OPINION

On troika demands, politicians, the euro, PASOK

According to the article [?Venizelos sees thin line between success and deadlock?] Greece is planing to «…monitor and eventually suppress the prices that concern the commodities an average household would buy.» This sounds like a great idea and should be made first page news before the salaries are cut. First you make certain that people will be able to pay their rent and buy their food, then you can cut their pay. You do not take 25% of their minimum wage and make empty promises to help them survive in the unforeseen future. 40 years of this backward governing got Greece in the current financial situation!

Ioanna Kalmir

Re: IMF demands

Enough of the humiliation! Whether we comply with the unreasonable demands of the troika — mainly the IMF technicians, bean counters badly educated in principles of macroeconomics — or tell them to get lost we will be bankrupt anyway, so we may as well go down proudly. OXI! OXI!

Paul Papadopoulos

Re: Austerity measures

Can anyone explain to me which, if any, of the austerity measures introduced over the last two years has had a positive effect in any way on the economy.

From my view they have all been unqualified disasters, wrecking the economy and living standards of the population whilst plunging us recklessly toward a point of no return.

Should we not, therefore, learn from these tragic decisions and plot a course which may lead to an improvement of the economy and hope for the future? Or is this now out of the Greeks hands and simply a matter for the inept ‘troika’ to continue destroying the country which was once, it should be remembered, the birthplace of democracy.

Trevor Stokes

Halandri

Time to grow up

As a product of the modern American educational system, I have been raised with the «modern» notion that all cultures are equal, each bringing wonderful things to the table. And, while I can say based on firsthand experience that the people of Greece are warm and friendly, I cannot speak glowingly about what I call Greece’s «economic culture».

The economic culture of Greece is the most pathetic in the developed world. You cannot maintain fiscal sanity when you employ a vast portion of the population unproductively at the public sector level while at the same time pursuing tax evasion as the national sport. An economic culture based on bribery and financial deceit is doomed to fail… over and over again.

People of Greece: either you grow up and join the modern economic world or you go back to being a poor emerging market. Pay your taxes. Stop the culture of bribery and corruption. Aspire to something more than a cushy job with the government. Reject historically bankrupt political philosophies like Communism (how can a modern country still have 12% of the population voting Communist?). I am an optimist. The country that gave the world its best political system (democracy) should be capable of adopting the best proven economic system (capitalism).

It is time for Greece to look in the economic mirror and grow up.

Peter O’Hara

Another rescheduling

Could we imagine, that even before PSI+ is completed, you would float the idea of another rescheduling (scalping) for Greece? This is beyond belief and Greece’s disgraceful performance on structural reforms to date is only the icing on the cake. Without a track record of some kind, who would even dare ask for additional support?

Alec Mally

Objective investigative journalism

Sir,

I have never lived in Greece but am of Greek origin and routinely go to Greece for holidays.

As a Greek I obviously, like the entire country, presume, find the current economic woes depressing to read about, both in their origin and in the effect on the Greek people.

I also find it surprising that the politicians who benefited so massively from their own corruption have not been brought to task. It is one of the things that is often discussed but somehow very little action is taken. To have ministers and ex-ministers living a lifestyle that is purely the proceeds of ill-gotten gains leaves a very poor image and you should embark on a policy of ‘naming and shaming’ at the very least, and hopefully your investigators could ultimately assist in the prosecution of these individuals who enriched themselves in an appalling way at the expense of the people they purported to serve.

I would like to see more reasoned and objective investigative journalism. Dealing with the problems of the country is less meaningful when the corrupt politicians are simply allowed to get away with it. This only encourages future politicians to maintain the same corrupt practices, as we have seen.

Perhaps it is time for the Athens News to more appropriately reflect the voice of Athenians?

Sincerely yours,

Nic Conto

Comment on comment: go on with these wise comments

The writer(s) of the comments should be the acting prime minister, because you are writing exactly the truth. Your mirror for the Greek people is right: vote in the future in the line of these comments for politicians with more responsibility and a better policy.

