We like to think that eventually reality will wake up people. But what if it doesn’t?
“We all agree, of course, that we are allowed to give ourselves a little present from time to time. But please don't make it too large.” Reportedly, that is what the Greek Prime Minister of a generation ago said when he learned that the head of a state utility had take given himself a 1.5-million-drachma gift from the government-owned company. No wonder Greece is facing a debt crisis!
As we all heard about during the debate last night: we have our own debt crisis looming. The US has gone from a $10 trillion national debt when Bush left office, to a $16 trillion national debt only four years later under Obama. In the meantime, the unfunded mandates coming due represent trillions of dollars more in debt that we can’t pay.
The amazing and sickening truth about Greece is that, even now with blood in the streets and teachers and nurses seeing their pay reduced, Greece has many multi-millionaires who are still acting and profiting from corruption and massive tax-evasion. The government does nothing about it. According to a report in the German publication Spiegel, as Greece collapses, and the government pleads for bailouts, politicians and the wealthy have been able to help themselves to the country’s remaining funds. They continue the corruption that hurt Greece in the first place. Not even the end of the world (metaphorically speaking) makes them change their ways.
The Greek debt emergency, a result of many decades of corruption, has done nothing to slow it down.
This does not bode well for the United States. We too have corruption and looting both in government and out of it. Just recently yet another “green energy” company, A123 Systems, has declared bankruptcy after getting a large federal grant of hundreds of millions of dollars. In the meantime, the Washington Post reports that Al Gore, who had less than $2 million in assets when he left office in 2000, now reports $100 million in worth, mainly due to investments in “green energy”—investments that have been especially helped by “stimulus” and other forms of free money from the Obama Administration.
But it is not only leftist causes that line pockets. This past summer the official sources admitted we had wasted tens of billions earmarked for rebuilding Iraq. The previous year it was estimated that between $30 and $60 billion had been wasted. It would be naïve to pretend that money was literally lost. Almost certainly it was siphoned off into private pockets.
There are other much more massive spending problems that are leading to our own debt judgment day. But every bit of spending represents someone who benefits a great deal from the free money. Greece teaches us that, even when the music stops, it is human nature to keep on dancing. We can’t expect people to wake up and change their ways just because the end comes into view. We have to assume that everyone who has personally profited at public expense will keep doing so, even when it all comes crashing down.
We need to work at waking people up, now!