The President and his team have been blaming “European headwinds” for some of the U.S. economy’s woes. But the truth is that the policies pursued by Washington and Athens are frighteningly similar—and the outcomes are not good for either country. Both countries are in need of comprehensive fiscal reforms, yet their leaders have avoided the tough decisions in favor of bailouts and political posturing.
In yesterday’s election, political parties supporting Greece’s bailout secured a narrow victory, causing Europe and world markets to breathe a temporary sigh of relief. The parties must now form a coalition government, despite continued protests from the radical party that sought to throw out the terms of the bailout assistance—which could have led Greece out of the euro currency. At 22 percent unemployment, Greek voters expressed disappointment with their limited options.
The Greek crisis was foreshadowed in this year’s Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, with Greece registering the largest decline in economic freedom of any country in the world. Its economy is rated “mostly unfree,” and it has the fifth-lowest economic freedom score in Europe, beating only Russia and three former Soviet republics.