By saraid-maire - Posted on 15 May 2010

A Wee Thought on Greece by Sarah Kallock

 Hello Everyone, 

 

 

If any of you want to reply to this please do. I'm not trying to force views upon you. It's so refreshing to be away from such an unbalanced American media enterprise that when I saw this clip I felt morally compelled to say something...I have this new perspective and think that it ought to shared for all our benefit. At most I think some of my points illuminate the outrageous things the American media feels it can say. 

 

This blurb is in reference to this video: video.foxnews.com/v/4186871/accelerating-towards-socialism/. You don't have to watch it all if, like me, it makes you want to gag.

 

I just want everyone to know this guy is an idiot.  And since I've been living outside of the influence of these under-informed, inordinate, right-wing pundits for the last 9 months I feel that I can offer a sound perspective on my own experience of a living in a "welfare" state and the economic burdens and benefits generated under such a model. I'm not an expert, but I am a concerned citizen, and I don't want you, my friends and family in America, to be misled by guys like this.

 

Firstly, I want to clarify that the states of the European Union are not socialist. In fact, I will put this word in quotations for the duration of this blurb because it is not my own ascription, but is Mr. Beck's. Now, all states in the EU are capitalist welfare-states, and I don't mean welfare in the sense that American so often think of when they hear the "w" word. In America, welfare is seen as the tax money which is given to those who can't provide for themselves and need the assistance of the state. They are often, particularly for guys like Glenn Beck, seen as underserved of "my"  money. In a way I agree with this, because having lived in a welfare state for the  past 9 months I've come to see that welfare here is welfare for everyone, and surely this is better. One sees  one's tax dollars here no matter who you are, and that is impressive. This is the model I believe America is working towards, at least under the Obama administration, and I encourage all of you to consider it more fully and with better information than this bimbo provides. I

Now, yes, many European markets are heavily regulated capitalist economies. But this is not a bad thing. An unregulated capitalist model will inevitably fall into an extreme "boom and bust" cycle. One European country,  the Republic of Ireland, is the perfect example of a failed "capitalist" model. They had a huge period of boom spurred by low corporation taxes which attracted multinational US firms and investment. But when the recession hit and American companies pulled out, the Republic has been left bust, and is too small to get back on its own feet. This may happen to America down the line if they're not careful. The US trade deficit  has widened significantly which means that America is importing more than it's exporting, so it's becoming less and less self-sustainable. In the spirit of unbridled capitalism, America is definitely living beyond its means. Wow Glenn, capitalism is such a better model. 

 

 Now onto the matter at hand: Greece, or rather, Beck's deluded interpretation of the very complex economics operating here.

 

Beck says that Greece is getting pumped with nearly a trillion dollars by the EU. I don't see how that is possible given that this is about 1/10th of the value of the American economy each year. Do you honestly believe that the Eurozone is about to pump 1/10 of that into Greece??? Rather this money is there to support government debt in the event of the loss of confidence by investors in struggling European economies.  he IMF (International Monetary Fund) which is set up to help countries all over the world is stepping in and providing about a third of the cost, €250 BN. You see, Greece is not the only country getting "bailed out". The investment is meant to stabilise the Euro on the whole which is in danger of slipping into collapse if Greece's government's financial problems spread to countries like Spain, Portugal, and the Republic of Ireland. The ECB is contributing €440bn, to stabilise the Euro in general,  and the rest, €60 bn, is from an advance of EU structural funds that Greece would have gotten over the next 3 years anyways. Keep an eye on California: in a few years time it may be America's Greece. Surely this couldn't happen under a capitalist model, right Glenn?

