Economics is all Greek to Democrats, by R. Emmett Tyrrell
WASHINGTON – I’ve spent the last two weeks in Greece, namely Athens and Crete, cruising the waters of the Aegean Sea and sampling the cuisine, which is superb, almost as superb as the ancient monuments. Frankly, the lying practiced on this side of the Atlantic in the recent elections had become too much for me to tolerate. I needed a break from the election year nonsense. So, I left for a region of the globe where when the inhabitants say: “Everything is Greek to me”, they really mean it. Nobody complains. Moreover, when they say their democracy is in trouble, they know what they are talking about. Athens is where democracy was first tested, and it seemed to work…at least for the first millennia.
However, in modern times, Greek democracy collapsed. It started with the economy, as is often the case. About 20 years ago, the Socialist Party of Greece took power and started spending money like the proverbial drunken sailor. Eventually, the Conservative Party returned to power, promising a return to the good old days of balanced budgets, or at least relatively balanced budgets. Yet the Conservatives had changed. Rather than reject the spendthrift socialists, the conservatives simply embraced the new socialist economy. The Conservatives thought they had learned how to stay in power for years, and they spent the money like crazy. They made the socialists look like radishes. The two sides battled to give the country away, and in no time Greece was Europe’s basket case.
Whose fault is it, the socialists or the conservatives? I would blame the Conservatives. Socialists are supposed to redeem the electorate with welfare, and they do. Conservatives are expected to practice conservatism. Instead, they joined the socialists in a race to bankrupt the country. The result is that both parties contributed to the resulting debauchery.
After a few weeks of splendid meals and sightseeing in exquisite temples and other ancient monuments, I returned to America. There I discovered – to my surprise – that America was re-electing a fair number of drunken sailors. In an election that should have rejected our socialists, we let too many stay in place. They will continue to spend the money we don’t have and fuel the inflation that eats away at our wallets. That is, we will spend the money we don’t have to fuel the same inflation that the electorate recognizes is ruining our economy. Most voters in the last election complained that inflation was their biggest fear. When sleepy Joe Biden brags about the money he spent, he brags about the inflation he caused.
The whole country didn’t go wild while I was gone. Florida citizens have been exemplary in statewide elections. It was the same for the citizens of Georgia, Ohio, and North Carolina. In fact, the electorate of much of the Midwest, South and Cowboy West was splendid. But spendthrifts in California, much of New York, many coastal states behaved like modern-day Greeks. Imagine appropriating a trillion dollars for most of the boondoggle under the heading “Cut Inflation Act”. What would Orwell say?
Our problem is not just our politics. It is our culture. Before a country commits political suicide, it commits cultural suicide, or at least cultural insanity. The recent election craze began in the late 1960s with the Coat and Tie radicals. A generation ago, people understood where inflation was coming from. It came from too much money chasing too few goods. In recent elections, Republicans have mostly explained to the electorate where inflation is coming from and how to fight it. The electorate in California, New York and a few other states was distracted by Donald Trump, abortion and other fleeting issues. The majority of the electorate was focused on the right issue, but a significant number of them lost their focus when it came time to vote. As a result, inflation will last for a long time. Worse still, the Coat and Tie Radicals have now been replaced by a new generation. They call themselves the Woke. They are even more extreme than the Coat and Tie Radicals.
Glory to Ukraine!
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the most recent author of “The Death of Liberalism”, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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