Across the Atlantic, several European Union countries joined together by the same currency, the Euro, are scrambling to prevent a financial meltdown.  Wine, cheese or buffed-out gladiators may not be able to ward off a credit and banking crisis that could suck in the rest of the globe.

Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are immersed in financial quicksand searching for a life line. The true tragedy is Greece, a glutton for currency.  After two infusions of billions of Euros they still refuse to tighten their belts and may be the first to topple.

Italy is playing Marco Polo with China, begging for help.   France is also wooing China to back their banks.  China loves French wine, a trophy of Chinese success, and their purchases have rescued the French wine industry, and we’re not talking the boxed variety.  Hey, they are the only country that can afford it.

Spain, at one time thought to be one of the most stable of the European Union is now immersed in their own housing crisis of magnificent proportions.  Portugal and Ireland are hanging on by the threads of their failing banks.

All of these countries followed our financial models and monetary programs designed by our ultra smart soothsayers:  buy derivatives, mortgage houses, spend today with no worries about tomorrow.

In the USA, when we need a few bucks to buy, or to give our banks a little spending cash, we run to the presses.  Viola! Our dollars appear.  It’s kinda like the preverbal money tree in my backyard.  Whenever my kids want a few things, instead of paying off my credit cards, I spend to keep them happy.

The countries in the European Union can’t create their own money to buy bonds, or bail out our banks or assist the rich to achieve more wealth like America.

In the meantime, I’m going to pull a few dollars from my money tree and buy a box of wine.   And watch this reality show in gorgeous European locations I may never get to visit.  Their fate could determine ours.

Diane Gerdes