The article first published in on 03/03/2018.   Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible.  This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation’s welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California’s population lives below the poverty line. Recent figures published in Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel’s disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman’s admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people.   Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning


The article first published in on 12/1/2017.   The inability of Angela Merkel and her putative partners to form a government has given rise to persistent calls, including from the chancellor herself, that what Europe needs now is a strong Germany. In fact, it is Germany’s unquestioned strength and willingness to throw its weight around that are to blame for much of Eastern Europe’s unhappiness with the EU at the moment. A case in point is the growing rift between Berlin and its eastern EU neighbors on some of the issues discussed by Merkel and her potential government partners.   Take for instance Merkel’s position claiming that the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline is simply a commercial project. To most of her eastern neighbors this is nothing if not crass German


The article first published in on 11/25/2017.     The failure of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to form a coalition government in her fourth term of office has, for the first time, given rise to speculations as to her possible demise as the long-time and seemingly indispensable fixture of German and European politics. Such is the respect bordering on  veneration, of ‘Mutti’ Merkel in the European mainstream press, that few bother to look critically at her policies and accept without question her assurances that she “will make sure that her country continues to be well governed.” Yet, there is by now overwhelming evidence that her policies have neither been very successful, nor marked with a great deal of “democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity,” as she


The article first published in on 09/25/2017.   As expected, Angela Merkel has convincingly won her fourth term as chancellor of Germany and unofficial, but no less real, leader of the European Union. The mainstream media will again erupt into an orgy of adulation for the new leader of the free world, the slayer of populism and last, but most, the anti-Trump. While the adulation-cum-EU-triumphalism is a given, few will notice that it is taking place as both Merkel and the EU are entering a period that will bring ruin to both Merkel’s reputation and the fantasy of a EU super state that will finally prove the superiority of Europe over Trump’s America. For her reputation is built on the fake assumptions of the European socio-political model which is doomed.  

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The article first published in on 08/29/2017.   The election of Donald Trump as the 45th American president in Novembeer 2016 resulted in a predictable wave of barely concealed anti-American sentiment in the European media and officialdom alike. The reasons are not difficult to understand. The European Union as the major European political institution is generally left-of-center and much closer ideologically to the Democratic Party elites in the United States than to the Republicans. Further, the European media are closely attuned to the mainstream media in the U.S. and look at the country through pretty much their prism. Not surprisingly, European and, especially German, elites were as shocked and devastated by Trump’s election victory as their American mainstream colleagues, and perhaps even more so, to the extent that conservative media, as such,


Immigrants boost the GDP of the countries that receive them, usually by more than the immigrants earn. Immigrants bring new customs and new perspectives, adding to cultural diversity. Immigration expands opportunities to mix and mingle. Moreover, inter-ethnic violence, like all other violence, is generally declining in the world. So why has immigration become such a polarizing issue in the EU and the U.S.?   From an elite perspective, the main problem is “sore losers”: lower-class citizens who lack the skills to compete in a globalized economy, are infected with racial and ethnic prejudice, and unfairly blame immigrants for their woes.  In Hillary Clinton’s words, their behavior makes them “deplorable” and their attitudes “irredeemable”. The only appropriate response is contempt.   However, what if the “sore losers” do lose substantially from

This entry was posted in No category, Europe and tagged , , , by Kent Osband.

About Kent Osband

Dr. Osband is an American economist, strategist, financial risk analyst and longtime student of Bulgaria. He is the author of two well-known books on quantitative risk analysis (Iceberg Risk: An Adventure in Portfolio Theory and Pandora Risk: Uncertainty at the Core of Finance) and has served both in the public (IMF, WB) and private sectors (Goldman Sachs, CSFB, Fortress Investments).

  The wave of migration caused by the war in Syria has challenged politicians in Europe to address properly and promptly the current problems which Europe faces today. If the people in Europe can’t see in the deeds of their representatives an adequate response to today’s problems, it is very likely that those politicians are going to lose their elections and, as a consequence, Europe will fall into the hands of a new generation of leaders who may question the integrative European model altogether. The fears of the European people are understandable, but they are additionally fueled by populist parties which obviously think that they would profit from this fear and gain much greater numbers of votes. Against this background, there is a serious and visible problem: the rift between words

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With President Trump now into his first full week in office, it is time to begin examining his likely impact on Europe. Not that there hasn’t been much commentary on his campaign and ostensible policies before. Long before Trump was elected president, the European press and politicians, unwisely taking their que from the viciously anti-Trump  American mainstream media, had declared Trump a ‘fascist’ (Der Spiegel), a “preacher of hate” (German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier), ‘clueless’ and a “threat to the whole world.” (EU’s parliament president, Martin Schulz). This is perhaps understandable, though not excusable, coming as it was from these predictable leftist sources. Unfortunately, this Trump derangement syndrome has become even more ubiquitous since his inauguration and not just from the Left.  A case in point is a long article


  With the refugee crisis threatening to unravel the European Union, some EU officials are banking on the art of the migrant deal to keep Europe’s immigration problem in check. That solution appears to be a band-aid, rather than a cure, and it is shifting the bleeding to other areas of Europe, as well as setting up the EU for blackmail.   In 2015, more than 1 million migrants entered Europe, most of whom used the Balkan route to reach western and northern European countries, particularly Germany. In March 2016, the EU reached a deal with Turkey in which Ankara agreed to take back migrants arriving at the Greek islands in exchange for Brussels relocating refugees directly from Turkey.   As the EU-Turkey deal came into place, Balkan states closed


  Broad division of labor is mankind’s greatest economic innovation ever, and globalization is its greatest fruit. Nothing spurs more growth and innovation. Nothing intertwines civilization more. Yet every upside comes with a downside, and the main current downside of globalization is the squeeze on the middle class in the world’s leading globalizers. Their real incomes have hardly increased in a generation, their jobs have become less secure, and their prospects have dimmed.   A recent publication of the U.S. Census Bureau gives crisp evidence of this. Called Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015, it grabbed unusual attention thanks to its claim that “Real median household income increased 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2105.” That’s a huge and welcome one-year change in a slow-growth economy.   However, when