Should You Care About What Happens in Greece?

A lot of people think you should:

The leaders of France and Germany called Friday for a new Greece rescue package to be worked out quickly, as Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday veered away from a collision course with the European Central Bank.

"We need a solution as soon as possible so that we have clarity ... We have been talking about this for the whole of May and June, discussing the same issues again and again without resolving them," Merkel said.

"Germany and France are determined at the upcoming EU summit ... to say that we want a quick solution," Merkel told reporters in Berlin after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin.

Sarkozy agreed, saying: "France and Germany want this new programme to be worked out as quickly as possible. There is no time to lose," he said. Both said that private investors should be involved in the new package on a voluntary basis.

"We want involvement of the private sector on a voluntary basis. I want to stress this. There is no legal basis so far for there being obligatory involvement," Merkel said.
Now, I'm no expert on economics, but here's the thing. The Gross Domestic Product of Greece hovers around $330 billion US dollars. It's not a significant player on the world stage. It is tied up in the so-called Eurozone, where, if one economy tanks, it costs the other members money that they've promised to support and backup the economy of all the countries as a whole. This scrambling is really not to "help" the people of Greece--it's to make certain that the investors who might lose money won't lose their shirts.

The political system of Greece is mired in chaos and confusion. No one quite knows how to sell to the Greek people this notion that their economy is in such bad shape that even drastic actions aren't going to be enough. No one wants to take a cut so they demand that something else should be cut. Their political process is broken. They need to find a leader who can guide them into a period of economic transformation. The fact that they are tied up in the Eurozone really means that Greek sovereignty is really a thing of the past--whatever they agree to do as a people has to pass muster with their European partners. Saying "screw you, we're going to save ourselves" is not going to fly with the people who, as I said, don't want to lose their shirts.

Greece and the United States have nothing in common. We have a 14 trillion dollar economy that is still, for the most part, growing at a healthy rate. Our debt problems are not as significant because our GDP and the growth of our GDP pretty much ensure that we're going to sustain ourselves well into the future. As a percentage of our GDP, America's debts really aren't that bad. If our GDP should suddenly fall to around $330 billion, then we'll know we have a problem. The reason why I stacked up so many different players at the bottom of that graphic is to show you that no, we really don't have the issues that other countries have but that, yeah, it is important to note that it doesn't take very many of them to combine their economic power to challenge ours. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Until then, I think we should just try to involve ourselves, responsibly, in working to ensure that our political system is based more on making knowledgeable decisions and not bets on returning to the Gold Standard or on which member of Congress is going to be the next clown to transmit his cock shots to hotties. We have to be smarter about how we use our economic power, and we need to protect it at all costs.