Head of International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde gave a “heartbreaking” interview to British daily The Guardian. The compassionate , Madame Lagarde assures she keeps “thinking all of the time of the little children in Africa” saying they “need more help than the [impoverished] children of Athens.”
Lagarde Carrying IMF aid to Africa
If Greek children suffer from spending cuts, their “parents have to pay their taxes”. In Lagarde’s mind those impoverished Greeks deprived from public services and serial tax-evaders are to put on the same level.
Mothers unable to get access to midwives? Patients unable to obtain life-saving drugs? She says she thinks “equally” about Greeks deprived of public services and Greek citizens not paying their tax.
The International Monetary Fund has ratcheted up the pressure on crisis-hit Greece after its managing director, Christine Lagarde, said she has more sympathy for children deprived of decent schooling in sub-Saharan Africa than for many of those facing poverty in Athens.
In an uncompromising interview with the Guardian, Lagarde insists it is payback time for Greece and makes it clear that the IMF has no intention of softening the terms of the country’s austerity package.
Using some of the bluntest language of the two-and-a-half-year debt crisis, she says Greek parents have to take responsibility if their children are being affected by spending cuts. “Parents have to pay their tax,” she says.
Greece, which has seen its economy shrink by a fifth since the recession began, has been told to cut wages, pensions and public spending in return for financial help from the IMF, the European Union and the European Central Bank.
Asked whether she is able to block out of her mind the mothers unable to get access to midwives or patients unable to obtain life-saving drugs, Lagarde replies: “I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.”
Lagarde, predicting that the debt crisis has yet to run its course, adds: “Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.” She says she thinks “equally” about Greeks deprived of public services and Greek citizens not paying their tax.
“I think they should also help themselves collectively.” Asked how, she replies: “By all paying their tax.”
Asked if she is essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe that they have had a nice time and it is now payback time, she responds: “That’s right.”
The intervention by Lagarde comes after the caretaker Greek government met to discuss a sharp fall in tax revenues – down by a third in a year.
In a self-deceiving, sunbed-ridden sociopath illusion that the IMF has the mission to help sub-Saharan African countries, Lagarde blames even the Greek low-incomers and pensioners, the jobless and the neo-poor for the situation of the country.
In her interview Lagarde says Greece is not getting softer treatment than a poor country in the developing world, and that the IMF does not find it harder to impose strong conditions on a rich nation.
“No, it’s not harder. No. Because it’s the mission of the fund, and it’s my job to say the truth, whoever it is across the table. And I tell you something: it’s sometimes harder to tell the government of low-income countries, where people live on $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000 per capita per year, to actually strengthen the budget and reduce the deficit. Because I know what it means in terms of welfare programmes and support for the poor. It has much bigger ramifications.” (Full interview and Guardian article HERE)
After two years of IMF programme in Greece, Christine Lagarde has apparently failed to get the main Greek reality:
Lagarde Out of Africa
that only those earning least pay their taxes, while the economic elite and the ruling political class whistle indifferently and keep playing their petty games.
PS No sunbathy? Who wants “sympathy”? Greeks want social justice, Ma’am…