President Obama's game of financial chicken with the Republican party isn't the first time a nation's economy has headed toward the precipice.
In a 2010 Vanity Fair article, Michael Lewis arrived in Greece, the country hit hardest by the euro crisis. “In addition to its roughly $400 billion (and growing) of outstanding government debt, the Greek number crunchers had just figured out that their government owed another $800 billion or more in pensions," Lewis reported. "Add it all up and you got about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek. Against $1.2 trillion in debts, a $145 billion bailout was clearly more of a gesture than a solution. And those were just the official numbers; the truth is surely worse.”
If there was anybody who should have avoided the mortgage catastrophe, it was I,” Edmund Andrews admitted in an essay from The New York Times Magazine. “As an economics reporter for The New York Times, I have been the paper’s chief eyes and ears on the Federal Reserve for the past six years. I watched Alan Greenspan and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, at close range. … But in 2004, I joined millions of otherwise-sane Americans in what we now know was a catastrophic binge on overpriced real estate and reckless mortgages.”
You are by nature an optimist, a happy idiot,” Byliner Plus author Jon Krakauer wrote in a 2010 essay how we get by despite impending doom. “No personal disaster or run of bad luck has ever shaken your faith that the march of time brings progress. You believe the wicked eventually get their due. You’re confident that truth will come to light. You’ve never doubted that a hundred years hence, the world will be a better place. Until lately. Lately you’ve found yourself wondering if the end of civilization might be at hand, and you are not alone in your apprehension.”