Comments on: Rubber ducks explain the Greek negotiations A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: Danny_Black Mon, 13 Feb 2012 14:24:37 +0000 TFF, which is why in a democracy no one ever votes for it….

By: TFF Mon, 13 Feb 2012 13:49:37 +0000 Worst thing about living a life of excess is that you need to CUT BACK to get to balance. And you need to cut back further to repay for those decades of excess.

Cutting back is never pleasant.

By: FifthDecade Mon, 13 Feb 2012 04:44:10 +0000 While I’m not absolutely convinced that severe austerity will fix the issue, it is clear that excess has caused it. 1moreEuropean is right to suggest there are problems with the public sector, and privatisation would not be a bad thing. I’ve read that a large portion of Greek debt is held internally, so how about swapping debt that is overvalued for shares in the private sector industries and services that are currently so expensive and unproductive?

I don’t see Federalism or a 2 currency solution as fixing anything, while those elsewhere suggesting the Greeks would be better off overprinting current Euros in cicrulation with “New Drachma” signs are off their rockers.

Whatever the solutions are though, it would really help if instead of dancing around the thing, someone would come out and tell the Greeks the Facts of Life: move out of the Euro and lose 70% of your wealth, or stay in it and lose 50%. Politicians though find it hard to say anything that is not positive news in case they don’t get reelected, while journalists generally only print what is told to them by politicians.

It’s time for straight talking. The Greeks cannot live in denial forever.

By: TFF Sun, 12 Feb 2012 14:14:38 +0000 You are proposing a European federalism? With the central government in charge of most significant services and the individual states managing what? The distribution of welfare?

By: 1moreEuropean Sun, 12 Feb 2012 11:56:46 +0000 The problem in Greece is a big inefficient public sector. The politicians in Greece are using feudal methods to exploit their own people. To a lesser extent this problem can also be found in other areas of the E.U.. In my opinion, this is the problem, that in the long run, has to be corrected.
Greece has 10 mil. European citizens and the vast majority of them have nothing to do with causing this crisis. They are hard working, quite efficient and have a lot of value to add to the Union. Their currency is the Euro.
Nobody should take their European citizenship or their currency away from them (Greek politicians are the most likely culprits, who would very much like to do that, so they can continue exploiting). European leadership must not allow that to happen!
This inefficient Public sector finances itself with money of European citizens inside and outside of Greece.
Everybody should stop financing this public sector a.s.a.p.. This includes northern Europeans as well as Greek Europeans who have to pay a very high price for the ridiculous quality of services they receive from this government.
I have a solution to propose: the Greek public sector prints its own money (say, the new Drachma: ND) and use it to pay for its own obligations while the rest of Europe (and that especially includes the rest of Greece) continues to freely use the Euro. In the mean time both currencies will be used. Obviously the ND will be mostly used in Greece (but not necessarily exclusively). In Greece, the private sector will continue to use the Euro but can also collect NDs. The Super Markets (and every other store) will accept both currencies but obviously prices in ND will be more often adjusted upwards. Taxes will be collected by the Greek public sector in both Euros and NDs.
The Greek public sector will pay the bulk of its obligations with NDs (salaries, etc) but will also have Euros to use for payments towards the exterior of the Greek area. The value of the ND will continue diminishing until the Greek government stops producing deficits. When this happens (if it ever), the Greek government will stop using the ND and switch back to Euros.
Further, I propose that in the mean time a number of European wide changes be made:
Why not allow European citizens all around Europe, choose who they pay taxes to.
Imagine, for example, that a central European government starts receiving income tax payments from Europeans all over Europe in exchange for border patrol, fire protection, policing, public education, highway maintenance(*) and (why not) even defense services offered throughout the Union.
Why doesn’t Brussels introduce a European-wide VAT rate and issue “no-country-mentioned European passports” with “no-country-mentioned European tax ID numbers”.
(*) Isn’t it ridiculous to have to pay so many “Vignettes” when you drive a few hundred km in the heart of Europe? Shouldn’t that end at some point?

By: hedonistbot Sat, 11 Feb 2012 23:40:24 +0000 No duck for the Greek people?

Tells us everything we need to know about our “democracy”…

By: AquaMeerkat Sat, 11 Feb 2012 18:05:50 +0000 There is a good Swedish documentary on the issue that can be found on youtube. Search for “What’s wrong with the Greeks”.

By: TFF Sat, 11 Feb 2012 14:27:36 +0000 Why should the Greek people pay for their spending? Sounds undemocratic to me. Let the Germans and bankers pay!

By: Danny_Black Fri, 10 Feb 2012 22:44:50 +0000 Curmudgeon, I believe that Greece has something like 40bn in uncollected taxes. That would be before dealing with the rampant evasion. The corruption there and the repeated broken promises is also why, contrary to conspiracy theories, the people bailing Greece out are reluctant to give the politicians there direct control of the cash – I doubt it would be going to many pensioners….

By: FifthDecade Fri, 10 Feb 2012 21:24:12 +0000 Thank you pcubed for such interesting comments.

One thing I have heard is that there is no real independent civil service in Greece – each administration brings in its own people right down to the level of police chiefs, and the new folks don’t know where the last lot hid their skeletons. That can’t help things. Also, if you think your political opponents are corrupt, you aren’t going to want to pay any taxes to them if you can hide them somehow because if they were like you, they’d hide them in the costs of building a swimming pool in their gardens for instance.

Prices in Greece did go up rather quickly when the Euro was introduced, I remember news reports with shoppers in markets complaining the stall holders would move a price from, say, Dr. 1,495 down to something like €4.95 rather than the €4.40 it should have been, and this typically drove wages up too. It’s hard for most people to divide numbers in the thousands by 340.750 to buy their daily bread and there seems to have been widespread abuse of the situation.