If the United States wants to help Europe find a way out of its current debt crisis, we must be a strong, world economic leader, not merely the lender of last resort.

American taxpayers sent $40 billion to Greece last year, through the International Monetary Fund, to stave off an economic collapse. But the bailout did not prevent Greece’s day of fiscal reckoning. It only delayed it. Austerity measures are still needed throughout Europe’s socialized economy and the debt contagion has not been stopped. Financial chaos has spread from Greece to Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain, and it now threatens the very future of the 17-member euro zone.

Undeterred, President Obama last month told the press after breaking from a closed-door meeting with European leaders, “the United States stands ready to do our part to help them resolve this issue.” He would do better to focus his attention stateside. The most dangerous threat to the U.S. economy is not across the pond. It’s in the swampland of Washington, D.C.

The very problems that have roiled Europe’s economy are coming to a slow boil in the U.S. Just as European leaders must limit deficit spending, reform unfunded entitlement programs, and resolve the underlying systemic problems in their financial systems, so must the politicians in Washington. Yet the Obama administration is burning taxpayers at each end of the dollar by bailing out failed socialist policies abroad and, at the same time, forcing them into place here at home.

Although every country’s finances are unique, the U.S. is unquestionably in the danger zone.

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