I’ve Seen The Future And It Looks So Bright

Copenhagen Sunrise

Part of creating great wealth and happiness is anticipating the future, understanding the future, betting on the future, and adapting to the future.

With President Obama in power until 2016, he can be more aggressive with his policy initiatives given he no longer has to compete for another term. If Obama gets his way, taxes will go up for higher income citizens, government spending will go up to help care for our most impoverished, debt will increase, and more people will be saved from the perils of capitalism.

In other words, America will become more like Europe. We just need to be careful not to be Europe in its existing form where too much debt torpedoes our entire economic livelihood. But even if we go overboard, there will always be the Federal Reserves of our greatest nations to help us out. As the world police, they owe us!

Given America is becoming more like Europe, I decided to go to Europe and see for myself what our future might be like. You thought I was just going on a 2.5 week vacation to inject $10,000 into the Eurozone to help save the world didn’t you? Au contraire mon frere. My main purpose was to conduct some front lines investigative reporting to provide readers with unique, real-time insight into how to live and prosper over the next four years!

WHAT AMERICA WILL BE LIKE

Peterhof, Russia

Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg

In every great nation’s history, there will be a purge of the wealthy. When those in power get too greedy, too rich, and too ostentatious, the people revolt and take them down. This is why it is imperative to show a consistent history of charitable giving if you are rich so that when the revolution comes, you won’t be stripped of everything.

Study any European country’s history for the past 1,000 years and you will learn about countless uprisings. That’s what happens when you build mega palaces like Versailles in France or Peterhof in St. Petersburg which require a whole town of slave labor to build and upkeep. We people have a knack for normalizing extremes.

America has gotten to a point where people are sick of seeing CEOs make 100X the average employee’s salary, while suffering no repercussions when a company underperforms. Americans are sick of rich people living well, while the man on the street suffers due to a lack of health insurance. Just look at the Occupy Movement now focusing its attention on politicians at the DNC after railing against big banks for so long.

The following are some observations after spending over 50 hours speaking with local residents of Holland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, and Russia about life in their home countries.

* It’s a wonderful life. By far the most common feedback is how fantastic it is to live in Europe/Russia. Nobody really worries about going bankrupt or dying early because the government has their backs. As a result, Europeans and Russians can focus more of their energy on living lives they want. Oh and by the way, the top income tax rate in Russia is only 13%!

If you’re one of the ~24 million who are unemployed in the US, can you really say life is wonderful when you could get sick and enter a negative cycle of poverty for the rest of your life because you don’t have health insurance? When you have a government who will pay for your healthcare, housing, and help you raise your child, you can live a better life, and at the very least, not a horrible life.

* No real economic worries. Europeans are sick of being asked about the European debt crisis. As far as they are concerned, there is no debt crisis, just a media’s obsession with blowing things out of proportion. Yes, there is a debt problem in Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, but these are all resolvable problems. They believe Angela Merkel from Germany will do the right thing and bail the region out. In return, concessions will be made.

There are a lot of talks about California also being in a debt crisis. I live in California, and I can tell you that Californians don’t really care, because we know the government will do the wrong thing. No matter who we vote for, we know our politicians will lie and take care of constituencies first. Why else do you think the government wants to raise our taxes but not reform their own pension liabilities? Besides, we’ve got the Federal government and our budget surplus states to lend us a hand.

Crooked houses of Amsterdam

* Less stressed. With an implicit guarantee that you will be taken care of after secondary school, there is no societal stress placed on you to be somebody special. We are all special now! The term “Super Motivated Boyfriend“, referring to a man who is so eager to be somebody that he won’t propose to his girlfriend until he’s on the right track, doesn’t exist in Europe! With less stress comes less suicides. With less stress comes less chronic pains. You’re happier because at the very least, you’ll survive. At the very most, you’ll be a runaway success like the founders of IKEA and Skype.

