Medusa: in Greek mythology a female monster, which upon gazing would turn one to stone.
I visited Greece in 1998. A resplendent and beautiful country filled with history and beauty. Surrounded by the sapphire blue waters of the Mediterranean. A relatively safe country for tourists, which seemed at the time full of hard-working people who embraced tourism and the foreign dollars spent there.
But the pace of the culture was difficult to keep up with, I am predicting even for the most ardent visitors and residents of New York City: a “town that never sleeps.” Most restaurants didn’t open until 9pm. Clubs, 1am. There was an endless flow of ouzo on the mainland and in the islands. It was a country and culture, like NYC, that ran round the clock. 24/7. The 2004 Summer Olympics was yet a gleam in Athens’ eye. Only a few columns had been raised. It was a country that embraced the idea of most Latin American countries: manana. Aupio, in Greek. Tomorrow. No worries.
But like all cultures of this sort, it can only last so long. I read not long after I returned home the Greek government had ordered bars, restaurants and discos to close at 5am. Because many workers failed to show for work or showed up under the influence of all-night partying.
Now I am not begrudging any society or country to have its own culture and traditions. But what I do have a problem with is asking another country, organization or society to assist in bailing out a culture or country who adheres to, and fails to rein in a society which can’t get its act together.
And this my friends, is exactly what the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Obama administration is demanding of U.S. taxpayers: we pay for the Greek government’s short-sightedness. We PAY for the failure of a society to implement more stringent laws and regulations. We bail them out, using hard-working U.S. taxpayer money. When U.S. unemployment is over 9%. If the tables were turned, does the U.S. actually think the Greeks would shell out drachmas to pay for the failed policies of an American administration? If so, I believe you should be joining Tattoo on Fantasy Island.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, vice-chair of the House Republican Conference (WA) and Congressman David Schweikert, Member of the House Financial Services Committee (R-AZ) on the Greek bailout issue. McMorris-Rodgers sums it up very well:
McMorris-Rodgers was the first to warn about the intended use of $100 billion of U.S. taxpayer funds for the “Euro-TARP” bailout of Greece and other European Union members.
At the time, the idea of a EU bailout was publicly dismissed by the Obama Administration and the International Monetary Fund (through which U.S. taxpayer dollars would be funneled). But a month later, the EU and IMF quietly approved a $157 billion bailout of Greece, and not long after, the EU and IMF joined forces again to launch a $1.4 trillion bailout fund for the entire Union.
As of October 2011, the total cost of the Greek bailout has reached $311 billion (nearly the size of the entire Greek economy). Meanwhile, Ireland has tapped the EU/IMF bailout fund to the tune of $137 billion and Portugal has received $122 billion. Spain, Italy, and perhaps other countries are close behind. “We cannot take the ‘too big to fail’ philosophy to a global level. The only thing ‘too big to fail’ is America itself.”
And today she had this to say:
“A crisis caused by spending and borrowing will not be solved by more spending and borrowing. And that is why America should not participate in Europe’s $1.4 trillion bailout fund. Even now, the Obama Administration has to power stop the IMF from using U.S. taxpayer dollars on these bailouts. At the very least, the Administration should admit that America’s growing involvement in these bailouts is a legitimate issue that requires an open debate. I’m glad that today’s blogger call will help get that debate started.”
Schweikert is quoted as saying:
The subject of Greece and the European economic picture is a fascinating one. There are many moving parts, and unfortunately, Europe’s fiscally recklessness habits have resulted in this unsustainable economic situation. Back at home there are lessons to be learned from Greece. This year, about 36% of Greece’s spending has been borrowed. Last year, about 38% of US spending was borrowed. This is unsustainable. We are facing a $15 trillion dollar debt, yet are using taxpayer dollars to bailout European countries. We need to rein in government spending and display some fiscal discipline so we don’t end up unable to finance our deficits and debts like Europe.
They came. They conquered. They fell. The Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, the Byzantine Empire.
Now the Greek Empire. Twice. Greece has had its two-fer. This writer doesn’t believe recidivism should be rewarded. Especially at the expense of the United States.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks