Friday, March 26, 2010

Who pays for what?

I caught this in World magazine (March 13 issue, p. 68) concerning the Greek debt crisis:
The most likely scenario is a bailout led by the Germans, but such a move is extremely unpopular in Germany. Greece's early retirement age is a big sticking point for Germans, who recently raised their own retirement age from 65 to 67. "The Greeks go onto the streets to protest against the increase of the pension age from 61 to 63," said the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in an editorial. "Does that mean that the Germans should in the future extend the working age from 67 to 69, so that the Greeks can enjoy their retirement?"
I think a similar question could be asked about U.S. debt.

Are the thrifty and self-denying Chinese and Indians (for example) supposed to permit Americans to renege on their impossible promises to repay--in good, uninflated money--the trillions of dollars of debt they (our government; we!) have already contracted? Are we Americans supposed to enjoy our "free" health care and Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare while the Chinese and Indians continue to labor for wages worth a fraction of what Americans receive?
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