OPINION

On austerity, protests, history and solidarity

Austerity and long-term solutions

As an EU citizen living in the US, I look at this from a slightly removed point of view. Of course, there have to be spending cuts and tax increases. From studies, I understand that if all taxes were submitted as the Greek tax laws demand, there would not have been a budget deficit in 2008 or 2009. And, as anywhere else, the capital of the 30% top layer of society (for both capital and income) is mostly sitting idle (does not circulate much) and is typically invested in safer holdings and little in risk-bearing (Greek) investments. Hence, taxation of the richest Greek citizens would be much better for the Greek economy than an on average equal tax hike.

But mid- and long term, Greece will not be able to pay back it debts, due to the high debt/GDP ratio (155%) as well as the low growth rate and low export contribution to GDP.

Hence these ?loans? from the EU and IMF will only delay things while increasing the debt/GDP ratio even further.

The only real way out and preventing default, is for the EU to first guarantee all Greek debt and then to turn the debt for say 70 to 80% into a gift/donation to Greece.

The EU can then pay off all privately held debt so that Greece only has the EU we call them the Cashmere Left. But astonishingly we stay afloat.

Think only that if you are lucky you will get the Western Germans to come and rescue you. If you are unlucky, you will get the Eastern Germans.

Fabrizio Ferrari

Greece must leave the euro

Greece lied its way into the eurozone, and has overpaid its public servants and pensioners with borrowed money that bankers were foolish enough to lend it. Until the Greek people realize that the game is up and that it is time to leave the euro they will continue to be vilified in the foreign press as a banana republic.

John Latchford

England

1 UK pound = 700 GRD: Bring it on!

Please don’t vote in the new budgets and default on your loans. Only by doing this will I be able to afford a holiday this year, after Greece has been thrown out of the euro and the drachma is floated on the international markets with no value.

While I am paying 55% of my income in central and local taxes, health care, etc. and my private pension is worth $6,000 per annum income for every $150,000 I have in my fund so that I can never retire, why should I pay out even more in tax to keep the Greeks in a lifestyle they cannot afford which is better than mine?

In fact, I will be able to afford to send my children to university in Athens as it will be seem like free compared to the UK and they can get a government handout afterwards if they choose to lay on the beach all summer.

It would also show the Irish, Portuguese and Spanish that one has to pay ones debts, or suffer even worse consequences — bring it on!

Nick Howard

UK

Nothing has changed

I visited Greece in 1990 and was shocked to see ?plateias? full of young people whiling away the hours, shocked be to shoved in bank queues, shocked to pay an envelope under the desk to visit a doctor, shocked to wait for weeks for a plumber who never came and shocked to hear that avoiding paying tax was a proud national sport. Visiting last year, nothing had changed. My parents moved to Australia and have worked hard to become wealthy, paying high taxes with no expectation that the government will look after them.

Anna

Australia

Protesters, please stop this farce

Firstly, I would like to sat that Mr Anthony Bizos’s letter is one of the best opinions I have read on this whole debacle affecting our beloved motherland.

As a Greek Australian I share the frustration and concern of everyone who is in the diaspora.

The reality at the end of the day is that the protesters need to grow up, so do the unions and so do the far-leftist parties.

I am like almost one million Greeks living in a country where we pay our taxes on a weekly basis, where we purchase both private and public health, road and general insurance coverage, and where we are deducted 10% of our salary toward retirement savings. We pay university fees almost as high as what they are in the USA, and property and government charges.

At no point do we riot in this country, as we know that a responsible citizenry leads to better government, more economic growth and social advancement. Further, the future of the next generation is secured.

The political process is mature and non-partisan.

We all know that the private sector needs the opportunity to develop and be supported as this is where jobs are located.

This is the state of play in most countries where Greeks have migrated to.

It baffles me where the Greeks in Greece get this anarchic and entitlement mentality.

I also implore the main political parties to end their fratricidal bickering and agree to form a government of national unity.

Only through unity and leadership can the country change and hopefully the citizenry as well.

Jim Babalis

Australia

Samaras is for Samaras only

Samaras has only one objective, to become prime minister. He does not give a hoot about Greece or the Greek people.

I am puzzled that Samaras, the rest of the opposition parties, the media and the Greek public are not placing any responsibility for the chronic corruption on the shoulders of the Greek judicial system but they all bombard Mr. Papandreou and his government day in and day out. The political system has no power under the Greek law to jail anyone. The judicial system is the biggest failure in Greece.

Further no one is talking about the fact that Greece is the only country in the western world that has not yet separated the church from the state. The Greek Orthodox Church clerics are public servants — the only country on Earth — and not because they are teaching religion in schools, but just because they are Orthodox priests.

That?s were the real reforms should take place. Meanwhile, Mr. Samaras, who, as he has advocated in the past, wants to create the big state of Orthodoxy from Russia to the Mediterranean, is against any reforms of the Orthodox Church or the courts.

Tony Vuccino

Alien cultures

I thought that only Israel had a monopoly on the loony left. It seems we are not alone. We study the skies for visitors from outer space — but why search for ET’s or otherwise alien cultures when they are already living and flourishing among us?

Arnold Holtzman

Israel

Spanish solidarity

In Spain many feel solidarity with Greece and its people. Our hearts go out to you in these most difficult times that we share here in my country. More and more are thinking about leaving the European Union, refusing to pay a debt that is imposed on us by financial sharks and go back to our national currencies (drachmas, pesetas…). It is time to say ‘no, no pasaran’ or they will demolish our countries.

Our best wishes from lots of Spaniards.

Spaniard Indignado

Solution to the Greek economic crisis

Throw out all of the present and past politicians — the few that might not be corrupt simply don’t have the guts to speak out, so what’s the point of keeping them? Overhaul the entire governmental system in Greece, including the judiciary, with something that mostly reflects the American three-leg system of legislative, executive and judicial — it?s not the best solution, but it?s a good starting point. Give power to the business world so that companies can be established quickly and easily, and so that those who want a job can get one, but also keep most of the current medical system. Yes, their is corruption in the medical system but some good people are there today, they just need someone to promote them to the right positions to effect the right changes.

Sotiris Kastrinakis

Solidarity from Costa Rica

I am writing from the tiny country of Costa Rica in the heart of the Americas. Please, please, I beg all you Greeks to win this battle against the traitors (PASOK in first place) and against the EU and their corrupt governments and banks. Please do not dismay. Reject with all your heart, mind and muscle the yoke imposed upon the dignity of you all. If you win this war, that will inspire the people of the world to continue their struggle against the bankers and traitors. Democracy means nothing with hunger.

Axel Fuertes

Costa Rica