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Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?
Labor lawyer and Europhile, Geohegan (Which Side Are You On?) makes a passionate case for the high-tax, regulation-heavy model of life on the Continent. Using Germany as a model, he argues the middle class is the real beneficiary of European social democracy--its members reap free education, free child care, free nursing home care, guaranteed vacation time, and generous unemployment payments--while their white-collar American counterparts struggle to pay for the same. "Europe is set up for the bourgeois," writes Geohegan. "America's a great place to buy kitty litter at Wal-Mart and relatively cheap gas. But it's not set up for me, a professional without a lot of money." While he's quick to acknowledge that critics seize on labor's costs and prominence as a potential path to the collapse of the system, he's convinced of the framework in place. The narrative unspools in a chatty, anecdotal style; it's jumpy, appealingly digressive, and winning, all the more so for being such an unabashed polemic that refuses to be resigned to the rising rate of inequality in the U.S.
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New Press, The
October 03, 2011
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