The social rot of Greece and the politics of dependence

There is a word which European socialists, and their American admirers, invoke in their calls to come together for the greater government — er, good. That word is “solidarity.”

Here’s what solidarity looks like in Greece, where three bank workers died Wednesday after rioters threw Molotov cocktails into their branch:

“Witnesses said that protesters marching past the building ignored the bank employees’ cries for help and that a handful even shouted anti-capitalist slogans,” the English-language Kathimerini newspaper reported.

A columnist for the paper wrote that the man who started the fire “flipped [the bank employees] the finger when he saw them choking on the smoke of his firebomb.” Other media outlets reported that the mob blocked firefighters from reaching the burning building.

Kumbaya.

The proximate cause of these protests was the Greek government’s $38 billion plan to cut public spending and raise taxes. This “austerity package” was a precondition of the $140 billion that other members of the euro currency, plus the International Monetary Fund, are lending to Athens so that it won’t default on its debts and possibly trigger a second global financial panic in two years.

The threat that such a panic would spark a double-dip recession, or worse, is well-documented. So is the cautionary tale Greece offers to Americans about the unsustainability of ever-greater debt.

But there is also a social rot evident here, one that necessarily comes from policies that promise interdependence but deliver only dependence.

There’s no doubt that Greek civil servants fear losing their jobs, and that retirees are angry about losing the pensions they were promised. And while it’s hard to sympathize with those who vent their fear and anger by taking others’ property or even murdering them, there’s a lot of fear and anger to be had.

One in seven Greeks holds a government job, which pays them for 14 months a year — no typo there — until they retire, many of them before age 60. During most of their careers, it is virtually impossible to fire them.

If this system worked, the country would not be on the brink of bankruptcy. But try to take it away, and you get firebombed banks and sneers for the victims.

A politics of dependence such as this one does not emerge by chance. It was the conscious decision of, ironically enough, the father of Greece’s current prime minister, who in the 1980s sought to ensconce himself and his Socialist party in power by adding to public employment rolls and doling out subsidies.

Some of the loot was used to buy off the rich, some to buy off the middle class (very little, in Greece or anywhere else, ends up with the truly poor). It hardly matters; the rot is the same.

Greece is an extreme case, but the problem of politicians’ spending taxpayer funds to buy votes is universal, as is the rot. There is only one way to stop it, and it has nothing to do with favoring one political party over another. It is to limit government’s reach in the first place.

Otherwise, your eventual choices are between ugly (taking away the public trough) and uglier (dealing with the fallout from a default).

Sooner or later, you find out that, no matter how rich your nation, and no matter how clever the people running it, there isn’t enough money in the world to buy what you can’t pay for.

141 comments Add your comment

arnold

May 7th, 2010
7:17 pm

Of course it’s messed up and needs change. But conservatives, by definition, don’t embrace change. What to do, Oh, what to do??? Send the Tea Party to Greece. Problem solved!!!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 7th, 2010
7:36 pm

Chauncey probably thinks it was a Michigan militia that fire-bombed the Greek bank, but I suspect associates of Bill Ayers.

JKL2

May 7th, 2010
7:53 pm

Don’t forget the fact we’re locked in for 17% of that IMF loan too.

It’s just a vision of our future when our current $119T in unfunded liabilities comes due. Obama’s union friends are already starting to riot. Can’t wait for things to get bad.

As someone due one of those government pensions, I’m starting to doubt if I’ll ever see a dime when I retire in 8 years.

JKL2

May 7th, 2010
7:57 pm

Kyle,

nice work again. I would give you a pulitzer, but if it’s been watered down so much Cynthia can get one I’m not sure I would want it. Maybe we should just go for a Nobel Peace Prize Your more deserving than Obama.

