Mar 05

Nonsense Alert

Posted by Kristjan Velbri | Posted in Europe | Posted on 05-03-2010

It seems to me that Greeks really don’t get it. A few days ago “Greek singer Nana Mouskouri offered her pension to help end debt crisis”. The singer had previously worked for the European parliament and is now receiving a monthly £14,700 pension from Brussels. She offered her pension to held end the debt crisis. But this is not all:

There have been widespread calls for wealthy Greeks, including those from the country’s huge diaspora, to contribute money to a national fund to help the country climb out of its economic black hole.

There are two reason this doesn’t make any sense. First of all, Greece’s public debt is over 250 billion euros. It would take years to pay it off, even if Greece stopped borrowing money today, which it won’t. Second of all, it was the government that spent the money, not the rich people. Politicians’ populism is what got Greece into the mess it’s in right now, not rich people. The money was spent on welfare and government employees, essentially this spending was done to guarantee the votes of the electorate. There is no reason rich people should carry the burden the government willingly put on itself. In any case, paying off Greece’s debt won’t solve Greece’s problems. They need to reign in on spending and put labor union contracts up for review. If Greece’s government were able to borrow more money, they would! And that’s the problem. You can’t solve Greece’s problems by paying off their debt, because they would revert back to their old habits in no time. They will have to pay off the debts themselves so that they remember the pain. Nobody is advocating pain for pain’s sake, but economic pain is what guarantees you won’t step in the same bucket twice. In addition, Greece needs to learn to be a lot more polite. Calling names and blaming Germans for what happened is ludicrous and shows absolute lack of commitment to reform.

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