Today’s Washington Post claims that many Europeans are beginning to question their well established system of “redistributing wealth through taxes and welfare programs.” Specifically, the Post reports:
Manuel Valls, a presidential hopeful in France’s Socialist Party, challenged party doctrine recently by declaring that it should not make an issue of preserving the 35-hour workweek if French factories have to compete with Chinese factories where the workweek starts at 60 hours and goes up from there. In Denmark, Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen rattled many in that icon of Scandinavian cradle-to-grave welfare by suggesting Danes should work longer before retiring, to peel back the deficit by $2.8 billion.
Europeans are not the only ones that are beginning to notice that liberal social welfare states are unsustainable. The citizens of the bluest state in the union, California, are also beginning to question the size and scope of their government. The Los Angeles Times released a poll today showing 70% of Californians said they supported a cap on pensions for future government workers, 68% approved increasing government worker contributions to their pensions, and 52% support raising the retirement age for government workers. The Times adds:
The public sentiment is a cause for concern for organized labor. Public employee unions that spent millions of dollars helping to elect Brown are working aggressively to keep their pensions intact. But the governor has made clear that he believes they must make concessions as the state struggles.
“It’s one thing for Republican governors in Wisconsin and Indiana to support these types of changes, but seeing this type of support from California voters, even California Democrats, is really remarkable,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and a former GOP strategist.