Democracy? If it were democratic there'd be much stricter implementation of immigration rules and by the way, I think a healthy dose of helping refugees, and specifically helping the places from whence they camp.
Also in 'Democracy' - the EU itself is among the least democratic of institutions in the West, with an unelected executive forming all the laws, while elected MEPs with no ability to propose legislation. Moreover - nobody even knows who their MEP is. I understand why this was done, but still ...
Instead of 'more taxes' maybe they might want to consider a) thinking about efficiencies both in private and public sector and b) at least listening to populist concerns on migration.
>20% youth unemployment in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain. I don’t see how a country could recover from that.
It appears that 50% of the country makes 1.2k/month or less. You cannot survive with that kind of salary in France, so it's not just one tax or two. There is a series of decisions made by Macron's government that are heavily controversial.
On a side-note, demonstrations sparked in Belgium and the Netherlands, to a lower extend.
So the plan seems to be to grab money from a list of subjects the people love to hate, to use it to solve the problems newspapers love to talk endlessly about. And how? Not clear. Just solve them, I suppose. With the money.
Probably the smartest idea would be to blunt the political backlash by spending the tax revenue on welfare for coal miners, oil workers, truck drivers, etc.
Tax obviously works, but it can only work to a point. At a certain point we need technological solutions such as solar to make up the rest.
Extremely high taxes would lead to a lot more outsourcing of C02 activities to countries with less controls. If a widget produced X tons of C02 released into the atmosphere in the UK, it may well produce 3X tons of C02 in Asia or Africa. Then it also costs C02 in transporting the widgets to the UK. In this instance the UK does not get tax revenue, and C02 emissions have tripled. A lose lose situation.
Consumers may also revert to unhealthy and C02 producing activities such as burning coal at home for heat.
So then you would also need to tax imports for perceived C02, and also tax precursors for C02 (coal) rather than just emissions.
Meanwhile the poor are rioting in the streets (see Paris this past week).
Like I said elsewhere in this thread, I'm pretty fatalistic that anything will actually be done, but pretending for the sake of argument that we cared about the world our children will inherit, what would you propose?
So failing that I would start with low hanging fruit. Convince countries with low populations but high per capita C02 emissions to switch to sustainable power. Especially countries that are increasing. Trinidad and Tobago have a small population (1.3 million) but have the second highest per capita and its increasing. I assume they are burning far to much diesel and have some issues getting natural gas supplies, or maybe corruption is causing buyers to buy diesel and not natural gas. Maybe the global community can come up with a solution.
Saudi Arabia (for all their other problems) is high on that list but sees the writing on the wall and is investing in solar. If it makes sense for them financially and in terms of stability, it probably also makes sense for Qatar and Kuwait to burn less oil and build solar.
Next I would look at countries that do not have a high per capita, but are increasing.
As CO2 is the main contributor it's reasonable it gets most of the focus.
What would you focus on?
I'd love to read data that diesels didn't pollute more than gasoline cars. It's been a huge thing in EU some time ago when governments had to switch their incentives due to those findings. Are you saying it was all a hoax?
In the case of diesel cars, as I recall, the manufacturers built sports diesel engines that were much more polluting than normal older diesel engines. They then lied that they were still okay due to 'technology' which turned out to be detecting by GPS that the car was at a government test center and making it run like an old engine. Total fraud.
When the fraud was found out, all those diesel sports cars were treated as super polluters because they were.
But NO2 and small particles are a big short term problem rather than an apocalypse, so we should look at them differently.
You are quite right in suggesting that, especially with a lot of lobbying going on, we should look critically at all proposals. The popularity of biofuels maybe being linked to the farming lobby.
And the other side of the imbalance: the only way to mitigate these taxes is a large depreciating capital investment in an electric car or home battery. Those who can't afford the investment suffer the worst of the tax.
"Hey, you know what, why don't we make everything more expensive, so that we can do more than everybody else in solving a problem that is global, is caused mostly by other people, and doesn't really affect us that much yet?"
