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Comments to radx

oritteropo says...

The Australian media have been pretty much ignoring the Greece crisis, except for a few brief summaries in the business news, but this week they've suddenly woken up to it. The stories have been Greek families bringing their relatives here during the uncertainty, but also some like this Bloomberg one critical of the EU:


eric3579 says...

Wow, that's fucking disgusting.

radx said:

The NYT discovered Spain's new system of repression:


600 bucks for telling a rozzer to piss off; 30k for filming the rozzers commit crimes; 600k for protesting at inconvenient places, event without torches and pitchforks. It would have General Franco's approval, no doubt.

Between Orban in Hungary, Rajoy in Spain and the warmongerers in Poland, Tsipras is the one damaging the EU.

oritteropo says...

Thanks for that update, you are able to provide info that my usual sources just aren't.

The reports I have seen from Greece are similar, they just want it dealt with.

The thing I really don't understand is why the creditors are so insistent that it is ONLY the poor who have to lose out. I mean, the welfare system is a large expense but not the only one... surely they could get a few bob for some of their old military aircraft?

The whole public debt isn't actually that large, at about €29,000 per Greek, and the amount due any time soon is also not that large, it's just inconceivable to me that it could have come to this.

radx said:

Folks on the street haven't been all too friendly towards the Greeks for some years now, and the exhaustion caused by this mess only added to an attitude of "just get it over with" over the last year or so.

For nearly three years, I have tried to provide counter-arguments whenever someone went off on a tirade against the Greeks (and others) during a conversation with me, or generally around me. You can't really try to explain the birth defects of the Eurozone in 20 seconds or less, but just having some raw data ready at hand (pensions, wages, state of the healthcare system, etc) was usually enough to get people thinking.

But today was different. Today was ugly. Three times I was involved in an ad-hoc discussion about Greece and three times people couldn't care less about the facts at hand. It always boiled down to "we've paid enough, they need to piss off". Period. End of story. People turned sour, big time. All this time, I had never been yelled at, or laughed at, not even once. Until today.

Worst of all, a friend of mine with family back in Greece stopped arguing altogether. What's the point, she said...

oritteropo says...

I've read two different explanations for opposing higher taxes. The kinder one is that the creditors realise how bad the Greek economy is and don't want to support measures to make it even worse. Alternatively they just don't believe that raising taxes will get more money (which is probably true).

That said though, since the measures they want to add would also depress the economy, it seems quite ideological.

The less kind explanation is that the creditors are tired of dealing with Tsipras, and are pushing for terms that they know he would be unable to get through parliament so that the deal will fail.

Neither side has really made much effort here, although in fairness to Greece they don't have nearly as much room to move.

radx said:

The leaked counterproposal is fucked up. Nevermind my ultra left wing preferences, opposing higher taxes on corporations while cutting benefits for the poorest of the poor is fucked up. That's fuel for the anti-European parties. They can paint themselves as the protectors of the plebs against those feudal overlords in Brussels and Berlin with this kind of shit.

oritteropo says...

There is some skepticism from the economics writers, and more so in the Grauniad than the BBC or our local rags, but even there they're more vocal about Greece and close to silent on Britain.

I think the IMF deserves much more scrutiny from the press than it's had

Actually the whole thing reminds me of the 80s and Reaganomics, with the whole group think from the political classes and surprisingly little argument from anyone else.

Maybe they realised how pointless it was to point out the inevitable?

It is a long time ago, and I was quite young, but I don't even remember any Cassandras at the time... certainly our local newspapers all drank the kool-aid.

radx said:

There are depressingly few journalists who call Osbourne out on his permanent-surplus horseshit....

While we're on the subject, the rhetoric from the left flank of Syriza against austerity seems to be shifting from failed policy to tool of class warfare. Or maybe it's just getting reported more prominently.

The IMF, and Lagarde especially, is also receiving more heat by the day for letting themselves get dragged into this troika business by Strauss-Kahn.

Yet in all this, there still isn't anyone willing to pull the trigger.

They all try to appease the mighty gods of the economy, with austerity chosen as their way of showing penance.

oritteropo says...

The next announcement should be that any downturn in the economy is the fault of Labour, and that the solution is more austerity!

radx said:

Apparently, Gidiot is about to offer his own Victorian version of what our local buffoons instituted under the label "Schuldenbremse".

oritteropo says...

Last week Tsipras put out a rather dejected sounding press release that I thought meant they were ready to raise the white flag, but just after that thing returned to normal

I think there are two factors at play over the primary surplus, firstly the creditors are in no mood to lend more money to help Greece's recovery, and secondly the primary surplus promised by Greece is, at least to start with, so small that any possible contraction would be more of a rounding error.

I was a little bemused to read this http://gu.com/p/49h6n/stw article on the UK's voluntary austerity. If you look at where they're spending money (tax cuts for the rich, who don't spend money) and where they're saving it (taking from the poor, who do) you have almost guaranteed an economic slowdown.

That leads to the thought that, as not all government expenditure is equal, surely a Greek government with more than usual amount of economic nous could surely come up with something.

Or, alternatively, agree to kick the can down the road for another 9 months.

I'd really like to think that the former is possible, no matter how unlikely.

radx said:

Varoufakis is on stage at an IMK gig in Berlin right now. It was ~40 minutes of old news, really, at least if you've been following the developments over the last couple of months.

The interesting bit is that he's still making a clear commitment to a permanent primary surplus. For a country as devastated as Greece, that's austerity. Some argue that a 5% deficit over 5-10 years would be required to get Greece back on track, Bill Mitchell and Jamie Galbraith even make the case for running a 10% deficit to get some traction.

Since Varoufakis has to be aware that a primary surplus of any size is still contractionary, I wonder what funky accounting voodoo he has in mind to circumvent this contradiction. Just surplus recycling via the EIB? Who knows...

Edit: the ongoing panel discussion is interesting though.

Edit #2: the recording is now up again:
http://www.boeckler.de/veranstaltung_54282.htm (Varoufakis' talk begins at 12:30)

Edit #3: SPON has a piece on it this morning and one of the first comments correctly calls them out on it.

ant says...

I did see clips of some Fallout games in the past though.

radx said:

Ah, bummer. Glorious piece of culture, the entire series.

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