Andreas Keijzer

Re: Greece’s woeful politicians

Greek MPs should be aware:

1. They are not above the law but should be subject to it, as is everyone else.

2. They are grossly overpaid, for which they seem to do very little.

3. They are there to serve the people, not the other way round.

4. They do not keep their word, which brings them and Hellas into disrespect.

5. The country would be better off if the democratic principles of the original Greek state were adhered to. Do you know your history?

John Foss

Athens

Better ask the Irish

In response to Nikos Xydakis?s last editirorial, I think it is rather obvious to all in finance — and since one can safely say the same monetary tactic of currency devaluation applies to China, the USA or Japan — that a weaker euro can be regarded as (too late, I might add, in the Game!) fair trade competition. Of course a weaker euro generates more income for euro-based export countries such as Germany, France and indeed Italy. And of course it should come as no surprise that the three largest economies of the eurozone are in order its three largest exporters and that the lower euro that fuels them is obviously not seen with the same enthusiasm at the IMF. And again, whether Greece is willing or not to evolve in its own politico-economic practice (one cannot separate the two) towards its own economic sustainability and within the larger framework of international trade practice, is not the chief concern of any other European partner. If Greece chooses to sail on its own it will simply sail on its own.

Ireland, which seemed on the verge of the abyss, economically and therefore socially, bounced back in no time. Spain as all know, is in a different spot than Italy, as it is not a weak government running the national economy but, rather, the overextended Spaniards? individual debts that has put Spain in difficulty. Italy’s long-term debt is large but that can be confronted as that debt has been there since forever and its annual deficits are not at all as excessive as others. Portugal might be the other country in the line of fire. Here again, arguing that the eurozone economy or that of the world will collapse if Portugal fails in reforming its own politico-economic governance and fails to act as the Irish have is a total delusion.

In Portugal, as in Greece, the system is responsible for the crisis, but — though a southern laid-back culture — I have some doubts that they will react hopefully and positively just as the Irish did.

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Cyprus and Greece

The more the Cypriots have to do with the Greeks the more they stand to lose. Greek politicians have ruined, bankrupted and robbed Greece, leaving nothing behind in their greed. If Cypriot politicians are naive enough to even accept overtures from Greek politicians re their gas supplies found then they’re to blame for what awaits Cyprus.

Greek politicians are crooks, parasites and cannot be trusted.

Cyprus’s mere association with Greece has resulted in most of these negative consequences seen on their economy.

Lionel Luthor

Re: Talks about reduction in minimum wage

This is insanity. The current minimum wage even if given over 14 instalments adds up to 10,514 euros a year. An individual who earns that much as a gross income still has to pay taxes (the little guy is always trapped and cannot avoid taxation) and social security taxes out of this amount and may end up with 8,000 a year.

If we have two people married who have no MBA or a PhD degree and are simply trying to survive how are they going to manage with this amount?

Being competitive is one thing being destitute is quite another.

We are talking about a non-issue, trying to appease outsiders who impose harsh measures, so we can get some more billions to pay some accumulated debts and re capitalise the banks.

Driving a middle class into poverty is not the way to come out of this mess.

As long as unemployment is high and salaried employees do not contribute to either the tax receipts or the social security coffers, things will get worse and we will spiral downwards even faster.

We need programs that will allow workers to continue earning and being able to sustain themselves and small businesses.

No country ever prospered from its rich citizens. It is the middle class that pulled countries out of poverty. If the average man cannot afford a new appliance or a night out at the local taverna, two more businesses will shut their doors.

Those shopping at the Hermes and Dior boutiques will not pull us out of this. One only has to be at an airport in Europe by the waiting rooms for flights to Athens to see all those «elites» dressed in designer clothes waiting to board the planes. One way or the other they will always manage. It is the average man who will end up on food lines. How competitive will he then be?

Monica Lane

Florida, USA

Re: PASOK against idea of snap elections

The insistence of PASOK to remain in power one way or another till 2013 smells fishy.

The thought that comes to mind is not that they are so proud of their record as that they need more time in office to complete their mission.

That pesky immunity from prosecution seems a more valid reason why they are clinging on to power for as long as they possibly can.

Monica Lane

Florida, USA