Bruno

May 7th, 2010
8:12 pm

Kyle–Excellent article. I saw another article recently highlighting how much the Greeks cheat on their taxes. It’s sad that the birthplace of democracy has become so devoid of character. Thirty years of socialism tends to do that.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/world/europe/02evasion.html

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama

May 7th, 2010
9:30 pm

From AOL:
(May 7) — The Obama administration argued last year, for instance, that the stimulus bill was needed to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent. More than a year later, the jobs report released today puts national unemployment just a whisker below 10 percent.

The health care bill provides an even clearer example. Those who followed the health care debate closely will recall, for instance, that many of us said businesses would drop coverage and pay fines rather than comply with extensive new mandates.

Well, this week it was reported that some of the nation’s biggest employers — such as AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar and Deere — have been seriously considering cutting employee health care and paying the lower-cost penalties instead. This not only undercuts the claim Democrats made that employers wouldn’t drop employees, it undercuts one of the president’s most oft-repeated vows — namely, that “if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.”

This is just one of the arguments we heard from the administration that’s turned out to be as hollow as a CT scanner. Another was the claim that the health care bill would “slow the growth of health care costs for families, businesses and government,” as the president put it in one of his most high-profile speeches on the topic. Here’s the reality: An analysis last month by Richard S. Foster, Medicare’s chief actuary, found that this bill will actually increase costs, and that national spending on health care alone could go up by $311 billion.

Want another?

The president and Democrats in Congress said time and again that their health care bill would strengthen Medicare. Yet the administration’s own experts now say it could drive nearly one in six hospitals into debt and threaten access to care for seniors on Medicare. Proponents said the bill wouldn’t raise taxes. Yet now the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ own bipartisan scorekeeper on legislation, says middle-class taxpayers will pay billions more in taxes as a result of this bill. Millions more will get hit with a fine for choosing not to buy government-approved insurance.

mmm, mmm, mmm Barack the LIAR Obama, BEND OVER, HERE COMES THE CHANGE!

@@

May 7th, 2010
9:38 pm

The fallout from Greece is spreading throughout Europe, especially in Germany.

The tabloid newspaper Bild has assailed the bailout plan in blaring headlines for the past two weeks. “What Will It Costas?” a headline said recently, making a play on a common Greek name. “Euroland is Burning,” said German news magazine Der Spiegel. “What will Happen to Our Money?” asked the high-brow weekly Die Zeit.

Friday’s front page of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, an influential voice of German conservatism, said Europe’s usual method of papering over cracks with German money “has reached its limits now that the issue is the bankruptcy of whole states and the clash of cultures.”

The aid plan faces a court challenge filed Friday by a university economist, Joachim Starbatty, and by other prominent critics of the euro. The challenge is taken quite seriously, because the EU treaty that created the euro outlaws bailouts except under extraordinary circumstances.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703686304575228051536744986.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsThird

This is going to get real ugly really fast.

And to think, all the American people asked of Obama and his administration is that they slow down, think things thru. He wasn’t even willing to do that.

Bill

May 7th, 2010
10:12 pm

Kyle for a Pulitzer!! You have got to be kidding. Even if Cynthia did “cheapen” the award, Kyle for a Pulitzer!! Why don’t we just go all the way and give it to Sarah!! Man, what are you thinking??

Bill

May 7th, 2010
11:27 pm

There is going to be another world war. Plan for it now…while you still have the chance.

Real Athens

May 7th, 2010
11:32 pm

Pulitzer? Consider the source. A nomination coming from someone who doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re? Talk about “cheapening”.

Real Athens

May 7th, 2010
11:32 pm

Pulitzer? Consider the source. A nomination coming from someone who doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re? Talk about “cheapening”.

allen981

May 7th, 2010
11:57 pm

Kyle, great article, but there are significant differences between Greece and the U.S., most notably the depth and quality of the U.S. economy. Yes, we have shipped jobs everywhere, but we still make stuff, produce stuff, and our people work. Greece is bankrupt because it produces nothing.

