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Greece: The America of the Future?

Mark Steyn has an excellent piece over at NRO today about the degredation of Greece, and it as a model of how socialist policies there (and in Europe as a whole) have driven it to the verge of disaster. Are we headed there? Directionally, Steyn says, yes. But there’s still time to recover. It starts off:

While Barack Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand-new, even-more-unsustainable entitlement at the health-care “summit,” thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split-screen — because they’re part of the same story. It’s just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They’re at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is farther upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided instead that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter Twenty (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter Seventeen or Eighteen.

And it ends:

Think of Greece as California: Every year an irresponsible and corrupt bureaucracy awards itself higher pay and better benefits paid for by an ever-shrinking wealth-generating class. And think of Germany as one of the less profligate, still-just-about-functioning corners of America such as my own state of New Hampshire: Responsibility doesn’t pay. You’ll wind up bailing out anyway. The problem is there are never enough of “the rich” to fund the entitlement state, because in the end it disincentivizes everything from wealth creation to self-reliance to the basic survival instinct, as represented by the fertility rate. In Greece, they’ve run out Greeks, so they’ll stick it to the Germans, like French farmers do. In Germany, the Germans have only been able to afford to subsidize French farming because they stick their defense tab to the Americans. And in America, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?

I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

– Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

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19 Comments

  1. I have been reading about George Soros’s involvement in this.

    Man who broke the Bank of England, George Soros, ‘at centre of hedge funds plot to cash in on fall of the euro’

    Man who broke the Bank of England, George Soros, ‘at centre of hedge funds plot to cash in on fall of the euro’

    Soros has his finger in so many pies.

    The man about to break the euro? George Soros is said to be placing large bearish bets against the single currency. P.I.G. He knocks over Greece and the rest will fall like dominoes. And we are in the Ring of Fire.

    http://goldsilver.com/uploads/images/pimco-ring-of-fire-chart.jpg

    ttp://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2010/02/salmons-progressives-down-by-seaside.html

    Comment by keyboard jockey — February 27, 2010 @ 4:47 pm - February 27, 2010

  2. George Soros and the Progressive Movement in America.

    http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2010/02/salmons-progressives-down-by-seaside.html

    Comment by keyboard jockey — February 27, 2010 @ 4:48 pm - February 27, 2010

  3. Well, considering we’re already on our own little path to ruin thanks to years of corporate corruption and deregulation, comparisons to Greece’s or other socialist systems don’t really matter at this point.

    Socialism and capitalism can work just as easily as they can fail spectacularly. There are plenty of socialist countries that are doing just fine and there are lots of capitalist countries that aren’t.

    Comment by Levi — February 27, 2010 @ 6:05 pm - February 27, 2010

  4. unlike Levi and Greece, I don’t think we’re too far gone.

    I do think it will take a lot of pain, a lot of budget cutting for both the people and the state, and the short term pain will be worth it in the long run.

    We have one tihng Greece doesn’t. Resources. Drill here, drill now, cut taxes here and now, let bad investments fail, work to make dollar King again, and we can survive.

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 27, 2010 @ 6:12 pm - February 27, 2010

  5. Well, considering we’re already on our own little path to ruin thanks to years of corporate corruption and deregulation

    Bullpucky! Like a parrot, Levi regurgitates what he is told to say without ever understanding it.

    Please, Levi, please tell us specifically which corporate corruption and which deregulation caused the sub-prime loan crisis, which is what got us where we are. Please explain how corporate corruption and deregulation forced banks to give out loans to liberals who couldn’t afford to pay them back. Because corporations cant force anyone to do anything like that. Only government has the power to force people to engage in behavior they dont want to that puts their very existence at risk.

    Comment by American Elephant — February 27, 2010 @ 6:51 pm - February 27, 2010

  6. Greece would be lovely if it wasn’t for all those damn Greeks living within it’s borders…. and I say that as a Greek.

    The Brits are worse off right now than we are here in the States…. but they won’t go the way of Greece simply because they retained the Pound… The Greeks will regain their footing only if they go back to the Drachma….. America will have her problems, but as long as we keep the Dollar and never I repeat never, become a part of a world currency, we’ll always be able to maneuver our way through to a recovery….. but this administration is doing strange things, and I fear they want to dilute the Dollar to the point they can easily persuade the masses it’s in our interest to adopt a world currency… God help us if that ever happens.

    Comment by Spartann — February 27, 2010 @ 7:24 pm - February 27, 2010

  7. Steyn wrote: … as the Greek protests make plain, nothing makes an individual more selfish than the socially equitable communitarianism of big government: Once a chap’s enjoying the fruits of government health care, government-paid vacation, government-funded early retirement, and all the rest, he couldn’t give a hoot about the general societal interest; he’s got his, and to hell with everyone else. People’s sense of entitlement endures long after the entitlement has ceased to make sense.

