Who will hear Greece’s cry?

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was in Athens on Thursday. It was the first visit to Greece by the head of any of the troika elements since the country agreed its first bailout in May 2010. Greece’s isolation within Europe could not be highlighted or summed up in a better way.

Barroso brought kind words of support and messages about growth, which the Greek government will treat as a useful display of solidarity in these difficult and lonely times. But the EC chief’s visit was eclipsed by the presence of the top troika officials in Athens.

Greece’s immediate fate rests in the hands of these three men. The words this trio includes in their review of the Greek program, due by the beginning of September, is likely to determine whether eurozone leaders and the IMF board approve the release of more loan installments.

It is clear that patience with Greece is wearing thin. Perhaps for some it has already snapped. The troika has reportedly found Greece is behind on 210 of the 300 reform targets. On the fiscal side, there is also concern that the goals will not be reached without new cuts this year and that debt will not be sustainable without a new restructuring.

The Greek government will argue that this has been a traumatic year. The country has gone through two bitter national elections and the economy is shrinking faster than anyone predicted. The three-party coalition formed last month hopes that this will be enough to convince Greece’s lenders to show some understanding and extend the fiscal adjustment period by two years, to 2016.

However, the government will have to do more than plead. While accepting its shortcomings, Greece also has some significant steps to show. The primary deficit, for instance, continues to fall. June’s budget execution figures show it beating the target by almost 2 billion euros. Tax revenues are expected to hit 6.5 billion euros rather than the 5.1 billion originally planned. And, despite objections from some ministers, the government has put together an 11.5-billion-euro package of spending cuts for the next two years.

On the reforms front, where the key problems lie, the coalition has tried to show it wants to move at a quicker pace. It has installed a new head at the privatizaton fund and has committed to selling state assets. It announced this week the closure of 21 public organizations as part of a streamlining of the civil service.

But there is an economic reality underlying all this, which is that Greece’s economy is locked in a downward spiral. The recession is expected to reach up to 7 percent of GDP this year. This means it would have contracted by more than a fifth since the crisis began. Unemployment is heading towards 25 percent and retailers expected their revenues to be halved.

To impose further deep cuts on this depressed economy is torture. But to end the torture, someone has to hear your cries and be prepared to help. Currently, the cries from isolated Greece are not reaching anyone’s ears. Perhaps Barroso heard it. If he did, the question is if anyone is in turn prepared to listen to him.

Nick Malkoutzis

This article appeared in the economic section of Portuguese weekly newspaper Expresso on Saturday, July 28

28 responses to “Who will hear Greece’s cry?

  1. And help might be on the way.

    The OSI – Official Sector Involvement is in the works. This might further relieve public sector debt by as much as euro 100 Bil.

    The rest of the pressure in Greece is simply a German desire to minimize losses. Germany thinks that by playing the unyielding schoolmaster the student might stay the course.

    It’s o.k. Greece has dealt with a lot dumber people throughout its long history. Dealing with northern barbarians is just a walk in the park.

  2. I have not heard anything about China’s role in all of this. Is China involved in any way in “listening to Greece’s cries”? After all, China’s role in the Greek economy is very significant and their share of Greece’s current account deficit is about the same as that of Germany (15% of total). Since Greece pays a lot of interest to Germany but probably not much to China, mathematics would suggest that the current account deficit with China, without including interest, is probaby the highest of all of Greece’s trading partners.

    I find it amazing how at times when monies are thrown around in 3-digit BEUR dimensions, there wouldn’t be a few billion available (say 10-20 billion) to help where help is really needed. That would be a peanuts amount for the giving countries when compared with all the other amounts.

    My guess is that one of the reasons this is not done is that potential givers don’t know in which way to give the money so that it ends up where it is supposed to end up. I recently read an article suggesting that this is why Greek-Americans are very hesitant to come up with money.

