The ongoing saga of Greece's economic collapse can provide some useful lessons.
As Jim Geraghty, of National Review says: "Take a good look, young people. This is where quasi-socialism, with unaffordably generous pension programs and early retirement, runaway borrowing and spending, and a kleptocratic unenforced system of tax collection leaves you: helpless, penniless, and crying in the streets."
As one recent emergency measure, the Greek government declared that citizens cannot withdraw cash left in safe deposit boxes at Greek banks as long as capital restrictions remain in place. There are ridiculously low limits on ATM withdrawals -- of their own money.
Geraghty concedes that this may seem harsh to the Greeks. "But they willingly and knowingly tried to build a society where everyone was allowed to retire early -- really early: Trombone players and pastry chefs get to retire as early as 50 on grounds their work causes them late-career breathing problems. Hairdressers enjoy the same perk thanks to the dyes and other chemicals they rub into people's hair. Then there are masseurs at steam baths: They get an early out because prolonged exposure to all that heat and steam is deemed unhealthy."
In fact, "The Greek government has identified at least 580 job categories deemed to be hazardous enough to merit retiring early -- at age 50 for women and 55 for men... The law includes dangerous jobs like coal mining and bomb disposal. But it also covers radio and television presenters, who are thought to be at risk from the bacteria on their microphones."
In the public sector, 7.91 percent of pensioners retire between the ages of 26 and 50, 23.64 percent between 51 and 55, and 43.53 percent between 56 and 61.
"Once a people get a taste of unbelievably generous entitlement spending, they begin to feel ... well, entitled to it. In the case of Greece, they will demand that they keep getting those benefits long after the money runs out, even as it grows clearer and clearer no one will loan them any more money. They'll vote, overwhelmingly, "no" to bailout offers they deem insufficiently generous ... ignoring that the alternative is unknown, and probably worse."
Now the left wing Greek government has cut another short term deal with the European Union to stay alive for a few more months. But the day of reckoning always comes to Sanderista-led countries that offer ridiculous benefits, require little work, and avoid tax collections, while subsisting on multi-billion dollar loans from banks and governments that will enjoy a nice junk bond interest yield -- so long as they keep getting paid.
We can't help but wonder who is going to bail out California and Illinois when they suffer the same fate? Vermonters?