Saturday, January 01, 2005

European Superstate a Threat?

Deacon at Powerline is skeptical about a couple of books which assert that a European superstate will eclipse or supercede American supremacy:
But consider me skeptical about any claim that a "superstate" founded on tight government regulation of the economy, and dedicated to its citizenry's desire for leisure time, represents a serious long-term threat to American supremacy.

I agree a European superstate would be no threat to American supremacy without American help in the form of American policy becoming too much like Europe.

But a European superstate would be a threat to the world economy. Surely growth rates on the Continent would fall even further in the presence of a federal government in Brussels. This would be bad for everyone.

Not that there's much we can do about it, of course.

UPDATE: Uber economist Arthur Laffer, writing in the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription only), isn't very impressed with Europe's economic vitality either:
Germany hasn't had a growth spurt since the 1960s when Ludwig Erhard was Bundeskanzler. France still has a mandated maximum workweek of 35 hours, a maximum income tax rate of 58%, a 1.8% annual wealth tax and government spending as a share of GDP greater than 50%. Finland, for goodness sakes, fines speeders a percentage of the speeder's income. Sweden, Denmark and Germany also fine speeders a percentage of their income, only with caps.
Ouch.

It's too bad the article isn't generally available. Laffer makes some very good points about how the US trade deficit is really a capital surplus, which is a good thing. Sometimes the WSJ makes articles like this publicly available a few days later, so I'll watch for that and post a link.