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'Tenuous conclusions' drawn in letter about Greece's economic problems
Joan Gorner drew two tenuous conclusions from the current fiscal crisis in Greece. First is the implication that health care was a primary cause of its crisis, and, as a result, Greece must privatize it. Second, that Greece provides an acute lesson for the United States after the passage of our own health care law, which she believes will lead to “bankruptcy”. Her arguments ignore a number of salient facts.
First, Greece is being forced to slash all government programs, not just health care. In addition, Greece’s spending on government programs was fairly average by European standards. A number of Euro-zone countries spend more and have economies that are stable. Indeed, the larger problem Greece has always faced is its inability to collect revenue. Bureaucratic corruption, graft, and tax evasion account for nearly 30 percent of their gross domestic product. Couple this to major losses of tourism and merchant maritime dollars due to the worldwide recession, and Greece was an economic time bomb. In other words, to lay the blame solely on health care, or other social programs, is highly misleading.
As to the second assumption, Gorner provides no evidence to support herself, and is contradicted by the Congressional Budget Office.