Saturday, May 1, 2010

IS THE TURMOIL IN GREECE A PREVIEW OF AMERICA’S DESTINY? (Liberals and Socialists pay attention!)

Greece is the world’s oldest democracy. In fact, the word democracy at its root comes from the Greek word “demos” meaning “people” and carries through, logically, to mean a government of the people. But Greece is also a “multiparty parliamentary republic” with the usual assortment of conservatives, liberals, socialists, communists and monarchists scattered among its 300 member governing body. Of these the Pasok party (socialists), the KKE (communists) and the Syrizia (radical left) make up an overwhelming percentage of parliament- -184 seats in all- - -while the ND party (right of center conservatives) and a few “monarchists” hold the remaining 116 seats. Since 1974 the people of Greece, a country of roughly 11 million people, have increasingly elected socialists to power, granted them the ability to broaden the scope of government and, by extension, government’s intrusion in their lives. And here’s what has happened as a result.

The “federal government” of Greece now controls: healthcare, housing, education, banking, transportation (even being a bus or taxi driver is a “government guaranteed” job) interest rates, wages and prices. In so doing the socialists and their allies, the labor unions, “guaranteed” a comparatively high standard of living for the (formerly) poor and the lower middle classes. They also guaranteed job security, hefty pensions at retirement, (Greek workers don’t pay into a Social Security or Medicare system the way we do.) full medical benefits, access to housing, controlled prices at the grocery store and so much more. In their attempt to redistribute the wealth the Greek politicians created a “Nanny State” all subsidized by taxes levied on the upper middle class (30%), the wealthy (40%), privately owned businesses and industry (25%) as well as a national Value-Added Tax (19%) initiated when Greece became a member of the EU. All was fine for a few years but then the “Law of Unintended Consequences” took over as it always does when politicians seek to artificially control free markets while at the same time dictating social mores and economic policies.

As taxes on the wealthy and corporations rose a strange and unexpected thing happened- - - the wealthy began emigrating to other countries like the US and Australia. At the same time businesses and industries either began to close or move their operations to more “business friendly” countries like Germany, Ireland, Brazil and others (but not the US). As a result the Greek government realized in 2004 that it had a hugely diminished tax base but still had all the bills to pay for the “Nanny State” promises it made. Oh, but those Greek socialists had a way to take care of that, they’d just borrow some money from their neighboring countries “until things got better”. The fact that they didn’t have a plan for making things better economically on their own in the future and no plan to deal with any sort of worldwide economic meltdown didn’t particularly disturb the Greek equivalents of Pelosi and Reid, they just kept on spending until their fellow EU countries- -forced by the world wide recession- -called in the IOUs and demanded payment in 2008.

Faced with the threat of economic bankruptcy the Greek politicians started doing the only thing they could do to stave off that calamity . . . they started cutting expenses which meant eliminating subsidies, entitlements, wage controls, pension payouts and so much more of the Nanny State expenditures.

Turn on any TV channel today, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX and one of the lead stories is bound to be the riots in Greece as the nanny-state generation, accustomed to entitlements and unearned benefits, violently clash with police and demand a restoration of their “rights”. The irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone who sees the video clips: the very people to whom the politicians pandered and made promises are now biting the hands that fed them while the people the politicians taxed into flight- - -the folks they need to re-start the economy- - - are living comfortably in other countries enjoying the earned fruits of their own efforts and labor.

Voters in the US who swept Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Dodd, Cucinich, Obama and all the rest of the liberals and progressives into office over the past 6 years or so need to keep the lessons of Greece fresh in their minds as we approach the 2010 elections this coming November and the Presidential election in 2012. Especially as we watch this Congress and Administration continue to try to nationalize healthcare (already done), the auto industry (completed), banking, investments, energy and more, all with the intent of re-distributing wealth and creating a Nanny-State whose citizens are dependent on them and will keep them in power. Come to think of it, maybe Pelosi, Reid and Obama should get worried when they see what’s happening on the streets of Athens. But, I’m sure that in their arrogance they truly believe it could never happen here. Never happen to them. Or could it? Hmmmmm.


Kathleen Lamarche said...

Thank you, your Sageness, for helping us to better understand the root causes of the Greek calamity. Please keep up the good work.

Interesting, but said...

With US taxes the lowest they've been in 60 years this is hardly a valid comparison. Taxes on the upper class are so low that the rich have no reason at all to leave for other places, so they stay here and bitch about the deficit and how taxes should be even lower. Meanwhile the average folks on the street are worried about their jobs (or wishing they could find one), and wondering why their piece of the pie keeps getting smaller and smaller.