All Greeks Now
by Patrick J. Buchanan: Black
America vs. Obama?
New Hampshire in November 2010, Sen. Judd Gregg, the fiscal conservative
President Obama wanted in his Cabinet, blurted an inconvenient truth:
"This nation is on a course where if we don't do something about
it, get ... fiscal policy (under control), we're Greece."
was regarded as hyperbole. But Gregg had a point. For though Greece,
measured by the size of her economy, is only 2 to 3 percent of the
EU or the U.S. economy, she is a microcosm of the West.
the most recent revision of the U.N.'s "World Population Prospects,"
Greece in 2010 had 11.2 million people.
More than 24
percent were 60 or above, more than 18 percent 65 or older. Three
percent were 80 or above. And, every year, for every nine Greeks
who are born, 10 Greeks die.
Greece is slowly
will have fallen by 300,000 to 10.8 million. The median age will
have risen by eight years to 49.5. Half the population will be 50
or older. More critically, the share of Greece's population 60 or
older will be 37.4 percent, with 31.3 percent over 65. One in nine
Greeks will be over 80.
If Athens is
breaking under the weight of early retirement and pensions for seniors
today, her situation will be horrendous by mid-century.
Where, in 2010,
there were four Greeks under 60 for every Greek over 60, by 2050,
there will only be 1.7 Greeks under 60 for every Greek over 60.
The retirement age must rise, and pension benefits fall, or Greece
What of the
possibility of a new baby boom? Not likely, given that the fertility
rate in Greece has been below replacement levels for three decades
and is today only two-thirds of that needed to replace the present
2050, the fertility rate of Greek women will have been below zero
population growth for 80 years. One wonders: How can the U.N. estimate
that Greece's population will fall only 3 percent by then? Is the
U.N. assuming mass immigration from the Muslim world?
But what does
Greece have to do with the rest of Europe, or with us?
The median age of all of Europe is rising, and the demographic numbers
for Greece look positively rosy alongside those of the east, where
population declines in the tens of millions are projected for Russia
and Ukraine. And outside Iceland and Albania, not one nation of
Europe has a fertility rate sufficient to maintain its population.
Those that are projected to grow, like Britain, have to be relying
on Third World immigrants and their higher birth rate.
But while this
may maintain an existing population size, immigrants from the Maghreb,
Middle East, Caribbean, Latin America and South Asia, on average,
lack the language, technical skills and educational levels of native-born
The same is
true in the U.S., where peoples of European descent are expected
to drop to half the population by 2041. Hispanics will grow from
15 percent to near 30 percent of the U.S. population, and their
absolute numbers from 50 million to 135 million by 2050.
Hispanics and children of Hispanic immigrants have not, as of yet,
reached close to parity in educational achievement with Americans
of East Asian or European ancestry.
today's immigration with the immigration of 1890-1920. But another
major difference is this: We erected a Great Society over 50 years
that did not exist in 1920.
in the 1950s, a city of 800,000, half black and half white, food
stamps had not been invented. Families fed themselves. Today, in
a District of Columbia of 600,000, one in five are on food stamps.
Nationally, a program that did not exist in 1964 feeds one in seven
Americans, 44 million people, at a cost of $77 billion a year. And
that is but a small fraction of our new Great Society.
We are entering
a new "age of austerity," said British Prime Minister David Cameron
halcyon days are over. Government payrolls, as is happening from
California to New York to Washington, D.C., will have to be slashed.
Pension and health care benefits, not only for seniors, will have
to be reduced. Retirement ages will have to be raised. From food
stamps to foreign aid, programs are going to be capped and cut.
The left believes
it can get the money from the wealthy. But the top 1 percent of
Americans in income already carry 40 percent of the federal income
tax load, while the bottom 50 percent of wage-earners ride free.
This, too, will have to end.
We are either
going to man up and radically reduce government at all levels in
the United States, or the bond markets are going to do it for us,
as they are doing it today for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
We're all Greeks
J. Buchanan [send
him mail] is co-founder and editor of The
American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books,
the Right Went Wrong, and A
Republic Not An Empire. His latest book is Churchill,
Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. See his
© 2011 Creators Syndicate
Best of Patrick J. Buchanan