Leftist prophets of doom

Ducking constructive policy opposition, SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras recently chose to scoff at the first serious signs of Greek economic recovery.

“The government likes to cultivate myths,” Greece’s leftist leader said at an event organized by the Confederation of Greek Industrialists (SEV).

Putting aside the more pompous government statements, most administration officials appear to have adopted the moderate stance of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, or the restrained posturing of Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis or, in some cases, the more enthusiastic approach of conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

It is hardly generous of the main opposition party to deny that a visit by the Greek premier to China is in itself important and valuable for the country and its people.

Worse still, the leftist opposition and the affiliated media like to pose as doomsday prophets. The opposition, of course, has every right to underline the difficulties ahead, as well as to remind us that the weight of fiscal adaptation has not been fairly distributed in society – and to demand that this changes.

However, SYRIZA is being unfair to the people who are trying hard, who are paying their taxes, who have suffered repeated wage cuts, who have helped out their neighbors and changed old habits. Every reasonable person wants to see an end to the gloom of austerity. Tsipras’s insistence that the worse is still to come is no help to him or his party.

SYRIZA’s spinmeisters will not hesitate to exploit any negative prediction about the country no matter where it comes from. Leftist officials recently sought to amplify the skepticism of analyst Megan Greene regarding the progress of the Greek economy. In her previous position as director of European Economics at Roubini Global Economics, Greene had also systematically argued that Greece has no hope of digging itself out of the crisis.

Meanwhile, economists at Citigroup have made a turnaround. Up until a few weeks ago, the American multinational financial services corporation predicted that Greece would have to abandon the euro area, a scenario they coined as “Grexit.”

That prediction is no more. “In the euro area, we no longer expect Grexit in 2014 in our base case,” Citi said in a research note published this week, adding that the improved stability of Greece’s coalition government combined with an upgrade in growth expectations in the euro area had removed the shorter-term risk of a Grexit.

Unless SYRIZA changes its tune, Tsipras could soon find himself a lonely doomsayer.