Letter from Athens: The High Cost of Living in a Recovering, Developing Third World Country: Greece

Photo: Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis

Let’s start with the obvious: Greece is not a developing or Third World country, as could be inferred from Prime Minister and Looney Left Alexis “Che” Tsipras’ request for aid from the World Bank, which offers loans to both.

But nor – as he claimed before the country’s statistics agency ELSTAT embarrassed him with numbers putting the lie to what he said – is it a recovering country because that’s decades, if not eons away.
You can be fooled on the surface, seeing young people filling cafes, smoking and drinking away but what’s sustaining Greece is the high rate of homeownership, which at 74 percent – down some three percent during a seven-year-long and counting economic crisis but still 25th in the world – families support for each other and, until further notice, what little savings were socked away.

As always, the two-faced, duplicitous Tsipras wants it both ways: tell Greeks the economy is recovering while seeking aid from an institution which supports economies that aren’t.

This is part of what New Democracy Capitalist leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis – a Janus himself – said was a pattern of deceit, but one practiced by all political parties in Greece.

What got Tsipras into this new dilemma, on top of more than two years of reneging on anti-austerity promises and lying more than a Trump appointee, was his claim the country was recovering, before ELSTAT pulled the rug out from under him.

He didn’t mention that he wanted the World Bank to kick in aid for programs to help the country’s jobless, with unemployment still above 23 percent and more than 50 percent for the young, at least those still in the country and who haven’t fled or the rate would be even higher.

Greece is living on three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($343.07 billion), including the last, for 86 billion euros ($91.47 billion) which Tsipras said he would never seek nor accept but did both, throwing another lie on the dog pile.

“The government of Greece has asked the World Bank to provide technical and financial assistance to address pressing challenges including: long-term unemployment, economic competitiveness and growth and social protection … In accordance with World Bank procedures, any final decision on providing loans would be subject to approval by the bank’s board of executive directors,” the news site Politico reported, attributed to an unidentified bank official.

The DC-based agency finances growth and development plans for Third World countries and emerging markets, not primarily developed countries such as those in the European Union.

The report, citing unnamed “people familiar with the situation” said that, “Preliminary talks have taken place indeed with (the World Bank) but we cannot confirm official application,” attributing it only to a government official in Athens.

At the same time he was saying that the era of austerity was over and “not another euro for austerity” (technically true since he’s adding billions of euros more so he can continue to both oppose and support what he’s doing) Tsipras – capable of speaking out of both sides of his mouth while he has both feet in them – was groveling to the World Bank while trying to fend off the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM) which ordered him to implement more Draconian measures.

He’s been doing that since July, 2015, when he sought the third bailout and agreed to more austerity he’s now trying to reverse and after reneging on his own referendum in which he asked Greeks to support him in opposing austerity.

They did, he didn’t, but the long delays in imposing more conditions is adding to the cost of what Greeks will pay.

Not all Greeks, of course, just workers, pensioners, the poor and suckers who pay taxes while tax cheats, politicians, the rich, privileged and those canny enough to hide their assets and monies in bad loans they stole from banks remain without sacrifice.

This is on top of the third bailout itself, which wouldn’t have been needed if he’d acted as soon as taking power in January, 2015 and just submitted to the lenders’ demands and fallen on his sword instead of sticking it in the gut of everyone else.

Tsipras didn’t end the dreaded ENFIA property tax surcharge and this year put an avalanche of more tax rates on taxpayers, which in Greece is only about half the people with the rest being tax cheats and poneeros, thinking themselves clever for screwing their country.

People are now losing their primary residences because they can’t afford to pay their debts and collection agencies are hounding them, but not political parties who won’t pay.

Now the gullible lemmings who twice voted for him, along with those who saw through his phoniness, have just received bills from the Public Power Corporation (PPC) with add-on charges for the environment, green energy, welfare for families with more than three children and other non-electric causes tacked on, driving up the bill, and the cost, some 60 percent.

That led to longer lines snaking out the door at PPC branches of people asking to get on installment plans to pay what they can’t but it’s only fitting because Tsipras has turned off everyone else’s lights already.