American liberals have proclaimed for decades that the United States should be more like Europe in social welfare policies. That mantra may have to change, as more Europeans recognize that those policies have often restrained economic growth and hurt the poor.
Latest on the reality train is the Netherlands. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government wrote a speech that King Willem-Alexander, in his first official speechifying since former Queen Beatrix abdicated in April, delivered on Tuesday. The keynote: In developing a new “participation society” the Dutch must learn to save, invest, and create their own safety net rather than relying on the national government.
Willem-Alexander explained, “The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form. [People now] want to make their own choices, to arrange their own lives, and take care of each other.”
Holland for decades now has gone slip-sliding away from what theologian/journalist/prime minister Abraham Kuyper a century ago hoped his country would be. The Netherlands is drooping with numerous economic and social problems: Legalized prostitution and drugs are opiates, and some Muslim immigrants rage.