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Paying The Piper

12/29/2014

The current president of Turkey is Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  He once said the “democracy is like a streetcar.  When you get to your stop, you get off.”  I’ve wondered about this for a long time.

That quote came to mind when reading about the snap election just called in Greece.  The Greeks were arguably the most pampered people on the planet, with universal health care and very, very liberal retirement packages.  It was a classic case of generational irresponsibility, where one generation puts the following generations into debt.  Retirement at age 55 at the government’s expense is probably immoral.  It is clearly imprudent financially.

The Greek economy has already been rescued twice by the European Union, who demanded increasing austerity.  Now, the Greek voters have said they have had enough austerity and want to return to their profligate ways.  It jeopardizes the third and final tranche of help from the EU.  The Greek stock market gave a prompt response — it dropped 10% in one day.  Imagine the Dow dropping 1,800 points in one day!

The Greek voters have been so spoiled for so long that they cannot vote in their own best interest.  Is this the stop that Erdogan identified as the end of democracy?

Or, is democracy just another social welfare program that can never be removed?

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