    Just thinking out loud: perhaps Greece should prepare a hypothetical calculation how high unemployment benefits would need to be in different individual cases in order to allow the unemployed and their families a minimum standard of dignified living. That would obviously be a hot discussion but reasonable people ought to be able to come up with reasonable calculations. If one then took the difference between actual benefits and the hypothetical ones, that would be the addtitional amount needed. I can’t believe that this would be more than 1 BEUR per month (probably a lot less).

    So the real question, it seems to me, is not that so much money is involved in providing “real help” for the most needy (or the greatest victims of the crisis). I guess it’s probably more the question of how that money would get through to the right people (without “losing too much value in the process of moving it”).

    Perhaps it shouldn’t flow through the regular budget. Perhaps a structure similar to the US where unemployment benefits are not paid out of state budgets. either.

    I think something like that would be a very plausible case to present to the tax payers’ of giving countries.

  3. Klaus:

    My understanding is that the Russians, Chinese and others might be willing to participate in european instruments, if they existed. For example a eurobond or equivalent; they would be more than happy to purchase large quantities of such.

    However, they don’t like to invest on an individual basis because it raises issues of favoritism. Because if they invest X in Greece then why not even larger amounts in Italy and Spain? And of course if they do so in another country they will become targets of immediate criticism (such as that they are trying to over-influence the politics of such country and the like).

    All such concerns will go away, once an unified instrument such as a eurobond exists.

    You know, that I am not making the case here for a Eurobond for Greece because my position is that at 2% financing Greece has already the benefits of a Eurobond or its equivalent.

    Therefore if you wish Chinese involvement you might as well address Merkel and ask her what is she doing about it? Because we don’t understand her actions nor her strategy nor her plan – if one exists that is.

    • Dean, I don’t wish a Chinese involvement. I wouldn’t even be in a position to argue one because all I know is that China would appear to benefit from having Greece as a trading partner more than Germany does according to the figures. So if my thinking is valid, then that should be Greece’s thinking and no one else’s, not even Merkel’s.

      So what would have to be done if my above assumption of China’s benefiting from Greece as a trading partner as much or more than EU-partners? The PM should take a plane to Peking; present the case; remind his conversation partners that everyone should put in his fair share and see what they say. If they say yes, but only jointly with the Troika, then tell him to get in touch with the Troika. If they are prepared to deal directly, then deal. If they are not prepared to do anything, see how the commerical partnership with China can be reduced for the benefit of those who put in their fair share.

      Let’s always bear in mind whose responsibility is to do what. But you are right. If someone continually takes the position “there is nothing that I can do on my own”, then it won’t happen.

  4. Greece does not need compassion it needs a clear vision and a road map to prosperity. Unfortunately, the vested corrupt interests of the few have resulted in policy decisions with disastrous effects for the country and its citizens. It is not the implementation of the evil Troika directives but unequivocally misplaced Greek government choices of where to cut and whom to tax. When this selection had the inevitable depressive outcome, politicians blamed the Troika, the ultimate scapegoat.
    Greece needs to understand its problems, a made in Greece unsustainable deficit which was condoned long enough to nurture a second monster in the way of its debt. Both of these are clearly successive Greek government creations being blessed of course by the easy money of the EU.
    As masters of our own predicament and beneficiaries of unprecedented debt forgiveness, we need to ask ourselves what is the road to restoration, embracing EZ membership in a world economic environment hostile to new initiatives.
    1- Greece needs a simple tax system which punishes tax avoidance and evasion not based on Objective (miscued) values or Inferred income which are both subject to increased bureaucracy and distortions. A system conducive to the promotion of private investment.
    2- Greece needs to become extraverted to promote foreign direct investment because it’s highly expansionary and deficit reducing particularly through the process of privatizations. To claim this would be a fire sale of Greek government assets is a complete misrepresentation of facts playing to the aspirations of political demagoguery and private interests.
    3- Greece has to reduce and shut down redundant public companies created for no other purpose but to gain politicaly leveraged votes, a major misallocation of scarce resources.
    4- Above all Greece’s legal system must be simplified protected and enforced in every aspect of everyday life. The notion that illegal behavior remains unpunished is the incubator of corruption.First & foremost though Greek politicians need to take this initiative by abolishing immunity, as the minutest symbolism of the sacrifices demanded of its people.
    Greece can. Will it?

