Plagued by seemingly perpetual debt problems due to large welfare states, the Euro-zone, the 17 countries that make up the European Union, has fallen into a recession for the second time since 2009:
The euro zone debt crisis dragged the bloc into its second recession since 2009 in the third quarter despite modest growth in Germany and France, data showed on Thursday.
The French and German economies both managed 0.2 percent growth in the July-to-September period but their resilience could not save the 17-nation bloc from contraction as the likes of The Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Austria shrank.
Economic output in the euro zone fell 0.1 percent in the quarter, following a 0.2 percent drop in the second quarter.
Those two quarters of contraction put the euro zone’s 9.4 trillion euro ($12 trillion) economy back into recession, although Italy and Spain have been contracting for a year already and Greece is suffering an outright depression.
A rebound in Europe is still far off. The debt crisis that began in Greece in late 2009 is still reverberating around the globe and holding back a lasting recovery.
Analysts said even the euro zone’s top two economies were likely to succumb in the final three months of the year.
Days Before Voting, Ukraine’s Parties Abandon Coalition Efforts while Observers Identify No Major Election Violations
United Liberty welcomes this guest contribution by Ina Kirsch, Managing Director of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a pro-market NGO that is interested in seeing Ukraine become more integrated into the western world through markets and political liberalization. Ukraine’s parliamentary elections will take place this weekend, and will feature electoral reforms that Ukrainians adopted broadly last November. These reforms aim to prevent corruption by making the process more transparent, and should result in a higher degree of representativeness of Ukraine’s diverse preferences. Learn more about ECFMU’s US Allies Project by clicking here. - Jason
In the lead up to Ukraine’s 28 October 2012 Parliamentary elections, polling indicates support moving toward the governing Party of Regions, with a close race between Batkivshyna and UDAR for second place. Those two parties had flirted with forming an official coalition, but amid a series of angry exchanges in the press, halted their plans. Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issued the second interim report from its observation mission, noting progress in key areas but also some concerns regarding the country’s election process.
International Data on Living Standards Show that the United States Should Not Become More Like Europe
I’m not a big fan on international bureaucracies, particularly the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD, funded by American tax dollars, has become infamous for its support of statist pro-Obama policies.
With all this talk of isolationism in the GOP, namely over our “kinetic military action” in Libya and the wearying, ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s an atmosphere that Republicans will be more willing to cut defense spending and reorganize our military to better fit in with the rest of the world. No more Dubya’s and silly foreign expeditions, more or less. But there’s one area that I see missing: Europe. I think it should be front and center.
When we Americans start arguing over welfare spending, it almost inevitably comes to be that those on the “left” say “Well, we’re spending billions and billions of dollars on bombing people in foreign countries, maybe we should cut that first, huh?” Naturally, conservatives balk at cutting military spending (while libertarians agree and then continue arguing to cut welfare anyways), but in terms of Europe, this is an area where they can make a great tactical manuever. I say this because, also almost inevitably, some liberal or progressive will then cite Europe as a great example of their welfare state ideal, saying “See, they can do it! Why can’t we, with the #1 economy in the world, do the same?” This was almost always brought up in the healthcare debate, focusing on the United Kingdom’s NHS, Germany’s social insurance policies, and infant mortality. And what else can conservatives and libertarians say? Europe sucks? Only in some limited aspects, and that’s simply not a respectable argument anyway.
Every culture has its romantic ideal. In Europe, it’s the knight. In the Middle East, it’s the army of Saladin. In the United States, it’s still the cowboy. The heroic lone wolf, standing for what is right amidst a sea of contradictions and solves the problems of the world all on his lonesome. The outward display of that figure, the six-gun dangling from his hip, his fingertips just millimeters from it, is primarily the work of fiction. There have been far more Hollywood showdowns at high noon than the real Old West.
Instead, the ideal itself, the rugged individualist, has taken a tremendous beating over the years. We are being conditioned to shut up and take whatever is dealt to us. Instead of conditioning people to be Marshal Dillon, our young people are being taught to be the damsel in distress.