If half of college graduates can’t find jobs in the US, then certainly half of college graduates are living back home with their parents wondering when they can launch their lives. It’s somewhat embarrassing living at home with your parents as a 26 year old college graduate (but here’s how you can still get girls if you do). In Europe, it’s absolutely acceptable given there’s been a persistently high youth unemployment rate for decades. Europeans are proud to spend their adult lives with their parents. There is a strong sense of family. Because there are so many great fortunes made in the US, we start feeling inadequate after a while. Seeing friends do amazing things and earning incredible amounts of money leads to feelings of insecurity, obesity, and depression if you cannot keep up.

* Better educated population who is more understanding. Practically everybody in Finland, Holland, Sweden, and Belgium speak two languages well. They’ve traveled by train to their neighboring countries and have learned about their respective cultures and histories. A good percentage of Europeans speak three languages.

America consistently scores in the bottom percentile in math and science because we aren’t forced to learn. Everything comes to us. As a result, we don’t travel as much. Only 62% of Americans own passports for example. And even when we travel, we force everybody to speak to us in English! What if a Dutchman came to your US hometown and forced you to speak Dutch with him? You’d think he was crazy. Ask your friends how many languages they speak well. I bet most of them only know English.

* Less innovation. It should come as no surprise there haven’t been many great new companies that have come out of Europe in the past several decades. Government sedatives aren’t conducive to creating the next Apple, IBM, or Google. But who cares? You aren’t going to be the next Steve Jobs. Besides IKEA, Nokia, and Skype, I can’t think of any other meaningful company that has affected the world. Innovation is stifled when there are too many regulations. Higher taxes aren’t motivating either.

America is #1 at innovation because we’ve got a relatively meritocratic system with a strong legal structure that protects intellectual property. For the rare genius out there who is self-motivated and works harder than anybody, America is an attractive proposition. However, let’s get real. Most of us are not geniuses and don’t have the drive to work much longer than 40 hours a week. By definition, most of us will be average. If you are average, then higher taxes and less red tape mean nothing to you. Hence, you’d rather have a strong government backstop like Europe to take care of your average self and your average family and relatives.

Dutch 2 ft X 3 ft elevator

* A healthier population. Americans have a health epidemic given more than 50% of the population is overweight. When millions of people are starving around the world, why are we so different? Take a look at the ideal weight chart and get pissed off. We over-eat because abundance is all we know. We aren’t forced to adapt, learn a new language, travel, or ration our food or water. Instead, we spend billions of dollars on miracle pills, gym memberships, and diets when all we have to do is eat less!

When you go to Europe, begin to observe how much smaller Europeans are than their US counterparts. The hotel rooms are smaller. The cars are tiny and people live longer. When you are less stressed, don’t have to worry about survival, you eat better and exercise more. Heck, doesn’t this two foot by three foot elevator in my Amsterdam hotel say it all?

* A more peaceful conscience. In a nation as wealthy as the US, it is an atrocity there are roughly 131,000 homeless veterans and many more who can’t find work at home. It is absurd that on every third corner in downtown San Francisco, you will find a brother begging on the street. Have we forgotten to help the poor? We have seen a 50% increase in Americans accepting food stamps since 2008 (31 million to 46 million). That’s a full 15% of the American population. Democrats consider this a success because more poor people are being fed. Republicans find 46 million people on food stamps to be a failure since it undermines the magnitude of unemployment and the number of people who cannot support their own families. So which is it?

In Europe, I hardly saw any homeless people in Helsinki, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Estonia, or Amsterdam. The poorest of citizens have the basic necessities to survive. The guilty conscience of not doing everything we can to help the poor does not exist like it does in America. As a result, people can focus their attention on other pressing issues.

Many bedrooms in the Swedish Royal Palace

THE FUTURE LOOKS JUST FINE FOR MOST OF US

One of the biggest worries is whether our children will have the same opportunities as us. In a highly capitalistic, laissez fair government world, the answer is no. With tuition costs spiraling out of control, massive government debt, generational cronyism running rampant, and a shrinking government safety net, I fear for our children’s future. Sure, the best solution is to have hard working, smart kids who take nothing for granted and get scholarships. But, that’s a rarity. Instead, we should all expect our kids to be entitled dumbasses who disappoint.

We are clearly witnessing a growing revolt by the people with the Tea Party and Occupy Everything movements who believe larger powers exist to keep them down. Eventually, they will come for you. What I’m suggesting to those who are protesting is to accept the fact that the government will continue to grow bigger through 2016 and to start looking at the positive side of things.