I mean, there are things you do because you have to do them, because they're the right thing: and yet maybe they're not what excites you most. Especially when you're trying to sell the idea to a continent that has much more serious, immediate, specific problems: increasing divide between rich and poor regions, excessive regulation, corruption, falling economic competitiveness, negligible political weight on a global scale, etc. To me, the fact that a problem so vast and abstract is put in front of others, so obvious and compelling, is already the sign of a serious departure from reality.
The recent UN report says we have 11 years to cut global emissions by 50%. It's extremely unlikely that will happen: https://www.vox.com/2016/10/4/13118594/2-degrees-no-more-fos...
As you say, everyone will continue focusing on "immediate, specific" problems, and then it will be too late (if it's not too late already). Our children and grandchildren will suffer droughts, wars and famines for our short-sightedness.
But again, realistically, not enough time.
why don't we make everything more expensive
a problem that is global, is caused mostly by other people
a continent that has much more serious, immediate, specific problems
I honestly do not know why there is not mass panic right now.
That’ll last about 5 minutes until the French realise that it boils down to a petrol tax and start rioting again.
The problem is when Government is a player as well. Government struggles to play both referee and player - as anyone would. Just imagine Michael Jordan refereeing his own games. Every drive would be a foul.
The problem with government is there is no creative destruction. When a company turns bad, it dies. When government turns bad, we elect a new one and all the same shitty institutions remain. And the good ones to be fair, but certainly all the shitty ones.
Government should stick to what it does well, hold other entities accountable, and not get too involved in things that can fail that they can't then kill off.
Sane people can argue that taking money from good investors and giving it to bad investors is a bad investment strategy.
But it's quite clear that if we don't do /something/ about inequality, it's only going to get worse and at quickening rate. Wealth redistribution is pretty much the only option.
The only way that seems sustainable to me is: you take the average rate of return and subtract that from each individuals rate of return. If that's a positive value, you're taxed at some percentage of the difference.
I.E. if the average rate of return is 4%, and yours is 90%, you're taxed at 86%*X -- where X is some value or a function of 86%.
If you tax wealth at some arbitrarily progressive rate, that could easily disensentivise people from creating wealth or from working as hard to create it.
i disagree. wealthy people have better investment options by virtue of the fact that they have more money. any banker can confirm that. Taxation is not the only solution. full employment is another way , but yeah there are no magical solutions.
Also when someone is barely getting by, assuming they are not dealing with addiction or violence and generally just subsisting, you can bet they know exactly what to do with that last $20. E.g. groceries with the highest calories per dollar, how many bus passes to get at a time, etc.
If budgeting is what is meant by investment (since obviously we're not talking about saving if there's nothing to be saved), from what I have seen poor people are incredibly good at it.
Contrast that with money managers who are generally just bad and can't outperform the market, not for lack of trying. Is "investment" really the right idea, and who says it's the number one importance compared to basic human needs?
Why does everything have to be about abstract efficiency and cost? It's not like there's a shortage of business opportunities for techno-luxuries that are fun to produce and trade, that we absolutely must go after basic rights via austerity. Lousy rentier mindset, we should have to be creative to profit. Once monopolies emerge they should be broken up, and once technologies become necessary for daily life, access to them should become a right. Tax incentives to invest in R&D instead of hoarding wealth could be expanded. So many things can be done to mitigate issues within "social democracy" without going full public ownership or eliminating private property. Question is, once these things are implemented, how can their repeal be prevented? Time to open up and revise constitutions.
Those are American companies. Why aren't there EU companies at this level? Probably because of their destructive tax policies. Massive tax increases will just make the situation worse, and investment capital will desert the EU for American.
this is currently working in both russia and china to the point where many are content with quasi-dictatorships because they've seen such a vast improvement in their quality of life through improved economies
at the end of the day more food on your table and more money in your bank account speaks volumes louder than having an infinitesimal say in who represents your interests in an increasingly dysfunctional local and federal government
There is no coherent response to a long list of hard problems. We know China or Russia are threatening us. Extremist leaders are appearing in a lot of our western countries, including US, Australia, a lot of Europe, ... Big multinationals abuse and damage the core social contracts that provide the stability of our nations. A huge climate crisis is coming at us.
Meanwhile, our politicians are bickering amongst themselves. The problems of the 70's are fought with solutions of the 70's. I hate to see how people support right extremism, choose leaders that only damage them, but I do understand their frustration very well. It is clear something is not working.
