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Greek-Bashing by Squadron Commander Bild Zeitung – When is Blitzkrieg?

It’s not the first Greek-bashing campaign and not the last one. Squadron commander, tabloid Bild Zeitung launched a campaign urging its readers to say “No” to “more billions to greedy Greeks”.  Bild readers should print a huge “NEIN”, make a selfie with it and e-mail it to the newspaper.

bild

Reason for the campaign is the voting in German Parliament on Friday, that will approve the program extension as agreed at the Eurogroup of February 20th.

“Morgen soll der Deutsche Bundestag schon wieder neue Milliarden-Hilfen (13,7 Mrd. Euro) für Griechenland genehmigen.

Zum 5. Mal! Darum sagt BILD jetzt: NEIN! zu neuen Milliarden-Geschenken an Griechenland!”

Tomorrow the German Parliament will approve again new billion-aid (13.5 billion euro) for Greece.

For the 5. time! Therefore BILD says now: NEIN! to new billion-presents for Greece!”

I don’t know how many BILD-readers already sent their “NEIN-selfie for Greece”, but it is certain that some sent a “NEIN-selfie for BILD”.

Angry anti”BILDer”

bild selfie

“No more €0.80 for stupid Bild!”

Modern scapegoats

I am sure you don’t seriously expect me to write here how Greeks reacted to this BILD campaign. We both get blushed…

Quite a number of German internet users express strong concern about Bild’s “right- populist” course

Highly problematic. Are greedy Greeks contemporary Germany’s greedy Jews?

Correspondent of Radio France International quoted in his blog a German journalist who commented to Bild campaign:

In the articles of” Bild “, you replaceGreeks “with” Jews “and it reminds you of the good old times. 

And a Brit noted:

~ cheap political games also insults most Germans.Anti-GER backlash.Dangerously spins a vicious circle of nationalism:ideal for fascism

BILD gets ready for Blitzkrieg

German satire website Der Postillon came behind the real cause of the Bild campaign  “because politicians do not do their job”. Der Postillon reveals  that with this campaign the BILD in fact wants to

“recruit Reader-Soldiers in order to invade the heavily indebted Greece, annex the most beautiful islands and throw the rest of the country out of the euro zone.”

Just hours after the call- to-action, “200,000 volunteers have already gathered together, motivated by their years-long hate against the “lazy Pack” in Greece. For the time being they are supplied with inexpensive “People’s assault riflesand absolve shooting drilling.

In addition, military experts believe that BILD-Readers are the best soldiers due to lack of critical thinking and thanks to blind obedience.” (Full article in German Der Postillon)

BTW: I have realized that BILD has made some progress in its anti-Greek rhetoric. It is not the “broke Greeks” (Pleite-Griechen) anymore but just the “greedy Greeks” (gierige Griechen).

One never stops wondering about the unlimited bashing & bullying Greeks have been exposed to since beginning of the crisis.

And one keeps wondering how much bashing & bullying established media should be allowed to do in the name of “freedom of the press and opinion.”

UPDATE: German Journalists’ Union (DJV) issued a statement demanding from BILD Zeitung the immediate stop of the campaign.

“You may dislike or reject the German policy towards Greece, but a campaign trying to directly influence policy decisions is forbidden by the described journalists’ tasks,” said DJV-President Michael Konken.”The Selfie action by Bilde.de exceeds the limits of a political campaign.”

In addition,it is ethically questionable when media vilify a whole nation for the fiscal mistakes of  its politicians,” the DJV statement said.

Bild Nein campaign

PS some of my readers urge me to conduct a survey on whether Germany should exit the euro zone in the name of European spirit & solidarity. Hm…

 

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86 comments

  1. You are wondering why the rest of Europe is mocking Greece? Really?

    Lets be real here:

    2 out of 3 Greeks evaded taxes, according to your government, for several decades. In 2009 31 of that years deficit was dodged by the private sector alone.

    You currently have 17 investigators that take care of high priority tax evasion.

    Your country had a retirement plan that started at 55 in some cases people collected benefits off of dead people.

    According to your anti-corruption minister it is a miracle that Greece did not fail earlier as a state.

    You want to know why people are mocking and bullying Greece? Well if those things are nothing to mock, I don’t know what.

    A state not being able to function as a state is something mock and with good reason.

    In Germany we have a saying: the people get the government they deserve. The people of Greece are as guilty of corruption and the state of their country as is the troika.

    • we must conduct a survey whether Greeks would like a German government. BTW: check difference between ‘mocking’, ‘bashing” & “bullying”

      • What does a “german” government have to do with the points I listed?

        Are these points incorrect? Is it wrong of Germany or the other countries to criticize Greece for them?

        Greece is mocked in a very German way, like I said we take responsibility quite serious. Even if our government fails and it is not our fault we do consider it our fault, because we elected them.

