A world in economic crisis

Blame it on the Bossa Nova… actually blame it on the pork barrel.

Posted in Gough Whitlam by Aussie on July 6, 2011

Ah, Greece. It seems that even though there are lazy Greeks, there are others who simply want work, but they cannot find it during these hard times. I guess we could call the situation in Greece a very deep recession. I have reported on some aspects of the Greece economy that has led to the conclusion that a lot of the economic problems in that country is due to the laziness of the people. Since when do people retire at the age of 45? It is insane, because that kind of retirement age can only have one very bad consequence – that of reducing the base from which taxes come, leading to an ever increasing gap between social welfare and taxes. I would have thought that anyone who is serious about discussing the subject would at least recognize that there are just some things that lead to a government debt problem when those things are allowed to get out of control.

Der Spiegel is leading with an article that gives a slightly different angle to the question of why the Greek economy is in deep doo doo, and why it is likely to default regardless of any rescue packages. The answer my friends is blowin’ in the wind… oops, that should read the answer is to be found in the pork barrels supplied by and to the elites in Greece. According to Der Spiegel the ordinary people of Greece are doing it so tough that they are lining up for handouts from the churches on a daily basis. Now do not get me wrong, I feel for anyone who lost their job in 2009 and cannot find another one. I feel for anyone in that particular situation, and yes, I do think that such people need some income support, but they also need government to provide the means to help them regain useful employment via good labour market policy. According to this article, Greece has had a real problem with elitist cronyism and it has been the families of those privileged few at the top of the political tree that have benefited the most:

George Provopoulos, governor of the Bank of Greece, believes torpedoing the austerity package, as the country’s conservative opposition tried, would have been “suicide.” Still, Provopoulos also believes Greece has “reached the limit” and that it would be impossible to squeeze any more out of the people.

In remarks to the conservative newspaper Kathimerini, he spoke about what he saw as the root cause of the crisis. “There is little doubt that the failings of (the existing social and political) system hindered the implementation of policies that would have averted the existing ills,” he said. “We are paying the price of past mistakes.”

The emergency financing will help Greece through the next months and it will buy the rest of the EU some time — time in which the euro crisis may ease somewhat. But it’s unlikely that it can save Greece. The last few decades have seen an elite, with the Papandreou, Karamanlis and Mitsotakis families at its core, establish a system of economic patronage. They threw around billions the government didn’t actually have and showered friends and relatives with prosperity that was all based on credit. These leaders bloated their country’s administration so that everyone could have a piece, and created a bureaucratic monster in the process.

The political parties’ business dealings were always more about favors than policies. Anyone with access to public funds used them to buy friends and voters, who were then beholden to the party — and to the family running it. The result for Greece has been a feudal democracy, where the generations come and go, but the names remain the same: Papandreou and Karamanlis and Karamanlis and Papandreou, with a Mitsotakis thrown in every now and then. No other European democracy has seen the like.

Who knew? In a country such as Greece, where the Communists threw out the monarchy in the 1920s (Prince Philip had to be smuggled out of the country when the royal family escaped) Greece started on its road to being an absolute basket case. The party elites behaved just like party elites that are to be found in Russia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, as well as in Central America, South America and let’s not forget the same thing that happens in African nations, where the dictators get rich and the poor get poorer. In the majority of cases it is the left that leads the way with this cronyism, as well as the wastage and the vote buying. We see it in Australia, and especially since 2007 when there was a change of government. It is happening in the USA with the incumbent in the White House wasting money on weekly parties, as well as other unnecessary expenditures, including the great pork barrel of all pork-barrels, the money being given to non-farmers, who are taking advantage of the legitimate case that Tom Pigford had against the Agricultural Administration due to its discriminatory policies. They call it Øbama money, but the real name should be PORKY PIG money.



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