    • All this is nice and good, but no one asked for statements of ideology.

      It’s a major German miscalculation and malpractice we are trying to correct here.

      The question was not “what will you do if ever elected Greek Prime Minister”. It was “what specific action do you need to take now to turn things around”:

      http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_28/07/2012_454291

      • “What specific action do you need to take now to turn things around?” – please correct me, Dean, if I am wrong but my impression is that R. G. Danon has just listed 4 of the more important ones.

    • R. G. Danon

      Since you speak of “masters of our own predicament” I have to assume that you are Greek. And as such, I want to pay you a compliment for what you have said.

      Lest there be no misunderstanding — there is no way that Greece can make it out of this crisis alone. By the same token, no one else alone can “take” Greece out of its crisis. It is not an either-or proposation (“they have do do everything” or “we have to do everything”) but, instead, both are different sides of the same coin. I am baffled when I see so many efforts trying to make them appear like they were different coins. They belong together and both have to fulfil their respective parts.

      I have to say this. The new Greek government puzzles me a bit. They really haven’t made the obvious blunders yet, which one might have expected. On the contrary, the soundbites which have come out of the new government are actually surprisingly reasonable. They don’t seem to be intent on provoking. The question is whether, at the end of the day, words could be transformed into actions and result or not, and I guess we won’t have to wait another 2 years to find out.

      The most important thing for Greece is not to show that it doesn’t need any more money from abraod. Greece will need lots of more money from abroad for years to come (current account deficit). The most important thing is to show that the foreign money which will be needed for quite some time will be put to good use. That case has not yet been made convincingly.

    • Come on Klaus, you are wrong and you know it.

      You call this weak soup of long and short term targets mixed together according to the pseudo-recipe a la Germania a serious proposal?

      The mere fact that you and you buddy here are mixing 10-year objectives with what’s to be done next week or next month, disqualifies you both from any serious debate.

      And isn’t this the exact German position only restated a bit which prompted you immediately to start dispensing congratulations just because it had a familiar ring to it?

      • Permit me to chuckle a bit, Dean. Or don’t you believe in first defining a destination before you start racing for it? In a Viennese cabaret they would sing: “We don’t know where we are going but the faster we drive, the sooner we will get there!”

        You once told me you had a plan how Greece could be turned around within 2 years. When I asked you for it, you said you would not be so dumb as to share it with the general public. There are a couple of people in the Greek government you might want to share it with. But I hope your plan is more than a scheme how to prove that Germany, from the start, was out “to kill Greece”.

        By the way, it wouldn’t hurt your own credibility, I don’t think, if you didn’t immediately discredit people who think a bit differently from you. Mind you, it’s your credibility I am talking about (even though you may be right) and not that of the others (even though they may be wrong).

      • Klaus:

        Let’s talk about credibility then, if you so wish.

        Are you trying telling that your German diagnosis for Greece’s problems, which is nothing more than a series of incomplete and weak reasonings given by none other than PASOK to Merkel and team ( the original tattle tellers on their own Greek people), is a genuine assessment of the real problem?

        In other words are you trying telling me that a weak team of mediocre Greeks told your Berlin incompetents, is somehow an original and deep understanding of what’s ailing Greece?

        Who made you an expert on Greece? and why do you keep obsessing with what Greece needs to do?

        Are you trying telling us that you have Greece’s good in mind? or minimizing damage for your German bosses?

        And who asked you to have an opinion on matters that are so way out of your depth?

        And you want credibility gains from such? what credibility? You can’t even talk the a-b-cs of that is going on here and you demand attention for your persistent gestures of pulling on the pants of the grown ups?

        P.S. Of course there is a plan for Greece. And you expect it for free here? This is for the Samaras government to know and apply as it pleases. It’s not for people like you to ask and discuss government strategy in public space. You surely understand such, don’t you? Why don’t you call the government and see if they’d let you in on the plan? Why is this my responsibility to tell you?