Every time I hear politicians say how they know what needs to be done, but they will get voted out if they try. I don't believe this is true. A few times, I saw a few rare politicians make a sane proposal where they told voters there would be hurt in the short run, and most of them actually get chosen. I believe the average voter is ready for change. Only there is no politician decent enough to get their vote.
So where are you, leaders? We really need someone who has the daring to acknowledge the problem, the vision to dream big , the common sense to keep it possible, and to actually be capable of executing this vision. Not a small list, but not impossible either.
I'm not saying this proposal is the one final idea to rule them all, but at least it is some step in the right direction.
Good idea. Perhaps we should vote for a group of people to coordinate this action.
Just to clarify, I do not have a bone to pick with democracy, but it obviously is not the only source of leadership, nor the only source of positive leadership.
> I believe we must solve them ourselves directly, not indirectly through government.
And perhaps to refine the question for a HN audience, I'll note that game theory, social choice theory etc, offer opportunities for technical insights to potentially play a part in answering this. But only a part.
2. Because your idea is unworkable for running a nation of 300 million people. It's not even workable for running a medium-sized town. You need coordination. That thing that coordinates winds up being a government.
Now, you are right that the answer isn't going to come from government. We need something more. But we still need government.
People don't cry for help, they want efficiency. Healthcare, infrastructure (transportation), education and social services (nursery, kindergarten, school), research, disaster relief, environmental protection, consumer safety standards (from food to communications and financial services), etc. are all best done on a larger level.
And all of it needs coordination.
And of course there are hundreds of millions of people that don't accept this. Are they stupid? Maybe. Are they ignorant? Maybe. Do they have serious counter-arguments? Maybe. Are they constructive? Well, not really, it seems.
We seem to be facing a rather serious regression toward tribal "standards" (old conservative values like purity, respect for authority, might makes right as only the strong survives, and we're in very hard times, we need to follow the strong, etc) via populism. Why? Because the social psyche is very susceptible to this, because there are real problems (growing inequality, serious changes due to globalization, automation clearing the middle-jobs, global warming).
But this also means that public policy lags public opinion. If you want new (govenrment) solutions, you have to change public opinion first.
Change the public opinion and the politicians will follow but I wouldn't expect them to take the lead.
Except that the EU has nothing to do with elections, and they are utterly tone-deaf to the will of the public. EU leadership are sometimes openly contemptuous to the will of the people.
Even this is from the Telegraph ... they are still actual Junker quotes: 
So European leaders already think they get to 'do as Europe needs without interference from pesky voters' and yet this is where we are.
I don't think the answer is in our political leadership either - they only have so much knowledge, ability.
I find that in the UK the right-wing media tell everybody what they want, the BBC then takes that as rote and amplifies it. The officials then mirror that.
Take the immigration issue as a case in point to demonstrate (I am not going to argue the rights and wrongs of immigration itself so don't bother commenting, this is a meta-comment). The current PM talked about reducing immigration constantly as Home Secretary (mirroring the Daily Mail). As PM she has done the same. Recently a story came out that she tried to suppress reports that immigration was a benefit to the economy on multiple occasions. A recent report said that immigrants on average were more of a benefit to the economy than native Brits.
This seems to me nothing like mirroring public opinion, and instead they are trying to bend facts to fit the newspapers narrative, so they will get coverage.
I think we do need leadership from elected officials, otherwise 'public opinion' is lead by the press barons.
I think we can all agree that that is politics, but not leadership. Politicians are active players in the game of politics, no argument.
So I suppose the null hypothesis is that the current PM has a large contingency of voters who don't like immigration (who are also pandered to by the Daily Mail), and is trying to represent them. I really like that one - a politician who attempts to show leadership _will_ be controversial and resisted. Democracies settle uncontroversial issues extremely quickly, then settle into an awkward status-quo with competing interest groups, where any change advantages some and disadvantages others. Someone who tries to lead anywhere new will face fierce opposition.
Are you fundamentally saying that that null hypothesis is wrong? What are you proposing replaces it?