    I would add: the ability to pay for the entitlement.

    And that’s the problem we face here. All the appeals to beggaring future generations fall on deaf ears. People don’t give a damn about “the children” (we talk a lot about the children but do little of substance).

    This goes not only for gummint union-types and government “clients” that have looted California, New York &c but for a lot of corporate types that enrich themselves via labor arbitrage, rent-seeking, and crony capitalism.

    Levi: please let me know which socialist countries you regard as successful.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — February 27, 2010 @ 8:12 pm - February 27, 2010

  8. Some socialist countries like their cradel to grave welfare states and the people seem unaware of the consequences of working for the state. Socialism is a type of enslavement. Capitalism may leave a lot to be desired but it is the best system out there for people who love freedom.

    Comment by Maureen — February 27, 2010 @ 8:35 pm - February 27, 2010

  9. As Sweden one of most socialist countries in the world are turning towards a more free market economy. http://www.oecd.org/document/13/0,3343,en_2649_34113_41738189_1_1_1_1,00.html

    Comment by Pamela — February 27, 2010 @ 8:46 pm - February 27, 2010

  10. Well, the Greeks have a reputation for always having to take it up the a**.

    Yes, I went there. 🙂

    Comment by Ashpenaz — February 27, 2010 @ 9:40 pm - February 27, 2010

  11. There are plenty of socialist countries that are doing just fine and there are lots of capitalist countries that aren’t.

    He must mean Venezuela… a country that despite some of the largest oil reserves in the world can’t even keep the lights on. Another socialist success story.

    Comment by V the K — February 27, 2010 @ 9:53 pm - February 27, 2010

  12. Wasn’t Chile in a similar situation some time back? Upside-down with their entitlement spending (much like Greece and their pensions, and the U.S. and Social Security) – but they privatized their program, and it’s now among the strongest in the world. With the focus on the South American country, I wonder when any of the MSM might report on this tidbit – but I’m not holding my breath

    Comment by Jax Dancer — February 27, 2010 @ 10:52 pm - February 27, 2010

  13. There are plenty of socialist countries that are doing just fine and there are lots of capitalist countries that aren’t.

    Forget “plenty” and “lots.”

    Levi, will now name TWO socialist countries that are doing “just fine” and TWO capitalist countries that aren’t.

    The clock starts now …….

    Comment by heliotrope — February 27, 2010 @ 10:59 pm - February 27, 2010

  14. Levi is so thoroughly and irreversibly brainwashed by leftist propaganda that he has no idea that his own statement:

    “There are plenty of socialist countries that are doing just fine”

    Translates to:

    “There are still one or two countries that have at least a decade or two before their public resources are completely swallowed up by their public entitlements.”

    Of course, thanks to Obama and crew, America is now one of them. But hey, it’s still better than that mean, old, greedy capitalism. It’s not like we’re Greece or anything. YET.

    Comment by Sean A — February 28, 2010 @ 12:52 am - February 28, 2010

  15. Here’s my challenge to Levi and all: First, just name a capitalist country.

    (Hint: America isn’t one. Bailing out failures isn’t capitalism.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 28, 2010 @ 1:43 am - February 28, 2010

  16. As for Greece: The meat of Steyn’s argument is that no society has a future with a 1.3 fertility rate. Which is Greece’s situation. And no future means, not worth sending money to.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 28, 2010 @ 1:47 am - February 28, 2010

  17. …in answer to the unspoken question, yes; capitalism also thrives on envy–and even greed.

    But, capitalism within a democratic and politically free system of government offers a healthy channel for the redirection of negative emotions like envy and greed into something positive for both the individual and the larger society.

    Something, I might add, that Marxism, socialism and all its malignant variants completely fail to do. You cannot escape the reality of this dark side of human nature. You can either channel that dark side and use it constructively to benefit the individual and incidentally the society he lives in; or you can encourage and facilitate it in all its destructive power, and by doing so create the hell on earth we’ve come to associate with communist and Marxist societies.

    http://tinyurl.com/yfsgq5z

    HT: Kevin P.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 28, 2010 @ 2:15 am - February 28, 2010

  18. There are plenty of socialist countries that are doing just fine

    How does envy, class warfare and making all people equally miserable equate to “doing just fine”???

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 28, 2010 @ 2:16 am - February 28, 2010

  19. Levi, the false premise king, lays this on us:

    Well, considering we’re already on our own little path to ruin thanks to years of corporate corruption and deregulation…….

    Levi, what book shall I read that explains this premise?

    I’ll start the clock.

    Comment by heliotrope — February 28, 2010 @ 9:18 am - February 28, 2010

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