The large majority of people I’ve met in Europe are as happy as the most steamed Brussels mussel. The youth get to be free, backpacking across the continent without financial worry. The adults don’t have to fret about losing their jobs when 70% of their last year’s paycheck is paid to them for an indefinite amount of time. The intellectuals can get two Master’s degrees for free and not worry about school loans crushing their futures.

I’ve seen the future of America and things look wonderful. Most of us are better off that we were four years ago, and it has nothing to do with politics! It has everything to do with our own free will and desire to improve. Despite an ever growing government, we will continue to be the land of the free so long as our debt doesn’t get too out of hand.

As soon as we can accept the future, we can then prosper from the future. Let’s go world!

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Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Mike says

    I’d rather take America back, regardless of the idiot running the country. I actually like working on the things that I do and want the potential to have a middle class existence. Additionally, leisure and I tend to not mix well (maybe due to being slightly Type A personality?). So a European lifestyle of leisure wouldn’t be for me.

    • Betty says

      I concur with your opinion on this, Mike. Redistribution of wealth from the hardworking and endeavorous to subsidize a European lifestyle of leisure for others feels wrong and unethical to me. It runs against the principles of what made our nation great in the first place. Government needs to be shrunk and taxes decreased in order to foster innovation and growth in our country. The incompetents in our government need to be removed, and our tax payer dollars halted from subsidizing them. I certainly hope this is a tongue in cheek article.

  2. Lance@MoneyLife&More says

    This was an interesting post… I can never tell when you are being sarcastic. There is no way America can turn into Europe in four years. Our culture wont allow us to relax and live the way the Europeans do even if the political and economical climate changes to be more like Europe… at least that is what I think.

  3. James Brian says

    FS,

    I enjoy your column and will continue to do so, but today’s is the most inaccurate thing you have ever written that I’ve read so far. I’m almost willing to believe it is written tongue in cheek, or to stimulate discussion/argument amongst your readers. It’s not that all of it is wrong, some is correct , and some is debatable, but a good bit is factually wrong.

  4. Untemplater says

    Love your pics! I am optimistic about the future and think there are a lot of positives in the Euopean lifestyle. I’ve worked for European firms and they are great at work life balance. Our government could use a good makeover and a facelift from a lot of the European countries, esp those in the North. The trouble is politics in the US is too obsessed with bashing the other party instead of focusing on positives and working together.

  5. CP says

    @Mike
    Hmm… “take America back” from who? I don’t understand this incredibly ambiguous concept/ punchline. Was America somehow colonized by some extraneous power?

  6. FatChance says

    Loved the post. I know you are a personal responsibility type guy who works hard for his money and would rather keep most of what he makes instead of paying high taxes etc. I am too. I also love parts of Europe. My wife always says they are onto something with the less work, more siestas attitude.

    Having said that, I went to Spain last year and most of those people are not happy…they are PISSED. Taxes and unemployment are killing the ones who are not rich.

    I would rather visit Europe than become Europe. But I agree that bigger government is coming (even if Obama could possibly lose the election). When is the last time we saw a trend of smaller government? I am budgeting higher tax rates throughout my life as I plan for FI.

    Sam, what was your favorite city/place? We are headed to Amsterdam, St. Pete, Copenhagen next year and I am still planning. GIVE ME TIPS!!!!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Mate, we must have gone to the wrong bars and spoke to different people bc there is no misery drinking sangria and garlic squid tapas!

      On this trip, Amsterdam was hands down my favorite city where I’d be happy to live. Will write a post. You plan to travel by land or sea?

      • Fat Chance says

        I agree there is no misery in the bars. Had a damn good time in every bar in Madrid and Barcelona. Food was great too.

        I was referring to a few citizens/cab drivers who complained of extremely hight taxes (over 40% is what I recall) and that was only for those who could find jobs.

        As far as next trip, we are still working on details. I would love to take a cruise to St. Petersburg, but my wife wants to take a train. We’ll see.

