Monday, December 27, 2010

Time for the headline of the day

Okay. Enough with the merrymaking, folks. It's time to look at serious stuff again. This article really did the trick for me this morning:

America in Decline: Why Germans Think We're Insane

Well, of course, I am tempted to say that they think we're insane because we are insane.

Here's something from the article:

The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less -- right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical -- the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.

The U.S. has
59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.
Can we learn from Europe? Isn't it better to invest in a social safety net than in a large criminal justice system? (In America over 2 million people are incarcerated.)
As you can imagine, the estimated 2 million unemployed Americans who almost had no benefits this Christmas seems a particular horror show to Europeans, made worse by the fact that the U.S. government does not provide any medical insurance to American unemployment recipients. Europeans routinely recoil at that in disbelief and disgust.

The question of the hour is, of course, why don't we Americans recoil in disbelief and disgust?

One is tempted to reply, "Because we're selfish."

Fair enough. But what on earth made us so selfish as a culture?
UPDATE: Oh, my. Do click through on the headline above and read the comments to this article. Some of them almost stopped my heart.

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