The ‘2 percent’ deficit

Even kindergarten pupils are taught that two wrongs don’t make a right. So it is hard to understand the government’s reasons for tabling an amendment that would have extended for another three years a law allowing media corporations not to declare 2 percent of their turnover. Some have described the amendment as legislated money laundering. «There were indications that the amendment had the approval of at least the main opposition party,» said the deputy finance minister, «which, when in government, had legislated similar extensions passed since the 1980s. But as we have seen that there is no such approval, the government is withdrawing the particular provision.» First of all, policy should never be based on indications. Secondly, who is governing this country? PASOK, or the government? If the amendment was sound, it should have been passed despite PASOK’s objections. If it was not justifiable, it should not have been tabled at all. Thirdly, PASOK has been penalized twice by being voted out of office for sins that ND was elected to correct. So why worry about what PASOK thinks? Every political party has to have distinct policies and distinct responsibilities. A broader consensus regarding illegality does not create legality, just more illegality. This particular amendment highlighted a greater deficit than the 100 million it costs the state budget. Tabled on the eve of the May Day holiday in a language that confused even experienced parliamentary deputies, it was yet another example of the lack of transparency in legislation. The Greek economy is such a mess precisely because endless amendments just like this one, designed to serve specific interests, are eating away at the state budget. These amendments are like termites, you only realize they are there when the house finally falls down. That is what is happening to our economy.