by Mel Griffith
Recently the economic plight of Greece has been much in the news. It appears that years of excessive spending has bankrupted the country. Efforts to raise taxes and cut spending have been met with violent street demonstrations. Since the citizens don't want taxes raised or spending cut, where exactly do they expect the money to come from? The answer has been found. Borrow it. Of course, borrowing was what got them in trouble in the first place and more of it will only work until they run out of borrowed money again.
Some years ago the Soviet Union proved that Communism can survive only as long as there is something to steal. As soon as they ran out of countries to conquer and loot, the Communist system fell apart. Now the Greeks have proven that Socialism can last only as long as there is something to borrow. Sadly, most of the rest of Europe is traveling the same road of too much government that Greece just got to the end of. The only question is which country will be the next Greece and will anyone else have anything left to borrow.
All of this would not usually be of much interest to us. After all, our ancestors got fed up with Europe generations ago and hopped a boat to a better place. However, it appears that the goal of a lot of folks in Washington is to make America more like Europe. We have already taken a major step in that direction with our new socialized medicine. We need to pay close attention to see what is waiting for us if we keep following Europe's example of overspending and excessive regulation.
Why would we want to imitate a system that is failing before our eyes? Excessive regulation makes it difficult or impossible to get ahead by working harder, and high taxes destroy incentive since there is little reward for doing better. Combine this with lots of generous government handouts and a swarm of government employees and more and more people find ways to be supported by the government instead of doing productive work. Pretty soon there are more drones than workers to support them and you end up in the same situation as Greece.
Why would our leaders want to imitate this system? It may not appear to make sense at first glance, but once you understand their priorities it makes perfect sense. Their top priority is not for our grandchildren to live better than we do. They would be glad if it happened, but it's not really important. Their top priority is the same one that Senator Spector, in a moment of unwise honesty, gave for switching parties. They want to get reelected. Their theory is that if you can borrow enough money and pass it out in government handouts, the public will re-elect you to keep the handouts coming and possibly increasing. With any luck, they will be safely retired before the disaster comes. So far, their plan is working. If we want to focus on more long-range and unselfish priorities we will first have to change some of the folks in Washington.