... to our failed self-denial.
The Europeans are facing rising borrowing costs. In a moral sense, this is mathematics enforcing what they as a society could not - the denial of desires. They wanted socialized medicine, so they took it. The wanted plump retirements, so they took them. Like children whose parents have given up on discipline, they've grabbed everything for themselves. Now the stern hand of the market is coming down on them to restore the discipline they threw away in a frenzy of selfishness that they claimed was "compassion."
We're experiencing the same thing here as municipalities go bankrupt, national super committees fail to agree on even the most modest of restrictions and states face massive budget cuts.
Scarcity is the natural order of things and you can only throw self-denial away for so long before external realities force it on you again.