Following the Greek Example

cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/02/10/greek.debt.qanda/index.html

(CNN) -- The first in what is expected to be a series of strikes has begun in Greece this week as workers protest against austerity measures imposed by a government trying to dig its way out of a financial crisis that threatens to engulf Europe.

So what's the problem in Greece?
Years of unrestrained spending, cheap lending and failure to implement financial reforms left Greece badly exposed when the global economic downturn struck. This whisked away a curtain of partly fiddled statistics to reveal debt levels and deficits that exceeded limits set by the eurozone.

How big are these debts?
National debt, put at €300 billion ($413.6 billion), is bigger than the country's economy, with some estimates predicting it will reach 120 percent of gross domestic product in 2010. The country's deficit -- how much more it spends than it takes in -- is 12.7 percent.

With regard to the Greek financial crisis, Mark Steyn is bang on in his commentary:

What’s happening in the developed world today isn’t so very hard to understand: The 20th-century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless, insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany, and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they’ve reached the next stage in social-democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1 — or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: Ten grandparents have six kids have four grandkids — ie, the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 “lowest-low” fertility — the point from which no society has ever recovered.

article.nationalreview.com/426405/when-responsibility-doesnt-pay/mark-steyn?page=2

The Greek strikers have big plans that the Germans will yet bail them out, as long as they kick and scream enough, and throw a big enough tantrum like the kids they never had.
For their part, the Germans know that with 30 to 40 percent of their own women childless, they simply do not have the means any more to pay for their own future, let alone anybody else's.

The European way was held out as a great shining example by Obama and the American left as the hope and change that would transform America from its corporate greed. A trillion of debt here, a trillion there, but at least for the Americans so far they will have kids, grandkids and great-grandkids to foot the bill.

In the midst of the Olympics we are reminded that our past was a Greek one.
Will our future be a Greek one too?

There are charges that Goldman, Sachs committed fraud as to the Greek economic status. I guess we should watch Wall Street closely.

That is, to avoid the Greek example.

" Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. central bank is reviewing derivatives contracts arranged between Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and investment banks with Greece.

“We are looking into a number of questions related to Goldman Sachs and other companies and their derivatives arrangements with Greece,” Bernanke said yesterday in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington."

businessweek.com/news/2010-02-26/bernanke-says-fed-reviewing-goldman-sachs-greece-contracts.html

Conservatives certainly are all for law and order and persecution of criminals to the letter of the law.

Thanks for the derailment though.

Sometimes, I think that there are some truths that are just too horrific to really stomach. Mark Steyn speaks to these kinds of truths, and people usually can do no more than turn away in horror.

:confused:

Beau Ouiville’s link didn’t mention any breaking of law, nor did it have anything to do with political conservatism. I don’t understand your comment.

His link did, however, deal with the complicity of financial institutions in creating a fiscal crisis in Greece. And it involves the same tactic (credit default swaps) which created the financial crisis in the US, in particular the collapse of AIG.

Can you say ad hominem? Any philosopher will tell you that the truth is the truth no matter who speaks it.

It seems like I am not the only one who found my comments relevant and apropos.

[quote="Beau_Ouiville, post:7, topic:188796"]

Can you say ad hominem

?

Yes I can.

Any philosopher will tell you that the truth is the truth no matter who speaks it.

That is very sweet.

It seems like I am not the only one who found my comments relevant and apropos

You are also not the only leftist either with an agenda either. .....birds of a feather and all....
I made the OP. I am telling you that your post has nothing to do with the OP.
I am the one who would know.

[/quote]

Perhaps rather than continuing the derailment, you might like to discuss the OP in the context that it was intended to be discussed.
Or start a new thread on Sachs and Goldman and fraud.

When you run out of people on the paying end, you simply run out of their money at a point.

I doubt Goldman Sachs has anything to do with the low Greek birth rate.

And I doubt that either Goldman or Sachs could do enough to raise it. As much as any they might like to die trying, there is only so much any one man can do.

Black humor. It is all very depressing.

Darryl, I agree with you that since you started the thread, you would know what it’s topic is. However, you haven’t been very clear about what the topic actually is.