  7. Jason says

    We’ve exchanged a few emails on this topic and I couldn’t agree more than we’re heading toward a European-type existence. I’m not saying that’s what I want, but I’m not sure I have a choice in the matter. Innovation and motivation will cease and we’ll revert to a socialist society where it’s fine to do little and live off of the government. It won’t be terrible, but I’d much rather see the America of old come back. You know…where people actually stood for something, believed in the American dream, and worked their asses off.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Accepting the truth is the first step to prosperity.

      Have you been to Europe and experienced their joy yet? If so, when? I was just there through Sept 3, and I can unequivocally tell you that the majority of people I spoke to are happy and free.

      • Eddie says

        I’m not sure what Jason is talking about, especially on working their asses of part, why hate on euro countries that have a solid support system from the government, something north American’s lack large.

        In Europe they work their asses off, but they work smarter, not harder. Everyone know your can push a horse so far until it rebels, human nature in work is no different, except we rebel with health problems.

        And by the way, this is coming from someone who’s traveled to over 8 countries Europe, lived in one for first 7 years of my life and finished two grades of school. Yup, so I seen it first hand and can talk about it.

        Cheers!

  8. Ryan says

    I’m jealous of your trip! I love Europe- The history and culture is amazing! I love the fact that everyone walks or takes the subway to get around. Also yes – everything is smaller. You don’t find giant stores like Walmart, which is refreshing. The only thing I didn’t like about Europe is that it can be darn hard to find a bathroom sometimes :)

  9. RichUncle EL says

    IF they can fix unemployment and the tuition crisis here in America then we will be headed in the right direction. I do agree with you that Obama will be reelected and that most people can see past his skin color to give him a chance. It’s sad that in this powerful nation we have to live so stressed as you mentioned several times in the post, but if we find the solution to fix jobs and education the stress will be less.

      • Saskia says

        We pay for our children 1770 euros a year for tuition (they study in Amsterdam). Every student receives from the government a minimum of 100 euros a month (when you live at home, otherwise it’s a minimum of 250 euros), 70 euros a month for healthcare insurance (which is about 100 euros a month) and they can travel for free by train, bus, subway. If they don’t graduate, they have to pay it back. New elections here on Wednesday, and there’s a big chance the system will change and they will have to borrow everything. We are paying for this Euro crisis and are aware of it.
        By the way, I started to learn English at secondary school (as well as German and French), but nowadays English lessons often start at the age of 7.

      • Saskia says

        I don’t live in Amsterdam myself, but anytime you’re in the Netherlands I’ll show you my small famous historical city (Delft, lots of canals too). Housing in Amsterdam is very expensive and difficult to find. We don’t have a campus system, so my children have to travel every day by train, since they haven’t found a student room yet. Distances here are nothing compared to the US, within 3 hours you have crossed the entire country and can reach any border. I haven’t visited the US myself, there is still so much to see and to do in Europe. But as soon as my children have graduated (and we have more money ;-)), I would love to travel to the US.

  10. tom says

    Wait a minute… aren’t the entitlement and “social protection” programs the reason why many European countries going bankrupt? Spain, Greece, Italy cannot afford their current programs. If you’ve been to those countries, you know that a majority of the “working” class actually does very little work. Germans work extremely hard, which is why they are the ones doing the bailouts.

    The working class doesn’t work enough to pay enough taxes to pay for these programs. It’s not chicken/egg either… they just don’t work a lot. I’ve worked with many different European countries and they just don’t take work seriously, that’s not an exaggeration.

    Overall I agree with Lance… I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic.

  11. Jacob @ iHeartBudgets says

    Americans work a lot. And you, Sam, suggest we work more if we want to get ahead. So are you saying America is heading into a culture that won’t work more than 40 hours and no matter how hard you work, it’ll be a pretty even playing field?

    I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I am definitely on board for a mandatory 7-weeks off or whatever it is that Europe has. :)

    • Financial Samurai says

      Yes, I think there will be less and less of a corelation between effort and reward which results in people working less and enjoying life more.

      7-8 weeks of vacay must be awesome. Most I did was 6 weeks off a year for the past three years and I loved it!

  12. glenn says

    Fantastic post.

