Wayne Root: ‘Why America Faces a Big Fat Greek Bankruptcy’

Why We’re All Greeks Now.

Forget Global Warming- Catastrophic Government Spending Is the True Threat to Our Survival.

By Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee

Have you read the news lately? Greece is bankrupt. The entire country was poised to default on its debt, when the European Union (led by Germany) and the IMF (led by the USA) decided to bail them out…or risk the collapse of the entire EU and their currency, the euro. As always happens any time government is involved, the dollar figure necessary to save Greece keeps rising…first it was $50 billion…then $100 billion…now $145 billion, the biggest loan to a country ever.
But here’s the clincher- this gigantic loan will last only one year. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) assumes in one year, when Greece needs more money to stem the flow of red ink, they’ll be financially stable enough to attract loans on the open market, with no more government help. But what if the IMF is wrong? Then we’ll see one big fat Greek meltdown- taking all $145 billion down the tubes (much of it from U.S. taxpayers). That’s assuming that Greece is telling the truth about their debt in the first place. But just like the U.S. government, Greece has lied to themselves, and their citizens for years. And just like AIG, GM, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the failing public school system in America- the money we give Greece will never be enough. It’s a bottomless pit.
But Greece is the EU’s smallest problem. The other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain) are in far deeper trouble than Greece. Unfortunately the EU and IMF just used up most (if not all) of their bullets on Greece. There isn’t enough money in the world to bail out the rest of Europe. We are staring at economic Armageddon.
So what caused this? Very simply, big government and government employee unions. Greece’s problem is Europe’s problem…and following closely behind, America’s problem too. We’re all Greeks now. Quite simply, Greece’s problem starts and ends with government employee unions. There are too many government employees (1 in 3 Greek citizens works for government); their salaries are way too high; their bonuses can only be described as insane (2 months for each public employee); their pensions are ridiculous (retirement far too young and free healthcare for life); and their government jobs are guaranteed for life.
Sounds crazy, right? Sounds like in Greece the inmates must be running the asylum. Except America has the exact same problem. California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois are our very own homegrown version of Greece. These states are bankrupt, insolvent, and desperately need a bailout. Why? For the same reasons as Greece. Far too many government employees; bloated salaries for civil servants; bonuses and raises are contractually obligated even during an economic crisis; sky high pensions; and jobs guaranteed for life. The only difference is that we are a nation of 300 million, so the debt is far bigger than Greece. It turns out that we are Greece squared.
The solution to save America from economic Armageddon? Simple. Use the same “austerity measures” imposed upon Greece, in return for this $145 billion loan, to dramatically cut spending on government employees:
*Freeze government hiring for the next 3 years.
*Eliminate bonuses and raises for the foreseeable future.
*Institute layoffs and across the board wage cuts. Why should government employees enjoy “privileged status” that no employee in the private sector enjoys?
*Change pensions from ‘defined benefit’ to ‘defined contribution’ pension plans, meaning retirees receive only what has been built up in their 401K type retirement accounts.
*Raise the retirement age. In Greece it is going from age 53 to 67. Gold-plated pension plans are the single biggest factor that bankrupted Greece. The same problem bankrupted U.S. automakers GM and Chrysler.
*Require government employees to pay more of their healthcare (through co-pays and deductibles).
*Change the way pensions are calculated by eliminating overtime and raises in the last years of employment to “game the system”.
The real global threat to our existence isn’t global warming- it’s catastrophic government spending and, more specifically, spending on government employees. Our government’s unfunded liabilities are now estimated at $60 to $75 trillion over the coming decades. To give you some perspective, the New York Post recently reported that one New York firefighter is retiring on a pension of $240,000 per year. If he lives 40 years beyond retirement, that will cost the taxpayers almost $10,000,000. That’s for one single government employee. There are millions upon millions of them on the federal, state and local level. Can you say “fiscal disaster?”
Government employees should be cheering these solutions. The plan above might actually save their jobs and pensions. But keeping the status quo of unsustainable spending will sink this country- in which case government employees will lose their jobs and pensions. Anything that saves our economy, will be healthier for them (as well as the rest of us) in the long run.
It turns out that the Greek model is the American model. It turns out that we need saving too. We’re all Greeks now. We either stop the insanity, or we wind up with our own big fat Greek bankruptcy.

