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Home News-Telegram News Editorials GREEK LESSONS: There is much to learn

GREEK LESSONS: There is much to learn

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Now that the waters have somewhat calmed, let's hope President Obama and every member of Congress takes a good, long look at how the Greece economy not only tanked, but also nearly destroyed the European Union in the process.

If we don't learn from Greece's pain, this country could one day in the near future follow the same path.

Late last week, the EU and the International Monetary Fund agreed to a $140 billion bailout for Greece. That was followed by European leaders agreeing to a nearly trillion dollar effort to fight the debt crisis that was threatening markets around the globe. It is basically Europe's version of America's Troubled Assets Relief Program. Hopefully, it has better results.

What got Greece — not to mention equally troubled Spain and Portugal — in such a financial mess? Overspending. And lots of it.

The Greek budget deficit in 2009 was nearly 14 percent of its gross domestic product and its overall debt was 115 percent of the GDP. That is a recipe for disaster.

Right now, budget deficits in the U.S., compared to Greece, are skimpy. But a reckoning is coming if we don't start to take action now. Entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are eating up an ever-larger share of an already shaky economy. And yet, the Obama administration and Congress continue to spend money that is not available, adding more and more to an ever-growing debt. According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates fiscal reform, America's unfunded promises and liabilities rose in 2009 to $62.3 trillion. You can't chip away at that total by spending more money.

Prudent budgeting is needed now, before we have to go begging another country to bail us out.




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