        In same manner, if a Greek would claim he did not know about the situation in their country, we would say: ignorance is no excuse. There is a difference in mentality, most Germans just don’t understand how some could even remotely consider helping a dysfunctional state and that it is, we have to be honest here.

        What is so puzzling for the albeit quite superficial German public, is the fact that seemingly no one from the Greek people ever asked how the state is financed when 5 out of 6 family members are dodging taxes. And that is just the beginning.

        Add on top that the previous government seemingly did not manage to make the state function even remotely. A working tax system is essential, everyone knows this. So support in the German public is low because Greece does not manage to function as a state and the more one looks into the whole thing the more clear it becomes that the reason for the economic downfall of Greece is indeed their own fault.

        Personally I am all for helping the Greek people, but there are things that HAVE to work first and those are simply and basic things like tax enforcement.

        As for one of your comments regarding Germany should leave the EU. Sure the German public would love that, we would even be willing to deal with the struggle afterwards, which in Germany’s case would not take long. The ones that would lose way more would be the rest of the EU.

        I have to look up the source again, but it was either a Greek or a Spanish economist who said that without the Euro, southern Europe should prepare to live in a state that is appropriate for their economic output, that being similar to third world countries. But at least that would be realistic then. The reason he gave for that was decades of misguided investments and failure to invest into future industries. Whether or not that is true I can’t say, but it is something to consider.

        • Yes too many of your facts are wrong. How can 2/3 of Greeks evade tax when 65% of Greeks are employees whose taxes are deducted at source?

          As for German responsibility, your country has been the biggest debt reneger in history! Your country was rebuilt by the rest of the Europeans foregoing reparations, forgiving your debt and by US funds. Please look into that: you can start with the London Debt Conference 1953 and work backwards. This after invading and destroying most of Europe, and worse: ie complete with ‘moral hazard’. So much for “debt is sacred”.

          The Greeks meanwhile have not hurt Germany nor harmed you and your family.

          • 2/3 Greeks working in the private sector. Amounting to roughly 31% of the year’s deficit in 2009.

            Also the numbers are coming from the Greeks themselves and the OECD. You can complain about that to them, if you don’t like them. From the data I have seen, including the IMF and OECD data, it seems quite accurate.

            I am aware of what has been done to rebuild Germany, so? You have something in mind, as to how we are supposed to repent for what we have done, go ahead and share it.

    • franz- I would suggest you take a look at the actual age at which people in Greece are retiring, rather than spouting German anti-Greek propaganda based on the mimimum age for some few selected occupations. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonoberholtzer/2011/03/22/effective-retirement-age-vs-official-retirement-age/) You will find that Germans’ average ACTUAL retirement age is 61 and Greeks’ average ACTUAL retirement age is 60.9.

      Now, using OECD figures for average hours worked per year (http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS), a German working from age 21 to age 61 at the 2013 rate will have ACTUALLY worked 1388 hrs/yr * 40 years, or some 55,520 hours of work. A Greek would have worked 2037 hrs/yr * 39.9 years, or some 81,267 hours of work. ephilant, below linked to a scathing report on falling average hours worked in Germany and the poverty it is creating.

      In short, if you look at valid data, and not German propaganda, you find that while Greeks and Germans actually do retire at virtually the same age, the Greek worked 25,756 more hours to reach that retirement.

      If a Greek were to retire after putting in as many hours of work as the average German, he could retire at age 47. So who is getting away with with the easier retirement?

      • So you managed to pull up numbers everyone has seen by now, great. Yes and I never claimed that greeks are lazy. I said that an early retirement and frequent fraud, a corrupt political system in which most of the population took part in as well as severe tax dodging is the reason for why their country failed. Regardless of when the average Greek actually retires, these problems are selfmade.

        I might be off about the actual retirment age, but really when looking at the mess that is the greek state there is no shortage of reasons.

        Sure the troika messed up the rest no question about that.

        • franz,

          If everyone has seen the numbers, then why did you use your baseless retirement example in the first place? That borders on “bearing false witness” as the old saying goes. You act as if it is my fault that you made an error.

          But if your retirement accusation is false, how are we to believe anything else that comes forth from you? Or is the rule that everything you conjure up is true, unless of course, someone fact checks it and proves otherwise, and then everything remaining is still true. If you are going to speak as if you are authoritative, then check your facts before you spout them. And search a little farther than newspapers and blogs. Spend a bit of time with OECD data, for example. They are honest brokers, which is why Varoufakis has brought them into the equation. Unlike Herr Schauble, who has no compunction about lying to serve his ends (read about his denying what he said to the school children recently), OECD is factual.

          • You don’t have to believe anything I say and frankly I don’t care if you do. You should start to check your facts though. Cause pretty much every international institute came to the same conclusion: that the Greek state was and is dysfunctional, not just after the Troika started to get involved.

