Chronicle of a deadlock foretold

Facts are hard to deny, and they justify critics who have in the past argued that the policies of George Papandreou?s government were bound to send the Greek economy into a vicious cycle of recession while doing nothing to streamline public finances.

In addition, facts have defeated the views put forward by influential players with access to the local media and who are responsible for shaping public opinion.

However, in Greece the agents of public discourse rarely get credit for making safe predictions and, similarly, they rarely lose credibility for being in the wrong. Public debate has turned into a circus where the main protagonists slip from one costume into the next without apologizing for their earlier blunders.

This is why today I am tempted to remind readers of previous posts.

On December 13, 2009, I argued that ?the easy way [out of the crisis] is to make horizontal and proportional spending cuts.

?The hard way is to review public spending from scratch… Public spending is less efficient than the European average across all sectors.

?Why not look into it again, on a case-by-case basis? Why not look into the structure and efficiency of the offices that make up the broader public sector?

?[The broader public sector] is extremely dysfunctional and the waste and squandering of state money is so extensive, that a systematic reform campaign will certainly save a great deal of resources…

?The problem is governments avoid clashing with groups that squander public funds.?

A few weeks later, on February 26, 2010, I wrote: ?Worst of all, the Greek economy is sliding further into recession, public revenues are decreasing and even more measures are imminent. In other words, we are heading toward a never-ending downward spiral.

?If it is to break this vicious cycle, the government will have to come up with imaginative new approaches and effective practices to make use of untapped potential in all sectors: to increase revenue, reduce expenditure and achieve growth.

?The Papandreou government, however, remains stuck in a rut. That is why it appears incapable of getting to grips with the fiscal crisis and building a new, healthier growth model.?

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