Monday, May 7, 2012

Europe and America ignore reality

Voters in France and Greece have said no to austerity measures imposed by the Eurozone. American voters and their leaders, meanwhile, have said, "What? There's a problem?"

The French and Greeks have turned leftward toward more socialistic parties in response to strict measures to ensure the viability of the common currency, the euro, which had been threatened by a debt crisis in France, Greece, and other European countries. The euro puts all of Europe into the same economic stew, and the generosity of Greek and French spending policies threatened to turn the stew into a bitter, even toxic, sludge. But French and Greek voters, convinced that the laws of economics don't apply to them, seem determined to satisfy their desires, even if it means the collapse of the common currency and the restoration of European divisiveness and deadly rivalries.

In America, meanwhile, Congress seems too focused on this year's election to recognize the dangers of its own economic crisis. Deficit spending tops $1 trillion a year. The public debt approaches $15 trillion, and neither Democrats nor Republicans have proposed a solution that would result in a balanced federal budget in the foreseeable future. Americans have been told for a generation that Social Security and Medicare in their current forms are unsustainable, and each year of delay in repairing the programs makes a solution more painful, yet both politicians and voters persist in ignoring the problem. Congress seems incapable of negotiating a compromise of spending cuts and revenue increases that will be necessary to fix the deficit.

Americans seem determined to replicate Europe's economic crisis.

No comments: