It's all Greek to him

It’s all Greek to him

There are lessons to be learned from the tragedy in Greece. The question is, will the people of Greece learn them? Oh, and I guess a second question is, will we in the US learn them? Why did Greece keep pursing policies that kept their boat sinking, and why is one major US presidential candidate who is a socialist gaining so much support?

And the American Civil Liberties Union has finally shown where it will draw the line. Turns out that it will defend any civil liberty except the religious kind. You know, one that is spelled out clearly in the Constitution?

Mentioned links:

Greece Given Until Sunday to Settle Debt Crisis or Face Disaster

Greece’s IMF Collapse Shows America what Default Looks Like

Greek socialism and EU imperialism are both to blame for the euro crisis

Greek deal in sight as Germany bows to huge global pressure for debt relief

ACLU: Why we can no longer support the federal ‘religious freedom’ law

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Show transcript

Imagine, if you will, a guy who fills out a loan application, but lies on it about his current financial situation, or he tells the truth about his bad situation but signs a promise to get his financial house in order if he can get this loan. Now let’s say he doesn’t make the changes he promised, but spends the money on the same things that got him into the mess he was in before the loan. When it’s time to make payments on the loan, he complains he doesn’t have the money and wants to renegotiate the terms of the existing loan and get a new one.

You’re the loan officer. What do you do? The guy’s telling you he needs the money to eat and to pay his other bills. But he didn’t change his free-spending ways like he promised and now he’s in a bind again. Is it prudent to give more cash to a guy who can’t change his spending habits, and can’t repay what you’ve already given him?

No, it’s not. That’s not being heartless; that’s just being a good steward of the bank’s money. And if you keep giving this guy money, and he doesn’t repay it, what about the depositors who’s money it is that you’re handing out? When they need their money, where will it be?

The guy I’m talking about is the country of Greece. And just like Margaret Thatcher’s description, their socialism was working great, right up until they ran out of other people’s money. You can only soak the rich for so long, and so they went to the European and international banks for bailouts. And more bailouts. But each time, though they promised to mend their free-spending, socialist ways, they didn’t and wound up in the same situation.

There are 2 major problems that this situation has highlighted, and there’s a link in the show notes with a great discussin of them both. First, the European Union has certainly caused state sovereignty to seep out of the individual countries, such that it’s understandable why citizens of Greece would be insisting that the EU be held at least partially responsible. If Greece must bow to the EU on some matters, the EU must be willing to help. With great power-grabs come great responsibility.

But the other major problem is one that our own country needs to come to terms with. The Greek government got in over its head with promises it made to various groups. Welfare, pension, and other government payments got to the point where merely servicing those was drowning the country in debt. They made the promises, so they had to keep them. And when the government over-promised, the people voted in politicians who would give them more stuff, until the government had to tax and tax, and borrow and borrow, to keep up. And all that taxing and borrowing reduces economic growth and devalues the currency. So more taxing and more borrowing, and the death spiral continues.

So then, who should pay for the bad choices of the Greek people? Should we allow the Greeks to default on their obligations, and then have the German and the French people have to bail out their banks? How in the world is that fair? “But what about the Greek people?”, those on the Left were asking when those Greek people voted to stiff their creditors. “Why should they be punished for the actions of their government?” Well, because they voted for the guy who squandered the money and walked into the bank to ask for more. And if the Greeks are let off the hook, there are other European countries looking to try the same ploy. I’m looking at you, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The problem is that the Greeks poked a big hole in their own boat, and no amount of bailing by themselves will keep them afloat. More bailers, if you will, would help, and the EU is going to continue to help in the bailing, but the Greeks need to agree to quit making the hole bigger, and take steps to plug it. That’s going to take some hard choices on their part, but that’s the problem with socialism. Once you get used to the idea of free money and benefits, you get to thinking that they are your “right”. Going back to fiscal responsibility is a much harder road to travel.

The Greeks are learning that lesson. Well, I hope they are. I’m not so sure after they voted to default on their loans. I also hope that we’ll learn it, too. But I begin to wonder about my fellow countrymen when I see how popular presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is, who is an avowed socialist. “Ignore the News, Vote for Sanders!”

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The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU, has decided that there are some civil liberties that even they won’t defend. Turns out that religious liberty is OK, for Native Americans smoking peyote or a Sikh from India wishing to wear a turban and beard in the Army, but not for the Green family running their own business based on Christian values.

You see, according to the ACLU, if you like your religious liberty, you can keep your religious liberty, as long as no one else could possibly be affected. Because the first amendment permits the free exercise of religion on the condition that you keep it to yourself, right? And as long as the Native Americans want to smoke by themselves, or the Sikh only wants his choice of headgear and facial hair, that’s OK. No one really has to come in contact with the icky religious stuff.

The Greens, on the other hand, run their own business. Their minimum wage is significantly higher than the state or federal one; $14 per hour for full-time, $9.50 for part-time. They make decisions based on their deeply-held beliefs, rather than letting the almighty dollar reign supreme. Perhaps you’ve heard of their family business; Hobby Lobby. Liberals should love these people. But because their religious beliefs come in contact with the outside world, they are pariahs, and the ACLU, which had been all for the federal and state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, all of a sudden decided that they can’t defend it anymore.

This is very similar to what we’ve heard from Democrats in the last few years. They’ve essentially rewritten the First Amendment in their head, changing freedom of religion to freedom of worship. It’s OK if you keep it in the church walls when worshipping, but don’t let those religion cooties seep out and touch the rest of us. The ACLU has decided that freedom of religion is only for those who want to keep it private. PDR – Public Display of Religiosity – is strictly forbidden and won’t be defended by them.

We are all equal, but some are more equal than others. And once again, for the Left, even when it comes to clearly spelled-out constitutional rights, it’s still all about politics.

Filed under: Economics & TaxesEuropeReligionSocialism