Do we need a change in direction? Yes, and it will happen. All the doom and gloomers need to look back about 40 years to a time when this country really was on the skids. Inflation of 15 percent or more; price controls (yes, the government told retailers how much a loaf of bread should cost) instituted by a Republican president; riots in the streets (was this a race war? Many believe it was); rising debt and a housing/real estate industry that had collapsed.

Today’s nation is different, but the challenges are far more manageable. We are increasing debt too fast, and we need to stop, but unlike Greece, we have a dynamic, working economy.

Now all we need is a hard working, smart, realistic conservative president to make a slight course correction…

Michael H. Smith

May 8th, 2010
2:28 am

Love the optimism Allen, as usual reality gets in the way of utopia. We make very little stuff anymore, and we grow very little stuff anymore. What we do grow is government, dependence on government and government debt. We really aren’t too far removed from being like Greece in those aspects. (oik, oik)

Nixon caught hell for imposing wage controls to cool down inflation, guess a good old fashion market driven labor shortage really is better at raising incomes than government raising minimum wages?

Then again, replacing over paid American workers with the cheapest labor obtainable in the world is the preferred means of imposing government wage controls today. Awww, so much for Nixon’s “little man”, the common people so despised by the liberal elites from both left sides of the liberal left, socialist Democrats and corporatist Libertarians respectively. Outsourcing the wealth of a nation by means of idiotic trade agreements and absurd unconstitutional immigration policies hasn’t been easy for these sleazy culprits to accomplish but they’ve managed quite well over the past two decades to succeed in rendering this country impotent.

A real conservative Congress and President will have to make more than a slight course correction in order to correct the direction of this nation back to its’ founding principles and Constitution that made it the greatest and once most prosperous nation on earth.

We conservatives need to “ERASE the CHANGE” not embrace it!

Mrs. Norris

May 8th, 2010
2:33 am

As goes Greece, so goes the world… No wait, make that Rome…. or is it the United States? …. never mind.

robyn

May 8th, 2010
6:03 am

1 in 10 people in the US have some sort of government job…… Federal, state, city, county, civil service. They all are guaranteed retirements also.
1 in 7 people draw Social Security benefits.
People that live in glass houses should not throw stones.

John S.

May 8th, 2010
7:13 am

I get more depressed every time I read a column like this and then the replies. I hate to say it, because I sound like a reject from the 60’s, but why can’t we all just get along? I am a true political independent. Neither of the two major parties have workable solutions. The Dems push forward unsustainable social programs, and the GOP screams bloody murder, but funds those same programs while they’re in power because no party has enough political support from the electorate to tell the truth and still get elected or re-elected.

The truth is that we (the government) needs to both cut costs and raise revenue. About two thirds of the Federal budget is made up of entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and other social welfare programs) and the defense budget. I don’t think anyone can make an argument for cutting defense at a time like this, so that leaves us with the social programs. I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or a card carrying (do they have cards yet?) member of the Tea Party, you’re not going to get a majority of the people to voluntarily vote to cut their own government handouts. The country is made up of too many people like the guy who shouted “keep your government hands off my Medicare!”

We need to make a decision as a country to be more fiscally responsible. Fiscal responsibility requires sometimes choosing not to buy what you can’t afford, but, as has been proven over the past couple of years, we as a people do not like being told we can’t have stuff we want.

Del

May 8th, 2010
7:55 am

Kyle, you’ve written an excellent piece. It should resonate with all who read it. Unfortunately, the Greek model that is know falling apart, appears to be the same one that Obama and far left Democrats in congress seem to want to build in this country.

jconservative

May 8th, 2010
8:10 am

So Greece is going to cut spending and raise taxes. Sounds simple. So simple we in the US should give the idea a shot.

You know if the government brings in $1.00 and spends $1.25, eventually the “you know what” will hit the fan. This is what Greece has been doing. And this is what the US has been doing since 1981.