    I actually tried to move and work in Amsterdam back around 1998, but at the last minute decided not to. I don’t regret it, but I do wonder what that experience would have been like. I’ve been all over Europe, and have found mostly the same thing. Copenhagen late in the evening center city, teeming with people of all ages wearing the biggest smiles. Spaniards up late at night eating great food and drinking–enjoying life to the fullest. I could go on and on. It is a different world over there, and for me, a much more attractive one.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Thanks Glenn. I can definitely see myself living in Amsterdam for an extended period of time. In fact, of all the cities I’ve been to in Europe, I think Amsterdam is the best.

      Reminds me of SF!

  13. Kim@Eyesonthedollar says

    Would you say that Europeans are more content to have experiences while Americans tend to value themselves by net worth or how many things we own, houses, cars, etc? I think I’d have a hard time adjusting to a European lifestyle. I can’t do three hour dinners.

    • Financial Samurai says

      I think so. The search for status and wealth doesn’t seem as high a priority/goal over there.

      They are constantly reminding tourists to take it easy and take things in.

      One hour dinners are fine!

  14. krantcents says

    People fear change and control! Most people view Europe and other countries of controlling their lives through higher taxes. My concern would be government has never done a good job with the money. The Europeans are used to the government doing more and we are not. There is the distinction and conflict.

  15. Nunya says

    I agree that the US is heading towards a European socialism. However, Europe is a dead, rotting, corpse of a continent, still stumbling and twitching like a zombie in search of brains.

    Asia, especially China, is coming on strong, and if the US and Europe don’t snap out of it, we’re all going to be speaking Mandarin in the next 20 years. Unless they keep English as the language of the slave caste.

    And finally, if this post isn’t sarcastic, it may be time to unsubscribe. What tripe.

  16. William @ Drop Dead Money says

    Based on what friends and family in Northern Europe say, you’re right. Southern Europe, maybe not so much. Greece, Spain and Italy are nowhere near this. See this article: http://bit.ly/ferrari-selloff

    Two things come to mind as reasons for Northern Europe’s apparent utopia. The first is most Northern European countries have strict immigration laws… which are strictly enforced. This means the labor pool for all jobs is restricted, even entry level. So they don’t have so much disdain for lower level jobs as perhaps we have here. This is true comparatively, not absolutely, because they do have Turks, gypsies and Northern Africans, but those are a much smaller percentage of the population than in America. And the reason for that is culture. No country in the world has embraced immigration as openly as the States.

    Culture has another influence. High income earners pay much higher taxes in Europe than here. But they don’t flee the country and go to Singapore, or hire lobbyists to get their legislators to reduce their taxes. They understand they’re in a position of privilege and while they don’t like paying those high taxes, they accept that even after those high taxes, they still live very, very well.

    And those high taxes? Their governments don’t squander 20% of it trying to tell the world to do things their way. Rather than wasting their money on the military, they spend it on their own people. And their own people truly come first. They do not allow illegal immigrants access to any benefits ahead of their own citizens. There are benefits, but citizens come first.

    And so, because their governments don’t betray their own people, Europeans (those high tax payers) trust them with their money a lot more, because they can see that money coming back to them in one way or another, as opposed to others.

    Will THAT ever happen in the United States? Will its own citizens ever come first in the eye of American legislators or bureaucrats? Or will the special interest groups and lobbyists on K Street continue to be preferred?

    Looking at everything, I don’t believe America will ever end up where Europe is today. That’s not all bad. The most recent OECD report (http://bit.ly/OECDsept6) shows on page 3: America is still the fastest growing economy in the world at the moment. There is just something about America that somehow pulls it to the top of the heap. By no means are we perfect, but we are the most innovative and entrepreneurial nation in the world. Just stop, sit back right where you are and ask: which country blogs as much as us? It may be frivolous, but it is the face of our push to be at the forefront of everything that’s new.

    I don’t think that will end any time soon, either. As imperfect as we are, this is still the country where most people want to come… :)

    • Financial Samurai says

      Hi William,

      Thanks for your thoughts and good observation regarding northern vs more troubled southern Europe. You have a point, however, the EU spans the entire continent and I spent 2.5 weeks in southern Europe in the fall of 2011 as well (Spain, Greece, Italy). They recognized the debt problems but had similar responses from the post above.

