Tag Archives: European Union

Massive changes needed to avert demographic catastrophe in European Union

Story from LifeSiteNews.

Excerpt:

According to the report by Norway’s Institute for Family Policies abortion rates in Britain have leaped by a third among unmarried teenage girls and abortion is helping to age the population of Europe. Without a massive shift to family-friendly policies, the pattern of increased abortion and increasingly aging population will inevitably lead to the collapse of social welfare benefits, and, ultimately, to the bankruptcy of Europe’s cradle-to-grave socialist welfare state.

Presented to the European Parliament on Wednesday, the report said that the situation of the family in Europe is “a desolate panorama.”

“Europe is plunged in an unprecedented demographic winter and has become an elderly continent, with a large birth deficit, fewer marriages and more of them broken, homes emptying.”

“The aging population, critical birth-rate, escalating abortions, the collapse of marriage, the explosion in family breakups and the emptying of homes are the main problems of Europeans,” the 2009 Report on the Evolution of the Family in Europe said.

[…]The dropping European birth rate, the report says, with its concomitant increasing health and pension costs, will lead to increases in public expenditure to care for the aging population and the eventual collapse of public revenues, leading finally to the bankruptcy of the welfare state. The average birth rate of EU countries is now 1.38 per woman, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman, even in relatively fertile countries like France.

Without a significant shift in family policies in all EU countries, the report predicts the result will be “catastrophic.” Starting in 2010, the population of Europe overall will begin to fall from 499 million to 472 million by 2050 and every third inhabitant will be over 65.

[…]Other indicators show the number of marriages, especially first marriages, is down and divorce rates are up. There are 1 in 4 fewer marriages than in 1980 and the marriage rate has fallen in 9 out 10 countries. One out of every 3 children (36.5 per cent) is born outside marriage. In some countries the fall in marriage rate has been around 50 per cent since 1983 and there are over one million divorces a year, the equivalent to one marital breakdown every 30 seconds.

You can take a look at the actual numbers here. It’s a mess. This should convince fiscal conservatives to support social conservatism. Abortion and the destruction of two-parent families imposes massive social costs on society, and it grows government to deal with the fallout. Government pay for all the social programs, welfare, police, jails, etc. But it also has to regulate broken families via the courts. It makes no sense to abandon morality and expect government to stay the same – it will have to grow.

Maybe we shouldn’t have let the secular socialist elites run things? Could it be that believers in traditional morality and small government were in the right? Could it be that there is a price to pay for believing in materialism and naturalism, and jettisoning morality for hedonism?

Germany leans to the right as Angela Merkel sweeps election

Story from the Globe and Mail. (H/T Andrew)

Excerpt:

The collapse of Europe’s left-leaning political consensus continued Sunday night as Germany’s Social Democrats ended 11 years in coalition governments with a crushing defeat at the hands of a conservative coalition that re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The vote makes Ms. Merkel the latest in a succession of conservative leaders to win strong support in formerly centre-left countries. Her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) have governed Germany since 2005 in an awkward power-sharing coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD).

But last night’s vote allows her to form a broadly right-wing government with the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP), who campaigned on a tax-cutting platform.

[…]The risk is palpable. Similar centre-left parties in Italy and France have been driven to near-extinction by conservative votes in recent years, and European parliament elections this year saw nearly every country support a majority of centre-right candidates.

As if to drive the point home, last night also saw Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, a stalwart of the moderate left, lose his parliamentary majority in a humiliating vote.

Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are hawks on foreign policy. But what about Obama? Does he understand the dangerous world we live in, or is his mind still stuck in the ivory tower?

The Washington Times reports: (H/T Hot Air)

The military general credited for capturing Saddam Hussein and killing the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq says he has only spoken to President Obama once since taking command of Afghanistan.

“I’ve talked to the president, since I’ve been here, once on a VTC ,” General Stanley McChrystal told CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.

“You’ve talked to him once in 70 days?” Mr. Martin followed up.

“That is correct,” the general replied.

