Europeans can protest all they want, but the idea of the social democracy is dead. (As far as the US is concerned, it is only a matter of our willingness to not emulate any further those social welfare state policies which have produced a two decade stagnant Euro economy along with an unsupportable state bureaucracy.) If the European states do not address the matter, the markets will do it for them.
The only reason that the US is not in similar straits is that the world markets operate on the US dollar. The US problem is, in many ways, far simpler and it may be summed up in one phrase; out of control health care costs, including insurance costs. Europe has a much deeper level of social welfare, with its lists of “free” government benefits much longer. Europe has also struggled with an economy limited and constrained by those built in costs, resulting in decades of stagnation itself the product of a poor business climate. New businesses do not form in Europe, existing businesses look to government favor and subsidy to survive, and the European worker is primarily noted for the sheer number of days he or she does not, in fact, work. Europe has a structural unemployment rate that would have anyone marching in the streets. Americans do not march in the streets largely because they’re due at work when one might be scheduled. And nobody works more than Americans do.
While the US can go most of the way to reviving its economy and resolving its debt problem simply by reforming and replacing Medicare and Medicaid, coupled with modest changes to Social Security, and then rely on its dynamic economy to pay down debt, Europe cannot, without far more drastic reforms. Of course, the problem with all fiscal reforms is making the bargain for short term pain for long term gain.
While the European situation is hardly envious, it will not do for American’s to be amused nor complacent; we are not all that much different, though for different reasons, we can and will end up in the same fiscal doghouse, and we’ve one major political party dedicated to nothing so much as European social democracy.