            If you can’t accept that, well I won’t spent time on convincing you otherwise.

          • But if you want some evidence:

            Soft Credit Evidence From Greece, which documents the hidden, non-taxed economy, blames the current malaise not on dodgy taxi drivers or moonlighting refuse collectors, but on the professional classes.

            They found that €28bn (£22.4bn) of tax was evaded in 2009 by self-employed people alone.

            As GDP that year was €235bn and the total tax base was just €98bn, it is clear that this was a significant sum. At a tax rate of 40%, it amounted to almost half the country’s budget deficit in 2008, and 31% in 2009.

            The chief offenders are professionals in medicine, engineering, education, accounting, financial services and law. Among the self-employed documented in the report are accountants, dentists, lawyers, doctors, personal tutors and independent financial advisers.

            The authors, Adair Morse and Margarita Tsoutsoura from the Booth school of business and Nikolaos Artavanis from Virginia Tech, were given unprecedented access to the records of one of the top 10 Greek banks.

            • franz-

              So your viewpoint is that the Greek people, every last one of them is beyond redemption, while the world must forgive and forget the following:

              1. Until 2002, bribery was not only legal in Germany, but bribes were tax deductible. Well, as long as the bribes were not paid to thwart competition with a German company.

              2. Even though bribery became illegal in Germany, Siemens continued a tradition of unethical behavior dating back to at least 1914 (when they took a 15% kickback to let Japan buy their products) and continued to dole out bribes after 2002 to the tune of nearly 2 billion US dollars.

              3. A Deutchebank subsidiary was found to have fraudulently endorsed mortgage papers to the US FHA as well as forging signatures on foreclosure paperwork. Massive numbers of mortgages involved.

              4. Frau Merkel, concerned about a variety of illegal and unethical practices by German businesses that had been exposed, pleaded, at a high level business conference in 2008, for German business to clean up their acts, lest total trust be lost.

              5. Apparently Frau Merkel’s speech fell on deaf ears at Deutchebank, as they happily participated in Libor rate fixing for a few years thereafter. Hundreds of billions were lost by investors, pension funds, home owners, etc over the span of the rate fixing.

              6. Interestingly, none of the above transgressions were prosecuted by the German Government.

              7. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has been in possession of a list containing the names of German companies thought to have helped Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his father Hafis build up Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal over the course of several decades. Ultimately, it became one of the largest such arsenals in the world. Berlin immediately classified the list and has since kept it under lock and key. The government says that releasing the names would “significantly impair foreign policy interests and thus the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany.” It also argues that doing so would be akin to releasing “trade secrets” and as such would violate the German constitution. So, human rights are as low a priority as business ethics in Germany.

              And you, a German, have the audacity to make moral judgments of each and every Greek!

              P.S. I am not of Greek ancestry, and I still find your racial condemnations repugnant.

              • let’s add the list of some German companies doing business in embargoed Iraq under Saddam

              • The world is not supposed forget and forgive anything. But what exactly does that have to do with the economic downfall of greece? Or the fact that at one point 49% of Greece’s popultion dodged taxes? Taking that number +/- 10% for several decades and it becomes clear why the state went down under. And according to several sources at 49% of the Greek people were involved in that downfall at some point.

                That is a fact. Trying to argue that these practices are not related to Greece’s economic decline is rediculous.

                In regards to your question. No I do not believe that the Greeks are beyond redemption. But what I believe and what they do are two different things. The last government failed to establish an even remotely functional tax enforcement program, again like it or not, but they failed. We will see if the current government will change that, so there is some hope though I doubt that is the hope the people of Greece are looking for.

                I don’t mince words neither is it my intention to do so. Denying the reasons for Greece’s economic downfall won’t help the Greek people. Understanding the reasons does however. And the vast majority of economic authorities concluded that the main reason were the lax tax laws and the not enforcement of them.

              • I think you fundamentally misunderstand something here. I don’t judge the Greek people.

                I state the numbers and conclusions made by varies economic authorities, plus my own analysis. And the majority of economic authorities came to the conclusion I presented. Neither was it meant to degrade anyone of greek decent nor was my intention to blame someone for it.

                Fact of the matter is however that a large portion of Greece’s struggle is housemade, not all of it, no question about that. But whoever claims that a population where nearly 50% dodged taxes is not respinsible for the economic downfall of their country is simply an idiot.

                • If you allegedly accept the “majority of economic authorities” (can you provide valid figures for that alleged “majority”?), then why do you not acknowledge that a huge body of recognized economists such as Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and these professionals http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Economists-Call-for-Cancellation-of-Greek-Debt-20150121-0023.html (not lawyer/accountant politicians such as Herr Schauble) have described the austerity program as a failure? As always, change the subject and lay down a smokescreen.

