Should the United States be more like Europe—greener and with a more generous social safety net? For most on America’s left, the answer is a no-brainer. But recent developments remind us that the European model comes with a hefty price tag.
Europeans seem to want to have it all: stringent environmental and regulatory standards to drive decarbonization; “strategic autonomy,” especially from powers such as Russia or China; and rising levels of economic prosperity. These goals form a policy trilemma. Europeans can pick two—or a limited combination of the three—but they cannot pursue all three at once. And that should be a warning to Americans.