European banks and global financial markets have been roiled by needless artifacts of post-modern Europe-the euro and malignant social safety nets.
For decades, European population and economic growth have been perilously handicapped by too generous social benefits that discourage individual risk taking and business entrepreneurship.
On both sides of the pond, progressives blame inadequate taxation-Greece's inability to collect taxes high enough to compel Athenians to live on the steps of the Parthenon and eat sand-but concede some curtailment of benefits is needed in less affluent European states.
In a modern market economy, only a fool would not acknowledge an appropriate tension exists between welfare-assistance for the truly needy and aged-and efficiency-policies that empower the rest of us to work and invest vigorously. Excessive codling and taxation discourage people from working their full productive lives and business innovation.
Multiyear unemployment and huge severance benefits, guaranteed health care for the able bodied refusing to work, and other affectations of Europe's sympathetic face of capitalism surely cross those lines; however, like an alcoholic who knows he must quit drinking Europeans have avoided the cure for decades by peddling bogus schemes to rekindle growth.
The 1992 Maastricht Treaty, which considerably harmonized product and safety standards and methods of taxation across the continent, was supposed to remove untold barriers to growth. It didn't, because European labor laws and social benefits still make individual ambition and investment in Europe about as sensible as my still yet unfulfilled dream to be Italy's Premier.