Wayne Allyn Root was the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate. His new book is entitled, “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts.” For more of Wayne’s views, commentaries, or to watch his many national media appearances, please visit his web site at: ROOTforAmerica.com


Wayne Allyn Root
2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee

31 thoughts on “Wayne Root: ‘Why America Faces a Big Fat Greek Bankruptcy’

  1. Tom Blanton

    Root doesn’t mention the riots taking place in Greece over proposed spending/benefit cuts.

    As America’s economy goes down the tubes, I imagine Americans will cling to the government they have become dependent on just like the Greeks.

    It would make sense to begin liquidating the federal, state and local governments now in an orderly manner. But, Americans of all political stripes (including most libertarians) won’t hear of that, preferring to cling to their beloved government as it collapses around them.

    Americans aren’t going to like it when faced with massive tax hikes and massive cuts in government spending. They will have little to do after beating up the Mexicans and killing the Muslims but to go after each other in the streets.

    I’m hoping it will wind up being Democrats vs Republicans. Smart libertarians can cash in by selling both sides ammunition. Dumb libertarians will be used as human shields by the Republicans. Ugly.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    tb: It would make sense to begin liquidating the federal, state and local governments now in an orderly manner.

    me: “We’d all love to see the plan.” I’d especially like to see how you’d liquidate NORAD, the silos, and LR sub and bomber fleet. Would you have the Hartford, Travelers and Nationwide make bids?

    And the courts…I’m seeing Robert Shapiro and his team at LegalZoom stepping up to fill that void. 😉

    JG Wentworth will distribute the proceeds from the sales, hmm.

  3. Kliment from Macedonia

    I urge Greeks to learn from its northern neighbors – the Macedonians, how to live humble life with monthly wages as little as $300 and still be content and have a good quality of life.

  4. Michael H. Wilson

    I’m enjoying a Greek Salad right now and is it ever good. Made it myself.

    However may I suggest that specific points about shutting down those parts of the U.S. government that do not comply with the Constitution be made in the future.

    Let’s bring home those troops we have abroad and eliminate the 6th and 7th fleets as well as a couple of others. Abolish the departments of Education, Energy and HUD. And I am sure there are a lot of other things we could do such as suggesting that we open the housing, transportation, and healthcare markets. That just for a start.

  5. Tom Blanton

    “We’d all love to see the plan.” I’d especially like to see how you’d liquidate NORAD, the silos, and LR sub and bomber fleet. Would you have the Hartford, Travelers and Nationwide make bids?

    Would you rather see an unorderly meltdown/collapse with no plan? What would happen to your silos then?

    Of course, there can be no plan because Americans, yourself included, will have none of it. Ask Wayne Root what his plan is to save the empire.

    The fact is that it is politically impossible to fix the debt/spending/entitlement problems. So, I suppose your silos are safe. That is until there is a collapse or political upheaval. Maybe some half-crazed Republicrat will decide to empty the silos by launching the missiles in an attempt to reshuffle the deck once the game looks like it is going to end.

    I’d be interested in hearing your politically feasible plan to smoothly work everything out, Capozzi. I guess the safe thing to do is to get by until you die and let the next generation deal with the economic dystopia.

    Oh, I suppose a strong leader with a plan might emerge. Someone like Hitler maybe. Then Americans will still have their beloved government to cling to for a little while longer.

  6. Tom Blanton

    Michael makes some great suggestions, but what are the chances that any of that will happen?

    The problem is political inertia. That, and the American people really have no idea what is going on. They say they want change, but they elect the same old people and cling to the same old government programs.The political elite refuse to reduce the size and scope of government. A simple across the board spending freeze is not even politically possible.

  7. Tom Blanton

    Capozzi, I know how much you fear radical change, but I hope you do realize that change is required to avoid horrible consequences. The more time that goes by without making changes, the more radical the change will have to be once it is made.

    Waiting until a crisis happens almost assures radical action. So, those who fear radical change might want to opt for somewhat radical change as opposed to experiencing life-changing consequences and extremely radical reactions to crisis circumstances.

  8. Michael H. Wilson

    Tom first I have to learn the difference between ever and very as in the first line. ha-ha

    We have the political equivalent of the tragedy of the commons. Everybody wants something for nothing.

