Only the rich get to see Europe

I had promised my sister-in-law, ailing in Germany, that my wife and I would be visiting her next June. That may not be possible.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I checked into Orbitz this morning and discovered the cheapest fare was $902 with United/Continental. Wait! It gets better. That’s just the airfare. Add taxes, $617.19, and you’re looking at $1,519.19 per person. In other words, the taxes are two thirds the actual fare. I think that’s outrageous.

I decided to find out why the high taxes. It’s the EU countries that are doing this. Scrapped for cash to finance their deficit welfare-state budgets, they’re looking everywhere. Tourists don’t vote. Voila! Well, and I think I’m not alone, I’ll vote with my feet.

Have they no clue they’re busting their own economies? No more flotillas of Americans and Canadians. Already, you can hear the screams of the European travel industry, not to mention airlines. So far, to no avail.

It’s amazing. I can book a trip from Lexington, KY, all the way to gorgeous Hawaii for just 754 rt, taxes included.

What a mess Europe’s gotten itself into. For decades since WWII, they’ve pretty much thought they had a free lunch, given their generous government outlays. Did they really think Disney World would go on forever? As is, they’ve got this heavy value added tax on virtually everything you buy, their touted free medical care is escalating in cost, and all of this while cutting their defense spending, already meager, by 50% in some countries. What a milk toast ally!

They don’t work as hard as Americans. Most retire 30 years and out. Vacations average 6 weeks, versus two for Americans, many of them not taking any vacation.

What’s awful is that their sorry mess could plunge all of us on this side of the pond into recession again. But what do you do about people who riot in the streets whenever austerity measures are adopted?

And there’s a warning in all of this for America to get its own financial house in order to avoid becoming a version of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland. My own state of Ky is nearly 8 billion dollars delinquent in funding pensions for its public employees, including teachers.

Republicans, cutting spending without revenue increases through higher taxation won’t get the job done.

Democrats, increasing taxes without meaningful cuts in spending only delays our day of reckoning.

Better book that trip to Hawaii–don’t I wish–before Congress fancies imitating our European brethren and we all go down the tubes.

Author: RJ

Retired English prof (Ph. D., UNC), who likes to garden, blog, pursue languages (especially Spanish) and to share in serious discussion on vital issues such as global warming, the role of government, energy alternatives, etc. Am a vegan and, yes, a tree hugger enthusiastically. If you write me, I'll answer.

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