It is with mild fascination that we watch the result of the debt and spending debacle unfolding in Greece along with its developing civil unrest. The struggles of that nation to accept the consequences of their past decisions combined with the responses from other anxious nations in the Euro zone with similar issues makes for good political theatre. We casually watch from afar discussing the various implications as they play out on the world stage, yet we seem to miss that it is simply a prelude of what will be coming to our own shores if we continue down our current path of irresponsibility that appears so unrelenting. How could it be that we think our condition is so different from theirs? How do we observe from a distance and arrogantly think it is an isolated problem that will never materialize here? The situation is very comparable regardless of all the justifications of our importance and stability so often referenced. The arrogance is illustrated by rationalizations of our worldly impact, significance, or the misguided belief that we are different due to a host of egotistical explanations. This usually leads to the attitude that other nations are so much worse off hence it could never happen here in the United States. After all, we believe ourselves to be much better administrators of public policy than any other nation. It may be a good time to consider the conventional wisdom that pride cometh before a fall.
We have a unique opportunity to witness the outcome of irresponsible Government that promotes a sense of entitlement, and this harsh lesson will continue to unfold all over the globe in the coming months and years. All we have to do is heed this lesson and change course before we suffer the same hardship. We are not too big or too important to avoid the same consequences, however, such attributes may provide additional time for us to make the necessary adjustments to sidestep much of the adversity. The worst case scenario is for us to continue down this same path of thinking that the problems in Greece and Europe are isolated, and that it will never occur here. In fact, it is already emerging in California and a host of other states that are in untenable situations which are expected to only get worse. Our attitude seems reminiscent of the recent mortgage market calamity; we would be hard-pressed to find anybody that thought the destruction would be sitting squarely on the doorstep of the Treasury as it steadily mowed through every level of the financial industry. It seemed impossible, yet there it sits for all of us to enjoy the losses for years to come. This tragedy alone almost brought us to our knees, how many more of these created disasters can we withstand? Our irresponsibility will find its reckoning in one form or another, either we can take corrective actions now and suffer the effects that will be painful yet manageable, or we can continue whistling by the graveyard thinking everything will somehow work itself out without any sacrifice. It is a fantasy to expect that decades of living above our means should continue unabated because of entitlement. Greece has just reluctantly become the canary in the coal mine regarding irresponsible Government for all that will listen and heed such warning.