Greek protesters: Ready to face reality about the debt crisis?
Greek protesters are angry and in denial. But there’s no denying the consequences of spending beyond your means.
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In fact, though, reason informs us that government, being a human institution, is subject to all the laws and constraints that bind every other human endeavor. Despite appearances, the past few decades’ massive spending of resources that allowed you to consume more than you produced has made you poorer today (for those resources are now, well, spent – gone – used up). And this deficit spending has burdened you with debt from creditors who quite justifiably wish to be repaid.Skip to next paragraph
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While I do not excuse your government for misleading you about its powers to spend without constraint, I cannot excuse you – you from reason’s crib – for your present stubborn and mad refusal to accept the reality of your government’s near-bankruptcy.
Your government simply does not have available to it all of the resources that are required to satisfy all of your demands.
Your only reasonable course of action, then, is to work harder, save more, and adopt wiser public policies that promote wealth creation. Chief among these policy changes is to reject the socialism that you have been infatuated with for too long now. You need greater respect for private property. You need entrepreneurship. You need competition. In short, you need free markets. Without these, you will never become more prosperous.
If you wish, of course, you can continue to deny this reality – a reality that is now slapping you in your face. But as the economist Thomas Sowell is fond of pointing out, reality is not optional. He is both right and reasonable.
Donald J. Boudreaux, a professor of economics at George Mason University, is the author of “Globalization.”
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