It is pretty clear that Greece, and Europe, face an untenable situation. That conclusion should hardly be startling. However much European Union (EU) officials deny it, default forms the basis of virtually every headline on European finances.

Certainly Greece, which adopted more austerity measures in June, will default without substantially more help from the EU or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or both. Worse for Europe, a Greek default threatens fear of contagion about other, already precarious, members of the union — Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and more recently, even Belgium. In many characterizations, people call for Greece to pay the price of its profligacy. But it is not just Greece or the vulnerable European periphery that will suffer. No matter how the situation is handled, it seems Germany and the other prosperous EU members cannot avoid the expense and the pain.

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