Saturday, May 10, 2008

Does Obama Know the Pricetag for European-Style Socialism?

German writer Gabor Steingart only has to watch Barack Obama on TV to help with his homesickness. In a whimsical opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal he muses about this presidential candidate.

"The promised land of universal health care, secure pensions, a lot of green-collar jobs and stable bridges brings me back to my home country. My grandma, who has worked in a post office all her life, enjoys her pension without having ever observed the stock market. Everyone who travels through the countryside can see thousands of windmills, but never a collapsed bridge. And the best: My mom, my friends and everyone around them have access to first-class medical services."

Mr. Steingart believes that Obama wants to "trump" Germany's socialism. "He has promised not only a $160 billion program for new green-collar jobs, a higher minimum wage, affordable health care for everybody, a massive investment in infrastructure and tax-free status for pensioners who make less than $50,000. All these nice things come with no tax increase for 95% of Americans. Wow! That's Germany-plus!"

"I've been in the U.S. for a while, but if I remember my home country correctly, all the German comforts come with a price. My grandma has paid 10% of her salary to the public pension system, and her employer has matched the contribution. For our health insurance everyone has to sacrifice 7% of his or her earnings, which again is matched by the company. Fashionable windmills go along with extra taxes for fuel. A gallon of regular gas in Munich or Berlin costs – fasten your seat belt – more than $8.

"Not all of my fellow Germans are happy with this, but the overwhelming majority of my fellow countrymen made their decision a long time ago. They prefer big government. They have learned to live with growth rates far behind and an unemployment rate far above the U.S."

" seems to me that the agent of change was window-shopping in Germany without looking at the price tag. You should ask him for the bill."

Indeed we should. Mr. Obama, how do you plan to pay for all your socialism? Do you think that as Americans we would want to live off of the government? That we should turn over our money to basically inept politicians and bean counters and pray that all our needs are met? Do you think we are like the Europeans content to let bureaucrats care for us and do our thinking for us? We are a proud nation of can-do people who pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Keep European style socialism in Europe thank you. (Read WSJ).

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