Indeed, Americans who want to see what happens when an economy collapses and money disappears should take a look at what is going on “across the pond,” where banks were closed simply so Greece citizens wouldn’t withdraw all of their money.
Greece’s problems could be our future if our leaders do not make serious changes to America’s policies.
Here are five important lessons that average Americans should learn:
1. Debt can enslave nations just as it enslaves individuals and families. The crisis in Greece developed because it was deep in debt, and because the nation’s economic policy is effectively under the control of its creditors, including the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Today Greece is on the verge of collapse because a government elected by the Greek people has refused to implement policy changes mandated by the creditors. Greece is no longer an independent nation; its creditors have control over it much like an occupying army would.
This should be a wakeup call for Americans because the federal debt in the United States has been estimated at $18.5 trillion, according to the US Treasury Department. That number will grow to $21.6 trillion by the end of 2015, according to the website USGovernmentdebt.us.
2. The government can shut down the banking system or pose restrictions on it anytime it wants in an effort to prevent runs or panics. NBC reported that the Greek government issued the following draconian banking restrictions on Monday:
Banks originally were scheduled to stay closed for a week, from June 29 to July 6. Americans who say this cannot happen here should study their history. On March 6, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Proclamation 2039, which effectively stopped all bank transactions in the nation.
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“For an entire week, Americans would have no access to banks or banking services,” Robert Jabaily of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston wrote of the so-called Bank Holiday of 1933. “They could not withdraw or transfer their money, nor could they make deposits.”
Cash withdrawals from ATMs in Greece were limited to $60 per card per day. Just imagine trying to buy groceries and gas for your family with just $60. But there’s a bigger problem: At least a third of ATMS are out of cash.
3. Government benefits such as Social Security can suddenly be cut off at any time. NBC reported that the Greek government had stopped pensions to senior citizens on Monday. One of the reasons why bank branches were closed was that large numbers of retired people showed up trying to collect their pensions in cash the government did not have.
4. The rich and the ruling elite will always have exemptions. Credit and debit cards issued by foreign banks were not affected by the restrictions. Tourists and those from out of the country could withdraw all the money they wanted from Greek ATMs.
The Banking Transactions Approval Committee can grant anyone permission to move his or her money outside the country. That means the wealthy can move their money, while the average person is stuck.
5. Retailers can suddenly stop taking credit and debit cards. Credit and debit cards were still working in Greece on Monday, but many businesses were not accepting them. Quite a few businesses, in fact, were demanding nothing but cash, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The lessons we can learn from Greece are clear: the banking system can suddenly shut down and money can disappear overnight. The government can shut down banks and prevent you from getting your own money.
Do you believe American is headed the way of Greece? Share your thoughts in the section below: