The budget crises in Europe and the US pose the question: What are the priority responsibiities of a State? On that , my view can be found in my August 14 post "EU & USA: The right policies can come from the center".
What I find astounding is that some European and American politicians' views (re the EU, Euro, the EU budget, non solirity to uninsured people, divorcing Alzheimer's patients) are as if they just stepped out of a time machine straight out of the Middle Ages.
Real human values are not abandoned in difficult times: That is Europe's real deficit and real crisis! Will it default on them (values)? Is Europe going to throw its Social Model (eg UK's NHS) into the Kaiada river (see Ancient Sparta) instead of exporting it to the rest of humanity?
Is Europe returning to its Medieval (brutal etc) past? Or will be surprise us and lead humanity into a new Renaissance