The Corpus Callosum

Barry Ritholtz, author of Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money
Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy
,  has a
nice, terse, thought-provoking post on his blog: The Big Picture:

href="http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/05/us-vs-europe-who-is-the-welfare-state/">US
vs Europe: Who is the Welfare State?

By Barry Ritholtz – May 1st, 2009, 10:25AM

Today is May Day, and while International Workers’ Day (Labour Day in
the UK), means little in the USA, its a big holiday in Europe. Banks
and markets are closed on the continent, (England celebrates on Monday).

Speaking with Mike Panzner this morning (his clients are mostly
Europeans) made me think about this:  Which region is the true
Socialist state?

    -Europe has cradle to grave health care plans,
generous unemployment benefits, and free or subsidized college costs.

    -The US gives away public assets (oil, gas, mineral
rights)  for pennies on the dollar, has huge subsidies and tax
breaks, and bails out reckless speculators.

It turns out that both regions are welfare states — only in Europe, the
natural population (i.e., people) is the recipient, while in the US,
the corporate population is the beneficiary.

Food for thought . . .

He’s gotten 78 comments so far, so be sure to read those, too.

The fact is, the USA does not have a capitalist society.  We use a
mixed economic model.  It works well, so long as we endeavor to
find and maintain the correct balance between capitalistic and
socialistic elements.  There is no point in asking which is the
better system.  They both are awful, in pure form.  That is
why ideologically-driven politics is so nettlesome, unless the ideology
involves balance.