Maybe he should spend less time meeting with dictators, and more time with his own generals?

Colombia hosts international banking conference and signs free trade deals

This story has two parts. First of all, take a look at this IBD article that explains how the USA was able to transition Colombia’s economy away from drug-trafficking with a plan called “Plan Colombia”. The Democrats deserve all the credit for this plan, because it was initiated by Clinton and supported by Joe Biden. It has been a huge foreign policy victory for the USA.

Let’s take a look:

…Colombia is no longer the narco-trafficking hellhole it once was, but a bright Latin American success story.

Plan Colombia not only went after traffickers, but also root causes of conflict, professionalizing the military and offering the population alternatives to trafficking.

IBD is hoping that the lessons we learned in Colombia can be applied in other places like Mexico and and Afghanistan, where similar drug-related problems abound. But wait! All is not well. For Obama has decided to undermine Plan Colombia by reneging on the last step of the plan. Obama is refusing to sign a free trade deal with Colombia!

But we don’t see how the reality of victory can truly be achieved so long as Congressional Democrats undermine the final step in Plan Colombia’s victory plan, which is free trade with the U.S.

It’s the last step in the process of offering an alternative development path, over drugs and terror. Protectionist Democrats in Congress, in hock to Big Labor cash, still refuse to allow even a vote.

That’s right. After all this work on Plan Colombia, we are about to throw away all the fruits of our labor by refusing to allowing American companies to sell to Colombia, and allowing American taxpayers to buy cheaper, higher quality Colombian goods. Free trade is good for us, good for them, and good for world peace. But I guess it’s not good for Obama’s special interest groups.

And this has implications for Afghanistan, a country desperately trying to break away from an economy based on drug-trafficking:

Worse, it has potential to undercut victory in Afghanistan. Afghanis can see how hard Colombians worked with Americans to make Plan Colombia succeed. They can see how the program addressed not only military tasks, but social ones, which end in free and legal trade with the vast U.S. market.

…For Colombia, the promise was the free trade that Democrats are now reneging on. Democrats are snatching defeat from the jaws of a victory they could claim as their own and extend to Afghanistan. All they have to do is keep their promises.

But Colombia isn’t about to take this garbage from the President-Teleprompter. They’re going to fight back! Check out this IBD article that explains what Colombia is trying to do to avoid rolling back all the progress they’ve made against the drug traffickers. They’ve hosted an international conference of bankers to try to diversify their economy.

Excerpt:

Colombia asserted itself on the international stage last week, with the 50th annual governors’ meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank in Medellin. Some 6,000 bankers and businesspeople came.

…Corporate titans from Brazil, Spain, Japan, China and Germany were present along with the bankers, having invested $8.5 billion in Colombia in 2008.

But wait! One country barely even showed up! Which one? It’s the country that angers the world by opposing free trade. The country that was warned about its ignorant and destructive economic policies by former communist basket-cases like China and Russia. Who is it?

Let’s see:

A few U.S. executives were present too, but the Americans seemed overshadowed by the others.

It isn’t surprising, because Colombia is rapidly moving to diversify its trading partners, signing deals with China, Japan, Korea, the European Union, Canada and Central America, following Chile’s model of signing free-trade deals with all comers.

The U.S., with its Colombia free-trade agreement still on ice in Congress, was the only country that looked isolated and out of tune with the world without its pact.

But the IBD article does end on a hopeful note: there are signs that the free trade deal may be back on the table. We can only hope.

Further study

This previous post I wrote links to an article by economist Robert P. Murphy, published by the Institute for Energy Research. The article warns about the dangers of carbon tariffs and the benefits of free trade. I highly recommend it to those who do not understand whyy free trade matters for our economic growth and prosperity. And that includes jobs.

Angela Merkel opposes spending, China stimulates solar energy production

Story here, from the always-on-target Investors Business Daily. If you prefer a podcast, then here is your podcast.

Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany. She also has a Ph.D in Physics.