      Good to meet!

    • Lucille says

      Not Northern Europeans….I’ve heard people are afraid to go to the US after the shootings in Colorado. If you can’t even be safe at the movies…what can you do???

  17. Virginia says

    So who are you voting for this election? I’ve heard you say things that lean left and I’ve heard you say things that lean right.

    I agree that our future is bright, so bright we have to wear shades (come on, someone had to say it). I think our future is bright regardless of who is elected though.

  18. Mike says

    I lived in southern Germany for three years and I wholeheartedly agree that the pace and lifestyle were pretty darn good. That said, the beauty of America is that you have the opportunity to live a European-style lifestyle if you want, but if you want to burn the candle at both ends, you can as well. Maybe you want to do the latter for a few years, then relax a bit. I also know that the Germans that I drank with grumbled a lot about taxes, regulation, the inability to fire lazy workers, and a whole host of other things.

    All in all, I enjoyed the leisurely pace, but I don’t want to be FORCED into accepting the leisurely pace through decades of steady decline.

    Plus, Europeans very well might be on the sharp edge of a cliff, living contentedly now, while their unsustainable system is getting ready to implode.

  19. John at Married with Debt says

    I also recently got back from Europe and I must admit I prefer the more leisurely lifestyle. 4 week vacations suit me just fine. Europeans are more comfortable with a global economy than I am, though.

  20. Zsanett says

    I just found your website through a series of financial tweets and other blogs and I am quite intrigued by your approach towards money.

    In regards to this article, I am a European living in Canada at the moment but still keeping current with European news and real life through my family there. And the situation is far from that rosy one as you describe it. I have to add I am not from any of those countries you visited but a bit further east so we might have a different experience as for what “the European way of living” is. The government backed up social network is great for individuals, as long as they can afford to keep it up. I got a free education, free health care, there is guaranteed (but quite low) pension. However, all these countries are paying a big price for these social conveniences now. Taxes are through the roof. If Americans think that Canadians pay a lot of taxes they would be outraged how high taxes are in most European countries. Some places as close as 50% easy. I just can’t see that happen in the US.
    Also I wanna say that it’s hard to judge a country or a region realistically before you lived there. Coming from Europe I thought Canada would be a Canaan. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great country but life is not at all as easy as I thought it might be. It’s really the “grass is greener on the other side” effect.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Free healthcare and free education doesnt sound too bad at all!

      I’m saying Anerica is recovering now, and will be fine for the most part over the next 4 years.

      The grass has already started to turn green!

  21. femmefrugality says

    I hope for another four year term, though I may be alone here! More than anything I’m curious to see if he will actually be able to follow through on the change that was promised the first time around after he doesn’t have to worry about reelection. I think it will probably be closer than last time, though.

    I like a lot of things about the European system. Like it or dislike it, though, I think we’re a far way from adapting it into our own lifestyle. There’s just too vocal a group that will fight back against it. Agree with their arguments or not, they’ve been pretty effective in blocking positive change over the past four years (i.e. the mangled health care bill. That is an improvement. But looks nothing like anyone planned on at the outset.)

  22. Lucille says

    This is an interesting post since I’m in London and just hosted a Pennsylvanian for a week during the Olympics. I think in the US, its you against the state. The American Dream is just that…a dream for some…. that can never become a reality. People suffer through lack of government support – no free banking or healthcare (yet) and the gun lobby!I love the European lifestyle and, as a second generation immigrant, feel taken care of by the state. We are encouraged to exercise, study and travel not just work ourselves to the bone. Europe is big on human rights and, if you have a disability, you get a handsome budget that can buy you a good quality of life. I hope America takes a leaf out of our books and that Obama makes it for a second term!

  23. Shilpan says

    Why America has become the shiny beacon of the world? It’s because of the vision of our founding fathers to believe that individual freedom triumphs over tyranny of government.

    When government starts taking control, we lose those who take risk to innovate and create wealth. It’s that simple.

