The Corner

‘Europe’s Debt: America’s Crisis’



Free to Choose Media sends along notice of new program potentially of interest to NRO readers:

Airing this fall on public television (as well as online from November 1-15, 2012 at, Europe’s Debt: America’s Crisis? is a timely and provocative new hour-long program that explores the relationship and parallels between the current European debt crisis and the U.S. economy today.  Produced by Free to Choose Media and hosted by Swedish economist and author Johan Norberg and American economist Donald J. Boudreaux, the program presents insights from a new generation of young thinkers as well as on-the-street interviews with citizens currently facing real-life economic challenges. All are keenly aware that it is they who will inherit the current dire economic situation if solutions are not implemented.

Norberg and Boudreaux travel to Sweden, Greece, Brussels and the United States in search of answers to the questions raised by Europe’s current economic crisis, interviewing ordinary citizens as well as prominent individuals who have tried to solve these problems from within the system. Participants include former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker and former European Commissioner Fritz Bolkestein. These segments are interwoven with footage shot at an economic conference in Malmö, Sweden, Norberg’s hometown, where a wide range of opinions surface about the reasons for the current European crisis, its potential to affect the United States, and what can be done to turn the tide.


Norberg visits Athens, ground zero for the current European economic woes, where one university graduate sadly reveals her unrealized dream of a becoming a pharmacist. “Now I just hope I get 30 Euros in eight hours by becoming a waitress,” she says. “I don’t know what I will do.”

Economist Boudreaux visits California and Washington, D.C. to assess the possible impacts of the European crisis on the U.S. In Washington, he interviews former United States Comptroller General David Walker. “Financial literacy is a particular problem in the United States and it’s even a bigger problem in the Congress. There’s no way an American family or an American corporation could run its finances like the U.S. government,” Walker tells Boudreaux. “Too many of our elected officials, no matter how well-intended, are career politicians…they don’t want to lose their job. A lot of them don’t have the answers to these problems or, if they do, they involve tough choices.”

In California, Boudreaux visits Stockton, now teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. He meets with David Crane of Govern for California, a non-partisan organization that seeks to promote candidates with enough financial literacy to understand the state’s economic problems and the courage to promote solutions that might not be popular in the short term.

That concept is echoed by many interviewed in the program: thinking about winning the next election will not provide the long-term solutions needed to fix the world’s debt woes.  As Norberg concludes, “We’re not talking about numbers when we talk about this. It’s really about people. It’s about their dreams. It all comes down to that young woman I met in Greece. She wanted to own a drugstore and now she’s content just being a waitress. And our way of dealing with this crisis will decide the fate of her and millions like her.”


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