Once again, The New York Times' economist and columnist Paul Krugman provides some clarity amid the illusions. He takes a look at the widely held belief in the United States that Europe's economy is stagnant, decaying, and out of date due to high taxes, high social spending, and all around general Europeanishness.
The reality, Krugman writes, is the opposite. The statistics for productivity, economic growth, and much else are very similar for the two economic blocs. Plus they have actual health care that people can use.
Of course, anyone who follows the news carefully could already have guessed that. Just this week, China officially assumed the mantel of the world's number-one exporter. No surprise there; we've been expecting it to happen any day now for years. But which country did China beat out for the title? Was it conservative powerhouse America? Low-cost India? No, it was Germany, the land of lengthy vacations, clean streets, high wages, and a strong social safety net. Even in the second slot, Germany ain't doing too badly. You know how American car companies are either bleeding money left and right or are welfare wards of the state? Volkswagen reported record sales and is on pace to become the world's top carmaker.
So why do we keep following the same political mantra in this country, like political lemmings headed over the cliff?