OPINION

On pensions, self-employment, university books, Diapontia islands, tourism

The plight of those waiting for pension payments to begin

I know of individuals who worked all their adults lives and contributed to the pension system.

These individuals were forced to retire completely before they were allowed to submit the paperwork needed for their monthly pension payments to begin. At that point all sources of income stop and the newly retired person is on his own.

From firsthand knowledge I can attest to the fact that individuals who submitted their paperwork more than a year ago have not yet received even an indication as to when the payments will start or for that matter how much the aforementioned payments will be.

These individuals have no assets, no bank accounts, their lifelong income did not allow for savings. These individuals have expenses, they need to eat and keep themselves sheltered.

Some say there are about 190,000 people waiting to hear news from their respective funds.

Some have family members to help with loans, most have no resources. How does the government expect these people to survive?

Why doesn’t the civil service move excess personnel from other services to process the applications? When a person who has reached the age of retirement and has submitted all the paperwork needed, why is he not receiving at least 75% of the anticipated monthly pension while the application is lost «in processing» within the service that is supposed to expedite it?

If during the years of employment an employer missed payments and did not attach the appropriate stamps for the employee, that employer should be charged.

One side did everything it could to obey the law, hold a job, pay their bills and come to an age when one should be able to live in dignity. No one should have to beg from relatives and friends to make ends meet while the services are processing the application for more than a year.

At best this is irresponsible, at worse it is abuse.

The government is so anxious to charge and tax and chase the citizens, but when are they going to do something for those who earned a pension but cannot collect it?

Monica Lane

What happened to the Greek pride?

Go ahead sell what’s left of your dignity to Israel. But don’t forget history will not only judge all those who imprisoned millions of Palestinians in a open-air prison but also those who supported them. Turkey will take its place in the list of honor while Greece will be listed among the collaborators of violence, oppression and discrimination.

Danny Marx

Tourism

Your piece on tourism fails to mention a major factor that deters potential tourists from visiting Greece: strikes by air-traffic controllers and ferry crews. So long as the government permits workers in critical occupations to walk off the job, tourism will be impacted. One cannot visit Greece if you know that controller strikes will force the cancellation of inbound or outbound international flights. One cannot visit Greece if you know that a ferry strike has the potential to leave you stranded on an island.

Alan Littell

Syntagma Square

Will somebody, either the mayor or a chief of police, kindly explain to these people that this is not democracy. You do not have the right to destroy the trade of hotels, shops etc, not just in the city centre, but this has affected the whole of Attica. It has become a camp for thieves, vagrants, foreign students and a few Indignants that of course could go home at night.  Doesn’t anybody in or outside of our Parliament have the determination and the guts to do anything? Are they all simply happy to shirk their responsibilities? Is a pot of yoghurt enough to deter our politicians from cleaning up the mess we are in?

Ann Baker

Re: Commentary by Nikos Kostandaras

Quote from the commentary: «That is why among the positive aspects of our time is the deep understanding that if we do not wipe out the structural weaknesses and injustices of our society, if we do not support institutions, and if we do not believe in the way out, we will remain stuck here (at best)».

Well, the possible bad news is worse than described above!

Greece, in the bad scenario, will not simply remain stuck here. She will fall back one or two decades. A poor man who hits the jackpot and decides to spend it all on consumption will live very well for perhaps 10 years. When the money is gone, he has to return to the standard of living of 10 years ago. Greece did not hit a jackpot. She took up debt. Now the new money has stopped but the debt is still there.

If the process of de-industrialization (imports) and de-capitalization (capital flight) of the economy is not stopped in a hurry, the following scenario will unfold.

The banking sector will become insolvent the same day when the ECB stops sending new money. Bank deposits will have to be frozen. Imports including necessary ones will come to a halt. In short, the economy will stop functioning.

One part of Greeks (surely the majority) will panic. The other part (surely the minority) will continue to enjoy their luxury homes and have their yachts parked in luxury harbors on luxury islands. The freeze of bank deposits will not hurt them because they can draw on their foreign bank accounts for the cash they need in order to continue their luxury lives.

Is there anyone out there who believes that social peace (perhaps even democracy) will or can survive such a scenario? If there is, please come back to your senses!

Klaus Kastner

Austria

Diapontia islands

Let?s hope that the ridiculous plans for a huge wind farm around these unspoilt islands does not rear its ugly head again! I am in favor of renewable energy, but only when it is financially viable. If it did go ahead it would prove to be one of those ‘wonderful ideas’ that has not been thought through fully and end up being a disaster.

Sarah Wood

Corfu

Publicity of online university books

Typical attitude. Not looking out for the students and the fact that for many they need to have their material to hand all the time, and that we are trying to save on waste.

My son every year at school is given so many books, a number of which they do not use at all, which I see as a huge waste.

Like it or not we are in the 21st century, get with it!

Sarah Wood

Corfu

Self-employment In Greece

If the Greek tax collection system is like a leaky water bucket, the largest hole appears to be self-employment. I was aware that there are many self-employed persons working in Greece, but unaware that the self-employed compose over 1/3 of the workforce in Greece. Surely many of these people are genuinely self-employed persons running small enterprises, but a very large number of them are obviously being paid cash to do their work and neither the employer nor the employee are reporting the income in order to avoid paying taxes.  Knowing some self-employed persons working in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service requires them to make quarterly tax payments and filings. The Greek state would go a long way toward solving its revenue collection problems by closing this, the largest hole in their tax collection bucket, and helping to close its budget deficits as well. That this blatant flouting of the law continues is inexcusable and needs to be rectified.

 

Peter Kates

Banking fraud

The reports of the meetings of the finance ministers of the EU reveal another example of the ‘bankers fraud’.

My understanding of modern fractional reserve banking is that the central banks are representatives of the private banks.

To call for greater involvement of private banks is to deliberately mislead the politicians and the voters. Private banks are fully involved. Indeed they are pulling the strings so as to expand debt and ensure their fees and interest payments.

If the governments of the EU agree to lower interest, and longer repayments, this will reduce the profits of the private banks.

Why don’t the governments of the eurozone simply print more money and remove the debt? The governments of the day have the authority to issue money according to need. Why do they not do it, rather than borrow the money from private banks at high rates of interest? All of these difficulties of deficit are rooted in the system whereby governments borrow monies from private banks, who create the money by entries on a balance sheet.

If the eurozone thought of itself as a legal entity, with legal rights, then all the accusations about and between the different countries of the EU would cease. We could then take a step toward thinking of the EU as the United States of Europe.

Kelvyn Richards