A Euro of living dangerously
Chaotic and socialist, Greece upset the European apple cart recently when they failed to curtail unsustainable government spending. Greece has been on a collision course with reality for years and now has to be bailed out with a $1 trillion package to avert their crisis from spreading throughout Europe. Billions will come from the U.S. taxpayer.
What Greece has done sounds so familiar: running unsustainable budget deficits with lavish government spending on unions, early retirements, impossible labor laws, subsidizing failing businesses, Madoff-like accounting practices and socialized health care. It sounds like Barack Obama’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Obama, if he keeps us on this same trajectory, is setting the stage for our own Greek tragedy with the odious debt he, Pelosi and Reid are piling upon us. Always thinking a speech solves a problem, Obama had his budget director issue a statement that “out-of-control deficits will mortgage our future.” This statement took Americans by surprise: Obama has a budget director?
Greece, because of its socialist policies, does not have much of a private business sector to tax anymore. They are failing over just $388 billion in debt, to which Obama probably said “that is so cute: $388 billion. We hide earmarks that big.” I am still not sure how they are spending $1 trillion to bailout a $388 billion debt, but I never understood government math.
Since Greece is now a part of the Euro currency, they have no incentive to be financially responsible—just as we Americans will have no incentive to not smoke, drink or watch our weight when we are all tied together with ObamaCare. When everyone is responsible, then no one is responsible. Entitlement societies always fail.
The Senate rejected Sen. Jim DeMint’s (who has remarkably fresh breath) amendment to prohibit the IMF from using U.S. taxpayer money to bailout foreign countries. The U.S. is 17 percent of the IMF funding, which means we get IMF’ed again.
And it gets better. Rather than pass it as stand-alone legislation, President Obama asked Congress to hide the $108 billion in a war-spending bill to send money to our troops. How is that for “transparency?”
Worry not, Obama has a team working on this crisis and have uncovered a distant Greek relative of George Bush, “Dubya-nopolis Bush” to blame this on. He was also in a fraternity, so they think they have a case.
No doubt, if there is a debt party, you know the U.S.A. will be invited. And the lazy entitlement-minded rioting over being made to retire at 55 instead of 54, Greek “workers” will be bailed out so they can get back to what they do best: sleeping late, then drinking Ouzo, playing bouzouki, dancing drunk, and smashing dinner plates in a bar fight.
Like our country, which is heading far from the thinking of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and other Founders, the Greeks have long slid down the slippery slope of socialism and strayed from the thinking of Aristotle and Socrates. They now are gambling their country’s future like Jimmy the Greek. The Greeks have gone from the cradle of democracy to the meth lab of democracy. Giving tax money to a government is like giving meth to a person, they will come back for more until their demise. We should pay attention.
Yet the fate of Europe lies in supporting Greece because it is a part of the Euro. Obama’s Illinois is the worst managed state financially in the U.S., but we cannot kick them out of the United States of America because they embarrassed us. Tellingly, the worst managed governments also have the highest taxes. Illinois and California have some of the highest state tax rates in the country and businesses flee. Greece too has high taxes, income tax rates up to 45 percent and a VAT tax reaching 21 percent. There are common threads to economic calamity, and it is out-of-control spending, an entitlement mindset and high taxes. It is interesting, but states with no income tax are doing quite well—Texas, Tennessee and Florida come to mind.
Dependency-based welfare states are heading to bankruptcy, and they should. There is something cleansing about this and the fact that states (like Texas) and countries (like Germany) do well because they did not spend like drunken sailors. At least drunken sailors can’t drink forever; eventually the bartender cuts them off when they run out of money.
Ron Hart is a libertarian op-ed humorist author and columnist who can be reached at: Ron@RonaldHart.com or www.RonaldHart.com.