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Why No Politician Dares Telling Greeks About the €11.5 Billion Cuts?

The Troika left, Greek politicians were left behind. In Athens. Greece’s lenders inspectors left the Greek capital Athens on Sunday after they laid the country’s coalition government leaders on Procrustes*  bed. Representatives from IMF, EU and ECB did not stretched them on the rogue’s bed. Instead, they cut so much it needed to fit to the iron second bailout program.

Prime Minister Antonirs Samaras and his government partners Venizelos (PASOK) and Kouvelis (Democratic Left) were left behind with the load weighing  11.5 billion euro. It lays heavy on their desks on this extremely hot Monday and the sweaty hands don’t even dare to touch it.

The measures have not been announced to the public. No one wants to spoil the holy August-vacations of Greeks who in fact struggle to pay income taxes and emergency property taxes and solidarity taxes and taxes of all kind, size, lenght and colour. Plus high electricity bills due to prolonged heat wave causing air-conditioning and fans to work at full power and speed.

My fellow countrymen and -women are sinking into an increasing depression and the majority of my friends has neither summer vacation plans nor budget for even a week on a Greek island.

Therefore no politician would dare tell them now about all the additional cuts they will have to deal with in the very near future. No, nobody dares to come out and say things by name and number.

Pension Cuts News Would Send Thousands to State Hospitals

Several scenarios are being leaked to the press but nothing is officially confirmed yet. Today, Monday there is rumoring talk about cutting low-pensions at 3% and the higher at 5-6%. Starting by those as low as 601 euro per month. A pensioner receiving €700 per month would see € 35  to have disappeared in a a mysterious way out from his pocket.

This rumoring talk claims that the cuts to low-pension would be implemented so the government avoids cuts only for pensions over 1,400 euro per month. A horizontal cut for all “to restore social injustice” as … who was it? Samaras? Kouvelis? who said that a couple of weeks ago.

But, no! No official dares saying this publicly now. Such an announcement would send thousands of low-pensioners to the hospitals amid prolonged heat-wave and state hospitals in personnel shortage – and this not just because of August leaves.

No! The government does not to hear relatives screaming on TV that grandpa finally managed to operate the new remote control of the decoder that took him to the digital era, but unfortunately he heard the news about his pension cuts and collapsed. Or that the grandma fainted when she was told her welfare benefit was cut because -according to Troika’s balance sheets – she ought to be dead long time ago.

Privatizations On the Go

In order to avoid massive death in state hospitals and angry relatives, Greek government picked up the easy way. Right after the withdrawal of the Troika, and as Greece’s government leaders recovered from the shock, they met to discuss the privatization program.

Greece will compile a bill that introduces 77 amendments aimed at clearing the legal hurdles that are delaying its privatization plan, said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday.

After meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the heads of Greece’s two junior coalition partners– socialists Pasok and the small Democratic Left party–Mr. Stournaras said that talks focused on 10 assets that are ready to be sold but stopped short of naming them. (WSJ)

No, the government did not want to spoil the vacations of the army of employees at state organisations, enterprises and co. Who wants to tell an army of voters, that they could soon join the long queues at the unemployment office or that they’d need to be relocated and transferred to other services of the public administration.

Measures? Later!

There will be spending cuts but not new austerity.” I don;t even remember who said this during the last days. A minister? A politician? A government leader? It doesn’t matter anyway. Spending cuts without austerity? Another Greek miracle…

The additional austerity measures, the spending cuts,  are expected to become known either at the end of August or beginning of September. Once the Greeks have recovered from the summer heat and the taxes shock. Once the Troika has completed its evaluation and issue its report. A report that would enable the country to receive a 31-billion-euro bailout tranche. To pay back interest rates to its lenders.

We may be in debt, but we are not stupid 🙂

*In Greek mythology Procrustes  was a rogue smith and bandit who physically attacked people by stretching them or cutting off their legs, so as to force them to fit the size of an iron bed.

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  1. I learned about Procrustes from Rick Riordan. I think he owns a deadly furniture shop in a seedy area of some American city. Those books teach one a lot about Greek mythology even though things are altered somewhat. I honestly think the tourist industry could use his books somehow to make some money for Greece.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      that’s why Ancient Greek culture is classic. It is ecumenical and valid all through the centuries of human kind.

  2. The utter cowardliness of the Greek political class is causing the suffering. These 11,5 billion were on the cards well before the elections. A quick Google gave this April 14, 2012 article in eKathimerini.

    Now we are almost 4 months on. And it is still everybody is talking about “will introduce” and “scenarios”. And with yet another excuse (it’s simply too hot today?) is put forward to “don’t even dare touch it.” And “The additional austerity measures, the spending cuts, are expected to become known either at the end of August or beginning of September.”

    We’re still listening to talk about having to come up with 11.5 billion cutbacks here and there to “a 31-billion-euro bailout tranche”. And still not a single real measure of structural changes has been implemented.

    SYRIZA could do us all a big favour and make themselves hero’s for generations to come by coming up with a law to criminalize gross cowardliness and selfishness while in government or in opposition (instead of coming up with that idiotic warning of prosecuting everyone who will invest in privatizations).

    But hey! Holidays are around the corner. So, they are all off to Paros and Mykonos to revel in their holiday homes (of which most will be build illegally and without paying the due taxes anyhow) or together with their cronies. Or they are off sailing on one of those 104 Greek yachts that are sailing under a Dutch flag and which are not declared to the Greek tax man. I wonder what happened to that investigation after Greece got that info from Dutch tax officials… Still under investigation? Nah…, that’s so ‘foreign’. It will probably have been dealt with the ‘Greek’ way: “Almost everyone here tries to evade taxes,” says Nikos Lekkas, one of the bosses of the Greek fiscal Anti-Fraud agency. “The whole social system is this way. People see the state as an enemy, they prefer to rip it off.”

    With Greeks like these, who needs foreigners to blame for their woes?

    Yes KTG “We may be in debt, but we are not stupid”? Lately the thought to the contrary is creeping up on me and it is scaring me… 🙁