed. There's too much to just pick things out. Suffice it to say that if this report has any basis in fact, there will be UN peacekeeping missions in France before the decade is out. Media articles are often alarmist in tone, but damm, I fervently hope this one is exaggerating to the nth degree, because if it isn't......
"Fraud, errors and complacency in the management of the European Union's €98bn (£61bn) budget were yesterday laid bare in ahard-hitting annual report by the EU's court of auditors.
The report confirms many of the allegations made by Marta Andreasen, the suspended EU chief accountant, who claimed the European Commission's accounting system is deeply flawed. For the eighth year in a row, the court was only able t o certify that 5 per cent of the EU's expenditure - mainly relating to internal administration - was legal and regular. The remaining 95 per cent, including the sprawling farm and regional aid budgets, was not given a positive statement of assurance "due to the incidence of errors found".
Incidents of fraud detected include the usual bizarre assortment of fraudulent subsidy claims, including those paid for non-existent sheep and for imaginary Alpine pastures."
"the Euro-zone economy is going from bad to worse. It was hardly surprising that many missed the devastating one-word summary of the German economy by the country’s equivalent of the CBI last week: "catastrophic".
Nothing has more exposed the myth of the superior continental economic model than the flight of capital out of the Euro-zone and the stock market collapses this year. They have been breathtaking in their severity. At one point this month the German stock market was showing a collapse of 70% from its peak, double the percentage fall in the Dow Jones. The full consequences of the destruction of savings on such a scale and at such a pace have only just begun to make themselves felt.
Barely a week now passes without another red pencil taken to forecasts for economic growth in the Euro-zone. Last Friday, it was the turn of the National Institute for Economic & Social Research. As if 1.4% growth last year was not slow enough, it now forecasts that the Euro-zone will only manage growth of 0.9% this year and 2.1% next.
As for Germany, which accounts for about a third of output in the zone, GDP will rise by only 0.4% this year, and by 1.7% next, a shadow of the subdued growth in America - the economy that Europe so despises. On Monday, the keenly awaited Ifo index of business confidence is set to show a further fall for the fifth month running. On top of slowing demand, German business now has to contend with a coalition that has proffered yet more of the disease as the cure:yet more tax. "
In order for Europe to be the new economic superpower that it envisions, it will have to do more than limp along or maintain economic parity relative to the US. It has to narrow the gap. The only way that it will be able to do this is to have an economic growth rate higher than that of the US on a sustained basis. ie, for a decade or more. Beating US growth for one or two quarters here or there isn't going to do the job. If the US grows at 3% annually, the EU will have to grow at 5%, and so on and so forth. Of course, given the amount of regualtion and taxation in Europe, this is unlikely.
So, let's assess Europe's chances for the future.
Taxes- "Harmonization" of taxes. Do you really think any will be harmonized downward?
Economic growth- lower than the US on a sustained basis.
Versus the US
Crime- falling. Murder rates have fallen dramatically
Unemployment. Rates that are half that of Europe are considered a crisis
Economic growth- still positive
Thankfully the EU is still snubbing Turkey. If they had any brains, they'd incorporate Turkey into the EU on the condition that Turkey's substantial armed forces become the armed forces for Europe. But I guess that would mean treating muslims as equals instead of cheap labour and supplicants who should be grateful to their betters for Europe's social benefits.