But there is an agenda here. Vinocour claims the Europeans fear outbreaks of violence from below ... but it has been a matter of policy for years for the US mainstream media to inveigh shrilly against European social democracy ... or any other sort really. Nothing more frightens the owners of the USA, who of course own also the Times, than being taxed to aid the lower levels of society.
Europe looks bad indeed, if you accept US statistics at face value. But we know that these statistics have been sexed up for years. Now they have the same worth as those of the old USSR. There was a time when the Soviet numbers had every intelligence agency, every pundit, every economic commentator in the world convinced that the USSR was the second largest economy in the world. When the dust of collapse cleared it was revealed that what was really there was rather smaller than the resources of Brazil.
The process of cooking the USA's books has been going on for a long time.
Perhaps from the time of John F. Kennedy. Kennedy, scion of a rich family, made the first moves toward disaster by reducing the old New Deal tax rates on the wealthy from 91 to 77%. Successive presidents and congresses have kept this ball rolling. We now see the Barack Obama regime settling them at 28%.
Richard M. Nixon managed overnight to remove the US dollar from any attachment to gold. Replacing, de facto, gold with oil as the backer for our currency. This due to the financial exigencies of waging the Vietnam War. Among the immediate results were a massive inflation and the oil shocks of the seventies. As a long-term effect each of his successors has had to progressively obscure the methods used to calculate inflation.
Ronald Reagan managed the successful alteration of the accounting methods by which we computed both gross national product and the national debt.
...and Bill Clinton found a way to further obscure the federal budget by masking its deficits with income from the Social Security Trust Funds.
Add to the toxic assets thus generated the financial drain of the wars of George W. Bush, who with so many others apparently actually believed the cooked numbers allowed the USA unlimited military options, and we see some of the origins of the actual crisis that is now upon us.
All these people faithfully represented the views of most Americans in the political class that to support the military, the clandestine services and the rest of the machinery of empire, any chicanery was justified.
Naturally, since not only Wall Street, but actually the whole US whizz-bang was whirling merrily away on the edge of a financial precipice, deregulation was necessary. That is to say, the dismantling of the whole carefully crafted New Deal edifice of accountants and technical and financial analysts, people who knew what was actually going on, was merely another effect of the swindle. Not the cause of our world disaster...
Our rich have been lining their pockets with paper, and now electronic dollars which have no relationship to anything of value for two generations and more.
The New Deal policy of soaking up via the income tax the private wealth generated by public expenditure has been long dead. It is this wealth which is the true toxic asset. It is not merely the big banks whose books cannot be trusted. Efforts to prop up the corpse with further injections of public monies can only make the matter worse.
Europe was mostly shut out of the empire business as the losers in World War II ... and the generations that came of age thereafter have only to look about them to see the monuments to the disaster that is militaristic imperialism.
Their people learned the hard way to demand some accounting from their masters and insist upon at least minimal levels of political decency and social justice.
This is a lesson North Americans have yet to learn.