Why Does America Dislike Europe?

Writing from Paris, Nicholas Kristof wonders why some of the GOP candidates are decrying Europe. There are serious financial problems, to be sure, but the society is healthier than America's.

What's the Latest Development?


"He wants us to turn into a European-style welfare state," Mitt Romney recently said of President Obama. Romney is just one of the GOP presidential candidates who have attacked Obama by comparing his administration to European governments. The analogy is made to Europe's generous social safety nets which have contributed to the continent's current fiscal problems. "The dirty little secret of European governments was that we lived in a way we couldn’t afford," said Sylvie Kauffmann of the French newspaper Le Monde.  

What's the Big Idea?

"It's absurd to dismiss Europe," says Nicholas Kristof, writing from Paris. Since 1960, French per-capita GDP has risen from 64 to 73 percent of America's while the average French worker toiled 300 fewer hours annually than the average American. There are 172 Fortune 500 companies in Europe compared to America's 133; Europe's citizens enjoy more economic mobility than Americans; Europe has addressed climate change and energy policies with more zest; average life expectancy in France is three years longer than ours.

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