OPINION

On tax dodgers, PSI, politicians, tourism, Loverdos, taxes

Tell me it is a misprint. The announcement indicated these are ?suspected? tax evaders with billions due in taxes.

I no longer harbour any illusions that this Finance Ministry and its leadership has a clue but how can they print a list of suspected tax dodgers? Either they have a list of those who did not pay taxes or they will be playing the extensions and delays game for some time to come..

Monica Lane

Florida, USA

A tourist?s view

As a non-Greek who has spent two months a year in your country for the last five years, last year was possibly the last time. I am weary of constant strikes and dirty and broken streets. Every other day someone was on strike and as someone who needs either buses or taxis to get around, I found this disruptive. I wouldn’t dream of driving as too many people break basic rules of the road such as running red lights and I would really like to live a little longer. I wasn’t impressed with a dentist who demanded cash and wouldn’t issue a receipt nor with the fact that our immediate neighborhood has four pharmacies, none of which were open on a Saturday afternoon. Combine all of the above with hotel owners on islands (and I’ve been to many over the years) downright lying about their facilities and you might understand why I’ve soured on Greece. I can think of many better places to spend my hard-earned retirement dollars.

Rositta Buracas

An overdose of Loverdos

Interrogating someone, including an ex-president — like French President Mr Chirac just this past year, while his own party was still in power — doesn’t mean you pre-judge or condemn him.

Unless of course Mr Loverdos knows something we do not know and feels obliged to promise us a socialist upheavel and I suppose the final apocalypse.

Does this come as a surprise? Well no. This is exactly the kind of hallucination to be expected from Mr Loverdos.

Someone has rightly suggested that it would have been infinitely more beneficial to the Greek economy if the troika had imposed on the prime minister the task of running Greece with a chosen few expert collaborators in their fields, freeing us from the insanities of the parliamentarian mob, instead of insisting on the lowering of the minimum wage. I agree: Raising the IQ level in higher offices is infinitely more important to the future growth of the Greek economy than diminishing already non-existant domestic consumption.

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Re: VAT reduction on the cards

Yet again Mr Venizelos does not get it. Greeks should be encouraged to move and stay on remote islands and villages on the borders of the country. Tax-free havens may not bring immediate results as he now needs, but this will be beneficial to the country as a whole.

We need to encourage our own to move and populate remote islands and villages close to our borders. This is a national security issue, not whether Mr Papandreou has to respond to accusasions made against him for the ELSTAT scandal.

Why can’t we for once get our priorities straight?

Monica Lane

Florida, USA

Partisan dishonesty

Most of what you say about PASOK is true. But the fact you leave the crooks of Nea Dimokratia off the hook shows you’re as much a part of the problem as they are. The Karamanlis cabal deliberately cooked the books and lied for four crucial years, grossly inflating an already out-of-control crisis.

No commentary on this mess is worth anything if it doesn’t clearly indict the entire Greek political class, and the corrupt family patronage system they fostered. ND may win the next election by default, after which Samaras and the empty suits around him will promptly drive the country deeper into the muck as fast as you can say ?Vatopedi.?

The Greek people must stand up themselves and form new political parties that are able to confront the ruling cliques, expel them, and start a new day in politics. Not an easy task.

John Stathakis

Re: Dallara’s hardened stance

What is interesting and therefore newsworthy yet rarely (if ever) reported in the mainstream media is that the majority of Greek bondholders are European banks not individuals. So unless their respective boards have given Mr. Dallara the green light to negotiate on their behalf — highly unlikely — then his stance can harden into concrete for all that it matters. The troika is running the show and will or in all likelihood already has decided what the exchange rate (the infamous haircut) will be, and in a behind-the-scenes secret dinner or some other such meeting, they will pass their decision on to Mr. Dallara as a fait accompli. Then in a few days or so with a great deal of media fanfare, we should expect to hear that an agreement has been reached, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. That is until the next staged media event and so on and so forth until, hopefully, a majority of citizens will reach their tipping point in this game of economic cat and mouse and realize that the will to change has been ours all along.

Jonathan Reynik

Re: Papandreou ignored warnings of his predecessor, Costas Karamanlis, and Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos

Please refresh my memory — was there discussion or warning ever from ND about Greece’s economical health, deadlines and problems involved in acquiring legitimate unbiased true data to determine the current ?crisis status??

If Karamanlis and Provopoulos knew of this impending doom, why did they not act responsibly and share this so-called awareness with the people of Greece for our country to get a start on correcting this corruption?