  5. Adding to Nick’s thoughts, I would suggest that Greece should adopt a more active stance towards improving international perception by addressing two key issues, in my view, delivering and lack of communication.

    Delivering, as well as implementing, is perceived by our international partners as an area where Greece has generally failed. Unfortunately, each of them is interpreting ‘delivery’ in the way he defines targets (fiscal targets, structural reforms, public sector downsizing, privatisations etc) and since Greece has not succeeded consistently in most of them, it is apparent that their perception is that Greece has completely failed in its adjustment program.

    If there is a continuing delivery with small or big actions in most areas, implying that policies are adopted and then implemented, not only on major issues and/or measures, but repeatedly and not with long periods of stagnation, I think that the external perception would improve. If you are always delivering something on most areas, even with delays, they cannot argue that you are always postponing everything and just hope and wish for a future implementation. As Barroso stressed, “words are not enough; actions are more important”. The recent resolution of ATEbank issue, decided and implemented in one week, after >8 months of postponing any development, is an example, in my view, of ‘simple’ and decisive action. Furthermore, although ATEbank was not a big issue for the country, its resolution could pave the way for a restructuring of the domestic banking system and lead to substantive decisions on its recapitalisation.

    On lack of communication, I would point out an example re budget execution: Over the past 3 months, revenues are falling short of targets by €1bn, primary expenditure is better than target by €1.5bn, while primary and budget deficit are significantly beating targets (by €2bn and €2.4bn respectively in H1’12). Nevertheless, media emphasize only the revenue shortfall and repeatedly downplay, if not ignore and mislead, expenditure and bottom-line performance. A similar picture is also evident on monthly general government (gg) figures, with media primarily focusing on state arrears to the private sector, while gg fiscal performance is totally disregarded. Since nobody is officially refuting this widely spread impression, the general perception is that budget execution is completely derailed, while Greek taxpayers believe that their sacrifices have already zero result. Improving confidence and trust is not always a matter of future performance, but also highlighting recent positive developments.

  6. To Dean:

    What I was trying to convey was the exact opposite of what you perceived .

    Let me go over it again: We should not lay blaim on the Troika but on our own misconceived policy decisions which I outline. The sooner we realise this simple truth, the easier it will be to find the solutions the most important of which I have described. This may seem to you as ideology but its simple economics mixed with politics easily implemented provided there is the will.

    Stop the blaming game and implement

  7. It is short term opportunistic next day thinking which has brought on the demise of Greece. A recipe for disaster.

    It is through collective effort and a clear understanding of what is in the long term interests of Greece and its people that a road map can be drawn so that Greece can follow this road to prosperity.

    • Sorry Danon:

      You and Klaus need to try harder. Spain was a model country in terms of deficits(half of Germany’s %-wise in 2008) and today it lays in ruins because of the Merkel austerity nonsense.

      And you are telling me that Greece needs to try harder as the main problem? Are you nuts?

      You have Frau Ridiculous – a patented ignoramus – and her compound errors and omissions and you decided to run the “Greece needs to try harder” movie?

      What’s your education and IQ? I need both of them if I am to continue this conversation. Just like a traffic cap who stops you for speeding in the highway and asks for your driver’s license and registration, I am stopping you right know and ask for your education in economic matters and your IQ scale.

      • As a licensed internet traffic cop (yes, I can make up ridiculous claims to authority, too), I’m citing you for committing the logical fallacies of “ad hominem attack” and “appeal to authority” in a debate. I’d let you go, but the asking-for-the-IQ thing is so absurd that I cannot let it slide.

        As anyone with even the most basic familiarity with the IQ scale can tell you, it is at best piss-poor metric in any matter of intellect. Which is why you never hear professionals in politics or academia use it. Which, then again, leads me to question whether you are that capable in whatever you profess to be.

