America’s Permanent Greece Vacation

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“We stand by the people and the government of Greece as you put your country back on a path to economic stability and prosperity,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Sunday in Athens. “We have a lot riding on our relationship together.”

Like Charlie Sheen winning a vote of confidence from Lindsay Lohan, the encouraging words of one spending addict for another undermined rather than inspired confidence. The United States, like Greece, has damaged its credibility in the process of jeopardizing its credit. Spending vaults of other people’s money will have that effect on a nation.

Following a week in which Fitch became the third major credit agency to bestow a “C” rating upon Greece, and Standard and Poor’s estimated a greater than fifty percent chance that the United States would lose its “AAA” rating in the next three months, the secretary of state’s trip to Athens was a case of bad timing. Clinton’s appearance in Athens did more to highlight the U.S.’s debt crisis than it did to help Greece get through theirs. Greece could use our money. America could profit from Greece’s example. But neither party is getting much of what they truly need from the other.

Stateside, politicians and pundits contrast the ancient nation betwixt the Ionian and Aegean Seas with the newer power on the North American continent. Columnist Pat Buchanan says that the West’s aging demographic dependent on government pensions makes us “all Greeks now.” Responding to the administration’s contention that GOP spending cuts would be calamitous, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN, “What is calamitous is the path we’re on as a nation. We’re becoming Greece.” Economist Paul Krugman calls Graham’s Greek comparison a “fallacy” and “nonsense.” The former Enron advisor notes that “the U.S. has much less debt than Greece.”

It’s chic to invoke Greece. But is the Hellenization of America real or just rhetoric?

At nearly $14.3 trillion, the U.S. government’s debt is almost the size of this year’s gross domestic product. It would require the product of about a year’s labor from every American to pay off the national debt. At $470 billion, Greece’s debt is much smaller than the U.S.’s debt. But Greece is a much smaller nation (about 11 million people) that has a much smaller economy ($310 billion estimated 2011 GDP) than the United States. The all-important debt-to-GDP ratio is about 143 percent, with the International Monetary Fund predicting it will climb to 172 percent next year. Compounding the problem, Greece’s economy is contracting (whereas the U.S. merely experiences slow growth).

Juxtaposing the more crushing Greek debt with the U.S. debt reveals disturbing trend lines, albeit trend lines apart chronologically. Greek debt just seven years ago stood at 98.6 percent of GDP. That is almost exactly where the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio stands now. The message? Iceberg ahead! Change course.

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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/
    currency.
    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