But the problem Greece has and the problem the US has is that you now have a generation raised on the idea that the voters have the right to raid the treasury in the form of tax cuts. And if the voters had cut spending when they cut taxes we would have a small manageable problem.
But spending did not get cut, did it? Spending was increased at the same moment taxes were cut. And that spending was at a greater rate than the tax cuts. The idea is that you can have your cake and eat it too.

So we have the average US citizen believing he is “entitled” to low taxes, high cost government services, all to be paid for my some “magic economic formula” that says if you keep taxes low enough eventually the public treasury will be bursting at the seams with money.

And after 30 years of this “magic economic formula” we now have a public debt of $0.00 and enjoy a surplus of $12.9 trillion dollars in the treasury!

Oh, darn! I got the numbers backward didn’t I?

Oh well, so much for “magic economic formulas”. How do you say bankrupt in Greek?

swampjacket

May 8th, 2010
8:44 am

Government jobs and the merits or problems of “socialism” have nothing to do with the those riots. It’s the same problem here with the anger at banking institutions and the fear of lost pensions. Also no system works with massive corruption. Throwing Molotov cocktails? We have “TERRORISTS” that fly planes into buildings. Does your duty to right-wing perspective leave no room for honesty. Typical of your light-weight journalism.

brother bill

May 8th, 2010
8:51 am

Where are the deficit hawks when it comes to making war? We spend 3 Trillion on Iraq and Afghanistan and not one peep about burdening our offspring.

In the same way that crime can be managed, not eliminated, folks who fanatically believe in their mission will eventually succeed. See Eric Rudolph, Mark Burton, etc.

Spending a huge amount of our budget on defense is like a home-owner spending a third of their budget on guns and security, but not having food on the table.

Empires are never overthrown from outside forces. It is always destroyed from within.

The die is cast. 47% of Americans do not pay INCOME TAX. They do pay Social Security, Medicare and State Sales Tax. Once 51% of Americans do not pay INCOME TAX, and they vote, they will vote to RAISE the Income tax on those who DO pay it.

Gordon

May 8th, 2010
9:10 am

Cut the spending, THEN raise the taxes. We all know what happens if you raise the taxes first. It’s probably too late anyway.

And by the way, brother bill, this deficit hawk leaves nothing off the table, including defense.

DannyX

May 8th, 2010
9:24 am

What happened? Did Greece use the George W Bush plan?

You know, the one the lets you increase spending, increase deficits and pay for it all with tax cuts!

Maybe Greece needs some more tax cuts. Tax cuts fix everything.

Tax cuts!!!

Del

May 8th, 2010
9:25 am

Gordan@9:10am,

That would be the logical way to approach it. Unfortunately, many in government are driven more by ideology than logic.

OpinionsMatter

May 8th, 2010
9:43 am

More fear tactics from the Right. You admit that Greece is an extreme case, but not until nearly the end of the article. If Republicans had constructive alternatives to the serious issues facing our country, I would listen. But they don’t. That’s why the Republican Party is gradually becoming irrelevant.

DannyX

May 8th, 2010
10:14 am

Greece should invade Italy.

They could then pay off their debt with Italian olive oil revenue.

zeke

May 8th, 2010
10:25 am

Change is here alright! Obama, democrats, progressives, socialist and liberals are changing us into just another third world slum! If we do nothing , we must do these things!

1)- DEPORT ALL ILLEGALS AND THEIR ILLEGAL BRATS
2)- STOP PENALIZING THE MAJORITY IN FAVOR OF MINORITIES
3)- STOP EXPANSION OF ALL GOVERNMENTS AND INFACT REDUCE THEM NOW
4)- LEGALLY FORCE GOVERNMENTS TO STAY WITHIN THE MANDATED AUTHORITY
GRANTED TO THEM BY THE CONSTITUTION
5)- STOP ALLOWING CHANGES TO THE INTENT AND MEANING OF THE CONSTITUTION
INCLUDING FREE SPEECH, GUN OWNERSHIP, FREEDOM OF, NOT FROM
RELIGION, LIMIT GOVERNMENT OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTIES, FORCE
THE FED’L GOVERNMENT TO ABIDE BY THE CONSTITUTION AND
ESPECIALLY THE 10TH AMENDMENT
6)- REVERSE HEALTH GRAB FIASCO
7)- DEFINE THE MEANING OF SO CALLED CIVIL RIGHTS-WHAT A FIASCO THAT IS
8)- GET THE GOVERNMENT OFF THE BACKS OF, AND OUT OF THE LIVES OF, THOSE
WHO ARE THE PRODUCERS IN THE ECONOMY AND SOCIETY

