OPINION

On tax collection, the debt crisis, building regulations

Collecting taxes? In Greece?

I’ll believe it when I see properties confiscated, accounts assessed, salaries garnished. Not holding my breath.

John Stavrakis

Restoration of credit flow commentary

Wow! finally one article that «gets it». If Greece does not take urgent steps to restore credit flow to the healthy private sector and get the economy going again, it’s doomed to continue and accelerate into the present spiral of economic and social doom.

Bill Michalopulos

Failed economic policies or entire nation of crooks?

Ah, so there are ‘striking’ similarities between Greece and England in the economic sphere! Dream on! Let me bring you back to reality. There are no similarities between Greece and England, Ireland, Portugal, Spain or anyone else. They are in trouble as a result of failed economic policies. You are in trouble because all of you (government and people) are a bunch of crooks who lie, cheat and steal on a daily basis. All of you. Is that clear enough for you?

Anonymous

Editor replies: Nowhere in the article that you refer to (?Don’t blame it on the Greeks? May 2) is there any reference to similarities in the UK and Greek economies. In fact, the article is very clear: ?Although their deficits may be almost identical and their economic challenges similar, there are key differences in the situations faced by Greece and the UK. Apart from having a much more productive and robust economy than Greece, Britain also has the advantage of possessing a much lower public debt.?

The reasons for the economic problems faced by Greece and the UK are indeed different, as the article clearly states: ?Perhaps it?s only fitting that since many of Greece?s problems are of its own making, it should also be dealing with consequences that are unique within the EU.?

The article is also clear on where similarities exist in the situation faced by Greece and Britain: public deficits that are virtually the same, economies that are stagnant or shrinking, very low confidence and sweeping cuts in the public sector.

In Britain, as in Greece, there are people who have doubts about the measures being adopted to tackle the situation. In the UK, however, there seems to be a much healthier and more constructive debate than in Greece.

In contrast, your statement that: ?You are in trouble because all of you (government and people) are a bunch of crooks who lie, cheat and steal on a daily basis? seems to leave no room for healthy or constructive debate.

Speaking hard truths

Deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. Privatise State Companies and promote Development incentives. This is the only effective path to reduce and ultimately wipe out the Debt so Greece can move to greener pastures in the future.

Gerry Mavrie-Yanaki

A weak political class

After assessing the damage from the debt crisis and how the current government is handling the situation, it is clear that it is the inabilities of the Greek government in many areas that are to blame for this mess. From previous governments, both ND and PASOK, having to doctor the books to make the deficit appear smaller than it really was, to the same governments borrowing excessively for many years at low interest rates without regard to how the debt would be repaid. The ineffective methods of tax collection and the impunity for those who evade payment. The forming of a huge safety net through borrowing that is too expensive to maintain. The vast expansion of public administration that is bloated, inefficient, and appeased by a government wanting to massage the left to assuage the pains inflicted by the right from 1936 through 1974. The pandering to unions, both public and private sector. The casting of blame on the opposition when it is clear that both ND and PASOK governments are responsible for this debacle. Now the taxpaying citizen and the private sector must bear a burden that is not entirely of their cause to repair the damage of inept politicians.  This in a time of recession. Is there no leadership and backbone in any of these politicians? 

Peter Kates

Greece? What Greece?

I am Greek-born and raised in Sydney, Australia, but now live in Chicago, USA. (I married a Greek American lady).

Ever since moving here I have kept in touch with events happening in Greece. Political, Sport etc. And let me say how disgusted I am and how ashamed at times that I am Greek. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would ever say it. Having visited Greece many times, since all my family is virtually in Greece, last year when I was there I was not Greek. I did not feel Greek in any way. Yes I speak, read and write Greek, yes I have tattooed the Greek flag with ?Eleftheria h Thanatos? written underneath, but I didn?t feel Greek.

Greece’s spirit has vanished! Greece in my eyes doesn’t exist anymore. I’m sorry but it doesn’t. Walking through Omonia and Monastiraki I can see how dilapitated the place has become. Illegal immigrants everywhere taking advantage of a Government concerned for their own personal gain.

Many years ago when I was in Greece as a young child, everywere I would go everyone was Greek, with the exception of a few. The villages were free to roam around at night. People would leave their doors open without a care in the world. Now even the chicken coups are fortified!

Greek culture, language and religion is hemorrhaging at such a rate that all these values that we cherish will vanish into history.

Gone is the memory of Theodoros Kolokotronis, Papaflessas, Tzavelas and Athanasios Diakos. These are the people who spilt blood to free Greece from Ottoman rule and to free Greece from Greece itself.

Next to the Old Parliment House there is a statue of Kolokotronis and some graffiti written under it. And the words that were placed there struck me. Someone had written «Gero voithia». Which translates into «Old man, help»!

Danny Kyriazopoulos

Greek building regulations and planning permits

Our house has been built with no foundations, no concrete, no skeleton and no metals. We have been advised by 3 highly qualified engineers that it is not safe and not in line with Greek building regulations nor built according to the original approved building permit.

We have requested the planning office to visit and to confirm that it should be demolished but they have not visited.

We are taking both the engineer and the builder to court as the house is unsafe and not built according to Greek laws — also the mother of the engineer works in the planning office which approved the building permit.

The situation has now been going on for 5 years and each time we approach the planning office we get no assistance.

Given all that the government is talking about regarding illegal buildings, bribery and corruption, we believe here is a typical example of what is wrong in Greece. And no one wants to take any action against planning offices.

Anonymous