Cure or quarantine?

You’ve heard of countries being boycotted and having sanctions put on them. Have you ever heard of one that had to be quarantined?

You may have now: If Greece were to have followed through on now-aborted plans to have a public referendum on government spending cuts already agreed to by the government – and the citizenry voted as expected to reject the cuts – then the country would have needed to be quarantined. It may have to be cut off financially from the euro zone anyway, just to contain the contagion that is spreading to all corners of the world.

In fact, you lost money this week because of Greece if you were in the stock market. World markets quickly plunged after the mere proposal of a public referendum by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

“Basically it would be a vote over their euro membership,” said the Finnish finance minister – hinting at the quarantine.

He has to be right. Greece must be excised from the euro zone if it reneges on the bailout that European nations fought long and hard to put together which includes forgiving half of the country’s debt and an infusion of money.

It appears being allowed to sink or swim on its own may be the only thing that gets through to the Greeks that they’ve run out of other people’s money. They need to find out what life is like without it.

Of course, the United States government is hardly in any position to be self-righteous about it. We’re on the same track as Greece. And even though spending cuts here wouldn’t have to be nearly as draconian as in Greece, our Congress and its so-called “super committee” still can’t seem to get it done. Doesn’t it raise anyone’s alarm in Washington?

As for Greece, how can this end well? The government was said to be on the verge of collapse, with a no-confidence vote on Friday and colleagues in parliament abandoning Papandreou. And yet, if opponents get the early elections they appear to want, they seem likely to be more
opposed to the necessary austerity measures than is the current government.

Western civilization is experiencing seizures that are emanating from its historic core. The question is, will cool heads accurately diagnose the problem and prescribe the proper cure?

Or will we just fight the disease by a series of quarantines?

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