norbit

May 8th, 2010
10:30 am

Yeah! Socialism unlike cowboy Capitalism, where GW goes off half-cocked and stars a pre-emptive war of choice over oil and oedipus hubris, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents, blood on Anerica’s hands, all while you, Kyle, sit in your ivory tower throwing conservative stones at glass houses…..

swampjacket

May 8th, 2010
10:38 am

Is there a reason why my previous post was Censored or deleted?

Nash

May 8th, 2010
10:46 am

Same things happening here under the bed wetters in charge, welcome to Obamanation !

American Pride

May 8th, 2010
10:47 am

Zeke @ 10:45

You lose all credibility with the way you started the cracked-out tea party rant…put down the pipe and articulate based on some real solutions to complex problems and stop homogenizing our complex national issues with the Beck/Palin talking points

jimbo

May 8th, 2010
10:52 am

mmm i bet you’re a huge enemy of the israeli settlement enterprise and the US defense industry–both of which perfectly fit in with your tirade against the “politics of dependency”. it’s called “democracy” and it aint perfect.

American Pride

May 8th, 2010
10:56 am

The fundamental problem with our two-party political system is that we treat politics as if it’s a spectator sport where sides must be chosen and the other side is completely wrong.

Sadly, this represents the majority of registered voters.

Voice of Reason 2011

May 8th, 2010
11:09 am

Dependence such as farming subsidies, pork spending, tax credits for the rich and business, tax credits for the middle class, corporate welfare such as bailouts, etc. Let’s not blame the poor for this one. They are a small population considering America’s population. The demise of the Roman Empire is a classic example of how the rich and the middle class raided the treasury and thereby caused the decline of the empire….Wonder who is raiding the American Treasury….IT SURE AINT THE POOR.

somewhereinga

May 8th, 2010
11:11 am

Ya gotta love the title “Social rot of Greece…” Kinda lets ya know it’s going to be a one sided article…but then again, this is an “opinion” page.

I keep hearing Brother Bill’s comment that “47% of Americans do not pay INCOME TAX.” I sure would like to see a breakdown of those statistics someday. How many of them are wealthy and have good tax men working for them and good deductions and out of the country tax havens? How many are the millions that are over 65 and retired and on limited income, Social Security or whatever? Somehow I doubt that they are all welfare “queens” driving around in their Caddies buying their lottery tickets (as is sometimes, although not this time, inferred).

Michael H. Smith

May 8th, 2010
11:12 am

Article 4 Section 4 Clause 1

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government ”

This clause, sometimes referred to as the Guarantee Clause, has historically been a part of the debate about the rights of citizens vis-a-vis state governments. The Constitution offers no explanation as to what constitutes a republican government, however the Federalist Papers give us an insight as to the intent of the Founders. A republican form of government is distinguished from a pure democracy, which the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid; as James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Four_of_the_United_States_Constitution

Nice to be a Representative Republic without the fatal flaws of a democracy.

pig trough

May 8th, 2010
11:30 am

The social rot of the USA occurred when so-called Christian conservatives supported cowboy capitalism with the pre-imptive war of choice over oil and oedipus hubris, leading to the slaughtering of hundreds of thousand civilian innocents, so Kyle, sit in your ivory tower with your pious neocons and throw conservative rocks at socialist glass houses….God bless America and forgive her for her sins….

