The Libertarian Republic is enthusing about King Willem-Alexander “killing” the welfare state, but it is overstating the situation quite a bit. The Netherlands, like most of Europe, is running hard up against the costs of a massive entitlement state and the combination of an aging population and a opportunistic immigrant population. In an effort to meet the 3% debt to GDP that the European Union mandates — and save their economic asses — the Dutch have instituted “austerity” measures, which in Euro speak means they expect their welfare recipients to use the less expensive toilet paper. Oh, and cut their military budget. That goes without saying.
Supporting the austerity measures, the king lauded a “participation society” where people would be expected to actually take responsibility for their own lives. To a European socialist (sorry, they would call them “moderates”) this is a direct assault on their safe, coddled existence. take responsibility for their own savings, food, and medical care!?! What are we, America!?!
The European collapse is a slow-moving one, the fall arrested by the productivity of Germany, but even that is starting to fray. The implosion of the southern European economies, of Iceland, and Ireland illustrate plainly that the fraud and waste of government programs, and the drag on public (and personal) enterprise, will eventually overpower the best of intentions. It’s a lesson that the United States had best learn quickly.