My guess is that they both — and perhaps the other 298 in Parliament — have not missed a meal or a fakelaki.

A fish starts stinking from the head!

Judy Quick

100% haircut for Greece approved!

On February 31, 2012, after seemingly endless negotiations with creditors, all international holders of sovereign Greek debt will announce unanimously that they will forgive Greece 100% of her sovereign debt. Their official rationale will be: «If we keep spending all our energies on 3% of the eurozone’s GDP (without really accomplishing anything), we will neglect the other 97% of the GDP and the cost of that will be much higher than forgiving Greece all her sovereign debt now.”

This means that the central government of Greece will no longer have any foreign debt. The domestic debt of the central government remains unaffected by this. Consequently, Greek banks, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. can remain hopeful that their loans to the central government will be paid.

Some time during March 2012, Greece will discover that things haven’t really changed that much. Even though the government now has to pay much less interest than before, it still requires new financing in order to pay all the bills. They cannot raise this new financing in international markets because part of the 100% haircut deal was that Greece would no longer request financing in international markets until the country had regained creditworthiness.

At the same time, the banking sector begins having severe liquidity problems. Part of the 100% haircut deal was that the ECB insisted on freezing its lending to the Greek banking sector. They would not cancel their outstanding loans but neither would they extend new loans.

The banking sector loses well over 1 billion euros per month in liquidity because import payments exceed foreign revenues from exports and services by that amount. Also, capital flight continues draining the banking system of another 1 billion euros per month (or more!).

With new capital inflow from abroad to finance these deficits having come to a halt, the government has no choice but to take dramatic action: import taxes and capital controls are implemented and the government issues a new bond whose purchase is mandatory for all domestic savers. This bond serves to finance the continued budget deficit and to provide liquidity to the banking system.

Klaus Kastner

Austria

Re: PSI talks

Goes to show just how far out of touch these politicians really are. They have no idea how the global economy works. They still think Greece is in the 80s with men wearing T-shirts and mullet hairstyles and thick gold neck chains!

When will the EU realise it’s time to change this lot? They’re the one’s who caused this huge mess. The EU has no real capable people in Greece it can turn to to implement these changes. Greece’s politicians live in their arrogant little worlds, far away in Neverland.

Lionel Luthor

Name and shame game

It was about time Mr. Venizelos produced the infamous name and shame list of tax evaders but the bigger question before the rest of us tax paying citizens is will the government actually claim this money?

Jonathan Reynik

Thank you

Thank you ND/PASOK for protecting Greece. What a job you lot have done!

Hunger, unemployment, crime, defence failures, capital flight, collapsed education, businesses shutting down daily, corruption, state theft, criminal behaviour by politicians and friends and the list goes on…

Lionel Luthor

Greece debt deal

The major rating agencies already confirmed that deal or no deal, any Greek debt writeoff constitutes a default. It will be an orderly default but still a default, no matter how the EU, IMF and Greek authorities try to spin it.

So there is certainly a reason to worry when a major negotiating tactic is being removed.

Oh, by the way, the hedge fund holding over 70 billions Greek debt as well as some European banks will not sign to this restructuring. The CAC clause will be retroactively imposed by Greece to get the required participation, therefore CDS will be triggered and a credit event will occur, namely default.

My point is that wishful thinking will not change that course of events in the next few weeks.

Default is a default is a deafult, as simple as this. Just pray Germany would be willing to financially support you afterwards — something I deeply doubt they are prepared to do considering Spain, Portugal and Italy are going down under and out with their begging bowls too.

Best Regards,

Teo Chasse

Sinking the eurozone — another tall tale

Mr. Hardouvelis must be thinking about another Greece because the euro will get along just fine without Greece. In fact, there are several what-if scenarios quietly being discussed in Brussels about a eurozone without Greece and our PII counterparts as well as a eurozone without Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Both present with administrative and political challenges but the most important question our government officials should be asking themselves is can we really get along, survive economically, without the Euro? For sure the EU treaty would have to be amended before a return to the drachma could happen but it should be obvious to anyone who lived in Greece during the drachma daze that unless real economic, fiscal, judicial, and tax reforms are implemented, we could use cow dung or beach stones as our currency and still we would find ourselves facing budget shortfalls and rising deficits. Our problems begin and end with our MPs and their penchant for power and ill-begotten wealth that belongs in our state coffers. Not in their offshore or otherwise secret bank accounts abroad. Dare we ask Mr. Venizelos to publish that list in the interest of our country?

Jonathan Reynik