“I am really scr**ed” says Maria. “I have to pay € 2,000 property levy for my home and a similar amount for my holiday home. If you add the income tax, the extra contributions for trade and solidarity, you can imagine how screwed I am ” she says and her voice sounds more and more strident. Maria is a 40-year-old entrepreneur who saw her revenues dropped at 40% in the last two years. In one of her two businesses she suffered a decrease of even 60%. “I must sell my parents house in the country side, but who buys nowadays and at what price?”
Maria is just one of the Greeks suffering from the tax storm and feel like being scr**ed each and every day without mercy. The reports of people feeling similarly desperate are immense. You just have to have your eyes and ears open and listen to their stories. Desperate stories of middle-class and low-income people who see no way out of their misery.
Giorgos, 80, withdrew the last euro from his savings on Monday morning. He leaves together with his bedridden wife in a 75-sqm flat. Their income amounts €1,200 per month. In the last two years their income decreased due to pension cuts and their expenses increased not only due to hikes in vital commodities and utilities but also because they had to get a house aid to take care of the aged couple and the sick wife. “What do they want me to do with all the taxes? Sell my home and go live in the park? Commit suicide?” says Giorgos and walks away with bowed head. Before disappearing around the corner, he turns and shouts “They should scr** themselves, not me!”
Costas tells me about his retail shop in downtown Athens and how bad things are. “I have to fire the one employee, I can hardly pay the rent. I can’t buy new products because I have no money”. Costas has a retail shop, he sells imported women’s clothes, he has to pay cash his suppliers. “I asked a €50,000 bank loan and they wanted my home as guarantee. There is no mercy”.
“What? A home guarantee for 50,000 euro?” shouts Eleni and laughs. “I asked a corporate loan of €10,000 and the bank offered me only consumer’s loan, with 13% interest rate and my home as guarantee”. Eleni, 48, also a retailer, can hardly pay her social insurance and pension contributions. “Sometimes my revenues are 20 euros for a whole day.”
Fotini, 56, lent her brother €10,000 three years ago. Fotini is long time jobless and has been leaving from her savings since five years. She will be waiting in vain her brother’s loan pay back as he is about to officially declare he is bankrupt. “F*** is the first thing I thought” she says. “I depended on this money to pay taxes and all these extras. Life is getting more expensive every day”. Fotini, a university graduate, could not even find a cleaning job. Fotini wants to start screaming and never stop.
Despina, 35,works at an architect’s office. She hasn’t been paid for two months. “How do they think that we come along? Without money?They think we eat air?” she says and anger sparks from her eyes.
Anna, 30, is a graphic designer. She was successful in her job. So she thought. She got fired 14 months ago, the company is now closed. The only job she managed to get during this period was one-month contract for €1,000 gross. “I’m fed up”, she says “I’ll have to go and live again with my mother and share expenses. I will soon be not able to pay my bills”.
According to Electricity Company DEH, some 174,000 households are without electricity. 8 percent of consumers delay the bills payments more than six months, 2 percent of them they don’t pay at all. DEH cut the electricity of 250,000 households, more than 100,000 didn’t connect it back. For the period December 2010-June 2011, the rate of unpaid bills increased at 25 percent. (Data August 2011).
Salaries fell on 1995-level, direct and indirect taxes increased, living essentials prices went up, recession grew deeper and unemployment hit almost every middle-class household. After cutting unnecessary expenses, after cutting on food and entertainment, more and more Greeks have now started to cut also home, mobile and even internet connections.(Capital). I see already people sharing an internet connection and a pay-phone at the entrance of every multi-stored building…
The crisis engulfs us all in the dark and screws us in day light. And we have no means to inform about it….
They claim to save the country’s economy, save the euro. In reality, they rape Greece and scr** the Greeks each and every day. Well done! Congrats! Kudos!