Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Greece: The Canary in the U.S. Coal Mine?

Steven Horowitz writes:

With everything that was going on in the U.S. economy this past winter, the beginnings of the crisis facing the Greek economy were certainly easy to miss. As that crisis has now come to full flower, American observers overlook it at their peril: Greece’s problems, and those of other European countries, might well represent a possible future for the U.S. economy if we cannot get our fiscal house in order.

Like a canary in a coal mine, the crisis in Greece should serve as a warning that polluting the fiscal air with large budget deficits, a growing public sector, and high debt-to-GDP ratios is a sure way to kill an economy. A serious examination of the situation in Greece should lead other Western countries to think carefully about the paths they are on. Continuing growth in government expenditures means continued deficits, which means growing debt—which means temptation to inflate and the possibility of default.

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