OPINION

Bled dry and discouraged

The cost-cutting measures due to be announced by the government, which entail additional taxes and cuts to salaries, will not the be last of their kind and will most certainly lead to more money leaving the market, a further drop in consumer demand, a deepening of the recession and more unemployment. What then is the point of horizontal cuts and the brutish taxation of the weak? The only argument put forward by the tripartite coalition government is that this is the only way to convince our foreign creditors that we can act responsibly so as to secure an extension to the fiscal adjustment program.

This rationale, which has been the driving force of every Greek government since 2010, has proven ineffective and is now even potentially dangerous. It is like a patient undergoing a succession of blood donations for experimental purposes in exchange for a bit of morphine. The economic hemorrhaging, however, is already causing serious symptoms in the whole of society; it magnifies and multiplies the country?s systemic weaknesses and breeds new deadly diseases. Already, crucial parts of the state are showing serious signs of malfunction or even collapse: hospitals, schools, day-care centers, social security funds, tax offices, courts — the list goes on and on.

The violent pauperization of the working and middle classes through horizontal cuts — without equality, without offsetting measures and without a safety net — is creating a frenzied herd mentality and a propensity to violence; it is breeding intense distrust in and abhorrence of the institutions of the state, it is turning the hardest-hit members of society to vigilantism and gradually making public space an arena for gang clashes.

The disheartening image of the ruling class — the backstabbing, the vulgarity, the scandal, the spats, tiffs and insults, the complete disregard for due process and democratic standards — inspires even less respect from the people. The disgusting behavior of our politicians of late also comes on top of frequent criticism from our foreign creditors and European partners of the inequalities and the immorality in the domestic political system. Faith is lost. No one believes that our sacrifices will come to anything anymore. No one believes in anything. Even the general strike on Wednesday, behind the rage, exuded a sense of disappointment and bitterness.