Send the troika packing, start over in Greece
Commentary: The euro hasn’t helped the Greeks or their economy
By John N. Kallianiotis
The troika arrives in Greece again Tuesday to check the books and make more demands in exchange for the second bailout check, this time $173 billion. I say send them packing.
I also say get rid of the corrupt Greek government leadership, but I would approve if they first told European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank folks to get back on their plane and go home.
A bone of contention is that Greece is reluctant to accept the troika position that more cuts or revenues are needed to fix a $2.7 billion hole in the budget. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says the deficit is only $500 million.
Enough. The fact that Greece is pushing back a little doesn’t change the underlying reality. Despite what “experts” outside of Greece are saying, those of us who know the people, culture, history, and values know that the current approaches are wrong and only do damage to Greek citizens.
The first thing that Greece needs is independence from the undemocratic and oppressive European Union. Second, the people of Greece must elect a new Greek-Orthodox political party, which will care for Greece and Greeks. Those currently in power created this crisis, beginning in 1974 to weaken my homeland. They continue to weaken it daily. They are dangerous and must be removed from office.
The current coalition government has used citizens’ wealth as collateral for loan after loan, much of which has been wasted or stolen over the years. To satisfy the troika, Greece’s leaders have levied unbearable taxes and reduced salaries and pensions.
Despite claims that Greece will have positive growth in 2014, the country is in dissolution because every strategy this government has embraced has been anti-growth.
The truth is Greece desperately needs growth strategies. The global recession has exacerbated the problem, and we see unemployment at about 30% and youth unemployment at about 60%. Greeks are migrating abroad, and illegal immigrants, primarily from Turkey, are taking their place. The identity of Greece is changing as quickly as its bank account is emptying.
Greece needs leaders who will regain my country’s sovereignty. We need a government that understands that Greece’ socio-economic-political structure is completely different than that of the West. Greece must remain true to its heritage. Measures like property taxes are unethical, unfair, and absurd. Taxes must be only on income.
Of course, new leadership should crack down on tax evaders, whether businesses or wealthy individuals. The country has to have its own currency to use it for trade policy and to render the nation sovereign. The “internal devaluation,” as the troika recommends, does not contribute to competitiveness, but to the destruction of the nation and the impoverishment of the citizens.
Greece will regain its competitiveness only when it goes back to the drachma. The euro EURUSD +0.34% slowly destroyed Greek agriculture and manufacturing, and now, they want Greece to close its three industries that produce military material.
I feel as though Greece is under occupation. The last straw for me is about Sundays and holidays. Sunday is the Lord’s day, and it is a holiday for Greeks and people should not be forced to work. Stores should be closed on Sundays and other traditional holidays. Among other things, the troika has no right to intervene in Greek civilization.
John Kallianiotis, a native of Greece, is professor of economics and finance at the University of Scranton.
ΠΗΓΗ: The Wall Street Journal, Market Watch, November 5, 2013, pp. 1-2.