Who would have thought that Greece's fiscal and financial woes could imperil all of Europe?
For the past few months, we'd been reading and watching a stream of news stories suggesting that the American economy was shaking off its stupor and about to proudly right itself. Then fresh fears surfaced, mysteriously tied to Greece and the European Union.
I'll let you decide. How happy are you about the American economy?
Sure, the brokers and big shots on Wall Street are back in the saddle. They're benefiting by a stock market that ignores the reality of things to come. The rest of us have been seeing the headlines of recent times and again realizing that what looks like a rainbow can quickly become another storm.
As long as the United States government -- be it in the hands of Republicans or Democrats -- keeps glibly spending money, we will remain pointed down a similar dead-end road as the one that has Europe in crisis.
Consider some of the past week's topics in the news: "U.S. May Be Headed for Deflation"; "New Jobless Claims Increase"; "Markets Plunge Over EU Economy." The list goes on.
Manufacturing, productivity, you name it -- virtually all segments of our economy are at a standstill. Yes, new car sales are up, just as stock prices were, but that's because no one bought cars last year. And corporate profits are higher now, but higher than what? The dismal ones during the 2008-2009 meltdown.
People outside of Wall Street and Washington, D.C., are still hurting. Bigger government, massive spending and bailouts have had a negligible impact on mainstream America. Consumers may now be saying they're a bit more confident than a year ago, but that's like the coach of last year's winless team saying he expects to notch at least one victory this time around. Confidence compared to what?
Contrary to what many would like to believe, Americans blame both the traditional Democratic and Republican parties for this mess.
Yes, the strength of the tea party movement, which I first wrote about over a year ago, has proved significant. Just look at Rand Paul's GOP Senate nomination in Kentucky as evidence.
But in a contested open congressional seat this past week in Pennsylvania that went by a slim margin for John McCain in 2008, the Democrat roundly defeated the Republican. Admittedly, the Democrat had special advantages. There were more registered Democratic voters than Republicans in the district, and the winner had a connection to the deceased congressman he will replace. But a win is a win.