It is hard to resist the best news in Los Angeles in a long time — finally a new owner for the Dodgers. McCourt may become the first person to buy a major team and sell it for over twice what he paid and lose a fortune on the deal. How is it possible to lose so much money?
First, he bought the team on credit (typical management decision to leverage your company).
Second, he took money out of the team (in many ways, but paying salaries to self and family for little real work, charging what are really personal expenses to the team, and other money that only the IRS will really know how it was done) which drove up the debt level. He was not taking cash profits out of the team. One tax technique is to call it return of capital (of course all the capital he put up was borrowed).
Third, he managed the business very poorly.
All three of these show up so often in other companies — over leverage, payments to executives, poor management — that it reflects on the overall quality of corporate management.
Greece fits the first and last (generally the leaders have not looted the treasury in the manner of Libya and Iraq) so this is not just a US problem.