Some blame a culture of comfort. Others blame politicians. Why not blame John Edwards?
In Greece, the bill collector knocks on the front door. The country staggers, one German forefinger from default. Default means fewer buyers for Greece's debt, even at much higher rates of interest. As we see with the housing collapse, financial institutions and economies globally interconnect. Trouble there spells trouble here.
The Greece deficit as a percentage of its gross domestic product is over 13 percent. The rules of the European Union, of which Greece is a member, require a percentage below 3 percent. Its debt as a percentage of its GDP is 115 percent. The EU requires a level of not higher than 60 percent.
Greece is but one of many "advanced" countries with bad balance sheets. To the list add Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, England, France and many others. Japan recently saw its bonds downgraded because of high public debt. In America, government continues to spend way more than it takes in, with the trend line rising higher. Our deficit-to-GDP percentage is close to 10 percent. Our debt-to-GDP percentage for 2009 was 83 percent -- with 94 percent expected in 2010.
This brings us to John Edwards.
The former Democratic presidential candidate talked about the "two Americas." In one America, everybody lives off the family trust fund. They know the secret handshake that admits them into Harvard and gets them the best tables at restaurants. They name their girls Ashley and give their kids German sports cars when they graduate from prep school.
But then there's that Other America.
In Edwards' Other America, everybody's a victim. "Oppressors" post signs above the ghetto or barrio or trailer park that say, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." Kids cannot or should not be expected to take advantage of government-provided education and easy entrance into a junior college, college or university -- often with subsidized tuition. In this America, we treat people as if they are too stupid or lazy to act responsibly. Did Edwards call for more cops, aggressive law enforcement and longer sentences to combat crime that makes life harder and more dangerous? Does he want parents to choose the schools their children attend? No, he wants to subsidize counterproductive behavior with an arsenal of welfare and entitlement programs, along with the "you owe me" mentality.
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