        Also, you told Klaus:
        “Of course there is a plan for Greece. And you expect it for free here? […] Why is this my responsibility to tell you?”

        Because you are the one making the claim. As the saying goes, “put up, or shut up.” Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof; your persistent refusal to substantiate any of your claims just makes you appear delusional.

      • Frauke.

        Since IQ is an off topic for you, let me restate the reason.

        No intelligent person will ever share information with the enemy.

        Germany and her citizens are no longer an allied or a neutral state for us. You are the enemy and you are going down(not “ifs” or “buts” about it).

        As simple as that. After your total defeat (which is forthcoming without a shred of a doubt) I would be more than glad to give you and others a complete and accurate recount of what you did wrong (which is just about everything).

  8. And so that we don’t lose track of the main issue here.

    “”If I were to assign a percentage chance to OSI in Greece happening, I would say 70 percent,” one euro zone official involved in the deliberations told Reuters.”

    and here is another admission about the non-intelligent PSI I have been telling you for months now (if I remember correctly I called the PSI – Possibly Stupidest Idea ever; so here is an official confirmation for you):

    “”The big mistake was that we didn’t manage to haircut the Greek government bonds that were in the investment portfolios of the national central banks. That was really, really stupid,” the official told Reuters.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-eurozone-greece-debt-ecb-idUSBRE86Q0LC20120727

  9. We are talking cross purposes. I say unless we realise our problems and find our made In Greece solutions collectively which will provide us with a long term strategy and in this way government can work in unison with society, that is, private initiative, the citizens of production etc, we will be simply patching holes to keep our miserable dingy afloat in the tempest.
    You on the other hand keep focusing on the dingy. Of course we must stay afloat and unquestionably the OSI will be involved one way or another as our situation is unsustainable this is obvious to the simplest mind, one thing is for sure though if we keep demanding forgiveness in exchange for broken promises and no commitments in complete anarchy, the patches you are miserably requesting will not be forthcoming. Wellcome the drachma

    • Absolutely, we do.

      Because the Made in Greece part is only 20% of the total problem, whereas the majority(80%) of it comes from abroad (EU policy and flawed euro architecture).

      And you could reform in Greece 1000 times if you like, but the way things are it won’t make a difference.

      Because the problem was never Greece. The problem since day one was and continues to be a banking liquidly problem across Europe and a competitiveness problem.

      And I am not saying to you to lose this wonderful opportunity to shame ourselves in order to improve things and make them better. What I am saying is: the “Greece reform thing” is a very small part of the total issue. To us it looks huge because we are suffering from it and of course the prevailing thought is that we could have avoided it if we had reformed sooner.

      But then you have Spain. Spain’s fiscal deficits at the beginning of the crisis were circa 30% of debt to GDP (vs. circa 60% of debt to GDP for Germany at the time). And yet Spain today is in ruins because of the wrong Merkel recipe of austerity.

      So even if we had reformed a long time ago, such would not be a guarantee that we could avoided what we are going through now. Not with the same severity or humiliation, but a flawed euro architecture was bound to manifest itself anyhow.

      Therefore, please try to understand what I am trying to say to you. I don’t object to reform. But it pains me to see my compatriots to be engaged at such task with exclusivity while the real guilty (Merkel and her crew) get away with murder. Because that’s precisely what the German game is. To have us fully distracted with their recipe of disaster while they continue to plunder and exclusively benefit from a flawed euro structure.

      And as such, my message is: Reform but don’t be stupid. Adherence to some arbitrary austerity targets makes us slaves and the Germans the thieves that got away. Catch the thieves and punish them first and then spend the next 10 years reforming all you want.

