Greece once gave Europe their philosophy, architecture, science, sport, and so much more. Now they give Europe their debt. Socialism can have that affect on a country.
Greece’s chronic crisis threatens to become worse. After promising budget-cutting measures to the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for more than $153 billion in loans, Greece has proved austere only in its implementation of austerity programs. Their creditors threaten to withhold funds until Greece makes good on its promises.
The crisis is at a crossroads. The country may opt to fulfill its commitment to slash spending in order to receive more aid. Or, it may reject the loan’s terms in order to spend away. While the paths may seem to go in different directions, they both ultimately arrive at the same destination. Greece runs out of funds next month, and with no sane lender eager to pour money into the basketcase economy, the nation necessarily conforms to the loan’s budget-slashing demands to get its cash infusion or by necessity cuts government because it lacks any money of its own to fund it. Greece either chooses austerity or austerity chooses Greece.
But many within the nation’s ruling socialist party don’t see it that way. “What our creditors are asking of the country is unthinkable,” reacted labor leader Yiannis Panagopoulos to the latest round of austerity measures. “A country is its people, and above all it is they that must be saved.” One needn’t even eavesdrop on the conversations of Greek leftists to stumble across rationalizations for not downsizing the state. Regarding Greece missing deficit targets, The New York Times reported Monday: “The reduced number of workers employed in the public sector would only add to the difficulty of meeting these targets as payroll tax collections shrink.” WTΦ?
Put another way, Times reporters claim that cutting the salaries and benefits of government workers would inhibit deficit reduction because the government would lose out on recouping through taxation a portion of the monies it pays out. That the outgoing payments dwarf the incoming revenues doesn’t seem to occur to the reporters. With uninterested parties making such outrageous accounting errors, it is unsurprising that interested parties within Greece would do so, too.
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