The PIGS. Not the chauvinist pigs whose transgressions preoccupied 1970s feminists, but PIGS as in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain -- nations facing sovereign debt crises because they pursued exactly the sort of policies Democrats favor for this country. The PIGS share bloated government sectors (In Greece, the government employs 33 percent of workers.), generous unemployment packages, high minimum wages, dire pension obligations and a shrinking tax base. Each week brings fresh news of turmoil in the streets.
Here is a June account from CBS News that Democrats will want to ignore: "To see a country truly on the brink of financial ruin, look no further than Greece. On Wednesday, its parliament cut public services and raised taxes to fend off bankruptcy and probably spare the world another mass economic meltdown, at least for now. ... As parliament did what it could politically, protesters turned Athens into a war zone."
The protests are understandable (if not excusable). When debt-ridden states face bankruptcy, it is always at a time of economic distress. In good times, after all, tax receipts increase. So just when jobs are scarce and times are difficult, just when a greater than usual number of people are collecting unemployment and other benefits, the government is forced to impose austerity.
Would it have been better to have made smaller reductions in benefits earlier? Yes. Would it have been even more desirable not to accustom so many citizens to government largesse? Don't ask a Democrat.
Also in economic intensive care is Portugal. Here's the Los Angeles Times account: "Analysts expect that Lisbon will ultimately need up to $115 billion in loans and guarantees. The amount would be covered fairly comfortably by the bailout fund created by the EU last year to address the widening euro debt crisis, but would come with stringent conditions that Lisbon rein in public spending. Last month, Prime Minister Jose Socrates failed to win parliamentary approval for a fourth round of austerity measures within a year, which prompted him to resign and his Socialist Party-led minority government to collapse." Democrats will not want to dwell on the fact that the European Union will not be bailing out the United States. In fact, no one will be available to bail out the U.S.
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