They are called the PIGS -- Portugal, Ireland, Greece,
Spain. What they have in common is that all are facing
deficits and debts that could bring on national defaults
and break up the European Union.
What brought the PIGS to the edge of the abyss?
All are neo-socialist states that provide welfare for poor
people, generous unemployment, universal health care,
early retirement and comfortable pensions. Most consume
40 percent to 50 percent of their gross domestic product
annually, a crushing burden on the private sector.
Dying populations is a second cause. After two world wars,
the Europeans lost their faith and embraced hedonism and
materialism, la dolce vita. Large families fell out of
favor. Women put off marriage and babies, and went to work.
Birth control and abortion were made readily available in
every country and, if not, just across the border.
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