Europe has long been the model of the modern welfare state, with many countries providing “cradle-to-grave” protection against the vicissitudes of life by publicly funding housing, sustenance, health care, pensions, unemployment insurance, sick leave, child care, and a host of other benefits. But the economic crisis that started in Greece and now pours through Europe has painfully revealed the true nature of the welfare state—it is unaffordable, stifles economic growth, and has countries drowning in debt. As Europe now deals with the consequences of its severe fiscal crisis, the United States has an opportunity to gain a wide range of invaluable perspectives and lessons. At this Conference, leading international experts will look at the history and evolution of Europe’s welfare states; examine the effectiveness of austerity programs; explore steps taken that are working and failing; and, with the sobering perspectives it offers on the financial realties now facing Europe, detail the range of lessons the United States must learn. The Conference will also underscore how the financial burden of the expanding U.S. welfare state—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other entitlements—must be resolved if America is to avoid arriving at the same painful destination as Europe.