June 29, 2011 at 6:44 PM EST - Updated June 24 at 1:36 PM
What's going on in Greece, the world's oldest democracy, offers a disturbing view into what lies in store for other western nations including the United States if we fail to rein in big government spending.
Following days of rioting in the streets of Athens and a 48 hour general strike called by unions, the Greek Parliament finally this week approved a package of painful austerity measures necessary to keep that nation from bankruptcy.
The plan involves tax increases, big wage cuts and other steps demanded by the European Union before it would authorize the billions needed to bail out the Greek economy.
What happened to the Greek economy is simple. For decades it has operated as an entitlement state; providing it's citizens with subsidized medical care, generous pensions, early retirement, and other costly programs.
Fully one-quarter of its entire work force is employed by the government and, thanks to its government bureaucracy many Greeks don't pay any income tax at all.
What has happened to Greece ought to be a sobering lesson, no nation can spend money it doesn't have, not for long anyhow and get away with it.