  10. Lets set things straight first of all.

    1- That the Euro experiment has its flaws is well documented and commented on by many a wise folk. This accelerated awareness has come to the limelight as a result of the world entering the financial crisis.It is also generally agreed that the future for Europe is through fiscal union and political union. To get there however, it is necessary for the most part that European economies have a set of common economic criteria that should converge.This implies set numbers for deficits and debt etc.
    2-This conspiracy theory that Germany and Merkel want to enslave the rest of Europe and hegemonize us all is cheap populist demagogy.On the contrary I find the inability of Greek political elite to identify and implement the right solutions for our country as the root of our problems.Playing only to their self interest & at the expense of the people of Greece.The Troika asked that we reduce our deficit, the mix of measures where decided by the totally incompetent and economically iliterate policy makers of the time.
    3-Spain’s problem is totally different to ours you are mixing apples and oranges.But since you have raised Spain’s problems lets digress a bit. Spain did indeed have a very low debt to GDP ratio prior to 2008 36% and a budget surplus. Both those figures have become a deficit of 9+% in 2011 and a debt to GDP of 70% which could grow to 90% for 2012 if bank recapitalisation is included something not yet resolved.Spain’s problem is similar to Ireland’s in that a financial problem transformed into a sovereign one as both countries opted to save their banking system but unlike the US unable to monetize it.It was excessive lending in the housing market which created both a housing bubble and structural growth problems which sets Spain and Ireland apart. I will not dwelve on what Spain is doing to tackle its problems only to highlight that Ireland is doing a better job with yields on its public debt now reaching manageable levels.Now coming back to Greece, the essence of our discussion, Greece’s banking problem is totally different.Greek banks where coerced to buying Government debt as a large token of their existence. It is the government that brought down the banks and bankrupted the system not the other way round.This is significant in that our problem stems from excessive government deficits created to buy votes and maintain and expand a public sector conditioned on the government for its well being a quid pro quo. To confine of course our problems to just excessive Government would be naive, however I reiterate it is important to understand where we stand and to try and collectively find the right solutions for our long term prosperity. For this to happen we must change attitude. We cant wish to stay in the European club without following most of its rules.At some point this club will request that we cede power to Brussels as a direct consequence of its existence will we be willing to adher to such a request when we are not even willing to deregulate? At the end of the day of course is who do you trust your own politicians or the European bureaucrats? United Europe is a high stakes learning experiment. Is it in our interest to want to help it succeed?

    • Danon:

      1. The architecture of the euro has many well known flaws but disregarded for years. The current crisis is a combined banking liquidity problem and a competitiveness problem.

      2. The accusation is not that Germany wants to enslave. Rather that its has profited handsomely and continues to support instability so that it can profit even more. Specific to Greece, the accusation is further refined to be that of a false recipe which has lead to the deliberate wrecking of an already weak economy. Malpractice, negligence and treble damages(since Germany acted as a monopoly) are the main charges against Germany re: Greece.

      As far as the “Greek problems” are concerned, we have known them for the last 30 years. When you have a large “graying” demographic profile and an abnormally large public sector it takes time to navigate out of. Look at Japan with debt to GDP in excess of 200% and already in its 3rd lost decade.

      3. No, I am not mixing apples and oranges. The austerity nonsense is the common denominator in all cases of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Cyprus, Malta and a few more to come. Meanwhile Germany makes out like a bandit on the backs of other EU nations. This got to stop. Now.

      And please stop making the German case under the guise of “caring for Europe and the European experiment”. Germany’s problems in defining its image are not Greece’s problems. What you are talking about are some unfulfilled German phantasies and desires which point straight to Germany’s own inferiority complex and frustrated existence. Tell me one thing that Germany ever attempted and brought it to a successful political conclusion. Since the days of WWI Germany is nothing more than a history of compound failure and attempts which begin impressively but then they fail miserably. Germany ought to be the caboose of the European train, not its unreliable locomotive.

      • How can we be part of a Europe lead by the Germans you describe? (This is just rhetorical you have provided the answer)

    • I have posted in my blog my feelings about this debate. Just in case you are interested.

      http://klauskastner.blogspot.co.at/2012/07/demagogues-and-others.html

  11. Not even the IMF can stand the Germans any longer. They are basically saying that they are unwilling to follow German nonsense.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d0c46062-d7dd-11e1-80a8-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz224Gn9Khi

    IMF can end its agony over Greece

    The International Monetary Fund fought hard and successfully to join the eurozone governments and the European Central Bank when a rescue for Greece was launched more than two long years ago. It has not been a happy experience. The Greek economy has underperformed growth and debt targets and is now enmeshed in a post-election tangle. Unless there is a sharp reduction in the disarray and denial among the fund’s European co-lenders, it is time the IMF handed the reins over to them.

