OPINION

Unpaid debts

There are many indicators one can use to assess the state of the economy. There are those created by statistical services, there are market indicators, and there are those we can see for ourselves. Indeed, it is revealing enough if we observe everyday developments like how much shorter most peoples’ vacations were this year, how nightclubs tend to close twice a week due to lack of business, and how small stores are having trouble staying in business. One of the most significant indicators of the way things are going in our national economy is, unfortunately, one of the most neglected. I am referring to our national debt. We all know that Greece runs a huge state deficit, which started accumulating after 1978 and had been consistently growing until we joined the eurozone. Indeed, the sheer size of our deficit had been a major barrier to us joining EMU as the Maastricht treaty specified that state debt should not exceed 60 percent of gross domestic product; ours, however, was more than double that. We were excused for two reasons. One was that two of the EU’s founding members, Italy and Belgium, had the same problem; the other was our promise to rapidly reduce this figure. There are two ways we can do this. One is to reduce state spending and use the savings to pay off our debt. The other is for us to sell something… as has been the case this week with shares of the Public Power Corporation.