Mitt Romney apocalyptically proclaimed in Monday night's debate, “We’re headed toward a Greece-like collapse. This economy has failed.”
But economists agree that the economic situation in Greece is much more dire that it is in the United States, with the country teetering on the brink of default last summer, its budget deficit reaching 12.7 percent of GDP in 2009 and its bonds getting a junk rating by Standard and Poor’s. Exacerbating matters, it was revealed that the government of Greece had masked economic statistics for years to keep with European Union monetary guidelines.
As National Journal's economic correspondent Jim Tankersley wrote in July, “The United States is nowhere near insolvency, and its borrowing costs remain dirt cheap.”
America’s debt load is mounting, and budget projections suggest it will balloon in coming years as baby boomers retire, triggering safety-net spending that will vastly outstrip tax receipts. But the United States faces nowhere near the magnitude, or the complexity, of Greece's borrowing crisis.
The European’s crisis greatest threat is that it could send powerful shock waves through global markets and drag down an already fragile recovery in the United States. The U.S. economy is slowly but surely improving, with the unemployment rate dropping to 8.5 percent — a three-year low — in December and capping a six-month stretch when 100,000 or more jobs were created each month.