The Corner

U.S. Taxpayer Bailout of Greece?

The bailout of debt-ridden Greece has now morphed into the ongoing saga of our own government’s penchant to bail out any and every well-connected entity with an extended hand. 

Why? Because it appears the Obama administration wants to use U.S. tax dollars to bail out a nation that, as Heritage Foundation economist J.D. Foster describes it, is “in a financial death spiral brought on by years of amazingly irresponsible deficit spending and similar behaviors often found in socialist states to the detriment of their economies.”

Foster has posted a scathing critique of the IMF’s action. The specifics: The euro-zone countries (mostly Germany and France) will dedicate $106 billion to the bailout while the IMF wants to plus-up this with another $39 billion.

Foster explains:

The IMF, of course, is tapping funds provided by its own member governments to participate in the bailout. As it happens, the Obama Administration convinced the Congress to give the IMF an extra $100 billion in play money last year. 

One year ago, in fact, the Senate had an opportunity to strip that $100 billion out of an unrelated bill, but rejected an amendment by South Carolina senator Jim DeMint. In fact, it was a rout, with DeMint’s commonsense amendment losing by more than a two-to-one margin. Only 30 Senators stood by him (27 Republicans, two Democrats and Independent-Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont).

In light of recent events in Greece, and the growing likelihood that other European countries will soon follow suit, how many of the 64 senators who supported giving that $100 billion to the IMF wish they could take their votes back? “A Mediterranean contagion is starting that is likely to sweep up many sad actors in the region,” Foster notes. “Are US taxpayer dollars to be used to bail out these countries, as well?”

Critics on Capitol Hill are starting to take action. Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) are asking their colleagues to sign on to a letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner urging him to protect American taxpayers from such nonsense. “At a time when America is experiencing its worst economy in 30 years,” Pence and McMorris-Rodgers write, “it is simply unfair . . . to force American taxpayers to use their hard-earned money to prop up failed policies in relatively wealthy nations.” And, who knows, perhaps a motivated senator will offer an amendment to the financial regulation bailout bill now before the Senate.

The last word here goes to Foster: “If European leaders wish to be Greek patsies then that’s their business. American taxpayer dollars should have no place in this foolishness.”

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