Many in politics seem to be persuing conflicting goals.
For instance, many would like to enjoy the lower prices that are a product of "offshoring" but rail against the "socialist" programs of Europe. Many use Europe as a subject for derision for its low employment, socialized medicine and "lazy" lifestyle.
Yet in many ways, nations evolve in a pattern. At one time a young, whipper-snapper nation stole sensitive textile manufacturing technologies from Europe and undermined Europe's dominance of textiles. This brought the benefits of lower prices and much-needed income to a growing nation.
Now it's America's turn. We've long admitted defeat in low-cost textile manufacturing and are currently giving away manufacturing and technology to developing nations. In this coming decade we can fully expect to see other technologies -- such as medicine and research -- quickly moving to developing countries as it becomes "too expensive" to do here. In many ways this pattern is as inevitable as the tide and perhaps we would be just as successful in fighting it.
Europe has long ago given up these standards to America. Now it seems that it's America's turn.
Perhaps Europe isn't failing so much as simply evolving ahead of us.
Perhaps we should begin to accept that major changes are in order for an American society with no development or production base. Perhaps the Europe we know now is a result of moving to a "service economy".
We might start considering now how an America with no production or research leadership can carry the rest of its society. Learn from the Europe that has gone before us.. or start fighting the tide now.