The lessons are very simple:
1. Higher taxes lead to higher government expenditure and not reduction of government debt.
2. A value added tax is a recipe for run-away government expenditure.
3. A welfare state breeds dependency.
4. Fiscal reform and reduction of government expenditure is impossible once more people are living off the government than are paying taxes to support the government.
5. Bailouts do not work.
The West has been on a very long drunken sailor binge when it comes to government expenditure. Unfortunately we get to live through the very painful hangover aftermath.