catmoon wrote:Governments around the world have discovered that by borrowing money they can artificially increase their living standards and gain votes, thereby remaining in power, where they can borrow more money to raise living standards further in a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, debt has risen to such astronomical levels that there is no hope of repayment ever occurring, and as this awareness spreads, the willingness to lend falters.
We have to be careful and look at the data to support conclusions.
Many people in the English speaking world in particular like to throw statements out to drive people to support a predetermined conclusion.
Please look at this map
According to this data, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Slovenia, all forms of social democracy, has debt as a percentage of their GDP <= 50%. The other nations of Western Europe generally have debt as a percentage of GDP at around 70%. Italy and Greece at something close to 100% and perhaps exceeding it. The US is about 60% and Canada is at something like 70%.
Now speaking as a good Socialist, I myself hate debt. But I want to see equity and fairness and compassion in society. So we can tolerate some debt to make sure Grandma (meaning everyone's Grandma and Grandpa) don't die from the cold, don't starve to death, etc. This BTW is just straight from FDR and he was no socialist. In the US we could lower the debt to GDP ratio by 1. proportionally raising taxes on the superwealthy 2. creating more jobs, and esp. high paying jobs 3. fostering the expansion of more small business . Everyone agrees on at least these points. Small businesses should be taxed less (I have heard this argument repeatedly in English and German and have to agree with it). But business today in the US is not pulling it's weight in job creation. Collectively they are sitting on $T's (many $T) while people are literally thrown into the street. The paltry incentives to hire people by the Obama Administration have not spurred business to behave like good citizens. Why? Big Business is generally focused on the strategy of lower costs in order to create higher profits in the short term. On of the ways to god this is to outsource work from expensive people (people in the US and 1st world) to people in the 2nd and esp. 3rd world.
As for people "demanding" services, etc. The US is a nation essentially without services: no health care, no social safety net (until Obama extended unemployment insurance to 2 yrs and in this crisis that's not enough because business isn't hiring). It's hard for people who haven't lived outside the US to understand what a social safety net is. Please look to Holland and Germany for two excellent examples (esp. Holland).