OPINION

On Tsochatzopoulos, Venizelos, cabinet reshuffle, taxes, debt crisis

Re: Akis Tsochatzopoulos criminal case 

 

I can?t understand why the Akis Tsochatzopoulos criminal case has been kept out of the news and postponed again and again. Is it because he started naming George Papandreaou and ex-Prime Minister Costas Simitis as knowing participants and the ones who were part of the submarine scandal cover-up?      

 

Paul Johnston,

Economics PhD

A comment on media coverage

Naturally as a conservative newspaper you are entitled to your own comments, but if you blame not merely the politicians of not being up to par, but also chide Papandreou and his government for not delivering, then let me simply state part of the problem in Greece is the press review, including what your newspaper expounds. It seems one attitude is fueled constantly: anti-politics. With it goes the notion everyone knows better than those who are in the need to find reasons for going ahead and making a bold decision. Rightly so Jurgen Habermas speaks about a growing pathology in terms of public communication. Greece suffers due to a lack of public openness and ability to discuss policy issues out of an awareness of how difficult it is to work out different options and then still making the right decision. It would be good to show honestly which options are available and which ones do not work. I think also you agree that so far the public debate about the Greek debt has fallen short of recognizing all the problems linked to it. But instead of naming these problems in an objective manner, your newspaper sways back and forth between appeal to the greatness of Greeks in the past (or when they perform well abroad) and saying it is all in the Greek character to be corrupt. As long as we deal with personal attributes, you are not talking about policy issues objectively. I highly recommend a different tone and much more supportive of everyone knowing where the problems lie. For one, there is no way to reform the public administration if there are only directors and chiefs, but no one to do the work. Secondly, the good work of Birbilli has not been recognized, even though everyone knows future development cannot ignore the environment and its need to be protected, but instead of accepting a ?No, no there cannot be buildings in Natura 2000 areas,? everyone is against her for articulating such a ‘no’. But by undermining such an ethical standpoint on behalf of the Greek landscape, itself a cultural heritage, it is like allowing to build on the Acropolis. Thirdly, open books for every institution would allow people to learn what resources are available and how to spend them wisely to get the work done in, for example, a hospital. This was the way out of the Irish crisis the first time around. Fourthly, allow people to participate in public policy debates, for then the subsequent law will be supported by everyone since it would be the laws of the people and not of the state which could be cheated. As your newspaper carries weight internationally, due to being able to publish in the International Herald Tribune, you have the chance to influence and to shape that public debate.

Hatto Fischer

Athens

Say no to bailout

Why should this country?s assets be sold off one by one? You will never be able to master this massive debt, and by the time the over-inflated euro fails it will leave you with ALL your assets belonging to another country. In the UK our gas and electric and other utilities belong to France and other EU countries and our bills are going up 19% this year.

I wish you Greeks well in your struggle with the money-grabbing people, you deserve better.

Jenny Pyrah

Taxing the rich in time of economic stress

The United States and Greece share a similar economic problem: not enough cash coming into their treasuries.

The only solution is a tax on the rich who have made their windfall profits during the last 20 years through favorable tax laws.

The US has used 90% taxes in the past to solve deficits and will again resort to this in the end.

But the problem remains: How do we get wealthy politicians to vote on a tax on themselves?

Kostas Chrisomalley

USA

Battle-hardened Venizelos faces defining moment

The Greek debt problem is like a runaway train, and I doubt the battle-hardened Evangelos Venizelos can stop it. The train will run over investors — with a Greek default, or it will run over the Greeks citizens that will have to pay for it. I don’t see how Venizelos, or anybody else for that matter, can wave a magic wand and make the problem go away. There is going to be financial bloodshed, either for investors and banks holding Greek notes, or for the Greeks affected by the new economy measures. The current Greek foreign debt is so bad that it is worse that the Gordian knot, and Venizelos is not Alexander the Great!

I suspect that George Papandreou gave Venizelos the finance portfolio now  knowing that Venizelos will fail and sink to the bottom of PASOK. I expect both George Papandreou and Venizelos to sink together in the process. Worse still, I don’t think the New Democracy party can do any better.

I think it is about time for the Greeks to think about electing someone who tells them that they have to learn to live within their means, and who promises them nothing more than stability and economic growth. In other words, a politician who would give them «tough love.» They really need it.   

Nikos Retsos, retired professor, USA

Re: PM seeks fresh start

From a citizen’s perspective, Greece’s political parties and the civil servants need to be reminded of what public service is all about, representing the will of the people for the good of the majority.

Tackling institutionalized corruption from the top all the way down to local levels by actually enforcing legislation is key to reforming. It is a daunting

prospect to go back 30 years, identify misappropriated funds, seek compensation, punish swiftly, incorporate checks