Sobering article from AlterNet on how Europeans view America during the economic crisis. Key point:
Some social scientists think that making sure large-scale crime or fascism never takes root in Europe again requires a taxpayer investment in a strong social safety net. Can we learn from Europe? Isn't it better to invest in a social safety net than in a large criminal justice system? (In America over 2 million people are incarcerated.)
Everyone is so nervous about fascism rearing its head in Europe that they forgot to think about how to stop it here.
It's also worth remembering that Germany, with strong unions, a strong social safety net, and diligent regulation of the financial industry, wasn't hit as hard by the recession as the U.S. and is recovering more quickly.