Yay Greece!

I support the European Union. I think it is a great idea. However, I think that predatory banking is loathsome and should be fought by all means. The Greek vote on Sunday both indicated that Greece was willing to stay in the EU but was not going to put up with any more austerity and interest rates from the French and German bankers controlling  the strings of the puppet Troika (the nickname for the joint commission set up by the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund to “solve” Greece’s debt crisis).

The Trokia have been an absolute nightmare. Seriously, they could be an evil Victorian landlord in a Dickens novel. When the Greek economy collapsed the Trokia gave them a “bailout” on the condition that harsh ‘austerity’ measures be put into place to pay back the banks, and when austerity destroyed the Greek economy and prevented any rebound, the Troika lent Greece MORE money and made them implement MORE austerity. It became a nightmare from which Greece could not escape:

“All the implemented austerity measures have helped Greece bring down its primary deficit—i.e., fiscal deficit before interest payments—from €24.7bn (10.6% of GDP) in 2009 to just €5.2bn (2.4% of GDP) in 2011,[42][43] but as a side-effect they also contributed to a worsening of the Greek recession, which began in October 2008 and only became worse in 2010 and 2011.[44] The Greek GDP had its worst decline in 2011 with −6.9%,[45] a year where the seasonal adjusted industrial output ended 28.4% lower than in 2005,[46][47] and with 111,000 Greek companies going bankrupt (27% higher than in 2010).[48][49] As a result, Greeks have lost about 40% of their purchasing power since the start of the crisis,[50] they spend 40% less on goods and services,[51] and the seasonal adjusted unemployment rate grew from 7.5% in September 2008 to a record high of 27.9% in June 2013,[52] while the youth unemployment rate rose from 22.0% to as high as 62%.[53][54] Youth unemployment ratio hit 16.1 per cent in 2012”

Basically, the elderly, infirm, and the children of Greece have been suffering so that an alliance of banks form richer EU states could profit. With austerity, Greece would NEVER recover enough to repay the loans. The Trokia might as well have been mobster loan sharks. The German Chancellor and de facto head of the EU, Angela Merkel, has said that Greece should have never been admitted into the EU (although she and her ilk were happy enough to use Greece and siphon money off of it like ticks) and she and her supporters have bought into the entire myth of the “lazy” Greek worker to blame Greece for EU banking predation. In fact, the always-simmering German distain for Greeks and other ‘southern Europeans’ has been boiling over into hate crimes against Greeks in Germany of late.

Ironically, Greece was one of the countries that voted to forgive Germany’s debt in 1953, even though the German occupation of Greece had cost millions of Greek lives, including the starvation deaths of 40,000 Athenians. Inasmuch as Germany is Greece’s largest creditor, a little gratitude for past forgiveness would not go amiss.

 

greek creditors

 

Paul Krugman, who is a Nobel-prize winning economist and the most accurate economic prognosticator in America, summed up the why the Greek vote against austerity is a good thing.

“Europe dodged a bullet on Sunday. Confounding many predictions, Greek voters strongly supported their government’s rejection of creditor demands. And even the most ardent supporters of European union should be breathing a sigh of relief. Of course, that’s not the way the creditors would have you see it. Their story, echoed by many in the business press, is that the failure of their attempt to bully Greece into acquiescence was a triumph of irrationality and irresponsibility over sound technocratic advice. But the campaign of bullying — the attempt to terrify Greeks by cutting off bank financing and threatening general chaos, all with the almost open goal of pushing the current leftist government out of office — was a shameful moment in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles. It would have set a terrible precedent if that campaign had succeeded, even if the creditors were making sense. What’s more, they weren’t. The truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding. A “yes” vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven’t worked and in fact, given the arithmetic, can’t work: austerity probably shrinks the economy faster than it reduces debt, so that all the suffering serves no purpose. The landslide victory of the “no” side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap.”

In response to the Greek rebellion against austerity, the French and Germans and European Central Bank are throwing hissy fits and falling into them. The EU is saying that maybe the who Greek referendum does not count because it probably isn’t legal. Merkel and her hardline compatriots threatened to play hard-ball if the Greeks said ‘no’ to austerity and while they are still posturing and flailing their arms, reality suggests that the Greeks have won and Merkel may actually have to start listening to other member nations. She and Germany have been notoriously ignoring other onions on austerity and the Greek debt crisis. President Francois Hollande and his government, “which had also jettisoned the French version of austerity last year, were desperate for a last-minute deal with Greece before the referendum. Their voice and their position were all but ignored by the Germans and the European Commission in Brussels.” Now, Merkel is in Paris to ‘discuss’ things with Hollande and will meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tomorrow. Fingers crossed that Merkel climbs down off her high horse and comes to understand that people are not willing to be treated like dirt just because she wants it that way.

 

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