Greece Taken Over by Greeks

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Obama Administration

The elites of Europe made a mad dash for their smelling salts yesterday when the Greek people rebelled against the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission and elected politicians who promised to govern Greece for the benefit of Greeks, which of course is a crazy far-left radical idea that no sensible elitist would approve. The new members of Parliament and their new Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, ran on an anti-austerity platform that proposed the Greek people shouldn’t have to suffer for the sins of international finance.

Headline at the Wall Street Journal:

Greece Must Repay Debt, Europe Officials Say

Some Officials Concerned Syriza’s Election Win Could Encourage Other Antiausterity Movements

Ya think?

Krugman points out in his column today that the austerity measures crammed down Greece’s throat not only caused untold hardship for Greeks but left the country deeper in debt.

What went wrong? I fairly often encounter assertions to the effect that Greece didn’t carry through on its promises, that it failed to deliver the promised spending cuts. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, Greece imposed savage cuts in public services, wages of government workers and social benefits. Thanks to repeated further waves of austerity, public spending was cut much more than the original program envisaged, and it’s currently about 20 percent lower than it was in 2010.

Yet Greek debt troubles are if anything worse than before the program started. One reason is that the economic plunge has reduced revenues: The Greek government is collecting a substantially higher share of G.D.P. in taxes than it used to, but G.D.P. has fallen so quickly that the overall tax take is down. Furthermore, the plunge in G.D.P. has caused a key fiscal indicator, the ratio of debt to G.D.P., to keep rising even though debt growth has slowed and Greece received some modest debt relief in 2012.

Other commenters are skeptical that the new government can deliver what it promises, for a variety of reasons. But as Krugman says, ” in calling for a major change, Mr. Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves.”

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5 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 26, 2015 @12:12 pm

    I really, really hope that this works out for the Greek people!

    And as for the European Austerians, there’s only so much you can stomp on people, before they want to get some revenge by kicking you as hard as possible in your Euro-nuts!!!

    I was afraid that, somehow or other, a party of Greek Neo-Nazi Fascist goons would squeak out a win.

    Kind of like what I’m afraid might happen here in 2016, if the Republicans win the Presidency and keep both houses of the Congress – with a heavy dose of Christian Theocracy and, needless to say, plenty of Oligarchy and Plutocracy.

  2. Tom_b  •  Jan 26, 2015 @1:30 pm

    “And as for ….. Austerians, there’s only so much you can stomp on people, before they want to get some revenge by kicking you as hard as possible in ….. your nuts!!!”

    Tell that to US “Fox news” Republicans; we can’t get our darned bridges re-built. Thank goodness (and Obama) we got SOME stimulus when we did. Of course, Europe doesn’t have Citizens United or a rigid two-party system, and the populace, on average, is better educated and informed.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 26, 2015 @2:15 pm

    Tom_b,
    Europe also has less churches than America, and hence, less Christian craziness.
    And, even in England, Murdoch has less of an influence than he has in the USA.
    I also don’t know of too many Reich-Wing talk radio yakkers, like Rush and the rest of the bigoted and psychopathic whacko’s.

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 26, 2015 @2:15 pm

    Tom_b,
    Europe also has less churches than America, and hence, less Christian craziness.
    And, even in England, Murdoch has less of an influence than he has in the USA.
    I also don’t know of too many Reich-Wing talk radio yakkers, like Rush and the rest of the bigoted and psychopathic whacko’s.

  5. Dan  •  Jan 28, 2015 @9:36 pm

    Please stop using the terms “Christian” and “conservative” to describe right wingers and other Republicans – nothing could be further from the truth.

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