What lesson can I possibly suggest that has not yet been ruminated over in the media countless of times? I think I’ve seen them all. I learned:
- That regional equalization is not a good idea.
- That expecting different cultures to play by the same rules may not work.
- That John Maynard Keynes was an idiot and reckless spending does not create healthier economies.
- That Stimulus does not work.
- That bailouts don’t work.
- That productivity actually DOES matter.
- That you cannot pay 14 months’ salary for 12 months of work.
- That you cannot fund thirty years of retirement from twenty years of work.
- That you cannot fund government services if only 20% of your people actually pay taxes.
- That an economy where more than half of the people are working for the government is NOT sustainable.
- That a monetary union of different economies will put the pressure on the wealthy ones.
- That easy money does not create a more competitive economy.
- That giving away free stuff creates a moral hazard.
- That if you promise too much, people will expect even more.
- That the Greeks should be allowed to leave the Euro and return to the drachma.
- That it should be allowed to go bankrupt for its own good.
- That this is only the precursor of much worse to come.
- That we should get out of the IMF so that when they throw good money after bad, at least our money will not be in it.
- That politics trumps common sense.
- That short term self-interest trumps anything else.
- That wishful thinking is not a good foundation for economic policy.
- That centralization of power means loss of democracy.
While all this and a lot more are true and all this and a lot more have been discussed, for me, the most important lesson in all this is a simple observation:
The Greeks are not happy!
The students of Montreal are not happy!
The occupy crowd is not happy!
What is the common element? That they are all welfare bums. None of them have the emotional satisfaction that can be derived from the knowledge that they are pulling their own weight. That what they have is something they worked for. That what they are enjoying is the fruit of their own labor. None of them show any gratitude for the things they receive, all of them are bitching for not getting even more.
The Greeks live off the efforts of the Germans. Are they grateful? No! They hate them. Quebec receives for every person living in the province about $1,000.- per year in transfer payments. Are they grateful? No! They hate us for it to the point that the leader of the official opposition is attacking the region providing the help. Most of the occupy crowd are either students with loans or union hacks with privileges. Are they grateful to those who give them the loans and pay for the privileges? No! They hate them. The conclusion is inescapable and the solution is incredibly simple:
- Allow the Greeks to go bankrupt, kick them out of the Euro for their own good and stop any Union transfer going their way.
- Eliminate the Canadian Equalization program completely and immediately. If Quebec wants to leave Canada, encourage them to do so.
- Get the government out of higher education completely, but at least from the business of student loan guaranties. Private financial institutions, risking their own money, would be in a much better position to decide what kind of courses to offer loans for. (Read my earlier post on this here)
What we have to remember though is that we should do all of this for purely altruistic reasons, to make them happy. The present state of affairs has exactly the opposite effect.
We have to save them; we have to make them happy.
……and contrary to what you may believe, I am NOT KIDDING. Look for a more detailed analysis later.