OPINION

This is the easy part

The dilemma of a simple «yes» or «no» to the austerity measures is convenient for the government on a political level because any suggestion of scrapping the stability program is just not a viable option. The government can only be put on the spot when criticism is focused on instances where its words are many and its actions few: on the fact that the burden is not equally shared; on the fact that so many scoundrels remain unpunished; on the fact, most significantly, that instead of introducing a new growth model, the measures merely tweak the irrational, kleptocratic and wasteful model that brought Greece to the state it is in today. Adopting measures was the first and easiest step on the long road to fiscal rehabilitation. The hard part is taking advantage of the crisis to advance major reforms that will set the country on the path to purging its public sector and achieving growth. The crisis itself makes it easier to change people’s attitudes and behavior, creating a situation in which something that was impossible in the past may now be feasible, but only so long as there is consensus or, at the very least, tolerance on the part of society, and these prerequisites will only be fulfilled if people are convinced that the country is making a new start under new, equitable rules. Rallying public support need not be attempted with the usual, ineffective tools of politics. The situation is too far gone for anachronisms. In order to find a way out, what is needed are new tools, new imaginative approaches and effective practices. Expert committees should already be scrutinizing ministries and suspect organizations in order to assess the changes that need to be made. The argument that all this will never work is arrogant and idiotic. An effort at good housekeeping will also tell the people that the government is not simply trying to rake in as much money as it can, but that it is working toward building a new growth model. Unfortunately, the government is instead taking the old, well-trodden path.