    No change will be made unless libertarians are specific about making change. Reducing wages or benefits is one thing but it still leaves the department in place to demand that those wages be restored when the economy improves. We need to cut the whole damn thing. Eliminate whole departments!

    Secondly if you eliminate a entire department and say nothing of others you only have those employees in the department effected complaining. If you suggest across the board cuts in all departments then everyone is upset. Works the same way in the business world as I am sure you know. Would we rather have 1,000 people upset or 10,000? I think I know the answer to that one 😉

    Now we have to just get the candidates to buy into it. How difficult will that be I wonder?

    In the meantime back to real work.

  9. Nate

    From the article:

    “The other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain) are in far deeper trouble than Greece.”

    I believe that would spell piis, Wayne. Not sure what that means. If you’re going to insult people with an acronym, at least have it actually *be* an acronym.

    “Quite simply, Greece’s problem starts and ends with government employee unions. […] their bonuses can only be described as insane (2 months for each public employee); […]”

    OMG, they have two month bonuses! WTF *are* two month bonuses? (BTW, the three preceding acronyms stand for “oh my god,” “what the fuck” and “by the way.” See how that works with the letters and all?)

  10. Brian Holtz

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PIIGS: PIGS, PIIGS and PIIGGS are acronyms that originally referred to the economies of Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIGS). Since the financial crisis of 2007–2010, Ireland[1] (PIIGS) and, more recently, the United Kingdom (Great Britain, PIIGGS) have become associated with the term.

    If you’re going to insult someone for not using an acronym correctly, at least know what the hell you’re talking about.

  11. tc

    Greece doesn’t print their own money… America does, so we have control over it.

    This article is BS to try to scare everyone. You can’t compare a small country like Greece to America. America will never be “bankrupt”.

    And if the IMF is supposedly using our tax money to bail Greece out, then where is the money they pay America to pay our debt? The logic of using our money for Greece makes no sense.

    Europe and Germany are the ones footing the bill for Greece, it isn’t America.

  12. Root's Pro-War Fanboy

    Holtz to Nate: “If you’re going to insult someone for not using an acronym correctly, at least know what the hell you’re talking about.

    Pro-war Holtz leaps to pro-war Root’s defense!

    Alas, Root said: “The other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain)“…

    …which does indeed spell PIIS, despite Holtz’s tortuous attempt to justify Root’s spelling.

    Root misused the acronym, not Nate.

    Of course, Holtz insists he’s not endorsing anyone for chair.

  13. Brian Holtz

    Yes, I went back in time to create a Wikipedia article defending an LP leader from the false charge of misusing a standard acronym, so I could cite it in a comment about a news story that I posted that is harshly critical of Root, and that proves that I’m pro-W.A.R. and “pro-war”.

    With logic like that, it’s no wonder that the aptly-named “Fanboy” tries (and fails) to hide his identity as he obsessively stalks me and lies about me on IPR.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    tb1: I’d be interested in hearing your politically feasible plan to smoothly work everything out, Capozzi. I guess the safe thing to do is to get by until you die and let the next generation deal with the economic dystopia.

    me: I generally don’t do plans, Tom, I do what’s indicated in the moment. At this moment, I’d say we need a lot more liberty-minded people with a real alternative at the ballot box. Hence, I’m in the LP, and I’d like to see it grow. Both you and I will surely die, as will the next generation, and the next. I don’t predict an economic dystopia, so I don’t buy your premise. Were I a betting man, I’d bet that we’ll muddle through and that economic expansion will be fueled by technological innovation. There will be challenges and setbacks, as there have been throughout history.

    tb: Capozzi, I know how much you fear radical change, but I hope you do realize that change is required to avoid horrible consequences. The more time that goes by without making changes, the more radical the change will have to be once it is made.

    Waiting until a crisis happens almost assures radical action. So, those who fear radical change might want to opt for somewhat radical change as opposed to experiencing life-changing consequences and extremely radical reactions to crisis circumstances.

    me: Hmm, well, I read this sort of view on LRC, esp. from Celente. I recall similarly dire predictions in the late 70s from gold bugs and survivalists. They proved incorrect.

    I’ve never suggested I “fear” radical change. I just don’t believe it to be indicated. Yes, like the enviro-catastrophists, the econ-catastrophists have a propensity to extrapolate future outcomes based on incomplete and often faulty datapoints.