Dusty

May 8th, 2010
11:36 am

Well, THANK YOU, Kyle. This is one great sensible commentary. If only our government would listen to the voice of reason. But I fear they are deaf to any moderate voice. The reduction of debt by stringent sensible means does not seem to appeal to Democrats. It obviously does not appeal to Greeks.

We are not to the firebomb stage. Let us hope we never are. We are the sensible and smart Americans. Let’s prove it!!

Michael H. Smith

May 8th, 2010
11:37 am

What a treble waste of good glass.

It's Greek to me

May 8th, 2010
11:47 am

Greece is the gateway to Europe for immigrants, legal and illegal. Many of those in Greece now are immigrants from Turkey and other Muslim countries. Like here in the USA, the violence is IN LARGE PART IMPORTED AND ISLAMIC.

Gerald West

May 8th, 2010
12:30 pm

Kyle, the “socialist”, “liberal” name-calling seems to cloud your thinking and pollute your writings.

Greece’s problems have nothing to do with socialism or capitalism. Greece has always been a corrupt, irresponsible, and ungovernable country. It’s part of the heritage: an unfortunate cross of Balkan and Mediterranean.

You disparage “European socialists”. The prosperous countries of northern and western Europe are social democracies, not socialist states. They provide citizens with social services similar to our Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment compensation programs, and various healthcare plans. But, they do it more efficiently and effectively, and show better results. World-wide evaluations of “quality of life” rank these countries and Canada at the top of the list, ahead of the USA. World-wide evaluations of freedom of enterprise and international competitiveness rank these countries at the top, along with the USA.

In theory, a socialist state is one in which property and the means of production are owned by the “people”, i. e. the government. This is a discredited notion that is clung to only by two countries: North Korea and Cuba. (The Chinese government gives lip service to the theory while overseeing the world champion of free enterprise.)

Kyle, when you use “socialism” as a term of disparagement you’re just beating a dead horse. There are no modern socialists. There are, however, many people, even some Americans, who think that an important function of government is to “promote the general welfare”. That’s even in our Constitution!

Now there’s something of substance that can be discussed and debated.

the truth

May 8th, 2010
1:11 pm

What is happening in Greece could likely begin hitting states such as CA and NY….you know states that are bankrupt and have such high tax rates that they’ve driven a lot of the tax base elsewhere. States, like Greece, can’t just up and print their own currency. You’ve already seen the college students (and some of the teachers) in CA take to the streets when funding got cut. The rest of us will be looked upon to bail out these states.

I don’t care what you call it….spin it however you want….when you are out of money you are out of money. Back in the day when I took economics, what Greece is was called socialism. Like I said, you can slice and dice it and call it whatever you wish…you can argue about that and lose site of the fact that the country is bankrupt. Can’t deny that. CA is bankrupt. NY is close. And when people get something pulled from them by the government (who in turn gets it from taxpayers) they start crying and moaning and eventually take to the streets.

DawgDad

May 8th, 2010
1:49 pm

Most western European countries have extensive deep traditional bases of extreme leftists and anarchists the likes of which America has rarely if ever witnessed on our soil, not to mention the inherently socialist leaning societies and governments. Often these groups become very violent; this is nothing new, many of these agitators are stirred up by professionals and academics who wait patiently to exploit opportunities like this. They have right-wing extreme groups, too, no mistake, but this leftist anarchist stuff is endemic.

This is why conservatives and many independents are so concerned about the transformation in our own national politics. Few Georgians want Georgia to become let California, let alone Greece or France or the UK or (on and on). Make no mistake, the leftists and anarchists would not hesitate one bit to rip this country to shreds and create an opportunity for them to step in and grab power. Americans must remain ever vigilant against people and policies moving us ever closer to tyranny, increment by increment.

DawgDad

May 8th, 2010
2:00 pm

‘There are, however, many people, even some Americans, who think that an important function of government is to “promote the general welfare”. That’s even in our Constitution!’

