Friday, December 11, 2015

Could Europe's Financial Problems Come To The US?

The riots in Greece, France, Ireland and most recently the UK are concerning from afar but scary for those in the middle of the ruckus. Imagine how Prince Charles and his wife felt when so-called disgruntled students attacked their car shouting, "Off with their heads." Shades of the French Revolution of 1789. Will this kind of civil unrest make its way across the Atlantic to our shores? What can be done to avert this potential problem?

Economic brush fires continue to plague the European Union. Demonstrations in the streets have spread, with few exceptions, from country to country. Individual nations are in dire financial condition, so they are beginning to cut services and benefits, ranging from slashing government spending to raising the retirement age to boosting college tuition. This caused union workers and students to protest with increasing violence.

Since the end of WWII, European countries have emerged as societies dependent on the government to provide citizen with entitlements throughout their lives. These practices have led them to the brink of bankruptcy. Many economist see Europe's problems as a warning of things to come in the United States if our government continues to increase spending on programs that have resulted in an unstable financial situation.

If the uproar over extending the current tax rate is any indication of what to expect once the new Congress begins its work, America is in for fierce partisan battles in Washington. But the bigger problem may be what happens if the government finally agrees to make the hard decisions such as spending cuts, scrapping existing problems, cutting back on services and reducing the government payroll including worker benefits and pensions.

Public employee unions will fight passage of anything that affects their members at the federal, state and municipal levels. In addition, the unemployed, those receiving other government aid, students and seniors are expected to rise up in varying degrees to rebel against reduction in programs close to their hearts. And, if run-away inflation combined with increased taxes or fees are added to the equation, the entire population will be up-in-arms. It will not be a pretty site.

The administration must monitor the events in Europe and share its analysis with both the Congress and the American people. We must understand the severity of the financial problems this country will experience if the bleeding is not stopped - now. If the US economy is not sound, everyone loses. Extending the current cuts for all taxpayers is the first step. Following that, belt-tightening is needed by all levels of government. Businesses and individuals have already done this. If everyone is in this together, common sense may prevail.

Those 65+, the New Seniors, grew up in households that knew how to sacrifice. We learned how to live through good and bad times. Our parents left us a solid nation and we enjoyed the fruits of their labors. We must do whatever it takes so our grand children and their children can experience the American dream not the European nightmare.

Don Potter is a Philadelphia native and 50 year veteran of the advertising agency business. Now living in Los Angeles, he has written two novels in retirement and frequently writes and speaks on marketing issues. Potter is the founder and editor-in-chief of, the first online magazine dedicated to those 65+. articles provide thoughts, comments and opinions designed to spark thinking, foster discussion and stimulate debate. The editorial content features general news and information as well as videos of interest to the burgeoning 65+ audience. A touch of nostalgia is also included. Learn more by logging on to

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