                  • Ah see there is the problem, I never claimed that the austerity measures were successful or even a good concept to begin with.

                    I was not referring to post humanitarian crisis Greece, but to pre crisis Greece and the fact that their economy was already highly dysfunctional. Once the crisis hit Europe the failings of the previous governments manifested themselves.

                    The troika handling of Greece was abysmal and there should be a lot more help for Greece, I NEVER stated anything else.

                    However I DID point out that the economy was already highly dysfunctional and rotten before the crisis, the only logical result being what happened. Of course the humanitarian crisis could have been avoided if Germany and the rest of Europe would have done the right thing, I am not disputing that nor would I defend it.

                    I think you and I are talking about two completely different problems.

          • Also you could just read through Amnesty International’s corruption report http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/nis_greece_2012

          • The OECD estimated in August 2009 that the size of the Greek grey market to be around €65bn (equal to 25% of GDP), resulting each year in €20bn of unpaid taxes.[12] This was in comparison almost twice as big as the German black market (estimated to 15% of GDP).[13] Data for 2012[14]place the Greek “black market” at 24.3% of GDP, compared with 28.6% for Estonia, 26.5% for Latvia, 21.6% for Italy, 17.1% for Belgium and 13.5% for Germany. There is however a correlation with the percentage of Greek population that is self-employed[15] (31.9% in Greece vs. 15% EU average[16]), as several studies[17][18] have shown the clear correlation between tax evasion and self-employment.

            Several successive Greek governments had in the past attempted to improve the situation, but all failed due to tax evasion’s place within Greek culture. A rapid increase in government revenues through implementing a more effective tax collecting system has been recommended. Implementing the proper reforms, is however estimated to be a slow process, requiring at least two legislative periods before they start to work.[13]

            In the last quarter of 2005, participation in tax evasion reached an estimated 49% of the population,[2] while in January 2006 it fell to 41.6%.[2] A study by researchers from the University of Chicago concluded that tax evasion in 2009 by self-employed professionals alone in Greece (accountants, dentists, lawyers, doctors, personal tutors and independent financial advisers) was €28 billion or 31% of the budget deficit that year.[1]

          • So sorry but even OECD agrees.

            • Sorry Franz, that measures PERCEPTION of corruption, not corruption itself.
              For example, the English perception of corruption is low, yet the corruption in the City of London outranks every other country. However most people don’t work in the City of London and don’t perceive it.

              Every country doing businesses with German companies perceive them as corrupt because that is how they win their business abroad – by cheating and bribery. But Germans at home don’t hear about this and thus do not PERCEIVE it.

              • Oh now there is an interesting claim, let’s take a look at it.

                http://www.transparency.org/country#DEU

                You were saying?

                • franz

                  Yes, Greece is number 69 on that list of “perceived corruption”. Meanwhile, Frau Merkel and her minions are falling all over themselves to provide aid to Ukraine, who is at number 142 on that same list. In fact, Greece’s suffering is somewhat increased by the trade loss the sanctions on Russia in support of Ukraine. So obviously, the issue of degree of corruption is not a concern for her if there are economic targets to plunder. If you are going to set a “rule” of who deserves what, than stick to that rule.

              • Tsigantes-

                That is exactly why Herr Schauble and company have mobilized the propaganda machine to try make what is essentially an economic issue into a morality play. Rather than admit their ineptitude in designing the bailout, they flood the world with “the Greeks deserve it”. Racial stereotyping is far easier for limited intellects to embrace than the economic facts of an ill designed program.

            • franz-

              Copy and paste wikipedia at your own peril. The footnotes provided do not reference OECD, but rather, inflammatory German newspaper articles that allege OECD statistical analysis. The fact is that OECD PUBLISHES NO SHADOW (grey) ECONOMY FIGURES, because the OECD has yet to find a statistically valid set of tools to measure same. It might illumine you to read OECD’s Nov 2002 Statistics Brief, “Measuring the non-observed economy”. If anything, this quote about many current methods of estimating grey market activity should give you pause, “They do, however, tend to produce spectacularly high measures which have no sound scientific base but which, despite this, attract much attention from politicians and newspapers.” (http://www.oecd.org/std/2389461.pdf)


              The OECD is an honest broker. If they cannot quantify something, they say so. They are totally non-political, scrupulously meticulous, and honest in their data collection and analytical methods. So honest and scrupulous, that Mr Varoufakis has made a point of having them a party to the agreement for the solution to the current situation. But then, Mr Varoufakis is a respected economist facing amateur economists such as Herr Schauble (lawyer/accountant) and company. Is it no wonder that Herr Schauble has expressed irritation at being asked to discuss economic theory as it applies to the human and economic catastrophe he authored. Herr Schauble may be able to ignore the hundreds of outside economists who counsel a change of course in the bailout, rejecting the Schauble slogan, “Austerity macht frei”. But he cannot ignore a fellow finance minister seated at the EU table by virtue of office who asked Herr Schauble to respond to the facts.

