After weeks and weeks of waiting for the seemingly inevitable "The Big Fat Greek Meltdown", "The Big Fat Greek Bailout" or some similar byline, we finally get Mark Steyn's "Not just their Big Fat Greek Funeral"
From the Times of London: “The President of Greece warned last night that his country stood on the brink of the abyss after three people were killed when an anti-government mob set ﬁre to the Athens bank where they worked.”
Almost right. They were not an “anti-government” mob, but a government mob, a mob comprised largely of civil servants. That they are highly uncivil and disinclined to serve should come as no surprise: they’re paid more and they retire earlier, and that’s how they want to keep it. So they’re objecting to austerity measures that would end, for example, the tradition of 14 monthly paycheques per annum. You read that right: the Greek public sector cannot be bound by anything so humdrum as temporal reality. So, when it was mooted that the “workers” might henceforth receive a mere 12 monthly paycheques per annum, they rioted. Their hapless victims—a man and two women—were a trio of clerks trapped in a bank when the mob set it alight and then obstructed emergency crews attempting to rescue them.
Unlovely as they are, the Greek rioters are the logical end point of the advanced social democratic state: not an oppressed underclass, but a pampered overclass, rioting in defence of its privileges and insisting on more subsidy, more benefits, more featherbedding, more government.
Forget the current unsustainable public pension debt facing Greece, with one of Europe's lowest birth rates, what we are witnessing there is an irreversible slow-motion death spiral.
Over here, we talk of "generational theft" or "kicking the can down the road" when it comes to dealing with our own entitlement programs. In Greece there are no future generations and the road is rapidly approaching an abysmal drop-off.
Has the Obama economic model only hastened our explicit understanding of this?
To wit, would we actually be worse off under a McCain Presidency who would've, presumably, presided over a scaled-back Bailout Nation, but a Bailout Nation none the less? A more electorally palatable Bailout Nation where we would be lulled into a sense of complacency because McCain, as Bush, would pay lip service to fiscal responsibility while doing nothing substantive with regard to it.
Just something to ponder on an unseasonably cool, blustery and overcast spring day here in America's finest city.