America’s Permanent Greece Vacation

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One powerful politician isn’t buying the U.S.-Greece comparisons. “But contrary to what people are saying, we are not Greece, we are not Portugal,” insisted President Obama in his Friday press conference. Perhaps the president envisions America as too big to fail, AIG to Greece’s Lehman Brothers. Perhaps he believes in American exceptionalism when it comes to debt. Whatever the basis of Obama’s declarative, it provides insight into his recalcitrance on meaningful spending cuts. It can’t happen here, he seems to believe, so why bother with the painful austerity measures causing so much controversy in Greece?

The president is right in one sense. America is not Greece—not yet, at least. But one is struck by the similarities both in Greece and America’s onerous debt-to-GDP ratios and the what-me-worry disposition of profligate politicians imagining that the crisis is about future obstacles to further borrowing rather than the accumulated weight of past borrowing.

The recent Greek past offers America an important cautionary tale. A more profound lesson can be gleaned from ancient Greek history. Greece once led the world in architecture, philosophy, sport, drama, conquest, and much else. Ancient Greeks probably thought that the world would always be the way it was. But change is the only constant. One era’s beacon becomes another’s basketcase. Dominant cultures become history when they don’t learn from it.

The Parthenon-inspired Lincoln Memorial isn’t the only part of Washington that resembles Athens.

Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America, forthcoming this fall from ISI Books. He writes a Monday column for Human Events and blogs at

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  • davarino

    Why is it ok for the government to up its budget every year, in good times or bad, when the American household has to adjust. We the people are getting sick of this crap and I hope the pols are getting the message, because this is our government, our country, not theirs.

    OWN IT

    • Fred Dawes

      The reason why this monkey government under obama wants more money from you is the bankers have told obama to rape all Americans of money homes cars and to make this nation a third world monkey house within 20 years.

  • Rifleman

    A bankrupt welfare state in Europe isn't much different than a bankrupt welfare state in America. The dp has to pretend it isn't, because Greece is where dp and RINO policy is taking us.

  • StephenD

    Marco Rubio has some things to say about all this. What bothers me is the Republican Party as a whole has not found their voice yet. Well then, step out of the way and let Rubio speak. He has ideas that will work and knows how to articulate them.
    When the Dems use the false idea that all the Repubs want is to protect tax breaks for the rich, why don't the Repubs refute this? Agree to remove loop holes. Take the argument away from them…and put it back on them as Rubio has and say "Now, we agree to remove all the loop holes, where is your plan?" The ball is then in their court. Let’s see the likes of Reid posit for Cowboy Poetry then instead of real cuts in spending and real reforms (Like Rubio has proposed) to Medicare and Medicaid eligibility. THERE IS NO DEMOCRATIC PLAN. Call them on it.

    • tanstaafl

      Actually, there is a Democrat plan. Tax to reduce the productive class, spend to increase the non-productive mob. When it all collapses, rush in with a "new" type of government to "save" the country.

      Barack H. Obama (aka) Barry Soetoro – President for Life!

  • Fred Dawes

    If you want to know what is really happening just look at the one world bankers and understand one fact the oligarch's want all the money all the power and make your life worthless. and thank you tanstaafl, you can see!

  • BLJ

    This is all part of the real Obama (Soros) plan. Destroy the greatest nation state in history and create a global government. Of course people like Soros and Obama will live in the lap of luxury.

    I blame this on all of the idiots, morons, pinheads (as well as the MSM) that voted for this clown in November 2008. It on their heads that responsibility lies. They can all go to hell.

  • Dispozovdaburka

    Like Europe – Euro
    Enter the
    Amerco – Mexico/US/Canada/
    Just a guess.
    It's a small world after-all.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    When will Washington disappear in a cloud of it's own hot gas, it would have been
    nice yesterday, today is good and tomorrow is OK but the stench is covering the
    entire Nation. If they are making me sick and you sick and everyone I talk to is
    looking unwell, what are we waiting for, and election a year from November.
    What happened to the good old pitchforks. I see compromise on debt more of the
    same old same old. The truth may be that our government has passed the ruined
    mark and all that is left is for us to drop dead……………………………..William