Here’s a typical headline from the Associated Press today:
Yikes. Yesterday it was Greece: they’re in debt to the tune of $175 billion. Now that may seem like small potatoes in the age of Barack “the sky’s the limit” Obama. But keep in mind that there are only about 11 million Greeks.
175,000,000,000 / 11,000,000 = 15,000
In other words, every little Zeus and Hera starts out owing more than $15,000. [I had a few extra zeros here: thanks to whatever PJM editor fixed this--and thanks, too, to the cavalcade of readers who pointed out the error!]
Of course, Greece will never pay back this money. In the time-honored custom of Third World nations across the globe, it will default.
But now it looks like the habit may be catching. Yesterday it was Greece, today it is Ireland — remember the “Irish tiger”? Turns out it was an inflatable pussy cat: pumped full of gas by artificially low interest rates underwritten by the EU.
And tomorrow? Well, Portugal is choking under debt that is 325 percent of its GDP. Of course, Portuguese officials say they won’t be seeking a bailout. But that was what Ireland said a couple of weeks ago, too. Let’s see.
And what about the day after tomorrow? “Analysts,” quoth that AP story, “say markets need more reassurance from EU leaders that the rot can be stopped in Portugal before spreading to Spain, the continent’s fourth-largest economy — a scenario that would threaten the 16-nation euro currency itself.”
Want to open a book on that?
Now, the money situation is bad, very bad. But worse news concerns politics, in particular the fate of freedom and democracy in Europe.
The European project has always been a game played by unelected political elites and foisted on the people. When EU leaders couldn’t get the Lisbon Treaty, a.k.a. the European Constitution, ratified by a popular vote, they did what any sensible totalitarian would do: they circumvented the people and declared the treaty passed.
Enter Nigel Farage. Who is Nigel Farage? He is a former Conservative British politician who left the party in 1992 when John Major’s government signed on to the Maastricht Treaty, thereby selling out a large measure of British sovereignty. Mr. Farage is now leader of UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, as well as a member of the European Parliament for South East England.
I had not known about Mr. Farage until a friend sent me a link to an extraordinary speech he gave yesterday at a meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Partly an economic fire alarm, the deeper message of Mr. Farage’s speech concerns the way EU politicians are deliberately subverting democracy — removing, in Mr. Farage’s words, “any remaining traces of democracy form the system” — in order to keep the dream of a European superstate alive.