Letter from Athens: The Story Behind the Story of SYRIZA’s Fake Deal With The Troika

ALexis Tsipras. Photo: Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari

Pay close attention, ladies and gentlemen of the Troika. My name is Alexis Tsipras and I’m the Prime Minister of Greece here to give you a chance to win the Bailout Game merely by choosing under which shell is the hidden pea.

If you win, we don’t ask for debt relief. If we win, you give us everything we want, we claim victory, keep 326 billion euros and you get nothing.

(Tsipras swiftly moves three shells around a table in a conference room in Brussels, under the scrutinizing eyes of German Finance Minister Wolfgang “Schadenfreude” Schaeuble and European Commission finance chief Pierre Mosovici, who’s already in Tsipras’ pocket and there to distract the marks from being conned)

Tsipras starts:

“A little fun, just now and then,

Is relished by the best of men.

If you have nerve, you may have plenty;

Five draws you ten, and ten draws twenty.

Attention given, I’ll show to you,

How the little shell plays the peek-a-boo.

Select your shell, the one you choose;

If right, you win; if wrong, you lose…”

This is the patter behind the ancient shell game in which suckers always lose because the pea is secretly removed from the shell as they are moved. Under Looney Left leader Tsipras, it’s really the Smell Game because the stink of this fake deal is worse than from cooking escargots.

You know French food: so bad, and such small portions – and this is what the Greek people will be left with after the 3-Card Monte switch-lane-chicane-snake-oil-salesmen deal that’s being sold to them by Tsipras.

And the media too, which unquestioningly reports the facts without interpreting what they really mean, falling into the propaganda trap set by politicians whose machine gun patois is faster and more deceptive than even Umbrella Jim Miner, one of the best shell game men among the Mississippi Riverboat Gamblers.

What Tsipras didn’t and won’t say about the deal he got from the country’s international lenders was that all it did was release 8.5-billion euros ($9.52 billion) from a staggered 86-billion euro ($96.3 billion) third bailout that wouldn’t have been needed in July, 2015 if he’d stuck to reforms he said he’d reject and then imposed.

The governments who preceded him, including the coalition led by New Democracy and including the then-PASOK also got release of monies from two first bailouts of 240 billion euros ($268.74 billion) and were pushing the country toward economic recovery before Tsipras won and pulled the rug out from under that hope and now claims he’s bringing it back.

The deal came at the cost of his renewed reneging on anti-austerity promises, including more pension cuts he swore he’d cease and also taxes on low-income families he pledged to help but who were also thrown under the bus to keep him in power at any cost.

The deal does not help a single Greek who’s been hurt by austerity and leaves untouched the oligarchy he said he’s crushed, the rich who don’t pay taxes and hide their money in secret foreign bank accounts while Tsipras allows Greek banks to foreclose on homes of people who can’t pay their mortgage because of crushing conditions he continued, and as the shipping industry he said he would make pay taxes laughed at him and got away with it.

Most of the bailouts are used – just like the 8.5-billion euros Greece is getting now – to repay the lenders and the banks making huge profits off it as almost nothing goes back to a beleaguered Greek citizenry that won’t recover for years after Tsipras is gone.

The lenders said they’ll now also talk about debt relief that would give the country another 15 years to pay back the loans, up to 2063 and the International Monetary Fund said it may kick in $2 billion but those are still contingent on the government hitting fiscal targets it never has and never will so it was just phony-baloney boilerplate to take the heat off everyone and so they could again pretend-and extend all is well when it really isn’t.

“The bottom line is that, although default was averted, no measures were taken that would create a path leading Greece to financial markets,” Nicholas Economides, Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University told the Bloomberg financial news agency.’

He added ominously that, “At present, a fourth loan agreement in 2018 seems likely.” That’s on top of the fourth bailout memorandum Tsipras already signed and now has put in the draw and pretended he didn’t, so this deal is good for no one except him and his submissive lackeys, including his coalition partner, the pro-austerity, far-right, marginal, jingoistic Dependent Greeks.

The real story is that none of Greece’s economic problems have gone away, it won’t return to the markets soon nor get the debt relief he really wanted, nor an influx of electronic money from the European Central Bank, unemployment won’t go down, pensioners will be devastated, the health care budget won’t be increased and everyone will suffer except the people who caused it.

“I’m fed up of being fooled. It’s nerve wracking,” Mary Koutra, 59, told the news agency Reuters. “Lenders have put us in a snake pit … they just want slaves, not individuals displaying initiative, or dignity.” That’s the real deal.