Why is America not like Italy?
Here it is, in the simplest of terms. 68% of American debt is "owned" by individual citizens. We Americans have taken on a lot of personal debt - whether in the form of mortgages we could not afford or credit card debt or student loans. So all this talk about cutting government spending to address the nation's debt only concerns 32% of the problem.
Italians - and most Europeans, other than Brits - are surprisingly debt free. The borrowing that Italy has done has been almost exclusively done by the government. So, here in the US, we have debt equivalent to 99.6% of Gross Domestic Product (the total value of our economy) while Italy stands at 118% of GDP. BUT - more than half of our debt has nothing to do with the government, whereas almost all of Italy's is directly government related.
This is why... a) cutting government spending here in the US is not the answer to all our problems. b) Republicans, who say it is, are simply WRONG.
This is also why austerity packages may work in Europe and not here. Over there the relatively debt-free citizens can afford to pay more in taxes etc because they are not burdened with personal debt. Here, only the wealthy have money to spare - which is why asking the rich to simply return to levels of taxation they were comfortable with in the past, and for corporations to stop abusing loopholes, make all the sense in the world. You simply cannot get more out of people already in debt. That's not economics it's plain common sense. Something sorely missing from the absolute crap being talked by all the Republican presidential candidates.