I guess if you are a democrat, and at the same time have your own political ideas, the fact that many people disagree with you causes some cognitive dissonance. A nice solution is to think that the populace has been misled by the Yellow Press.
This story might have worked in the 1990s when it was the Sun Wot Won It (the 1997 election, for non-Brits). Since then, the media market has exploded and anyone can now reach thousands of alternative news sources. Simultaneously, public opinion has got much more anti-immigration. How does this data fit the theory of manipulation by press barons?
It's not the number of media outlets, it's the number of narratives and which one is winning people's hearts and minds. And the truth be damned.
As I write this, a ycombinatorish analogy pops up: It seems we have Tim Cook in our governement but want Steve Jobs.
- snake oil campaigning
- a good chunk of the mandate is devoted to try to be reelected
- candidates are often vaguely different shades of gray
- voters cannot make a good decision, too much bipartisan reflex, not enough time to understand the complexity .. basically blind trust and group-dynamics
Imagine people rioting in the streets because you put a carbon tax on gas.
the carbon taxes should be levied on large corporations and their shareholders rather than than low income individuals and employees
We all know that no one will do anything.
the yellow jackets are out rioting, killing, and dying to protest what they see as unfair
the prime minister has already agreed to suspend the gas tax for 6 months, and will need to make further concessions or else risk being ousted/replaced
>>Every time I hear politicians say how they know what needs to be done, but they will get voted out if they try. I don't believe this is true.
I meant we all know that no one will do anything about climate change, because whenever anyone proposes something with an actual effect people come out "rioting, killing, and dying to protest what they see as unfair".
But, this is more of an example of the problem: the state is propping up crumbling social infrastructure with extra taxes, and trying to greenwash them. You can see it in the things Macron promises to do now: Raise the minimal wage of the protesters. In the same way, the main complaint from the protester is that they are average salary workers, and they can't make ends meet anymore. It doesn't matter much that the straw that broke the camel's back was a green tax.
They have been allowed to poison the world for far too long.
As an ordinary person, what you need to do is shift your priority to vote almost exclusively based on environmental policies of the candidate, get involved in politics and not give in to people who claim it's "no big deal".
I think this is a commendable initiative from Piketty et. al., which actually has a chance of being supported by a large number of people. Personally I don't think it's nearly hard-hitting enough, but it's a good start.
In other words, while I am sure that "fossil fuel industry" was never motivated by purely altruistic ideas, we have also to take in account that the standard of living we take for granted is in large part due to "fossil fuel industry and all other gross industrial polluters".
I do try to keep a low personal climate profile, but there is only so much each individual can do, while still being able to sustain a living under the current system.
Industry has been given a free pass for far too long, their pollution has been grandfathered in and even considered a necessary evil in the name of Holy Profit. But we are no longer so ignorant to their deleterious effect on our climate and (to put a point on it) the continued existence of humanity on this planet.
Corporations could have shaped up and improved their environmental profiles decades and decades ago, when climate scientists first started pointing out the problems. But their didn't, because it was more profitable to continue poisoning the environment and clear cutting the rainforests.
Personally I think they would just pass the price along. We'd then be back to protests in the streets of France because none of those people are idiots. Plus the idea that raising the price of energy won't have knock on effects on the rest of the economy seems doubtful.
In the long run, the solution is to completely rattle the very foundations of capitalism, but the world is not quite ready yet.
Even if the timing was very stupid (mixing it with a tax cut for very high income individuals to entice them to relocate to Paris from London post-Brexit, even if in the end that tax cut pays for itself), the French gov. tried to do the "right" thing, and it completely failed to communicate this. (As far as I know.)
The biggest reason was the tax cuts (which will not pay for themselves, that's nonsense like all trickle-down theory) and the complete slashing of public transit and transportation alternatives for people outside of Paris, Marseille etc.
Thanks to tax cuts and reforms, the people living in small towns and rural areas have literally no alternative, they have to use a car. So by trying to greenwash corrupt policies with a at-the-pump fuel tax, the French government would in effect be forcing a highly regressive tax on ordinary people, who are already struggling to make ends meet, while completely neglecting to deal with the highly polluting fossil fuel and transportation businesses.
