A couple of points to bear in mind about Greece’s economic crisis:
First⎯as long ago as 1938, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared that Czechoslovakia was “a far away country about which we know very little,” the world discovered to its everlasting regret that all nations great and small are interconnected.
Just because we may not count a Greek-American among our acquaintances, or were bored in school when we were taught about Homer’s use of meter, doesn’t mean that the Greeks’ refusal to accept austerity measures won’t impinge on our economy and affect the pace at which U.S. jobs are restored. The world economy is so complex and sensitive an organism that even minor events can have cascading consequences, and the Greek crisis is no minor event.
Second⎯it would be a mistake look down on our Hellenic friends for their profligacy. The Greeks are now being forced to come to grips with a problem that America has yet to truly confront: They have lived beyond their means for too long, and must now make painful decisions. In their case, the kneecappers come in the form of the French and the Germans who demand that they drastically cut back services, raise taxes, work harder for less money, and generally prostrate themselves as the price for restoring their credit and remaining in the Eurozone.
Our Congress enjoys no such incentive. It bends to the will of the people, and the people currently have no will except to protect what’s theirs at all costs. Our so-called “supercommittee”⎯tasked with putting America on a responsible path⎯is content to posture and propose unworkable partisan non-solutions.
It’s sad to say, but what the U.S. needs right now is what the Greeks are currently enduring: Chancellor Angela Merkel with boots and a whip, marching in to kick some Teutonic butt.