Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Peace dividends and European welfare states

On 28 January 2022, a Pittsburgh bridge collapsed hours before a visit of the 46th US president to promote his Build Back Better Plan, a huge investment in US infrastructure (eg, CNN). The irony was not lost on me. Ever since, I’ve been wondering about military spending, infrastructure and welfare.

The final push for this blog came from this article in The Conversation: “Defence cuts effectively paid for UK welfare state for 60 years – but that looks impossible after Ukraine”. Initially, I rejected this article because labelling the UK as a welfare state seems farfetched to me, once you’ve visited that country.

Nevertheless, the additional military spending in Europe, to counter the Russian threat following their invasion of Ukraine, must have consequences, like higher budget deficits, budget cuts or austerity, and/or a European pooling of military assets, like NATO. USA is showing the way (eg, poor infrastructure, poor welfare).

For about a decade, several writers have been arguing that the current generation will be the last generation that outperformed their parents, and that their children will face less wealth. Example from a 2016 article in Forbes: “Most Millennials Think They’ll Be Worse Off Than Their Parents”.

The current exuberant housing prices will prevent many – if not, most – newcomers from acquiring a house; even households with double income and no kids. You need a house to buy a house.

A 2019 report from Pew Research Center shows “how Millenials compare with prior generations” and concludes: “Generation Z (those ages 6 to 21 in 2018) is on track to be the nation’s most diverse and best-educated generation yet.” However, Knowledge without (eg, buying) Power is frustrating.

However, every cloud has a silver lining: less welfare might just translate in more ambitions for Generation Z (born 1997-2012) and for Millennials (born 1981-1996). Perhaps, their ambitions will then finally match those of Generation X (born 1965-1980) and the baby boomers (born 1946-1964).

Without the death of the Russian president, Europe will face major changes. These changes will be a major threat to Russia’s future. I still expect that Russia will eliminate its president in order to survive his war. Apparently, the Russian president is aware of this (eg, Brookings-2017, NY Post, Telegraaf).

Show Me The Way (1975) by Peter Frampton
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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