On Greece’s debt problems, the indignants, Obama,

Reaction to the third-richest Greek

Why do all Greek journalists when interviewing Greeks who have succeeded abroad always ask what he or she could do for Greece? Usually these «Greeks» succeeded because Greece did not recognize them or create an environment in which these people could develop in this country (I happen to know quite a few and some who tried to come back were not offered equal positions because their ‘colleagues’ were afraid for their positions). So why should they ‘help’ Greece I wonder?

It also shows a complex of inferiority. Help yourself people! Get off this island (which Greece basically is) open your eyes to other parts of the world, maybe study, or get some working experience, come back and start helping building this country in a more professional way (tourism, agriculture, energy, there are endless possibilities) instead of envying — in an almost childish way — those who made it abroad.

One of the most important problems that prevents this country from developing into an independent and proud nation is that Greeks in general cannot work together. No wonder [the country] cannot compete.

The paradox is that Greeks can be very nationalistic but at the same time it is not a nation-building society.

Over the past years my wife and I have managed to send over 60 of our students abroad (Erasmus and other programs without much help from our department) to (hopefully) open their eyes. Almost all thought it was a very good experience.

I love this country and I wish it well.

Jan Verheul

Re: ?Reproducing more of the same?

I quote from Stavros Lygeros?s article in today?s ekathimerini [June 10, 2011]: ?The same elite is acting in a provocatively selfish manner. They condemn populism and the trade unions, corruption in the civil service and tax evasion among the middle class, but never the multifaceted system of entangled interests that fed the parasites bleeding the state dry and obstructed productive activities. The plundering of state coffers is a systemic phenomenon, but it is those at the peak rather than at the base of the social pyramid who benefited the most.?

Congratulations Stavros, finally someone is speaking the truth, but who is listening? I laughed during the last elections when I called a relative to find out about the results and he said, ?People are voting for Ali Baba because he only has 40 thieves?. Classic Greek humor, but at the same time very sad that a proud nation is being ridiculed internationally and the politicians are impervious to criticism of their incompetence and corrupt ways.

I have read all about the impending tax rises, salary cuts and redundancies but seen little or nothing of measures that will help the economy to grow; sorry I forgot that they will, sometime in September (what year?), start addressing this issue — presumably they have to go on their summer holidays first! This is a classic case of ?let them eat suvlaki or should I say pita?.

The Troika is just as guilty here as our politicians. They are in a unique position to force changes but they are throwing it all away trying to protect their ?investment? perhaps another time in another venue I can contribute my humble thoughts.

Emmanuel Mantheakis

Re: ?Et tu, Obama??

I think this commentary [by Nick Malkoutzis, June 11, 2011] misses the point. Obama is inviting European governments to adopt the policies of his administration in regard to stabilizing financial markets and institutions. It’s an invitation to look at the large picture, rather than the parochial interests of individual sates. And in that respect, he spoke as a statesman of global stature.

Pantelis Dinakis

Wishing for Obama to succeed

It seems that this article [by Nick Malkoutzis, June 11, 2011] is written about the person Barack Obama and not President Obama. It is understandable to like the person as he seems like a fine guy. But if you are talking about President Obama then you must evaluate his policies and there effect on the country and the world at large.

It is extremely clear that the Stimulus Bill did not work. Obama has even admitted to this lack of shovel-ready jobs. He finally said, «They do not exist» and the employment rate was not going down or even stabilizing. The rate went up considerably.

Obama has not encouraged his party to put together a budget for two years. He is leaving it up to the Republicans to put forward a budget and budget cuts. Obama has not even gotten into the game yet.

He promised an immigration bill in his first year and now the states are starting to pass their own because the federal government has done nothing.

Other issues that he promised as candidate Obama that just were not true were: earmarks, spending cuts, no lobbyists, work with both sides. The list just goes on.

Now focus on the Republicans. You may not like them but they will cut the budget and stop the outlandish spending. They will tackle the immigration law. They are certainly not a panacea of all good change but they will at least do something. You may not like the candidates but you will respect the president!

Even if we hate a Republican we would at least have someone that is not going to be supremely political like obama. He seems paralyzed because he is in reelection mode and not being presidential!

Rich Green

Greece’s future: Privatization, politicians and pride

For several years, I have been reading your articles online. Well written and insightful, they have provided me with an excellent view of my ancestral origins. Occasionally, I have contributed an opinion or two and you have graciously published them. A recent op/ed you published regarding privatization and pride has inspired me to respond.

The origin of the current financial mess in Greece has its origins in 1974. The return to «democracy» wasted a golden opportunity to truly reform the political system in Greece. Prior to the 1967 coup, Greece had a two-family political system, with each family controlling either ND or PASOK. It was their inabilities as well as the inabilities of the Greek «royalty» to govern Greece and manage her resources. For example, prior to the coup, the death rate exceeded the birth rate in Greece and healthcare could only be obtained in a large city like Athens.

The 1974 return to «democracy» was really a return to the same inept two-family political system and initiation of «mob-ocracy». I am not advocating the military junta, but what followed after the junta was no better. A movement had begun in Greece to establish a school for public policy and considerations were given to the idea that only people who had graduated from this school could be candidates for election in public office. The school would be free to Greek citizens and only academic performance and thought-leadership skills were the elements for consideration for being admitted and eventual graduation.

But that would have been a threat to the family political system whose members had established a tax code and structure that allowed them to pay little and benefit the most. Successive leaders like Andreas Papandreou, Constantine Mitsotakis and Costas Simitis used government money and either enacted policies or ignored court orders for their own benefits and financial gains.

Now Greece has nothing. Legal opinions have been given that privatization of assets is illegal and unconstitutional. But following the law and constitution is not something that the current administration is likely to do. In fact, there is evidence of a genetic inclination for this government not to adhere to the constitution and like most parasites, do what is best for itself.

If Greece wants to have a future, it needs to rebuild its political system and give reconsideration of the establishment of a true center for public policy and go so far as to require political candidates to graduate from such a school. The alternative is the path that Greece is presently going down, which is rapid extinction. Selling assets like utilities and government land will not secure Greece’s future. It will only enslave its citizens and reduce them to the lifestyle of addicts, serfs, and low-grade prostitutes.

John-William DeClaris

Greek debt

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