Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Greece and the welfare state in ruins...

Robert J. Samuelson:
"What's happening in Greece speaks to two larger issues affecting hundreds of millions of people everywhere: the future of the welfare state and the fate of Europe's single currency -- the euro. The meaning of Greece transcends high finance.

Every advanced society, including the United States, has a welfare state. Though details differ, their purposes are similar: to support the unemployed, poor, disabled and aged. All welfare states face similar problems: burgeoning costs as populations age; an over-reliance on debt financing; and pressures to reduce borrowing that create pressures to cut welfare spending. High debt and the welfare state are at odds. It's an open question whether the collision will cause social and economic turmoil."

The inevitable triumph of hope (and change) over experience. "We will fix things for you!", the Obami yell and scream; while all around us the evidence points to exactly the opposite results. The houses of cards that are the European welfare states (throw California in there, too) should serve as shining examples of "Don't let this happen to you!", rather than the "Let me drive you home, little girl." temptation that President BO offers while planning our demise.

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