Symposium 2012: Is a strong Europe in the best interests of America? Should the U.S. be involved in stabilizing Europe’s economy?

Michigan: We have hundreds of U.S. corporations operating in Europe. For this reason, we may need to be concerned with the economy in Europe. Should we bail out countries in Europe? I don’t feel that we should. I am old school. If I can’t pay my bills how can I expect to pay the bills of someone else. On the other hand, if the economy of Europe goes south maybe these U.S. companies will come back here and contribute to the tax base and help increase employment.

Sydney: A strong Europe is definitely in America’s interests. Modern global financial markets are so intertwined that any economic problems in the Euro zone also affect the American economy. If the Euro crashed and the Euro zone broke up American banks would be heavily affected. It is even possible that a deep European recession could trigger an American recession. If the European economy is weak Europeans are also much less likely to buy American products. It is highly unlikely that the U.S. will be required to stabilize the European economy because it seems the Germans in particular are very keen to ensure that the Euro zone does not break up. After all, a central European currency is in Germany’s interests because a weak Euro makes their manufacturing sector more competitive. The broader issue is that even if America wanted to it can’t afford to prop up the faltering European nations. The U.S. is also unwilling to contribute more money to the International Monetary Fund (that could be used to help Europe) because it would mean that it would lose a percentage of its IMF votes. This is despite the fact that the U.S.’s total share of global GDP is much less than it was when the IMF was formed. America, as a part of the IMF, should and could be (despite America’s economic concerns) doing more to stabilize Europe but it is not going to weaken its strong position in the IMF.

Cartwright: If the Europeans can’t take care of themselves, it’s their own damn fault. Decades of failed socialist policies have bankrupted just about every country in Europe.

You can’t permanently sustain with the government giving people more and more and then turning around and taxing people more and more. They wonder why there are no jobs in France and Italy and Spain and Greece. No one wants to do business there because of the tax rates and the labor laws. They’re plain uncompetitive, but they don’t understand that. Cradle to grave socialist policies come at a cost—high taxes that make your economies uncompetitive and lead to stagnation and decline. We should be learning from the mistakes of the Europeans instead of trying to emulate them.

No one is flocking to Europe to do business are they? We shouldn’t be bailing out any of these European countries. I refuse to believe that the world economy is going to collapse if Greece goes bankrupt or if Spain goes bust or anyone else over there. But I’m a fair man, and I like to give people options, particularly when it comes to business. So how about this proposal? With these countries in Europe that are having financial woes, we’ll offer to forgive the debt they owe us, but for every dollar of debt we forgive they send back to the U.S. Treasury ten times the amount of U.S. debt that they hold. For example, the United States holds about $20 billion of long-term debt from Spain. So, we forgive their $20 billion but the eurozone has to send us back $200 billion of our debt to be retired. The euro currency countries hold about $2.3 trillion in U.S. Treasury debt, so we could make some pretty good deals if these European countries need our assistance.

That’s about the only help I’d offer them. I sure as hell wouldn’t give them any cash money or make them any loans so they can continue to spend money on their failed socialist policies and programmes. That’s just like throwing money away, and why should the American taxpayers be on the hook for the irresponsibility of the Europeans. The money the federal government has already given away in assistance to the Europeans belongs to the American taxpayers not the politicians. If they’re going to burn our money on the Europeans, I’d rather they give it back to us and I think most Americans would agree they’d rather spend that money than give it to the Europeans.

RMC3: We certainly don’t want Europe to collapse or get in a situation like Germany was in back in the 1930s. We know how that turned out, and it wasn’t good. But ultimately, it’s not our responsibility to bail out the Europeans. As good an idea as the euro was on paper, it’s lost some of its luster in actual application and practice. Now you’ve got Germany on the hook to bail out some of these other European countries that can’t control their spending just to hold the whole system together. Let these countries go through managed bankruptcies. Let them reform their spending and the entitlement state so they’re not saddled with these huge financial burdens. Maybe they can get their financial houses in order, make meaningful reforms, and get somewhat competitive in the world economy.

The more important issue here is the lessons to be learned from what is happening in Europe. The vast welfare state or entitlement state that takes care of citizens from cradle to grave doesn’t work in the long-term. It ultimately bankrupts a country. This goes to show that progressive socialist policies fail economically. Yet, we have a president and Democratic party that seem perfectly happy along with about 47% of the American people to take us down the same path of failed policies, get us deeper and deeper in debt, and ultimately collapse the system. You can only tax the rich so much before they pack up their toys, leave the sandbox, and take their money somewhere else. And then, as a country, you’re screwed economically.

America can’t sustain as a nation where half are free of financial and personal responsibility, taking from the government, while the other half are financial slaves to those who do not contribute to the system. You cannot survive where half the people in the country pay taxes to support the half that do not. When you rob Peter to pay Paul, the only person who is happy is Paul. And when Peter’s money is gone, there’s no more money for Paul.

America and Americans have to get their financial houses in order. We need to get back to the concept of personal responsibility. We need to lessen people’s reliance on the federal government for support. We have to get away from the vast welfare state and entitlements. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand more times. There’s a direct correlation between the size of government and freedom. As the federal government expands, our personal liberties, our freedom, contracts. Are the people in Greece, for example, free? No, they’re slaves to their own government and the people who are milking the taxpayers. Is this what we want for America? I don’t think so.

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