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View Diary: Why doesn't the plutocrat owned American media report on the European social safety net? (179 comments)

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  •  In fact, Republicans regularly accuse Obama... (9+ / 0-)

    ....of wanting to impose a European-style social democracy on America.  This is, of course, a bizarre accusation on many levels:  it's entirely false and most Americans, as the diary notes, have no idea what a European-style social democracy is.

    My guess is that a number of things underly the fearmongering.

    First, of course, "socialism." I'm always surprised it's only 60% who have a negative reaction.   When was the last time a major media figure or a major-party politician said anything nice about "socialism" (closest exception: Bernie Sanders...and he's not in a major party).

    Second, taxes.  European social democracy is associated, not entierly irrationally, with higher taxes.  It should actually be said that European tax systems do sometimes leave something to be desired. I don't mind the higher overall rate.  But EU countries tend to rely much more heavily on consumption taxes.  And income taxes, at least in Germany, are structured in a way that severely penalizes two-career households, effectively forcing many women to choose between career and children.  But, of course, these details are not what concern voters who fear "European-style social democracy." They just don't want their taxes going up for any reason. (The GOP is, of course, much more interested in shifting the tax burden onto the poor than in reducing most of its voters taxes...especially at the state level where they actually have to balance budgets.  Here in Oklahoma, they're trying to cut the upper income tax and corporate tax rates, and pay for it by eliminating a series of tax credits that go to lower-income families.  Well, it certainlu isn't European-style social democracy!).

    Third, fear of learning from foreign countries.  As the historian Dan Rodgers describes in his brilliant book Atlantic Crossings, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American progressives actively learned from European policies and social thinkers.  But after WOrld War I, this exchange of ideas slowed.  By the 1930s, FDR was giving speeches explicitly denying that there was anything European about the New Deal.

    (Please excuse the typos and lack of links in this comment.  This is written on an iPad, which makes both proofreading and opening other tabs while commenting very difficult.)

    Tunis...Cairo...Tripoli...Wall Street

    by GreenSooner on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 06:53:24 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for the book note (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenSooner, Russgirl

      I'd missed that one, and just now looked it up. Even the minimalist Amazon notation mentioning things like city planning reminds me that almost no one in this country knows anything about the work of Lewis Mumford or Jane Jacobs. And I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I know who've read Christopher Alexander's groundbreaking work A Pattern Language (link to not very wonderful Wiki on him but best I could find quickly).

      Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why. -- Hunter S. Thompson

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Jan 07, 2012 at 07:47:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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