I had a busy day moving the daughter out of her college dorm today and have a meeting I must attend tonight. I have just enough time for a quick post here so here goes.
I noticed an interesting post by Jazz Shaw promoted from the Green Room to the front page at Hot Air. In a fine catch by Shaw, he noted The New York Times recently offered Greece a bit of hypocritical advice:
Among the most significant features of the plan, a Greek government official said, would be a measure making it easier for the government to lay off some of the many thousands of public sector workers, whose low levels of productivity and high wages are a big contributor to Greece’s debt problem. Until now, the government has not been able to lay off civil servants, whose employment rights are in effect constitutionally guaranteed.Cut the size of government and get the government out of private industry certainly seems like advice the United States might have benefited from back in the days of the health care debate, the auto bailouts and TARP. The Times was busy cheer leading those efforts, rather than offering unbiased coverage of the benefits of smaller government. Perhaps it is easier to recognize the problem when it is in someone else's backyard. Really though, NYT, is it that hard to see we are headed down the same path - really?
Another reform high on the list is removing the state from the marketplace in crucial sectors like health care, transportation and energy and allowing private investment. Economists say that the liberalization of trucking routes — where a trucking license can cost up to $90,000 — and the health care industry would help bring down prices in these areas, which are among the highest in Europe.
Meanwhile Robert Samuelson, thinks the fate of Greece awaits most wealthy countries in the near future:
What we're seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn't Greece's problem alone, and that's why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven't fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies.While we're maneuvering ourselves into the cul-de-sac with Greece, this seems like the perfect opportunity to embed this clip from the best Saturday Night Live in ages.
Americans dislike the term "welfare state" and substitute the bland word "entitlements." Vocabulary doesn't alter the reality. Countries cannot overspend and overborrow forever. By delaying hard decisions about spending and taxes, governments maneuver themselves into a cul-de-sac.