Actually I've pointed out that France generates 70% of their power from nuclear. I've pointed out that when they implement wind power the NIMBYs seem to quickly lose their fights and things get built. I've noted that several Scandinavian countries have no problem pumping every ounce of oil they can out of the ground and selling it to finance programs that benefit the general populace, and finally I've noted that they have fair trade policies as opposed to merely free trade policies.
Those are the pluses to Europe and we ought to follow their examples there.
There are huge negatives though. The PIIGS of Europe are a lot more than just Greece. It stands for Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. They all are on unsustainable paths. Much like how many Boomers in the U.S. have created a two tier system whereby they will attempt to get their pensions, sell their houses and 401k's to their broke kids or recent immigrants, and have all these folks pay 75% taxes to fund their promised obligations, Europe has done this as well but the problems are even more stark. Their re-population rate is much lower, averaging about 1.6 kids per couple. Their immigrants being mostly Islamic are harder to assimilate than our growing legions of Hispanic friends and lastly the tiers there are even more strident. I'd say as a last measure since race is understood as color in the U.S. but understood as nationality in Europe that must of the E.U. still easily gets away with actions that would be plainly called racist in the United States and there an eyebrow isn't even raised. The cars just burn each night and no one cares.
Simply ask yourself if we really could do what Europe does and also ask yourself if I've supported it or not.
Fair/Managed trade- I've absolutely supported this.
Ending Pax America- I've absolutely supported this and have several posts before Obama was even elected showing how he would be no different than Bush here because trade and empire are both tied together. I've been 100% right on the actions Obama would take.
Ending radical environmental views that say humans must leave land "pristine" aka untouched by humans rather than the view of conservation and management of resources. I absolutely support this and it is clear the left in the United States doesn't. They don't want nuclear power. They don't want wind or solar in their backyard. They don't even want cell towers. They want a carbon tax that will make energy too expensive to use and thus hope that everyone will stop using it. Their philosophy is "if you don't build it, they won't come." This means no real new infrastructure which is why most of the stimulus went to constituencies rather than shovel projects.
I'm not as opposed to Europe as you might think but we also have to view them as a whole. Europe has not embraced stimulus. They have embraced austerity. Denmark has been cutting back unemployment, not extending it yet again like the United States. France has raised their retirement age. Obama's requests for them to take on more debt and engage in more government spending were completely shut down. Most recent government elections have tilted more to the right as people realize the math doesn't add up.
I want you to understand that Republicans as a whole are not against common measures. In fact when I visit most "red" states, the public infrastructure there is much nicer than in the "blue" states from my various anecdotal visits. The problem is when people use intentions, then steal and redistribute the money rather than put it to its proper use. You mentioned in the iPhone forum you might be visiting SoCal soon. I think you would be shocked at the state of the infrastructure here compared to our neighbors and we are the supposedly caring and good intentioned ones with higher gas taxes, auto registrations, etc. Meanwhile in Nevada, Arizona and Utah, you can actually drive the freeways and cities without your wheels being ripped off. I'm not saying it is perfect. Nothing ever is, but I'm saying it is better than California.
Thank you for a well written and well thought-out post.
I agree with you an many points here.
The US does need to invest in nuclear power.
I'm also for raising the retirement age, as you can attest to in a thread I started.
I also think the US needs to cut spending across the board, with the exception of the social policy necessary to maintain an acceptable standard of living for the poor. I think we should temporarily restrict NASA to commercial activities, cut NEA as well as NED funding, severely cut defense funding, let the Bush Tax cuts expire, as they were planned to do.
However, while there are many European Countries that are not much more successful than the US (which is also obviously on an unsustainable path), there are many that are. And they are not all oil countries. Nor is oil ("drill, baby, drill") the answer to the US budget. Right now, people simply aren't spending. The lower and middle classes aren't spending because they can't afford to, and the rich and the profitable businesses aren't spending because they don't have the confidence to spend. In any economy, a lack of spending will stagnate the economy, causing unemployment. No matter how much money you throw at them, businesses won't increase employment when they don't have any demand for expansion, and they will just take the money as profit.
We have to find a way to increase the confidence, both for businesses and for the consumer. An unpopular war is not the answer. Nor is corporate welfare. Nor are tax cuts, as long as they don't benefit the poor as well as the rich. Perhaps we should look in detail at the Kennedy policies that combined both supply and demand stimulants with generally well-recognized success.