              • Keep pretending, if you actually read the article you would find that the ESYE as well as the OECD are the ones that provided the data the article is based on and it is not only them but also a myriad of other economic figures.

                Again from the OECD, since you like to talk about them so much.


                The paper shows that tax evasion in Greece increases
                inequality and poverty, and reduces tax progressivity,
                while causing a considerable loss of tax receipts. Can
                these findings be trusted? One cause for caution is the
                distinction between the static and dynamic effects of
                tax evasion. It is important to remember that taxation
                (and, by implication, tax evasion) does not simply
                reduce disposable incomes; it also affects decisions
                concerning supply of, and demand, for labour, the
                allocation of disposable income between consumption
                and savings, the allocation of consumption between
                different goods and services and so on (Slemrod and
                Yitzhaki 2002; Sandmo 2005). Although the analysis
                of dynamic effects lies beyond the scope of this paper,
                we need to recognise that the implications of tax evasion
                exceed those that can be shown with a static arithmetical
                recalculation of the income distribution.
                While our approach focuses on personal income tax,
                the distributional impact of evading other taxes (e.g.
                company tax, capital tax, value added tax) is likely to
                reinforce these effects. Evasion of social contributions,
                in particular, often taking place at the same time
                as income taxes, is likely to reinforce the regressive
                impact of tax evasion.
                Our approach relies on matching data from tax
                returns with survey data. While we have made an
                effort to make the two sources comparable, our
                adjustment techniques offer at best good approximations.
                In particular, the truncated nature of tax
                records (i.e. low-income families pay no taxes) and the
                limited reliability of income statistics at either end of
                the income scale leave our estimates vulnerable to
                measurement error. Therefore, our results should be
                best seen as tentative estimates under an experimental
                research design.
                Our key assumption is to treat incomes observed in
                EU-SILC as closer approximations of ‘true income’
                on the grounds that people have no incentive to conceal
                their income from survey interviewers, since their
                disposable income would not be affected by their
                response. The intuition is reasonable, but not necessarily correct. There are reasons to suspect that the
                actual but unknown level of tax evasion may be considerably
                higher than that implied by our estimates. In
                particular, there is some evidence that the very same
                factors causing tax evasion, combined with the wish
                of tax-evading individuals to be somehow ‘consistent’,
                may cause under-reporting in income surveys as
                well, albeit at a lower level (Elffers et al. 1987).
                In spite of the above caveats, we believe our results
                capture essential aspects of the problem we set out to
                explore. Our core finding, that tax evasion in Greece
                has a regressive impact, seems reasonably robust. In
                view of that, and under conditions of severe crisis, the
                task of combating tax evasion assumes greater
                urgency than ever before.”

                https://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCcQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cesifo-group.de%2Fportal%2Fpage%2Fportal%2FC48AFC084A7109CAE04400144FAFBA7C&ei=ZVXwVJeEDMj6PNjkgLgP&usg=AFQjCNFPanVeFhgV1kThgOJMzEa5gLn_ZQ&sig2=3limGBLCHFLuOhtraRAIJw&bvm=bv.87269000,d.ZWU&cad=rjt

                • The alleged data can be from anywhere, but the truth of the matter is that the OECD has not, in any way, released a report that gives Shadow Economy statistics. Their official position is that valid methodology does not exist, and unlike the press or politicians, the OECD deals with provable fact, not supposition. Therefore any claim that the OECD agrees with you is false.

                  Then you respond to a question of the Shadow Economy with an answer pertaining to tax evasion? Did I ever say that there was no problem of tax evasion? Do you know the difference between the two?

                  • Obviously the shadow economy or black market is the loss of income through illegal trades that are not taxed.

                    It is a part of tax evasion, though tax evasion in general focuses more on people trying to, well evade taxes. Participating in the shadow economy usually requires more criminal energy.

                    However both add to the same problem, lax controls, lax enforcement, lower revenue.

                    • I have no argument with the general principles you cite. What I have refuted is the bogus quantifying and subsequent comparisons between countries that you make. Suffice to say that Greece, as well as other countries, has a grey market and tax evasion problem. That all Greeks “deserve” to be punished is another issue. Should every employee of Siemens and Deutchebank be jailed for the billions they bilked? And while we are jailing the employees of those two companies, should we not jail each and every German? Or should we just single out the worst offenders and let all the others go free? Can you really argue honor amongst whores? I reject your blanket “guilt by association”, as you will punish the innocent without thought.


