wages of debt

Must See Video: Wages of Debt Lead to Fiery Rage in Greece

wages of debt

If you want to see what the results of deficit spending and the wages of debt will bring to the United States, Greece is giving us a small-scale model. Riot police, as you will see, are literally under fire.

The video is from the Associated Press.

Sporadic clashes broke out in central Athens Thursday as tens of thousands marched to the Greek Parliament during a general strike called to protest planned pension reforms that are part of the country’s third international bailout. (Feb. 4)

There is an element of patriotism in these protests (though there is no excuse for the violence). The Greeks don’t want a foreign power vetoing their own sovereign right of self-rule. But the only reason that self-rule is threatened is because Greece demanded government benefits that far exceeded their ability to pay.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune,

Unions are angry at pension reforms that are part of Greece’s third international bailout. The government, which is led by the left-wing Syriza, is trying to overhaul the pension system by increasing social security contributions to avoid pension cuts, but critics say the reforms will lead many to pay up to three quarters of their income in pension contributions and taxes.

Opposition to the reform has been widespread, uniting a disparate group of professions, including farmers, artists, taxi drivers, lawyers, doctors, vets, engineers and seamen.

So if all these farmers, artists, taxi drivers, lawyers, etc., cannot afford to pay into these pensions to make them solvent, where do they think the money will come from? People have foolishly loaned money to Greece and now they are realizing their mistake. Loaning money is always a risk and, in this case, those who risked their money should lose it. But that won’t save the pensions. Those will have to be lost as well.

No one likes this outcome but it is the only way this scenario can end. Delaying it with these “Greek bailouts” (which are really bailouts for foreign bondholders), only makes the problem worse.

So what happens when this comes to the United States? Will Americans start firebombing the police when our Social Security checks bounce?

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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