It's not trickle down theory. Paris overtook London as the city with most high-net-worth individuals. Thus a lot of people are not paying taxes in Paris as opposed to London.
Though, of course, it depends how much money they end up actually paying compared to the lost revenue. But this is the one point that I can accept. The others are unacceptable, we are in agreement about them.
There is a lack of clarity of thinking, vision, a clear path forward. It makes me think of, although this is a weird analogy, the difference between how AlphaZero plays chess compared to traditional chess engines. AlphaZero plays with a strong sense of purpose and energy. Traditional engines seem to just... make some moves, trying to avoid mistakes without any high-level plan.
Another analogy is Elon Musk's companies (even though I don't like the guy personally). He's able to present coherent, clear vision and make people excited about following the progress of his companies.
In France, the government has spent beyond its means. But people want lower taxes, higher spending, more pensions.
The solution is crystal clear to anyone who isnt in the corporate media bubble. End the aforementioned policies.
This has stats on immigrants to France. As you can see, most are from Algeria, Europe, and Morroco. Further, it you investigate the sub saharan africa segment I'm quite sure you'll find it's almost exclusively from former French colonies.
The collapse of the Gaddafi regime certainly led to more migrant boats crossing, but the absolute numbers entering France are not high, and certainly not compared to other sources.
Oh, and the Algerians mostly came after the Algerian war. One of the biggest early groups were Algerians who had fought with the French army.
You appear to be very certain, but you don't seem to have any evidence to back up your views.
I googled "degaul algeria immigration".
>Do you think the French body politic can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million, after tomorrow forty? If we integrated, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, would you prevent them to settle in France, where the standard of living is so much higher?
-Charles de Gaulle
Obviously deGaulle didnt agree with you that being a citizen of a colony gave someone the right to immigrate to France. Algerians being admitted to France for serving in the military is exactly what "invade the world invite the world" means. After the Iraq war Iraqis who collaborated with the occupiers got green cards.
Also, France played a big role in the (attempted but unsuccessful) destruction of Syria.
The leaders you seek are glaring you in the face, but you reject them because you buy into the lies about "right extremism" from the corporate media that got us here in the first place.
Surely there are no other similarities between the two though .
Also, raising taxes to spend the money on immigrants? Are they purposely fueling the raise of right wing nationalists? Do they have any self-awareness?
Also, "spending money on immigrants" sounds like it's just being given to immigrants, the money is specifically to countries cope with the cost that is there already. It might fuel right wing nationalists, but that seems to happen anyway, while they are busy doing their thing, it would be nice if the sensible people tried to tackle the issues at hand.
Eeastern European countries generally have very low tax rates which brings the average down.
Otherwise they are 'ballpark similar' 
But that's only one source of taxation. As for the rest, they are very, very high in Europe.
I think the issues are probably in efficiencies across the board, more than redistribution at this point.
France 15% and 45%
Italy 27.9% and 43%
UK 19% and 47%
Spain 25% and 45%
Sure, California and some other special states can get almost as high. But the majority are well below.
All those taxes does not let lower middle class to move up. I see this all around me. There are exceptions of course, but the end result is that by simply working your whole life you are going to be forever in the lower middle class. Because of taxes.
But hey! Why not throw around some more claims without some proper sources/references.
Why? I mean why do you think it'll be far right, not far left? Why do you assume there will be anyone left standing at all?
> It’s that simple
Really? What about the aging and dwindling population that's Europe's most serious issue?
> run by neutered half-men
Umm, maybe you are thinking about women? (Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Germany, UK have a lot of women in politics.)
> we are decaying
Are we really decaying or you simply don't find your place, nor your viewpoint of the world?
> Populism is a range of political approaches that deliberately appeal to "the people," often juxtaposing this group against a so-called "elite."
Kind of fits the definition, this article itself says it wants to go after the elite: big tech companies and rich people.
Downvoters: hit a nerve, eh?
Did you really check your affirmation, or is this just something that you think is an universal truth because you feel it's true in you country/social circle?
More interestingly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX1689Hv9VI
Right-wing populism virtually never refers to tax cuts; just to curbs on immigration and the expulsion of minorities - a bottom up approach to help the poor members of the majority group by eliminating the people fighting them for crumbs through the use of vermin metaphors. If anything, comsumption-tax cuts are left-wing populism because consumption taxes are regressive.
That is not to say that I agree with everything labeled 'populist'. I don't even think it's a left vs right thing, even if that's how it plays out now. I guarantee you if there was a broadly popular left-wing movement that actually threatened those in power, the media would label it populist as well.
Doesn't calling right-wingers "populists" do the very same?
There is a big qualitative (not just quantitative) difference between condemning a few manipulative politicians, and condemning, say, an entire ethnic group or rival political party.
It's true that Trump has mocked mainstream politicians, and this is probably equivalent to non-populists condemning populist politicians. I suppose one could argue that a critic of populist politicians is hypocritical if they also condemn Trump for mocking mainstream politicians, but I don't know of any examples of such criticism. (It might also be worth noting that this particular phrase was used by, among others, Nancy Pelosi in 2006).
As for the "deplorables" quote, I don't want to defend it; however, to substantiate my point about qualitative and quantitative differences, I have to mention that in the infamous sound bite she said that "half" of Trump's supporters could be placed in that basket, and then later regretted specifying "half". (In previous speeches she apparently made it clearer that these supporters were only a small fraction).
Politicians of any affiliation are prone to highlighting the extremists among their opponent's followers (likely due to the psychological biases of Group Attribution Error and Ultimate Attribution Error, or, more cynically, due to a desire to exploit those biases) as a way to tarnish people's opinion of that opponent. That is a problem no matter which politician is doing it, but I still think that the bigger problem is a politician targeting groups of people based on immutable characteristics like ethnicity (or institutions like the media).
With a bit of perspective it's easy to see that this broadly describes socialism - which is the parents point. Socialism and social democracy is not commonly derided as 'populist'.
Anyway, Five Stars's proposals are rather extreme, and they're outsiders who don't fit the left/ right division; as such it's easier to recognize and label them as populist than it is with the usual left-wing parties (when their proposals actually are populist, which is not a given).
It should be clear that I am not advocating the dissolution of the EU, though there is a very real possibility it will disintegrate all on its own with no need to appeal to external scapegoats. I believe that if any EU is possible, it is one of limited integration on a limited set of fronts where cooperation profits the common good of the Union, specifically economically and where joint scientific ventures (like space) might profit from formalized confederal joint cooperation.
Particularly, payroll taxes, which in some countries (France) are at 50%. These hugely complicate hiring employees, and just encourage cash payments and tax avoidance. Taxes should instead be shifted to harmful outputs and products, like food sweeteners and fossil fuels.
Next, bureaucracies need to be be slimmed down and modernised. All EU countries should offer the ability to transact with their bureaucracy (tax returns, permits etc.) in the native language or English.
Finally, welfare should be ended for anyone fit and healthy below a certain age, and the retirement age taken to 70 immediately. Pensions should be phased out for anyone under 40 currently. The refugee intake should be taken to zero, and borders strictly enforced, since the net economic contribution of MENA migrants currently is negative. Access to Master's degrees should be limited to only the best students, to encourage people to enter the workforce earlier and to allow a reduction in education spending.
Through all this there could be a huge reduction in the tax burden, targeted to eliminate payroll taxes (perhaps in combination with replacing it with higher income taxes, the way Scandinavians do) and reduce VAT. Income tax/payroll tax savings could be preferentially targeted to couples with 3 or more children, to encourage higher birthrates.
They .. already do this... usually fully electronically, usually done by the government, no need for 3rd party tax filing software.
> Finally, welfare should be ended for anyone fit and healthy below a certain age, and the retirement age taken to 70 immediately.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retirement_in_Europe it's already usually 65 for men and 60 for women (it's 65-65 in France, Spain and Germany, 66-66 in the UK and Ireland, 68-68 in the Netherlands)
> Pensions should be phased out for anyone under 40 currently.
There are a lot of people getting disability pension, are you thinking about that? I'm not familiar with any other situation for receiving "pension" under 40.
> The refugee intake should be taken to zero, and borders strictly enforced, since the net economic contribution of MENA migrants currently is negative.
Furthermore, the current problem of Europe (and it's basically the only real and serious one) is the decreasing and aging population. Immigration is almost the perfect tool to solve this.
