For decades, western European countries have increasingly become what are known as welfare states. By that, I mean that most of them use wealth redistribution (taxing the rich) in order to provide hefty and numerous social welfare programs such as universal free healthcare, social security, and welfare pay to those in poverty. Some countries even provide free tuition for higher education. Also, there are heavy mandates placed on businesses such as the promotion of collective bargaining and a guaranteed minimum wage.
Now, if all this sounds familiar, it is Barack Obama's philosophy in a nutshell. Mr. "free" for some but not all. What he wants is the Europeanisation of the United States. But, while the President is trying to spend this country in to more and more debt for social programs such as free community college, Europe is trying to extricate itself from the massive debt that these programs have caused. So, as a result, many European countries are reversing the existence of wide-spread social programs through something they refer to as "austerity".
Lots of social programs are fine until a recession hits. When the Great Recession in the U.S. spread to Europe, it sent its heaviest socialized countries reeling. Countries, who today, are still in trouble since the recession ended years ago. Probably, the best indicator of how troubled some of them are is their youth (15-24 years of age) unemployment rates. After all, they are supposed to be the future of any country. In Greece, the youth unemployment rate is an astounding 58.4%. Spain isn't far behind that at 57.3%. Then, there's Italy at 39.7%; Portugal 37.8%; Ireland 26.7%; and, France at 23.7%. Only Germany is doing well at 7.8%. In the U.S., youth unemployment is still historically high at 15.8%; though nothing like most of our socialized friends in Europe.
Poverty, too, is high throughout the European Union (EU) and its member states. While the poverty rate in this country is about 14.5%, the EU has a collective rate of 16.4%. And, poverty is on the rise as austerity programs kick in. Simply, too many Europeans were on the government dole through social programs. Remove or reduce those programs and more and more people fall into poverty. Thus, there is a rising backlash against the continuation of austerity programs; resulting in the potential of more European countries become leftist. A fact that will only deepen debt and dependence on the government. Except for the rich. Of course!
Basically, Europe is telling us what "not" to do and, Obama and his Democrats aren't listening. Taxing the rich and giving people a lot of free stuff is putting us at the kind of risk that Europe, now, finds itself in. In 2014, our top 1% will paid 37% of all taxes; while only earning 19% of this nations wages/incomes. The top 10% pay 71% of all the taxes.
When recessions hit, rich people also take a hit on their incomes from their investments or companies they may own. They, also, can lose their jobs as companies go under. As a result, taxes fall and debt increases. That is what happened in Europe and that is what the President is setting this country up for in the future by making us too dependent on too few rich incomes. In light of all this, there is an old saying that definitely bears repeating: "Social programs are a lot like a big red [communist/socialist] wagon. At some point, you get to a place where there's too many people riding in that wagon and not enough people left behind to pull it."
European social model: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_social_model
Welfare State: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_state
The European Welfare State and Its Lessons for America: http://www.cato.org/policy-report/julyaugust-2013/european-welfare-state-its-lessons-america
Youth Unemployment by Country: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.1524.ZS
Discussion: Why do Europeans come to the US when college is free over there: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/international-students/1129831-why-do-europeans-come-to-the-us-when-college-is-free-over-their.html
Up to 25 million more Europeans at risk of poverty by 2025 if austerity drags on: http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2013-09-12/25-million-more-europeans-risk-poverty-2025-if-austerity-drags
Europeanisation - Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europeanisation
Enough With European Austerity, Bring on the Stimulus: https://www.google.com/search?q=Enough+With+European+Austerity%2C+Bring+on+the+Stimulus&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
A radical left-wing party that is demanding an end to Greece's painful austerity measures won Sunday's parliamentary elections: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_GREECE_ELECTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-01-25-12-09-15
Poverty in Europe: the Current Situation: http://www.inequalitywatch.eu/spip.php?article99
2014 Tax Day Chart: Who Pays the Most?: http://dailysignal.com/2014/04/15/2014-tax-day-chart-pays/
The Rich Are No Longer Recession-Proof - Newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com/rich-are-no-longer-recession-proof-81901