    The IMF’s disquiet about Greece has been evident for more than a year. That in itself was a belated recognition of reality: it should have pushed from the outset for a restructuring of privately-held sovereign debt and insisted on a much more realistic view of how much economic growth a battered and sclerotic economy was likely to produce.

    Once the first Greek rescue had proved inadequate, the fund was persuaded to sign up to the second version this March only with great misgivings. It must not be bounced into joining in a third – or even continuing to disburse under the current programme – on the basis of yet more hopelessly optimistic debt sustainability projections and more inadequate plans for official financing to fill the gap.

    If the eurozone authorities want Greece to grow out of its debt burden without restructuring their own official loans to Athens, the IMF should invite them to take over the fund’s exposure and confine its own role to giving open and honest assessments of the ensuing rescue attempt. It could do so while reaffirming its confidence in other eurozone programmes.

    But the longer the IMF participates in a rescue it does not itself believe in, the greater the cost will be to its reputation and support outside the eurozone. Should any writedown on its lending even be proposed, it would enrage other shareholders, including the US and the big emerging economies. Its implementation would be a disaster, raising costs for other borrowers and in effect crippling the institution.

    On balance, the fund was right to take the risk of getting involved in Greece. It has offered unrivalled technical competence and has tried to inject a sense of reality into the proceedings. But the risks to its reputation have now begun to outweigh the limited good it has been doing. The eurozone has money. It needs an impartial and outspoken adviser, not a co-opted fellow creditor. The IMF should look at how to extricate itself from further bankrolling the Greek rescue.

  12. While sorting out this mess(and the attempt is ti do it with the same people who created it) is a greek issue, the troika proposals are not innocent -though of course they have no responsibility towards Greece , just trying to ensure they won’t lose their money, while the greek government has-:
    1) in order for the government to be ‘credible’ to its lenders, it has to be flat out fraudulent to its citizens(among many other ways when the government intervenes to change PRIVATE contracts and agreements). Mind you, the lenders give their money and get it back ith interest, the citizens do not.
    2) anyone who thinks the problem in Greece was wages, must be halluscinating. As a proof, in spite of all the wage cuts, the price of **greek** products is INCREASING.
    3) By focusing on wages, the government is losing both direct and indirect taxes, pension fund support and ensures than anyone who can, leaves. If this is in order to pay back the debt, then we’re talking new math. They can show perhaps that tax collection increased, but that’s only because they triple and quadrupole tax the income already taxed, focing people to use their savings to pay the new taxes. This is even more insane than the Syriza proposal to use the savings for development(except that Syriza has not shown the competence needed for that): at the end of the day you used the savings to pay back not even the existing debt, but the new loans, while in the other case you would at least be left with producing factories(if run by someone competent)
    4)The primary deficit is still there, so where is that money going? It’s used among other things to pay for judges who are untouchable and rule that pigs can fly, prosecutors who rule that arrested fugitives are not suspect of fleeing, committes who give furloughs to murderers serving life sentences who already fled on previous furloughs, spending 15M plus donnating a government land to build a mosque and pay the mufti for eternity (plus any other religion) , ignore their own rules to hire people with ‘connections’ and so on.

  13. > Greece’s immediate fate rests in the hands of these three men.
    Why? They are not your parents.

    Imagine, Greece wouldn`t expect money and dont pay back any money.
    IOgnore the depts and just take your fate back in your own hand.
    What would be your vision for greece?
    How could and should the country florish, if nobody subsidize it, but even all old depts are cut down to zero?
    As soon as I see such visions from greek people for greece and the will to realize these visions, I will get back hope for the country.

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