Catastrophe In Greece Could Soon Be Our Story

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Published May 06, 2010

| FoxNews.com

Record high deficits, an economy in crisis and impending tax increases have shaken a country. Its citizens are angry about being over taxed, in debt and tired of bailouts. They’ve began to organize in protest. 

The people’s trust in big government is gone. They blame the previous Administration and Wall Street and are hopeful the current Administration can help right the course, but all signs point to a dire economic landscape that’s poised to continue for years because of a government that’s completely out of money.

If it sounds familiar, it is. I'm talking about the current crisis in Greece, but the narrative uncomfortably can be applied to the situation in the US. The similarities are striking.

The current economic catastrophe in Greece is a possible reality in the United States in 25 years – maybe less. The meltdown in the Mediterranean been brewing for decades and it’s the result of government spending too much, borrowing too much and making its citizens so reliant on the federal dole that when the money runs out and cuts need to be made to get finances back in order, the people go berserk.

Over this time period, Greeks have become incredibly lazy. It’s like they invented democracy and decided to take the next 2,000 years off. Even if they were set to have a cultural shift, put down the ouzo and embrace a society where everyone pulls its own weight, unemployment is so high that there aren’t any jobs for those who seek them. To make matters worse, Greece imports most of its goods from Asia and only exports a few agricultural items. Their economy thrives on tourism, but because of the recent rioting countries are issuing travel warnings, scaring away would be visitors right before the busy summer season.

Greeks also blame Wall Street, particularly Goldman Sachs. Many Greeks argue that it was Goldman who helped mask the true extent of Greece's deficit with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht deficit rules, enabling Greece to enter the European Monetary Union when it was too financially unstable.

In the United States we’re facing our own spending issues and solvency issues for big programs like Medicare and Medicaid. We don’t have Molotov cocktails being thrown into banks yet, but we saw a bank lobby on Wall Street stormed last week and tea parties spring up across the country, outraged at the growing size of Washington and because of the creation of an entirely new entitlement program with the Democrats’ health care bill.

The Obama Administration and the Democrats are pulling us on a similar glide path that my family and friends in Hellas are facing. In the short term their lust for power over the people will be satiated and the masses will be thrilled at the government giveaways, not realizing it’s akin to Obama buying you a drink in a bar – with your own money. Eventually we’ll hit rock bottom and when it’s time for cuts and we can no longer get loans from developing countries like China, the citizens who have been co-dependent on Uncle Sam will take to the streets. California could be first.

There is a reason my father, like so many other immigrants, left Greece 50 years ago. He knew that the freedom and prosperity he craved could only be gained in the greatest country on earth – America. Right now, we’re seeing our exceptionalism crumble and it we will continue to back slide unless we and our leaders learn from the lessons of Greece. Yes, it can happen to us. And unless we sharply change course, as the saying goes, “it will be all Greek to us.”

Andrea Tantaros is a FoxNews.com contributor and conservative columnist. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros. 

Fox Forum is also on Twitter. Follow us @fxnopinion.

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http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/05/06/andrea-tantaros-greece-crisis-united-states-greeks-lazy-wall-street-goldman/