Gerald: The key word is “promote”. Looking at Webster, I see definitional words like “raise, further, launch, advance”, not words like “grab, confiscate, tax, mandate, control, manipulate, corrupt”. Seems our government is more leaning to the latter set of verbs.

Dusty

May 8th, 2010
2:23 pm

Gerald West 12:30 You said:

“You disparage ‘European Socialists’. The prosperous countries of northern and western Europe are social democracies, not socialistic states.”

Well, Gerald, let us nitpick your high minded estate.

Whether a swan or a duck, if it walks like a socialist, talks like a socialist, we might say it is socialistic fowl no matter what.

As to the prosperous countries of Europe, I think they are shaking in their shoes. The next thing to go will be some of the expensive socialistic endeavors.

In other words, debt will kill expensive socialism or the country that expands it.. If you do not have the money, you cannot support socialism. no matter what name you call it.

pat

May 8th, 2010
2:31 pm

I just look at education here in Georgia as to why it’sbad to cede control of things to the governement. Buget falls, education is getting cut and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. We gave control to the governement and so a program is only as good as the idiot holding office.

At the ratethis governement spends, we aren’t far from beng Greece.

Michael H. Smith

May 8th, 2010
2:32 pm

Federal Spending Grew More Than Eight Times Faster Than Median Income

When federal spending grows faster than people’s paychecks, the government’s burden on taxpayers becomes greater. Over the past few decades, middle-income Americans’ earnings have risen 29 percent, while spending has increased 242 percent.


Entitlement Debt Dwarfs Other Spending, Including Bailouts

The nation cannot afford the Medicare and Social Security benefits that have been promised to future retirees. These long-term unfunded obligations dwarf spending on other expensive government programs, including the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the 2009 economic stimulus bill, and vastly outweigh the entire national debt.

Net Interest Spending Will Quadruple over the Next Decade

As the national debt grows, interest payments will consume more and more of the federal budget. Under the President’s budget, the national debt would nearly double and real net interest costs would quadruple over the next decade.

http://www.heritage.org/BudgetChartBook/contents

Chris Broe

May 8th, 2010
3:12 pm

Earnings are good here in the good ol’ USA. However, we are in unchartered territory. Never before have so many financial catastrophes occurred at the same time and been so widely distributed across every theater on the globe. The banking bandaid is more troubling than the wounds. Every economists agrees that we haven’t solved the problem, we’ve only postponed the consequences. Maybe.

Social rot is the last of our problems. Greek cultural intrusions on their productivity will make a great book and I look forward to reading that book, but more relevant is the survival of capitalism itself. Every bombshell that hits us is about some sort of cluster of crooks at the top of the social food chain. The logic that motivates the Greeks to riot exists in every country. The social and economic elite are taking advantage of the very laws that constrain the rabble. The profits are privatized, but the liabilities are nationalized.

Socio-economic injustice cannot continue without destroying what little respect we have for our economic institutions. Revolution is contagious. It gets into the zeitgeist and then there’s no stopping it.

Our funding fathers have trumped our founding fathers. And that wasn’t in the brochure.

A CONSERVATIVE

May 8th, 2010
4:06 pm

THE stupid COMMENTS BY THE IGNORANT LIBERAL…SOCIALISTS CLASS IS MIND-BOGGLING..GO BACK TO SLEEP LIBERALS..

luckydog

May 8th, 2010
4:30 pm

Greece way overspent on the Olympics, most of them pay no property taxes, they are the biggest cheaters on thier income taxes and they think olive oil will solve any problem.
The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.

joan1

May 8th, 2010
7:49 pm

Why is it only the minorities riot in this country? Like the Hispanics when a few American kids wore flag shirts to school? Like the Hispanics over the Arizona law, which is no more draconian that the federal (except they assume the state law may be enforced). It is about time for the taxpayer to riot before we are like Greece.