While your co-workers hover around the water cooler debating whether it matters if Mitt Romney bullied some kid in his youth, a formerly First World nation called Greece is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Why, you might ask, should Middle America pry its overworked eyes away from Jennifer Lopez gyrating around in a bodysuit on "American Idol" long enough to bother caring?
Now replace "Greece" with "your bank." It suddenly matters a little more, doesn't it? What if your bank couldn't loan you money, give you a mortgage or allow you to ring up credit-card debt, all because the bank abruptly had much less with which to leverage your lifestyle since Greece decided to finally pull itself off fiscal life support. Granted, American banks only hold about $2 billion in Greek debt bonds, according to a 2011 Federal Reserve survey. But more significantly, they hold $34 billion worth of such bonds in Italy and Spain. If these two countries ever decide to flake out -- a real possibility, referred to as "contagion" -- good luck trying to get your bank to finance that car you can't afford.
Not that staying in the eurozone would prevent collapse, either. If anything, it would only hasten the demise of the other member states. The eurozone fell into this crisis due to the stunningly illogical idea that a cost-heavy system could support itself indefinitely. When reality slowly dawned on the European powers that be, they proposed a series of desperate tax grabs, many under the guise of environmentalism and climate change. Too little, too late, and way too scammy to be worth pursuing for any single national leader who risks being voted out of office as a result of martyring himself for Europe.
Sheer political will continues to be the only container keeping this high-entropy system from blasting into full chaos. The scene of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy browbeating German Chancellor Angela Merkel to bail out Greece in the very first installation of this graphic international snuff-film series should remain a symbol of why the whole concept was destined for disorder.
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