Recently, the State of Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a man doesn’t have a right to resist law enforcement entering your home without your consent, or a warrant. It spurred up a firestorm of controversy, but it’s hardly the first move in this direction.
For years, there have been states that have what is called a “retreat first” law. These laws require someone to try to leave the site of a potential violent encounter rather than permitting them to defend themselves. This also includes retreating from your own home should someone break in. You, the lawful citizen, must act in a manner that empowers the criminal element. Thank God Georgia isn’t one of those states.
The moves all push towards creating a nation of docile subjects who turn to the state for the answers to their problems. There are arguments now that guns aren’t necessary because the police will protect us. Of course, the Supreme Court case Castle Rock v. Gonzales says otherwise.
President Obama showcased his ignorance of world political history at the G-20 summit in London recently when he made a crack at his political predecessors’ penchant for back-room brandy sessions:
Well, if there’s just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy, that’s an easier negotiation. But that’s not the world we live in, and it shouldn’t be the world that we live in.
I realize that every generation likes to think of itself as unique and facing problems their ancestors did not. It’s the easiest way to excuse failure. No one will blame a world leader for poorly handling a challenge that the world has never seen.
Anti-government and bank rage reached a boiling point Monday in the small island nation of Iceland, where residents have seen unemployment and inflation skyrocket following the fall collapse of the Icelandic banking system. Iceland, a nation recently prided as a great example of the “Scandanavian Model” of a prosperous welfare system, has in a matter of months been transformed into the least politically and ecnomically stable nation in Europe. The International Herald Tribune reports below-
Usually, when people bleat about spending money on other countries, it’s about humanitarian aid. But we spend far more money on other nations than just humanitarian aid; we also spend billions and billions of dollars subsidizing other nations’ military defense.
So when you file your tax return today to your overlords at the IRS, just remember, you’re paying not only for our military, but for the military of NATO, of South Korea, of Japan, and many other countries, and letting them freeload off of you. Every time a liberal points to European socialism and says we should be more like that, just know a lot of that socialism comes because they don’t have to spend on their military—we do it for them.
Here’s the infographic and the blog post from the Cato Institute to prove it:
Every now and then, you’ll read a story about how politicians are targeting 401(k) accounts as an extra source of revenue to deal with the long-term entitlement crisis or to guard against losses during an economic downturn. Back in 2009, leftist groups pushed Congress for more government involvement in the private retirement system, including some sort of public alternative — because, you know, Social Security has worked out just peachy.
The proposal out of Cyprus that would give depositors a “haircut,” a high-percentage levy on their deposits, has prompted fears in the United States that some future administration or Congress could eventually put financial assets, such as bank accounts and 401(k), in their crosshairs. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) has proposed legislation that would prohibit the federal government from taking such an action.
But could something like that ever actually happen in other European Union countries? Over at Reason, Ed Krayewski points to an thought-provoking and troublesome op-ed out of Ireland that wonders what the future of that country’s depositors looks like:
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month, I was surprised that nobody had access to 4G mobile Internet services. How could Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain and host to the “world’s premier mobile industry event,” lack access to 4G? In the opening day keynote session, Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s CEO, said Europe has only 6% of the world’s LTE connections, and Telefónica’s CEO, César Alierta, said only 17% of European mobile subscribers have smartphones. European mobile operators agreed they are lagging the world in 4G deployment and penetration due to existing price regulations that discourage new infrastructure investments.
Europe now stands at a crossroads: Does it adopt the modern, investment-based approach toward wireless markets that made the US the world’s 4G leader, or does it further increase regulation and impose new obligations on “over the top” (e.g., Skype) services? Our history with the regulation of rural telephone companies demonstrates the perils of the second option. Yet European mobile operators appear ready to embrace new regulations as a means to enhance their business and create a “balanced relationship” with “US companies” that provide over the top (OTT) services.