American poet Edgar Allan Poe long ago penned the lines, "... the glory that was Greece/And the grandeur that was Rome."
Today, Greece and Italy seem farther still from their greatest days of glory and grandeur. Both are suffering catastrophic economic troubles.
Why? They are deep in debt, and nobody wants to go through the painful reductions in government spending and other austerity measures necessary to turn things around.
Italy's credit rating is in danger of falling, and the European Union is struggling to agree on some sort of new bailout for Greece, whose possible bankruptcy is threatening all Europe directly - and the rest of the world indirectly. Some other countries in Europe are in a similar bind.
But we in the United States needn't look down our noses at Greece, Italy or the rest of Europe. That's because we share all too many of their troubles. (See the editorial above.) Those nations may be further along the path to fiscal ruin than we are, but we are moving in the same direction if we will not get our federal spending under control and begin the hard task of reducing our disastrous national debt.
If we don't want our own nation's "glory" and "grandeur" to be spoken of in the past tense, we need to act now. As a less poetic saying goes, "The wolf is at the door."