OPINION

On Apoyevmatini, rating agencies, Samaras, numbers, tourism and pensions

Apoyevmatini declared saved??¨??¨

Mr Vasiliadis himself was on TV live to announce that the paper is saved by members of the general public, mostly by the young. And a fresh news is that the Government Agency for Public Advertisements is prepared to have an account with Apoyevmatini from now on.??¨All the best from Istanbul.

Ilkin Balta??¨??¨

Greek downgrade

??¨To downgrade Greece debt to junk is a device to justify private investors charging a higher rate of interest.??¨By charging higher rates on interest, increases the total debt and makes sure that it increases every year. For example, what would be 25% of 100 billion euros at compound interest over 10 years???¨In this way, the credit rating agencies make sure that private banks secure their profits and fees, and make sure that confidence in the sovereign debt is undermined and thus manipulate the markets. When are central governments going to disband credit rating agencies. For example, their failure to correctly rate sub-prime mortgages revealed that they were operating in the interest of the private banks and contributed to the financial crisis of 2007-9.??¨What on earth is the point of charging high rates of interest when to do so is to increase the debt of the country? Is it not better to charge 2% or even nothing???¨Would it not be even better if the EU printed the money required, and cancelled the debts, and adopted a full reserve banking system? We are in the situation where such reforms could be achieved at once. But everybody, including myself, have been ignoring the fact that debt money is virtual money or an entry on a balance sheet. It does not exist.

??¨Kelvyn Richards??¨Trikala??¨

Please help us save this newspaper??¨

I cannot find the website for Apoyevmatini. Web searches state that an online pay subscription is available, please post the website so Hellenes around the world can subscribe and help save the paper!??¨

Peter Davos

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Samaras and ‘default’

Mr. Samaras is relying on the ignorance of the Greek voters — firstly that Greece still has any control as to default or not; and second that default is a disgrace for such a proud and honorable nation — despite copious recent evidence. I hope this self-seeking strategy does not work.??¨

Robert Skailes

Relevant facts

It would be helpful if the involved parties (EU, ECB, Greece) were more informative about the relevant facts/figures of the present crisis.??¨The habit has taken root to only talk about percentage of figures. Public deficit and public debt as percentages of GNP are interesting figures but they alone do not allow analysis and conclusions.??¨How have actual government expenses developed so far? My understanding is that they have declined in absolute terms in the last year. Good news! So why is so much attention given to the fact that, so far this year, the budget deficit is off by about 3 billion euros???¨If expenses have declined but the deficit increased, it can only mean that revenues have declined dramatically. In which categories have revenues declined and what can be done about that???¨The balance of individual components is a figure which cannot be managed per se. It can only be influenced by understanding the components and by managing those.??¨Today?s shock announcement by the IMF: public debt may increase to 172% next year! Is that really the relevant figure? The increase in public debt should more or less correlate with the public deficit in absolute terms. If the public deficit comes out at 15-20 billion euros this year, the government should need 15-20 billion euros in new debt this year. So why is everybody talking about 3-digit billion figures? (It is because the bulk of the new debt serves to repay existing debt).??¨The most relevant figure of all is the foreign debt of the entire country. Foreigners fear that they may not get their money back from Greece (be that from the government, from the banks or from whoever). So how much money do foreigners have at stake in Greece???¨On December 31, 2009 (1-1/2 years ago) Greece?s gross foreign debt stood at 408 billion euros. Where did it stand at March 31, 2011 after billions and billions of additional euros were lent to Greece? Surprise, surprise, it stood at 408 billion euros.??¨If billions and billions of euros entered the country during the above period but the balance remains unchanged, then billions and billions of euros must have left the country during this period? Would this not be worthy of analysis???¨The analysis would say that the money which entered Greece during the above period left Greece for the purposes of debt service, imports and capital flight. And the conclusion would be that if one really wants to stop the financial drain on the country, one has to reduce debt service (reschedule), reduce imports (surcharges) and stop capital flight (controls).??¨And then the new money which enters Greece would stay there and help rebuild the economy.

Klaus Kastner??¨Austria??¨

Re: Pensions??¨

I have just read a letter regarding pensions here in Greece and would like to draw readers? attention to the problem I am facing and which could affect others, both Greek and foreign, with a Limited business here in Greece. We were not aware that as a shareholders in a Limited Family Business that we were not entitled to a TEVE pension. This is not the case abroad and is another point where Greece does not comply with foreign pension schemes in Europe. I am now 69 and still cannot receive a pension, and due to the fact that our company owns the factory we built, we cannot close the business. My husband could also claim his full pension but nobody is buying property, even priced below the tax figure. I have a file full of correspondence from the pension department in the UK from 2007, asking for my information from here, as they are trying to assist me in granting a UK pension until we can close the business. Time and time again we have been told my file was lost, then found, then lost again. Athens IKA office, which is responsible for providing the information, has 173,000 files and never even replies to the UK correspondence. This last week they advised they have sent the initial info to the UK. I think with many foreigners starting businesses here in Greece, they should be made aware of these facts. Here we are without cash, still having to pay TEVE (my husband has stopped and our situation is desperate) and yet no income.??¨??¨Anna Baker

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Mr. Samaras’s statement on default??¨

The word default is banned from our dictionary, Samaras told his party?s political committee. Its mere utterance can have catastrophic consequences, he added, noting that selective default had never occurred in another EU country.??¨On this point one must utterly agree with Mr. Samaras assessment. So what can be done when the money to service debt on time is not there and when not servicing debt on time is a default???¨Such a situation presents itself on a daily basis between borrowers in financial difficulty and their lenders. The first thing which is aimed for is a stand-still agreement among all parties in order to gain time for working out a solution. A stand-still agreement, when plausibly presented, cannot be interpreted as a default.??¨The second point which must be made clear is that one cannot get water out of a dried-out well. Greece can only repay debt if it is first given the money to do so. Such a financial merry-go-round serves no economic purpose (a high-school student will understand this) and it binds resources and brainpower which could otherwise be invested into developing plans for an economic recovery.??¨Thus, one has to begin by calling a spade a spade. The money which has been spent over the last decade is spilled milk (and so is the associated debt). One has to reset the clock to zero; reschedule the maturities and interest of that debt out as far as one can; and one has to start a new game which will hopefully be played well this time.??¨This is nothing other than giving Greece the famous second chance to do all the things which she should have done in the first place, that is restructuring her economy so that it becomes a competitive and value-generating economy.??¨If the second time around Greece were to accomplish that objective (which would be a gargantuan task requiring the best minds available), then one could not rule out that the presently spilled milk will at least partially become good milk again in 20 years time (or perhaps more).

Klaus Kastner??¨Austria??¨??¨

Cruise industry??¨??¨I would strongly disagree with your writers statement that ?all cruise passengers are good customers.???¨In particular, I would stress that the influx of mega-ships to Myconos in the last few years has had exactly the opposite effect of deterring the good customers. With many ships offering deals of 11 nights for $600 what possible benefit can those passengers be to the businesses of Myconos.??¨Myconos does not have the infrastructure, taxis or facilities to accommodate several of these monstrosities daily. The better clientele avoid the town on those days but days when those ships are not in port are becoming fewer and fewer.??¨Authorities in Myconos need to think urgently about the direction in which it wants its tourist industry to go: quantity or quality?

Edward Prendergast