                      There was a problem placed on the table in 2010. A “solution” was put in place. Unfortunately, it was the wrong solution, and resulted in untold human suffering, no less even greater economic collapse. What was wrong with the Greek people before 2010 has no impact on what is on the ground in 2015. 2015 is in large part due to excessive austerity. So, an honest person would say, “We screwed up. Had no idea that our solution would result in such a humanitarian catastrophe. Let’s see what can be done to fix that.” While many, many respected economists have uttered those words, the Austerians, in the main, have not. And when one of the original technical authors of the program has, their words have been ignored. Rather, the authors of the plan have said that there can be no deviation from “the deal”, regardless of how disastrous that might be, and their cheerleaders chant the stock in trade mantra of how bad the Greek people are.


                      What is just plain fact is that authoritative voices were being raised in early 2012 that the program was seriously flawed and needed significant adjustment. What is just plain fact is that the Austerians ignored those voices, no less the deepening human tragedy in Greece. Finally, a competent economist makes his first foray into politics and points out that the emperor has no clothes, and the Austerians are shocked at his temerity? So, rather than say, “Gosh, do you think we could have made even the slightest error and listen to voices of economists from around the world?” Hell no. Just more, “A deal is a deal”, while the cheerleaders chant, “Bad, bad Greeks. Feed them to the lions!” Now, plug that into your morality play scenario and tell me how is plays.

                  • I must have missed your question on shadow economy, because I was talking about tax evasion all along.

                    • The grey (shadow) market wikipedia article you quoted, and tax evasion are two separate, although often inter related issues. You can have tax evasion without a grey market. You stated that “OECD agreed” with your grey market claims. I simply pointed out that OECD does not offer grey (shadow) market data, and thus cannot agree with the claims you made. That the press took data from a variety of sources, to include OECD, and interpreted that to reach a conclusion in no way makes it an OECD conclusion. Similarly, you cite “a majority of economic authorities” support your claims, without defining what an “economic authority” might be and how you came to the conclusion that more than 50% of them agree with your view. I doubt that there are many economists that would, for example, afford the title of “economic authority” to Herr Schauble, no matter how much political authority he wields over Europe’s economy, no matter how much Herr Schauble would like us to think otherwise. One would have to know exactly how many “economic authorities” there are in the first place to define “a majority”. Lose and baseless claims like this undermine the credence of all that you say, and reduce it to gossip, at worst, and propaganda, at best.

              • Or you could just read from their official survey as well.

                • pls, stop spamming my blog withe links.

                  • Alright, I did not want to spam your blog, I wanted to provide the sources for my claims, since claiming is easy, but a claim is nothing without data.

                    • Well, you’re overdoing it a bit, Franz. And it’s useless anyway. Ktg once was a reasonable person, but five years of “reforms” must have wrecked her nerves and radicalized her, like so many Greek people who are unable to accept that ths mess is heir own fault, for electing one bad government after another into office. They simply don’t want to accept that in the end, they themselves are responsible for their own country. It’s much easier to blame Germany.

                      So, sorry, but you’re wasting your time here. It’s good to bring up the German point of view every now and then, just so that readers see there’s different opinions, but it’s hopeless to try to convince people that they’re totally wrong. They don’t want to face that ugly truth.

                    • I patiently awaiting wise German suggestions as to who should the Greek people vote for. tick..tack…tick…tack…

                    • Ok, that’s a real problem, of course, ktg. But the shortfall of responsible politicians and parties in Greece ain’t Germany’s fault at all!

                      Btw, at Ekathimerini, I criticized both ND and Syriza during the campaign, but argued that To Potami may have been worth a try.

                    • HAHAHA! we bet on that!!!

                    • I seem to remember we made a bet about something, sometime ago, but I don’t remember the details. Pls refresh my memory!

                    • Hmm, I just noticed you owe me five Deutsche Mark, but I don’t think that was the bet I had in mind:
                      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/06/17/google-logo-on-greek-elections-for-greeks-only/
                      No worries, lets forget about that. Rather difficult to get Deutsche Mark nowadays anyway!
                      🙂

    • Franz says: “In Germany we have a saying: the people get the government they deserve. The people of Greece are as guilty of corruption and the state of their country as is the troika.”

      Is that ignorance, stupidity, or just bigotry? If the people get the government they deserve and the people of a country are guilty what does that say of the Nazis of the 1920’s through the 1940’s who are responsible for the deaths of millions of people and destruction of Europe, by your reasoning?

      I’m not as ignorant or bigoted as you seem to be in blaming the people of a country for the crimes committed by their governments. And if you believe that the people get the government they deserve what does that say of the people of Germany when their government

      • loaded the debt now in question by providing the backup to those banks who think they have nothing to lose cause the government and the ECB wil bail them out thereby making loans to countries when they know those countries can’t pay them back.

      • I already responded to that. Yes Germans in 1920 – 1945 are as much to blame for the third Reich as the Nazis themselves.

