For exhibit A, see this New York
Daily News Post column by Cato economist Michael Tanner entitled, “Think Greece can’t happen here? You’re wrong.”
[J]ust like Greece, the United States government has been living beyond its means, running up an enormous debt that will eventually need to be repaid.True, our budget deficit this year will be lower than it has been, just $486 billion compared to $1.4 trillion as recently as 2009. But this is just a temporary respite. Within the next couple of years the deficit will start to rise again. By 2025, we will again face trillion-dollar shortfalls….And give us time! Like Greece, the driving force behind our debt is the growing cost of entitlement programs for health care and retirement. If one includes future unfunded liabilities for Social Security and Medicare, our real debt exceeds $90 trillion. That’s more than five times our GDP. Greece is still in worse shape — their unfunded liabilities top 875% of GDP — but we’re gaining.
One New York
Daily News Post op-ed does not a trend make. The combined statements of GOP candidates this July 4th in New Hampshire are more worrisome, however. As Politico’s Ben Schreckinger notes, all of these candidates were pretty gloomy about America’s prospects:
“I kind of feel like it’s 1979 again,” said the former Texas governor [Rick Perry], invoking the twilight of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. It was the most uplifting Republican stump speech of the weekend.For GOP presidential hopefuls, there was no holiday from the nation’s downward spiral. Across the state, as New Hampshirites settled in to enjoy an idyllic New England summer and a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, Independence Day offered the loyal opposition one more opportunity to remind them just how bad life had really gotten….After an obligatory nod to the holiday and the blessing of living “in the greatest country in the history of the world,” the onslaught [by Bobby Jindal] began: “We’ve got a lot of problems… The hour is late. If we’re not careful we could become just what is happening in Greece, what is happening in Puerto Rico, and here’s the problem, the EU may or may not bail out Greece. There’ll be nobody to bail out America. We are the last hope for the free world.”