    I’m ceaselessly amazed at those who think that government is the answer to their livelihood and existence. With that mind-set, American will lose the brightest among us –from around the world — who come to America and make it the greatest nation on earth.

    I wish that our schools make it mandatory for young children to learn about the declaration of Independence and our constitution so that they can understand the founding principles of this great nation.

    • Lucille says

      Government is not the answer but it must be the facilitator. If you’ve ever had a long term illness then you’ll know how good it is to have a hand up (not a hand out!). America’s social care is not the greatest but with Obama in charge it can be strengthened. The declaration of Independence doesn’t mean a thing if government – the servants of the people – aren’t living up to them!!

  24. 101 Centavos says

    It’s the human aspect, of course. Drinking cappuccino at corner bars, hanging out in the town square, and then gathering round a table for pizza and good vino. Later, a gelato and a stroll around the tree lined boulevards. Who cares if you live with your parents in a tiny apartment? The whole town is your living room!

  25. Kyle says

    I do think America’s future is Europe. Sadly, I think we’ll get most of the bad parts without most of the good parts. Most of Europe, perhaps with the UK and maaaaaaaybe France excluded, are relatively homogenous. The US is not. The Swedish model, for example, works great for them because 90+% of the population are the same ethnicity with the same inborn values. Everybody more or less agrees on the direction of the country. Not so in the US. Socialism works extraordinarily well when everybody is the same. Not so much when everybody is different.

  26. Jonathan Audette says

    I have been to Europe and I hate it. Everyone sits around all day drinking lattes and reading papers. I want to go fishing, hunting, boating without endless regulations. I want to drive a big SUV with all 6 of my nieces and nephews plus my wife and kids while towing a 27ft boat to the ocean to go fishing. I want to own my home, not 50 year mortgages like Europe. My grandparents left Europe to escape the big government and controls. They wanted opportunity to be more than just a government employee going to work and coming home to do nothing. When I get vacations I don’t want to go relax in Europe, I want to party in the US or Mexico. I do not feel entitled to anything and I paid my own way through college and flight school and I expect my kids to do the same. It is all about discipline and saving. We have created the best country in the world after breaking away from Europe and now you want to go back down that path. No thanks. If I wanted to live the life of Europeans I would go there. Worrying about your future and trying to be the best you can be is what has made us so strong. Entitlements and just being average is what has brought us down. To stay competitive we need to push ourselves and our children harder. Expect more not less. I heard a high counselor tell me the worst thing she ever heard when she asked a parent what they expected from their child was “I just hope they graduate.” Why are we reducing ourselves to just being average? Dumbing down society? Schools should be raising standards not lowering them. And regarding college. Not everyone needs college. There are MANY good, rewarding, high paying jobs out there that require no education, so why waste funds and four years of productivity sending them to college. Speaking two languages is worthless in the US. We have an official language. It is English in case you were wondering. I have traveled all over the world and not once have I ever not been able to get around with just English.

  27. Just a Canadian says

    I love this article! I am actually very impressed by your perspective, and also even more impressed by the thoughtful responses you are receiving from the community.
    When reading your article I was sure that the reaction from the average American would have been strong and fairly negative. You have taught me that there are a lot of very open minded people in the states that are open to the possibility that there are things that can be learned from other parts of the world. That is not to say that America has nothing to contribute to the world.

    I enjoyed my trip to Europe as well, and there is a more relaxed lifestyle that we can all benefit from. America has a lot to offer the world as well, and being Canadian, I appreciate you as our neighbour.

    I do support the idea of having universal health care. It is a basic right that I am continuously amazed that the United States does not have.

    As an aside, I really enjoy your website. There is a lot of interesting material.

    Cheers,

  28. Richard says

    Samurai, Do you not see your own contradiction? You like the ‘carefree european lifestyle’ but don’t like the gov’t/taxes needed to administer and fund it.

    • Financial Samurai says

      I like the carefree Euro lifestyle without having to pay taxes for it. I want to join the masses who take, take, take and vote to raise taxes on the minority who already pay the cast majority of taxes.

      Is this not the European and American way? Pity those French households who paid 100% of their income to taxes in 2012!

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