Europe’s Crisis and the Welfare State: Lessons for the United States

Conference
October 10, 2012 9:00AM
Hayek Auditorium

Europe has long been the model of the modern welfare state, with many countries providing “cradle-to-grave” protection against the vicissitudes of life by publicly funding housing, sustenance, health care, pensions, unemployment insurance, sick leave, child care, and a host of other benefits. But the economic crisis that started in Greece and now pours through Europe has painfully revealed the true nature of the welfare state—it is unaffordable, stifles economic growth, and has countries drowning in debt.

As Europe now deals with the consequences of its severe fiscal crisis, the United States has an opportunity to gain a wide range of invaluable perspectives and lessons.

At this Conference, leading international experts will look at the history and evolution of Europe’s welfare states; examine the effectiveness of austerity programs; explore steps taken that are working and failing; and, with the sobering perspectives it offers on the financial realties now facing Europe, detail the range of lessons the United States must learn. The Conference will also underscore how the financial burden of the expanding U.S. welfare state—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other entitlements—must be resolved if America is to avoid arriving at the same painful destination as Europe.

8:30 - 9:00 a.m. Registration

9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Welcoming Remarks



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John Allison

Keynote Address
Josef Joffe, Publisher & Editor, Die Zeit, and Fellow in International Relations, Hoover Institution

10:00 - 11:15 a.m. Panel 1: The Unaffordable Welfare State



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Moderator: Ian Vasquez, Director, Cato Institute Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

Aristides Hatzis, Associate Professor of Law and Economics, University of Athens

Pedro Schwartz, Professor Extraordinary Universidad San Pablo CEU (Madrid-Spain)

Fredrik Erixon, Director, European Centre for International Political Economy

Jagadeesh Gokhale, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m Panel 2: Is Austerity the Answer?



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Moderator: Marian Tupy, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

Bruce Stokes, Director, Pew Global Economic Attitudes

Pascal Salin, Professor Emeritus, Université Paris-Dauphine

Miroslav Beblavy, Member, Slovak Parliament, and senior research fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies

Veronique de Rugy, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center

12:45 - 1:45 p.m. Luncheon Address



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Juhan Parts, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, Republic of Estonia

2:00 - 3:15 p.m. Panel 3: Case Studies: What Works — What Doesn’t



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Moderator: Juan Carlos Hidalgo, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

Peeter Koppel, Private Banking Strategist, SEB Bank

Mark Hallerberg, Director of Fiscal Governance Center, Hertie School of Governance

Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies, Cato Institute

Daniel J. Mitchell, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

3:30 - 4:45 p.m. Panel 4: Lessons for the United States



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Moderator: Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute

Mickey Levy, Chief Economist, Bank of America

Pierre Lemieux, Associate Professor, University of Quebec

Desmond Lachman, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Michael D. Tanner, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

4:45 - 5:15 p.m. Closing Address

Panel 4: Lessons for the United States



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Richard Fisher, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

5:15 - 6:00 p.m. Reception

We gratefully acknowledge the support of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.