This week, crowds in Greece protested coming austerity cuts, chanting “There’s no more left to cut.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lucas Papdemos was looking for concession from his unity government so he could get more cash from France and Germany for bailouts. In specific, those two countries want Greece to fire about 15,000 government workers and reduce minimum wage by 20 percent. “Merkel and Sarkozy’s asphyxiating pressure,” lamented the conservative daily Kathimerini.
Of course, there is plenty to cut. Where would the austerity cuts come from? In the long run, they’ll have to come from social programs. Greece’s social safety net spending comes mainly from its form of social security, followed by its spending on healthcare, with lesser percentages allocated to disability payments, unemployment insurance, housing, and family payments. This is the prevailing pattern throughout Europe: the two largest expenditures are always social security and health care.
Greece is collapsing, with wages dropping precipitously, unemployment climbing, and citizens fleeing elsewhere. And still the people fight austerity cuts. What do they think the government can do? If the government defaults, there will be no more deficit spending at all – they’ll be forced to cut everything. If they do make the austerity cuts, they will be ousted politically.
Watch closely, because this is how America will fall apart, too. A new Heritage Foundation study out today showed that under the Obama Administration, dependence on government has skyrocketed 23 percent. As Tina Korbe over at HotAir summarized, “More people than ever before — 67.3 million Americans — depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid or other assistance. Consider: The nation committed more than 15 times the resources in 2010 than in 1962 to pay for people who depend on the government. More than 70 percent of the nation’s spending goes to dependence programs, up from 28.3 percent in 1962 and 48.5 percent in 1990. The Index grew 8.1 percent in 2010 alone.”
But this isn’t the real problem. The real problem is Social Security, which is already upside-down, and health care, which is about to blow up in our faces thanks to Obamacare. Like what you see in Greece? We’ll be seeing it here soon enough.
And unlike Greece, there will be nobody left to bail us out. When people are promised benefits and then don’t receive them, they tend to get angry. They tend to get violent. As America pushes closer and closer to the fiscal abyss, our country will come closer and closer to political fragmentation.