        • and what were the sanctions? debt write-off

          • So no control over your army, neither political nor economic sovreignity as well as being occupied by allied troops that dictated the countries policies, controlled the police, the educational system for over 40 years were no sanctions?

            The allied forces agreed on this and the reason for that was to use Germany as a bridgehead against the soviets. This did not happen out out of solidarity.

            But even IF that would have been the case. Would that somehow negate the dysfuctional mess you called a state for what? 30 years? None of these issues your country had before the troika was involved is related to the reich, nor to Germany. It was your governments and your people who tolerated such practices like bribing, tax fraud and off-the-books-operations.

            You have no one to blame but yourself for that. If we are talking about post-crash issues however Germany has to be critisized, along sinde with its partners.

            • franz-

              At last, something from you I can agree with. Yes, the Allies did indeed impose serious, rigid controls over the German people. The objective was to force you to ACT like civilized human beings. Not BE civilized, as that comes from within as part of a values system, but to make it too painful to ACT otherwise. The arrogance, superiority complex, lack of feeling for the suffering of others and Germano-centric cultural imperatives remain. We have just diverted them from military aggression, to less physically violent ones.

            • I am sorry to hear the usual self-pitying tones and not some thanks (and perspective) to the other European countries for their enormous contributions to the so-called German ‘miracle’ after the war. This was only possible through our generosity, not only financial but moral.

              This coupled with your ugly bashing of a whole people for the crimes of their government – a corrupt Greek government that your corrupt German government worked so hard to keep in place for its own business reasons.

              Why not look into the ongoing crimes and immoralities of Germany?

              • So is it not true that at some point 49% of the Greek population did dodge taxes? According to OECD and other sources, it is.

                Is it not true that Greece’s tax enforcement is one of the main point criticized by pretty much every respected economist? Again OECD, Amnesty International, the IMF and the ECB amongst many others do criticize that.

                Please name any of the points mentioned by me that are untrue about the Greek economy.

                That way we get away from petty insults that you seem to be so keen on.

                • NO true what you claim. stick to some info coming form here! employees and pensioners get their taxes deducted before they receive their salaries.
                  PS and BTW: calm down.

                  • Calm down? I think you are under the impression that I am angry. Nothing could be further from the truth. The OECD confirmed that “In the last quarter of 2005, participation in tax evasion reached an estimated 49% of the population”

                    As you are undoubtedly familiar with the employment history of Greece, there were and are huge amounts of private business owners. According to your own ministry of finance, they are the key figure in the rampant tax evasion that is going on in your country.

                    That includes kiosk owners, doctors, engineers, tutors etc.

                    Please provide credible information that the claim that 2005 49% did NOT participate in tax evasion, because pretty much every authority on the planet does confirm this as pretty accurate.

                    Yes those that are employed are the ones that actually can’t evade taxes, since it is already deduced the moment they get their paycheck, I am aware of that btw.

              • “Why not look into the ongoing crimes and immoralities of Germany?”

                What exactly does that have to do with any of my points?

              • “I am sorry to hear the usual self-pitying tones and not some thanks (and perspective) to the other European countries for their enormous contributions to the so-called German ‘miracle’ after the war. ”

                Eh self-pity? What are you talking about? At no point was I arguing that Germany had it bad or that our existence was pitiful.

        • I’m sorry for being so harsh but the governments of the world don’t really represent the people. Read this for some financial enlightement of the situation in Greece http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/history-in-the-balance-why-greece-must-repudiate-its-banker-bailout-debts-and-exit-the-euro

          • The apathy of the people is no excuse either. If the people allow the government to rule as they desire, letting them sell out their country, they are as much to blame as the people in charge.

            That goes for every people, including my own.

            • The “apathy” you mention is elsewhere called ‘law-abiding”. This apathy charge should foremost be laid at the feet of the German people for tolerating their abusive governments. (What else were the HARZ reforms but directed at harming German workers to increase profits to rich German countries?) However, in your eyes Germany can do no wrong and is always right, even as it cheats its own people. Bravo! So much for German “education” which apparently only indoctrinates with lies, (and how many times over the decades too!) and discourages critical thinking. NOT admirable but also extremely dangerous.

          • Also the article confirms what I said about the Greek economy and the failing governments that ruled the country for decades.

            Criticizing the lack of taxation and enforcement.

            • Since none of my German acquaintances and friends are as obstinate, misinformed and – excuse me – downright stupid as you insist on being, I can only conclude that you work for the Deutsche Ministry of Disinfo – or Bild!

              • Sure sure, whatever you say. You can’t make your point without insulting the other party, yes demonstrate how educated your are 😉

  2. “in germany we have a saying, the people get the government they deserve”…

    well, as the country that has ripped the world to shreds twice in the 20th c., i think it is obvious that this saying can’t be accurate…or is it?

    • It came up after 45. But even still we voted Hitler into power and we got exactly what we deserved for that.

      As for WWI that was hardly Germany’s doing alone, all of Europe was out for a fight, Germany included.

      • But the new government of Greece has nothing to do with Hitler. Why always Hitler ? Hitler-bashing is boring. Neither Syriza nor Anel are with Hitler.
        I was also against it, but its realism and some small successes (really : not so small) in negotiations convinced me that they can be right.

  3. I might have to add that the saying was a byproduct of the international denazification effort. The effort of the allies to embed democracy within German society, therefore Joseph de Maistre’s quote “Every country has the government it deserves (Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite”), became public understanding through the education we, the German people received on democracy.

    • I know, I know: Germans have swallowed democracy with a huge spoon.
      if you consider bild-campaign as ‘mocking’ I ask myself why the German Journalists’ Union condemned the Bild campaign…

      • I was not referring to Bild, Bild is absolute shit. Sorry to be this frank. I was referring to the rest of mainstream media.

        • DIe Welt is not doing better lately, as well. jus tin another style.

          • Well the German public really has enough of empty promises coming from the Greek government, that is picked up by the media. Doesn’t its good and I did not state that I agree with the bashing, I attempted to explain the reasoning behind it.

          • Afaik Die Welt is owned by the same company as Bild, Axel Springer Verlag, which is known for its right wing stance since more than half a century now. As a Greek, such partisanship of the media shouldn’t really surprise you, Kt. Yes, not everything is better in Germany, some things, like media bias, are basically the same as in Greece.

  4. “if a Greek would claim he did not know about the situation in their country, we would say: ignorance is no excuse” wrote my fellow countryman. yeah, that’s a great statement for a german feller! tell this our parents and grandparents and grandgrandparents. as I remember, they all claimed, that they “didn’t know!”. I feel ashamed about the german media. even newspapers that used to have a reputation of respectful and investigative journalism have joined in in the usual bashing against greece. So I wonder, what interest lies behind this? Why is it, that greece has to be portraied in the public as a kind of scapegoat?

    • Look into the reason why Greece’s economy was in trouble in the first place and you will find out.

      Like I listed above, 2 out of 3 Greek actively dodged taxes. Pensions started with 55 and in some cases double benefits were paid.

      According to several sources of both the IMF as well as Greek government, some bodies of government didn’t even kept records of their expenditures.

      Saying that the Greeks are responsible for the abysmal state of their economy is not scapegoating at all. Even according to current government sources and in power ministers.

      I can be argued that the aftermath, the humanitarian crisis is the fault of the EU and one would be able to present strong points there, but to forget that Greece did get to the point where they desperately needed foreign money all by themselves is nothing short of ignorant.

      Though I agree that the media does tend to hammer in certain points too much. Like the infamous “lazy Greek”, which is absolutely ridiculous.

    • That is what my Grandparents and Parents taught me. Ignorance is no excuse and they extended that to what happened in the third Reich. Everything else would be hypocrisy anyway.

    • Exactly on the nose Michaela – “WHY” is the big question.

      Could it be so that German banks can avoid losses on a Greek debt restructure as is the normal way with IMF / international debt resolution? Is it because Deutsche Bank is so dangerously exposed that it could pull down the German economy? Is it because of the reparations due to Greece as promised by the German government, pending since re-unification? These are big financial reasons, against which the costs of an anti-Greek propaganda campaign is peanuts.

      What a pity for a government to set European peoples against each other! And on the basis of lies!

  5. Why is it, that greece has to be portraied in the public as a kind of scapegoat?

    Because it is easier to point the blaming finger elsewhere, than to clean out one’s very own pigsty. It also helps to divert attention away from the problems on the home turf, none in the least the rapidly increasing levels of poverty in the country.
    https://www.destatis.de/DE/PresseService/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2013/11/PD13_400_p001.html;jsessionid=9FD53C168C0FCAA6EFE0654E22950241.cae2

    • People are aware of that, it is quite heavily discussed in german public. There is no need to divert attention from something everyone is informed about.

  6. Just take the Greek rail works as an example.

    The national railroad had annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earned 65,000 euros a year.

    Twenty years ago a successful businessman turned minister of finance named Stefanos Manos pointed out that it would be cheaper to put all Greece’s rail passengers into taxicabs: it’s still true.

    Like I said it not all the bad evil Germans and the bad european Banks that wanted to throw the hard working Greeks into a destructive economic depression.

  7. It saddens me that the headlines of the gutter rag get people upset. They appeal to the lowest instincts, ignore it.
    I would almost like to apologise for it, though I have not lived in Germany for the last 40 years.

  8. No point in going endlessly over the past. This is something that should be looked at, worked on:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/opinion/what-greece-needs.html?_r=0

  9. Excuse me, are you going to upload all OECD, IMF, EU and ECB data here?

  10. If you want me too, sure.