    You might consider turning around who is afraid and examine your own fears. Could they be coloring your dire and gloomy worldview?

    Just askin’….

  15. Tom Blanton

    Yes, Capozzi, I fear that government will not take the steps required to prevent dire and gloomy consequences for my son’s generation and subsequent generations.

    Where you see a glass half-full and becoming fuller, I see a glass half-full and being drained at an ever increasing rate.

    While the remedies I might call for are politically impossible, even the most marginal changes also seem to be politically impossible. We saw the collapse of one empire, the Soviet Union, and that went fairly smooth for various reasons. I don’t see how repeating “it can’t happen here” will solve the problems we face regarding the economy and basic freedom.

    The burbs of DC is flush with prosperity, funded with the largess of government. Meanwhile, places like Detroit have already turned into a dystopia of sorts. The folks in Greece tossing molotov cocktails into banks don’t look too happy either.

  16. Tom Blanton

    Greece doesn’t print their own money… America does, so we have control over it.

    “We” do?

    I suppose “we” can just print our way to prosperity. If you believe that, I’ve got a loaf of bread for sale. I’ll let you have it for $100, before the price goes up.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    tb: While the remedies I might call for are politically impossible, even the most marginal changes also seem to be politically impossible. We saw the collapse of one empire, the Soviet Union, and that went fairly smooth for various reasons. I don’t see how repeating “it can’t happen here” will solve the problems we face regarding the economy and basic freedom.

    me: Hmm, let me get this straight — you believe your solutions can’t happen AND marginal solutions can’t happen, either. Collapse has happened, e.g. S.U., and it went smoothly. Same page?

    My response is I’ve not suggested that a Soviet-style collapse could not happen in the US. I consider it a remote possibility. The primary difference is that while the Soviet economy was almost entirely a command-and-control one, there is enough economic and personal liberty in the US for us to avert such an outcome. Nor have I suggested that the US or the West will not have some upheaval since we are obviously having our own episodes.

    What I’ve not been able to discern is why those who expect near-total-economic meltdown like yourself, Hancock and Celente bother opining about politics. If we’re toast no matter WHAT is done, why waste time and bandwidth criticizing those who are not so pessimistic and therefore advocate less precipitous fixes to what ails us? Shouldn’t you be busy stockpiling bullets, water, and freeze-dried food in your bunkers?

    Chicken Little may well have thought he was doing others a favor, but he only hurt his reputation…at least that’s how I understand that parable.

  18. Tom Blanton

    Whatever, Capozzi.

    I don’t expect the end of the world. I don’t pinpoint an exact time and date of a possible economic collapse. Chicken Little claimed the sky IS falling – not that there is a chance the sky will fall at some time in the future. Anyway, we know skies don’t fall – economies and regimes do.

    I never said that collapse of the Soviet Union went smoothly, I said it went fairly smoothly – as in it could have been much worse. There’s a difference.

    I never said or implied that you suggested a Soviet-style collapse couldn’t happen in America. You never even mentioned the USSR.

    It seems you read a lot of things things that aren’t there. I attribute that to your propensity to see everything as black or white, all or nothing, and your attempts at spinning everything as extremist. I can always expect that from a raging moderate absolutist.

    We disagree. Time will tell who is right. I would hope people would try to mitigate the damage that could happen. Politically, that is. But, I don’t see any substantial effort made on any political level. Apparently, you do. By the way, I don’t have a bunker. I don’t have my head in the sand either.

    I also don’t have any delusions about having a free economy in America. What you seem to have missed about the USSR’s command and control economy is that there was a huge black-market economy there that really doesn’t exist in America, unfortunately. Many countries tend to look away and ignore their underground economies, America criminalizes it and surveillance of transactions is increasing – such as requiring 1099’s to filed for corporations and purchases beginning in 2012 (as opposed to just independent contractors now).

    So, just continue whatever it is that you do, Capozzi. I’ll continue to do what I do.

    However, I believe your lack of realistic objectivity and situational awareness is suboptimal and your rejection of any deviation from the the status quo is contra-indicated at this juncture – to use Capozzi jargon.

  19. Root's Pro-War Fanboy

    Holtz: “Yes, I went back in time to create a Wikipedia article…”

    Did you? I certainly never suggested that.

    However many acronyms there are for PIGS (e.g., PIIGS, PIIGGS), what Root stated is spelled PIIS, so Root got it wrong.

