Americans tend to believe that we do everything better than anyone else. That belief makes it hard for us to learn from others. For example, I've found that many people refuse to believe that Europe has anything to teach us about health care policy. After all, they say, how can Europeans be good at health care when their economies are such failures?Read "French Family Values".
Now, there's no reason a country can't have both an excellent health care system and a troubled economy (or vice versa). But are European economies really doing that badly?
The answer is no.
Local columnist Clyde Haberman notes that when New York State Governor George Pataki announced he would not seek re-election, he managed to utter four words before invoking September 11th. That was probably a first for Pataki; he usually doesn't waste that much time.