Well, that remains to be seen, but maybe. Just maybe the European Union has realized that this crisis has brought them very close to failure and that it ain’t over yet. Maybe they are sufficiently shocked into strictly enforcing the sanctions that are the conditions for the Greek bailout, which look pretty comprehensive. And maybe the difficult choices that are being forced on the European polity will begin to reverse the 50-year binge of profligacy. If it ends up being just a bailout of the entitlement state, then the downward spiral will not only continue, but will accelerate, and the EU can forget about further unity and start to seriously consider its opposite. And don’t forget that Greece is not the only severe financial problem on Europe’s hands, just the most extreme and immediate, not to mention the well known demographics and the ravages of multiculturalism that have been headed in the wrong direction for over a generation.
And let’s not miss the lessons here for the U. S. In looking at the conditions imposed on the Greeks for the bailout, the following interesting ones emerge: Cut budget deficit by 11% of GDP by 2013 and to no more than 3% by 2014; cut public sector pay and pensions; raise average retirement age; increase value-added taxes; deregulate the labor market; privatize some state industries; cut public investment; crack down on tax evasion. Except for the increased value-added taxes, it occurs to me that this is a pretty good list. We should try some of it here.