> Access to Master's degrees should be limited to only the best students, to encourage people to enter the workforce earlier and to allow a reduction in education spending.
Education spending is the best way to lift people out of poverty, it correlates best with future income. It pays for itself. And it's not even the biggest expense. (Healthcare and pensions are.)
> Income tax/payroll tax savings could be preferentially targeted to couples with 3 or more children, to encourage higher birthrates.
It's already happening (and has been going on for decades) in a lot of countries.
So, all in all, citation needed for "Europe's problem is simply high taxes, inefficient bureaucracy, and over-welfare."
True. I don't. And I don't know why do you think a replacement is ... planned/wanted/desired!?
The population of Europe is hundreds of millions of people. The number of immigrants is currently 2 million a year (into the EU). (And without adequate integration and support systems that's obviously too high.) Current total immigrant population is 16 million (in the EU), so less than 1%.
> 30% overqualified for their current job.
That doesn't mean they are over-educated. Some are. Some aren't. How many are under-qualified?
Furthermore, do these folks with their fancy diplomas have higher incomes? If yes, why are they over-educated again?
I agree that education's quality is shit. But that doesn't mean that education is bad, or that we have too much of it. Maybe we need more of CFAR ( http://www.rationality.org/ ) and less useless-feeling schools. More self-learning ability and more time to exercise it and less organized lectures?
> America broadly shows that the low-tax route is better, [...]
Better? US social mobility is down in the gutter. ( http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/1-5%20generations.png ) Despite the low taxes. Why? Because the income inequality is growing. (Poor healthcare is just one thing, the enormous student loan problem makes the US education system very much a no-no. And US cities are rather far from sustainable, the CO2 footprint per capita is very high in the US.)
> Europe needs to make hard decisions
Agreed, but we need to make the smart choices.
Delete this sentence and the rest of your post is mostly good.
Simplifying bureaucracy? Mandating English as an option? Capping payroll taxes at some reasonable level? All good ideas.
But the idea that we should turn away people fleeing poverty and violence because their "net economic contribution... is currently negative" is racist and gross.
Economic growth is nice, but it's a means to an end. The first step is to have a society worth growing.
No, it's not. It's hogwash. Especially the education one.
Income inequality is a lot more serious problem than uncapped payroll taxes.
furthermore you would be met with a huge backlash from wealthy center/progressive proponents over your anti-immigrant policy. many in power are wealthy enough to see anti-immigrant sentiment as racism rather than an economic necessity (unlike the yellow jacket protestors who are probably making around 30k euro per year - the median in france, and for whom a 25c/gallon increase in gas prices is catastrophic)
i'd be interested to hear your ideas for fiscal expansion - what should the government be prioritizing spending on to increase economic growth, rather than simply making the cuts you've suggested
A proposal to phase out pensions for people currently aged under 40, in coordination with a large decrease in the Payroll tax rate (and strict orders to business to pass it along entirely to employees) would be met with reasonable popularity.
Europe artificially inflates the cost of labour with its huge taxes, and wonders why there are problems with unemployment and tax evasion. It artificially inflates the cost of living with huge VAT rates, and wonder why people don't have more children or consume more.
Have a look at what Georgia (country) is doing. They have to compete on their own merits and do so with amazingly efficient taxes:
* 20% flat income tax
* No social security or employment taxes
* up to 1% land value tax
* 18% VAT
* 15% corporate tax
* Excise taxes on drugs and fossil fuels
As a result the country is developing very well despite its lack of natural resources, unfortunate geographic positioning, and prior Russian invasion.
European bureaucrats like to defend heavy taxes and redistribution because it creates a need for their services. We should tax people less, and let them decide what to spend their money on. Along the way remove as many impediments for employment as possible, and tax the goods which have negative externalities (fossil fuels, drugs, food sweeteners)
If you really want to set the cat amongst the pigeons, we can look at an entirely different tax regime, where each person and business is expected to pay a fixed tax rate per year, merely for existing (scaled to size of business, and probably age and health status). Then, they are free to earn what they like, independent of tax. I don't see why Government shouldn't operate on the same principles as a business, with transparency and efficiency.