I think you want to blame Greece’s economic problems on its population growth, which has become stagnant in the past couple decades. However, in your first post you cite two articles which don’t discuss this idea. Perhaps you can understand why people might be confused about the main topic of this thread.

Your idea is an interesting one, and on a certain level makes sense. If a country wants to support a ballooning national debt, it needs a ballooning economy and part of that economic expansion depends on a growing population.

Greece has been living beyond its means. No doubt about that. But I think its problems run deeper, and longer in history, than its demographic stagnation.

For liberals interested in sustaining government largesse, abortion and family values that lead to a sustainable population grown really ought to be their largest, most pressing issues. There is absolutely no hope for these programs to be sustained into our old age, unless there is going to be a next generation born to bear the costs.

Please accept my apologiy, I had clicked on the link in your signature, rather than the second link in your OP. :blush:

Oh, well that explains it.:slight_smile:
I recall you as a careful reader who corrected my own misreading on the difference between hate crimes and hate speech. So for the life of me, I could not understand how you could not see the connection.

I am glad that you found the correct link. If you can find any holes in his argument, by all means tear it apart. I think that Mark Steyn most of all would want to be proven wrong in his analysis.

There is no pleasure in winning this kind of debate. If I could tear the argument apart, I would have done so long ago. It is beyond my ability to do so.

hmmm…I agree with him that Greece has been overly self-indulgent. Demographically, their level of spending is unsustainable. And they probably saw the crisis coming 20 years ago, or more.

And I agree that Washington has been overspending. Its been doing so since at least 1980, when the new theory of supply side economics convinced Republicans that the government could borrow and spend our way to prosperity. We’ve gone a full generation without either of the two major parties representing fiscal conservatism.

[quote="Dale_M, post:17, topic:188796"]
hmmm....I agree with him that Greece has been overly self-indulgent. Demographically, their level of spending is unsustainable. And they probably saw the crisis coming 20 years ago, or more.

And I agree that Washington has been overspending. Its been doing so since at least 1980, when the new theory of supply side economics convinced Republicans that the government could borrow and spend our way to prosperity. We've gone a full generation without either of the two major parties representing fiscal conservatism.

[/quote]

There were major differences between Reagan's America and what is happening in Greece. For one, while Reagan did spend and increase debt, the spending was not on social programs, but on military. It was a stimulus package for sure, but not one that voters would demand to be carried over well into the future. It was spending that could be turned on and turned off. Star Wars generated technology, rather than welfare cases.

Next, Reagan stood up to the unions in no uncertain terms, as he amply demonstrated against the airplane workers who he fired in a single stroke.

Likewise for Clinton, even if he initially might have liked to be more of a social spender, the congress ended up reeling him in. His welfare reform insisted that those who could work, must work and this actually was quite successful.

Clinton was pragmatic. He governed from the centre, and the economy hummed along very well indeed under his governance. Most Americans were more than willing to forgive his philandering as a result.

Bush did spend a lot on the wars, and allowed the Democrats free rein to bring out his 'compassionate conservatism' as they saw fit. Still, few would entertain the idea that he was following the European example.

This is not the case for the Obama program.Ongoing expensive entitlement programs are an explicit part of his agenda. It is not just the exponentially ballooning debt that is the issue here, but that the desire to follow the European example is the explicit goal.

Some people like to make the argument that Obama and Bush are just two peas in the pod when it comes to spending. I personally don't see it that way at all. I don't think that either Bush or Obama would see it that way either.

The most important point here though is not even so much the government policy, but the attitude of the governed. Americans have traditionally valued their economic freedom over government social programs to a much higher degree than Europeans, who would value equality of outcome to be the higher goal. Clinton as a result could bring in welfare austerity without the rioting in the streets.

That would be the crux of the argument right now then. Where exactly do the preponderance of Americans sit on this question now? How many have bought into the entitlement mentality, or how much of a groundswell on behalf of the American people is there likely to be against this kind of future?

Wars eventually wind down. Military budgets are not fixed. Social programs however tend to only expand, especially if the European model is opted into.

America right now is very much at a crossroads. Whether they follow the Greek canoe to the edge of the waterfalls, or whether they fill that canoe with tea and bail is really what is unique to the America story at this point of time.

Take a look at the chart, Europe is doom. We, United States, are heading that way too if secularism becomes prominent.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.