When an election takes place during a time of crisis, the primary concern of voters isn’t always hotness.* For example, polls indicate that if the US presidential election were being held tomorrow, a junk shot wearing an American flag pin would win. Sure, a giant mass of shredded tires and golf balls might not be the hottest candidate, but for some reason Americans are really worried about oil spills right now.They’re also worried about the economy, and it would be nice to have a president who could eliminate our national debt by rolling over our creditors and crushing them.**
Given that Greece is teetering on the verge of economic collapse, I can hardly blame them for electing George Papandreou, the only prime ministerial candidate who looked unlikely to borrow billions of dollars and then default on his loan. (As opposed to, say, this guy.) What the Greek people did not count on, however, is that by electing someone who looked stern and fiscally responsible, they might have accidentally elected someone who actually is stern and fiscally responsible.
Shortly after taking office, Prime Minister Papandreou announced his plan to rein in Greece’s massive budget deficit by instituting a series of sensible and well-thought-out austerity measures, including:
• Temporarily halting construction of the Superacropolis.
• Reforming Greece’s nearly bankrupt pension system by piling everyone over the age of 61 into a large, hollow, wooden horse and presenting it as a gift to Turkey. Take that, Turkey!
• Cutting down on expensive parliamentary elections by extending the prime minister term length from 4 years to 80 years.
These proposals have proven wildly unpopular with the Greek people, most of whom support a simpler, two-step plan:
1. Pretend to pass austerity measures to trick the EU into lending them more money.
2. When it is time to pay back the loan, change the name of the country to “Breece” so the EU can’t find them.
When protesters criticized Papandreou’s austerity measures and called for the implementation of the “Breece” plan, the prime minister responded by saying that he had been implementing the Breece plan, and thanks a lot for blowing his cover.
In conclusion, there is a lot of blame to be spread around for the Greek financial crisis. One thing that’s certain, though, is that you can’t blame Greece, any more than you can blame JD and me for taking out a 28.8 million dollar loan so we could purchase the space shuttle Atlantis. (Seriously, how were we supposed to know that loan was a bad idea? We’re not fancy accountants with graphing paper. We’re just regular people who want to live in a space shuttle.)
*Unless the crisis is an emergency prime minister beauty pageant. Or an impending ice age.
**Plus, it just looks so patriotic wearing that American flag pin. It draws a sharp contrast to our current president, who wears a Kenyan flag pin. (For the record, Obama asserts that this is not because he prefers Kenya to America, but because he prefers the Kenyan flag to the American flag, because it is a lot cooler looking. And, let’s face it, he’s right.)