First a little background:

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s idea for a “global stimulus plan” has met with resolute opposition from Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel. Good to see that common sense isn’t dead, at least in Europe.

Brown, who’ll be hosting the leaders of the G-20 nations later this week as they seek a way out of the global financial crisis, has pushed what he calls a “global New Deal” of up to $2 trillion in added spending.

But he’s had trouble selling his idea to others — to put it mildly. Czech Prime Minister and EU President Mirek Topolanek called it “a way to hell.” Even Bank of England Governor Mervyn King trashed the idea.

And then Merkel jumps on the pile:

Now comes Merkel, who, as head of the world’s third-largest economy, has probably killed Brown’s big idea.

“I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money,” she said over the weekend. “We must look at the causes of this crisis. It happened because we were living beyond our means. . . . We cannot repeat this mistake.”

We need to listen to Merkel, because she knows what she is talking about. She has a perspective we don’t because of Germany’s tragic history in the 20th century.

After World War I, Germany tried to spend its way out of a recession brought on in large part by the onerous war reparations.

As Weimar Germany printed money, inflation soared (in 1918, $1 bought 4.2 German marks but by 1923, $1 fetched 4.2 trillion marks) and unemployment surged.

If you want a real stimulus, try being like the communist Chinese. I blogged about their sales tax cuts on automobiles before, and about how worried they are about our deficit spending, (along with everyone else in the G20). But look what I found over on Ace of Spades HQ.

They cite an article from semiconductor.net, and here is an excerpt:

…The Chinese government alerted all silicon, ingot, wafer, cell, and panel manufactures that it intends to announced a very aggressive Solar subsidy that is equivalent to $3 USD per installed watt, in cash, as an incentive to aid the Chinese population to install solar. Currently in China non UL, non CE, and non TUV panels can be purchased for under $2 per watt

…With the combination of lower panel prices, renewed Federal and State incentives, utility rebates, the finance freeze thawing out, and oil prices moving up, Solar is once again looking awfully attractive. When you take into consideration the increased value of your home upon a solar installation and the tremendous credits and rebates available, you can literally install solar for 20 cents on the dollar….

Why did we elect a socialist ACORN lawyer from the party that got us into to this mess in the first place?

France, Germany and Italy warn G20 nations against Obammunism

I was browsing over at the Anchoress and I found some very interesting links in her link-filled post here. She runs a blog that features a mix of Catholic-oriented reflections and a conservative perspective on the news of the day.

Here’s the part of her post that caught my attention:

Not good: First Putin told him not to, now France and Germany. Boy, didn’t the left HATE when Bush was this stubborn and set on his own way? And he didn’t listen to other countries? I seem to remember the left really, really hating that. About Bush. They hated these things too. When Bush did them.

Here is the warning from France and Germany from the Financial Times, via American Thinker:

Disagreements between the European Union and the US over how to combat the global recession widened on Tuesday as EU governments made clear they had little appetite for piling up more debt to fight the collapse in output and jobs.

Finance ministers from the 27-nation bloc insisted in Brussels that it was doing enough to support world demand and did not need at present to adopt another fiscal stimulus plan, as Washington is urging.

The US-European differences are casting a shadow over next month’s summit in London of leaders from the G20 group of advanced and emerging economies, an event to be attended by Barack Obama on his first visit to Europe as US president.

It’s true that France, Germany and Italy have all elected conservative leaders recently, (along with Japan, Canada, the Czech Republic and Mexico). I thought that these European socialist countries were to the left of the USA. Are we now to the left of France, Germany and Italy?

You might remember that I posted recently about former-communist Russia warning Obama about the dangers of socialism. Former-communist China also warned Obama to stimulate the economy with tax cuts, not spending. Instead, Obama raised taxes and spent trillions.

Canada, Japan and Mexico also elected conservatives governments. Why can’t we be more like them? Why do we have to embrace Obama’s unilateral, cowboy-communism? Why must Obama anger the world with unpopular economic policies that fail the “global test”? Why does Obama make the world hate us?