    As always, Holtz engages in verbal shell games (in this case, dragging in an irrelevant Wiki article) to draw attention away from Root’s mistake.

  20. Brian Holtz

    Greece is one of a group of countries that is referred to variously as PIGS, PIIGS, PIIGGS — but never PIIS.

    Belgium is one of a group of countries that is referred to as Benelux.

    When Root says:

    The other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain) are in far deeper trouble than Greece.

    it is like saying

    The other Benelux nations (Belgium, Luxembourg) are in far deeper trouble than the Netherlands.

    You don’t have to be a professional writer to know that in the latter sentence, you wouldn’t replace “Benelux” with “Belux”.

    It’s just hilarious to see some of the straws that the LP’s haters are reduced to grasping at. But that’s what happens when you know you can’t win based on ideas and actual facts.

  21. Nate

    Brian,

    I actually do know what PIGS stands for, thank you. As a matter of fact, so does Root: he’s used it correctly before.

    My comment was mainly for comedic relief, although I grant that the internet is often a poor medium for that, as it is far too easy to be misunderstood. Still, if you do feel like tearing me a new one, keep in mind that your defense falters on two points:

    1) Your Belgium analogy fails: It should have been a Netherlands analogy the way you wrote it.

    2) Your analogy fails in general: PIGS without Greece is Portugal, Italy and Spain. Therefore, Root should have said “the other PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain).”

    Again, I thought the purpose of my comment was obvious: to provoke a laugh, a smile, nothing more. In your case it failed to do so. I’ll take that as a sign I need to work on my routine.

  22. Brian Holtz

    1) Huh? Benelux minus Netherlands is Belux, as I said.

    2) Again quoting Wikipedia: When rendered as “PIGS”, the “I” originally referred to Italy but towards the end of 2008 also came to refer to Ireland.

  23. Nate

    1) Your leadup involved Belgium:

    “Greece is one of a group of countries that is referred to variously as PIGS, PIIGS, PIIGGS — but never PIIS.

    Belgium is one of a group of countries that is referred to as Benelux.”

    Then you subtracted Greece from PIGS and the Netherlands from Benelux. Your leadup therefore should have involved the Netherlands. (And yes, I’m being a pedantic ass. Who said I wasn’t?)

    2) Quoting your own source at wikipedia: “Ireland, previously known as the Celtic Tiger, became associated with the acronym in 2007,[19] and in 2008 it became the first Eurozone country to enter recession as part of the global crisis. The acronym thus became PIIGS,[19] or remained PIGS with Ireland replacing Italy.”

    As you can see, the acronym remained an acronym: either by adding an “I” or changing the definition of the “I.” The word “also” in your above quotation does not mean that a single “I” refered to *both* Ireland and Italy at the same time.

  24. Brian Holtz

    From an article on the site of the Nightly Business Report: “PIGS is an acronym for Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain”.

    From the U. of Virginia Cavalier Daily: “PIGS is an acronym to identify the most economically distressed nations of Europe: Portugal, Italy/Ireland/Iceland, Greece and Spain.”

    From the Economic Times of India: “You have all other 16 members have some problems like the PIGS, like Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain”.

  25. Nate

    Let the record show that I disagree with their use of the word “acronym.”

    It appears, however, to be a non-acronym that can be used to refer to both Italy and Ireland at the same time, therefore I cede the point to you.

  26. paulie Post author

    Pigs on the Wing (Part One) (Waters) 1:24

    If you didn’t care what happened to me,
    And I didn’t care for you,
    We would zig zag our way through the boredom and pain
    Occasionally glancing up through the rain.
    Wondering which of the buggars to blame
    And watching for pigs on the wing.

    Pigs on the Wing (Part Two) (Waters) 1:27

    You know that I care what happens to you,
    And I know that you care for me.
    So I don’t feel alone,
    Or the weight of the stone,
    Now that I’ve found somewhere safe
    To bury my bone.
    And any fool knows a dog needs a home,
    A shelter from pigs on the wing.

  27. Alexander S. Peak

    Dear Mr. Capozzi,

    You again bring up NORAD and other things. You’ve presented no indication that you’ve read my response in the thread titled “Libertarian Party Monday Message: Don’t Blame Immigrants.”

    Cheers,
    Alex Peak

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