(May 21, 2012)
[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]
The end of the European Union? Not so fast...
To the Editor:
As a resident of the European Union, I'm grateful for letter-writer Darrell Johnson's continual solicitude for us from faraway Tempe, Arizona. However, his conviction that the European Union will collapse overnight like some sort of accelerated "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" is wishful thinking only possible at a great distance. Germany, Austria, the Baltic States and others all had higher GDP rates than the U.S. (1.7) in 2011. So some member countries are not all that unhappy with the present sluggishness that, we shouldn't forget, came about by subprime mortgage manipulations in the USA. Nonmembers are still pressing to join (Iceland, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey). The E.U. is a project in evolution that began with the historic watershed of Franco-German reconciliation. Instead of disappearing it will be rejigged, adjusted, and reshaped. Judging it without experience of living here leads to fantasies. It's like declaring Arizona fascist because there are gun-toting thugs there that go around hunting immigrants for their scalps.
Lecce, Italy - May 7, 2012
European Union instability
To the Editor:
In my letter two weeks ago I indicated that Nicolas Sarkozy would be the eleventh European leader to be thrown out of power. This was incorrect. He is actually the sixteenth leader to be ejected (out of 27 countries in the EU). Here is the list: Lithuania, Hungary, UK, Netherlands, Czech Rep., Ireland, Finland, Portugal, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Rumania, Greece, and now France.
With this kind of political instability, how can we expect to keep the EU alive? Greece is in chaos, with capital flight and run on the banks. Economic austerity is crippling Europe, and the new French president, François Hollande, wants to legislate a "growth compact" within the Union. How does one legislate growth? People don't seem to understand that Keynesianism is dead. I foresee much more turbulence ahead.
On a lighter note, I much appreciated the humor in Jan Baughman's piece on NASCAR and the environment. While I am a racing fan I am also aware of all the marketing hypocrisy behind the sport. Still, it remains a friendly and affordable outing for the family. If you want to attend the Formula One Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, next November, you'll have to fork over between $2,500 and $6,750 to enjoy the race. In comparison NASCAR is a bargain -- and it does not hurt that the sport helps recruiting of the US military. We need the jobs.
Tempe, Arizona, USA - May 18, 2012
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