 

The crisis in the EU is limited to a few countries that are definitely in bad shape. Spain is at 19% unemployment, Portugal is about to hit the fan, and the Republic of Ireland is bust as well. But, there are other "socialist" countries in the EU and they are doing fine. The netherlands is at 4.1% unemployment, Sweden 8.7%, Austria 4.9%, Germany 7.3%. America is at 9.2% and the recession hit Europe later so we expect to be coming out later.  It's important to keep in mind that the failure of the "socialist" model in Greece is the failure of the Greek model, not the "socialist" model in general!!!  Spain , Portugal, Greece, Ireland all have unique economic histories and problems that have lead to different outcomes. Whereas the Netherlands and Austria, for example, have had their own economic histories with their own particular outcome, which has obviously been stable. All are "socialist" and the range of problems each are facing is different, so clearly the problem is not the welfare state model but how each country deployed that model.  

 

If you want to look up more Euro stats you can go here: 

 

 

Now, back to Glenn. 

 

Just because he called the riots…in Greece…does not make him a reputable expert on the subject of "outbreaks of global violence". It's Greece. They riot like it's their hobby. People of Greece tell their government what to do, this is democracy in action. In America the government tell the people what to do… I suppose its pretty much down to the fact that in America people work like slaves with no time for democracy… can you imagine telling your employer you are going to protest against corruption. All people have time for is to sit at home and watch pundits like Glenn Beck bend them over rape them up the intellectual you-know-what . People in Greece are angry because they're government has let them down and now they have to make "sacrifices" that they should not have had to make in a properly run welfare state. 

 

He calls European thought  "radical", but it really isn't, it's not even technically socialist, the European Socialist Party will tell you that!  He stands so far right wing he's beginning to sound as paranoid as Senator McCarthy. 

 

The fact that Glenn cites Stuart Varney, who clearly, indisputably represents the economic views of Fox News, which is probably the most unbalanced news media channel I've ever encountered, completely discredits his argument. Of course Varney would say "the European socialist model is broken" - and of course because he has a waning  posh British accent the average American will think "Oh, he knows what he's talking about. He's from there. He must have seen how broken it is. I believe him" . GAH!

 

And Varney's comment that they are buying time is not entirely fair. It's definitely more likely that between the choices of "buying time" and reforming their economy the EU would be attempting the latter. And really they are doing both.  For Varney to belittle this massive financial effort is uncharitable. 

 

Glenn says, "All of these countries are collapsing because of Socialism" - WRONG. Greece messed up. The former government allowed rampant corruption, there was excessive investment in the 2004 Olympics (which is not socialist at all, I think even Beck would agree), bloated local governments, and bonuses for things like "coming into work on time". All this is being cut, because it's wrong, particularly in a country whose market (which is limited) can't handle it. Any socialist economist would tell you that. The EU has strict regulations on the deficit a member can run up, and Greece continually violated that. No one is the EU is happy, especially the responsible countries who have had to jump in a help. It doesn't mean socialist-like models are failed. 

 

America, here is my warning: watch out for right wing fanatics like Glenn Beck, who are keeping this country from reaching its full potential and becoming an emblem of justice. 

 

 

If you are interested in following the Greek economic crisis further, please take a look at the following articles: 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8656649.stm

 

 

 

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Jeremy M.'s picture

I really enjoyed reading this even though I disagree. I have a soft spot for Glenn Beck and for FOX News even though I'll be the first to say that both are probably bad and with total bias.

 

Glenn Beck is a product of the state of our times. He is a populist calling "the people" back to the roots of our forefathers. Whatever that means. For some reason people seem to love Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. People love FOX News since it is constantly the most watched tv news source in America. I think the reason why (and this is what I have noticed from watching many news stations) is that FOX News actually takes a stance.

 

As a standard American I would rather see someone take a stance on something than just try to say it from both sides and not say what is better. Ultimately I believe that people should work towards some kind of greater good. The standard person (the common man if you will) is tired of people saying everything is equally good, bad, or neither.

 

It is pretty crazy to be a human being regardless. Our thought gets so confusing. I should probably go write a poem about feeling like I know nothing. I apologize for the ranty nature of this.

 

Jeremy M.