He concentrates first on universal health care, something that seems to have been standard in Europe since Madame LaFarge stopped knitting.
- "Europe" is a gross simplification, so think about Britain—which continental Europe regards as a mid-Atlantic offshoot of the United States—and, say, the Netherlands. U.S. taxes are 27 percent of national income, British taxes are 37 percent, and the Netherlands' are 39 percent. Recall that America spends fully 10 percentage points of national income more than Britain on health care, public and private combined. Suppose the bulk of the existing costs of U.S. health care eventually migrated to the public sector, and nothing else changed, American taxes would have to approach or exceed British and Dutch levels.
It's a short article, but he goes on to compare unions (noting that one just shut down Hollywood and the television industry for months, something that a European union wouldn't have the power to do) and regulation (noting that Sarbanes Oxley is the most stringent in the world).
As both Europe and the US approach the center, he calls an end to the idea of "American economic exception"-- something I think is a little premature. American capitalism will always be the nexus of nationwide social policy; basically, if it doesn't effect big business, it has a chance, but if it does- prepare for a long fight and maybe even death. However, like our democracy, I think the whole point of America is to move to the center. But maybe I'm being naive. I still think it's apples and oranges. America just has a long historical march towards its ideals, and its institutions are slow to follow.
I will say this, the dollar has certainly plummeted into a reversal of US-European roles!