Friday, 30 January 2015

Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts ~ Away

Vicky Pryce is a Greek born economist, who the left leaning UK newspaper the 'Daily Mirror' often turn to for economic analysis of the Euro-zone crisis, and other economic matters. Partly as she wrote a book called 'Greekonomics' on the Euro-zone crisis from the perspective of Greece.

Strangely of course, most people would say that a big part of (although not the only) cause of the Greeks current economic woes, is that the majority of the population regularly break the tax laws, and lie about their financial assets, and thus pay little or no taxes to the state (apart from anything else it explains the poor infrastructure, even on holidays resorts) ... This both nationally, in order to join the Euro-zone, and individually, where for example despite or because of a tax on private swimming pools, tax records showed only 324 swimming pools had been declared in the capital of Athens. Using satellite photos, the tax authorities examined the tax claims of the residents of Athens's wealthy suburbs, and discovered that, rather than the 324 swimming pools declared by the few honest locals, there were in fact 16,974 of them.

Greek Taxpayers and Honest Politicians Hard To Find.

Helicopters were then sent out over plush suburbs in northern Athens to confirm the satellite images of the homes of professional people, who had claimed they were living on only €35,000-€43,000 a year and had no pool. The government even published the names of almost 70 doctors in the area, that it said had cheated the tax-man, and some of the surgeons who were said to be earning €900,000 a year and not declaring tax. The response was typically 'Greek'. The swimming pool fraternity simply started using camouflage nets to cover the pools to avoid detection ..... much like their government did to cook the books to enter the Euro-zone.

Now of course, much like the Palestinians, who 'democratically' voted for the terrorist 'Hamas' group, but said it was therefore OK to have them as their government, as it was 'democratic' (a bit like voting for Hitler, and then saying its therefore OK to expect everyone to treat them as a normal government), the Greeks have now 'democratically' voted for a party who want to simply cancel 50% of all the Greek debts. This is money owed to other EU nations, and not just Eurozone countries ~ according to some figures, the UK was forced to bail out the Eurozone by £30billion via the IMF, equivalent of up to £1,300 for every UK household (if the first tranche of £12bn was £500 per household, as reported when that was the figure) ~ and 'renegotiate' (meaning never pay that back either), the balance. They have even issued the veiled threat ....

"And if Greece falls, and is removed from the Euro-zone - the Euro-zone will collapse." ....

A threat which may have been true 18 months ago, but in anticipation of Syriza's victory, which the other Euro-zone nations have taken big efforts to make untrue now ... so as a nuclear negotiating ploy it may not be that strong. The new leaders in Greece have made the claim that there will be no Greek default, but that it wants to renegotiate the terms .... a somewhat contrary mission statement. It has already started to dismantle the austerity measures ... despite the European leaders insisting that Greece must meet its debt obligations.
It seems almost obscene that a nation famous for not paying its taxes, gets bailouts from the taxpayers of more honest nations, and then plans to renege on the repayments, and stiff all of Europe's taxpayers ... claiming its 'democratic'.

With Greek Austerity - Everyone Hears You Scream

However, there is already a stink of compromise in the air, and the genuine suspicion that either Germany will take on a proportion of the Greek debt, or worse (and more likely) sanction a write off so that we all have to pay for Greece to resume the good life, or 'Eudaimonia' as the Greeks call it.

What this says to all those countries such as Eire, who took the pain and honoured their debts, or Spain and Italy which are also in deep trouble, remains to be seen, but the injustice of simply letting Greece just walk away from its obligations and return to spending beyond its means, is plain for all to see.

So as we watch the train wreck which is Euro-zone politics, it only remains to point out that in Greece the millionaires remain largely unaffected by the crisis, and that a property tax is still the only way you can get the Greeks to pay any taxes.

Now apart from being a simple illustration of the issues that both Europe and Syriza faces, after its victory in the Greek elections (because its sure as hell that Greece and the Greeks can't carry on not paying their taxes), its also something of an irony that the economist the Daily Mirror turns to for analysis on the crisis, has a conviction and was imprisoned for perverting the course of justice by lying .... it must be a Greek thing.

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