Several European countries --first Iceland, then Ireland, now Greece,etc. -- are mired in inescapable debt and bankrupt nations, the result of crashing banks, bank bailouts, and soaring unemployment. The U.S. and U.K. watch from a distance, knowing their turn is next.
Recently, Moody’s released their notorious “misery index” — the nations that are most sunken in debt and least able to pay it back, requiring that “special measures” be taken to prove to investors that these governments are able to repay their loans.
The biggest losers of the misery index were not surprises and included Iceland, Ireland, and Greece But ranking right behind bankrupt Iceland was the United States: the once-proud super-power.
The U.S. and the U.K. need not make immediate cuts like Greece, Ireland, Spain, but they must make immediate plans to make major cuts, explains Moody’s chief of rating nations’ credit, Pierre Cailleteau: “…this will be the year  where both the U.S. government and the U.K. government will have to articulate a credible plan to address their problems of large debt.”
John Chambers of Standard & Poor’s was more blunt: "The U.S. government, like the U.K. government, … is going to need to draw down fiscal stimulus, pare expenditures [make cuts], raise revenues [taxes] and probably take a look at [cuts] in their entitlement programs" [Social Security, Medicare, and Education]
[From a commentary by Shamus Cooke]