According to European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry Antonio Tajani tourism is no longer a luxury -- it's a right.
That's right folks, that trip to Sin City? The government needs to subsidize it.
Want to visit Hawaii? Sure thing brother step right up!
The overall stupidity of this idea is so blindingly obvious that I'm almost speechless – but only almost, I do write for a living after all.
I appreciate the eruption of the volcano in Iceland caused a huge disruption in travel in Europe (whether the huge airspace closure was really needed or not we'll leave for another time) but travel a human right? Really?
Granted this guy was appointed by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who likely feels everyone should have a government-sponsored opportunity to get away from their legion of mistresses – but I digress.
The Times Online of London reported Tajani said that “Traveling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life.”
So if I choose to spend my holiday (that's vacation to us 'Murricans) at home working in my yard (unlikely, I hate yard work, but then again I don't get vacations very often either) my quality of life is bad then?
And if so then I must have a vacation subsidized by the government in order to feel good about my life.
Of course, the EU pilot program doesn't say you get to take your vacation where ever you want.
'Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.”
Further, the Times Online reports Northern Europeans would be encouraged to visit southern Europe and vice versa.
And now we come to the nub of the issue.
This is your typical progressive idea.
“We must promote understanding and diversity,” the logic goes, and of course the only way to do that is for government to tell people what to do and where to spend other people's money. The whole thing makes you think you're in a Kafka novel!
The silliness of the left would be amusing if it weren't so frightening.
They consistently take a bad idea, decide it's a good one despite it's demonstrable unworkability in the real world and then make a government program out of it.
Take social security, the money I pay in out of my day job paycheck is used to pay the benefits for the people who are currently retired, and then the money collected from my kids will be used to pay my benefits.
This only works so long as there are more people paying than collecting. Anywhere but government this is called a pyramid or ponzi scheme and gets people sent to jail (Bernie Madoff anyone?)
The sad part is that people will actually take this seriously, once you give someone an entitlement it becomes nearly impossible to take it away again.
France has had this problem – it is nearly impossible to fire anyone and the length of the work week is limited by law.
As financial problems in France intensified and it became clear steps were needed to change the situation, the French government tried to change this state of affairs and riots ensued.
This stupid idea and others like it have given us the modern welfare state.
Once again it was an idea that looked good on paper that simply didn't work in the real world, and took years to fix.
The logic was fairly simple, some people for one reason or another are poor and out of work – they need a helping hand, we'll give them some money.
The result was predictable to anyone who wasn't blinded by ideology. If you pay people not to work, they won't work, there's no incentive to get a job. Worse, if you pay people to help the poor you have people who won't be paid if there are no poor. So in typical bureaucratic fashion – they'll find some.
The economic problems the world faces aren't particularly difficult to fix. As Charlie Martin pointed out in one of his pieces, all that is required is to make sure that spending doesn't grow faster than Gross Domestic Product. So long as that doesn't happen eventually you pay off your deficits and have a surplus. The problem is bureaucrats spawn programs like Tiger Woods trolling a pancake house for his latest mistress in order to justify their jobs.
Step one is to get rid of boneheads like Tajani and step two is to eliminate leftist whackjobs from government.
Remember the 9th of November folks. It may be the last chance we have to keep the USA from following Europe down the rabbit hole of Socialism.