While politicians in Greece, Brussels and Washington decide the fate of Greece – while staying in 5-Star hotels with unlimited expense accounts because nothing clears your head for negotiations like Lobster Newburg washed down with Chateau Lafitte Rothschild – the only certainty is that when they’re done dining and dishing and slapping each other’s backs that Greek workers, pensioners and the poor will pay the cost again.
And unless he wants to go down in history as the man who destroyed modern Greece, Prime Minister and Looney Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras will either have to cross his red lines and administer more austerity measures or preside over the final collapse set in motion four decades ago when then-Premier and PASOK Anti-Socialist leader Andreas Papandreou tried to hire everyone in the country with money Greece didn’t have.
Thus has it always been and thus shall it always be because politicians and the rich, like cockroaches, survive everything including nuclear winter and everyone else is sacrificed. If the heartless Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) spelled out what they really wanted it would be for a 100 percent cut to salaries and pensions and striped pajamas issued to slaves.
There is a way out of the death spiral Greece finds itself in, thanks mostly to generations of PASOK and New Democracy Capitalists using the country’s treasury as a personal cash dispenser, hiring hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes and going on wild spending binges so mad a drunken sailor couldn’t keep up, coupled with flat-out theft and collusion to keep cartels fat and happy and ordinary Greeks skinny and miserable.
If Tsipras sets aside his kooky, anachronistic Che Guevara playbook and agrees not to move, at least for now, to raise the minimum wage back to 750 euros ($846) a month (where it belongs) from the 580 euros ($654) to which it was cut by PASOK and New Democracy – and if he also postpones his plans to restore collective bargaining for workers, he can ask the troika to put something on the table: removing its insane insistence on further reducing pensions already slashed 30 percent and more.
There’s another option to go with it. Tsipras could agree to cut the highest pensions paid to people who got them for cushy jobs but keep his red line not to hurt people who are trying to survive on the likes of 300 euros, the princely sum of $337.87 a month, or $84.46 a week – in the year 2015.
Otherwise, walk away but leave a note saying that since that would leave poor Greece broke and unable to afford fuel for F-16’s to patrol the skies against would-be Turkish invaders violating the air space, that Greece sadly will also have to leave NATO, kick the US out of its base on Crete and turn it over to the Russians and Vladimir Putin so the country won’t be defenseless. That little gambit out to do the trick.
Since SYRIZA, like New Democracy and PASOK, is unwilling and unable to administer real structural reforms nor chase tax cheats who owe 70 billion euros ($78.97 billion), the only answer is to make NECESSARY cuts, such as in the Parliament where workers blackmailed former Premier and New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras into withdrawing austerity measures on the threat of a strike.
Tsipras lives in a delusional Bizarro world where Fidel Castro rules the planet and surgeons make the same salary as janitors so that’s not going to wash, especially as the conservative bankers and politicians who run Europe are eager to crush a left-wing revolution before it can get started and put some heads on pikes as a warning.
“One can only suspect political motives behind the institutions’ insistence that new cuts be made to pensions despite five years of pillaging by the memoranda,” Tsipras said when he walked away from stalled talks with the lenders.
“We will patiently wait for the institutions to adhere to realism. This is not a matter of ideological stubbornness. This is about democracy,” said Tsipras. No, it’s not. It’s about money.
It’s always about the money because that’s all almost everyone cares about, apart from the likes of Mother Teresa, some valiant workers, NGO activist types and people who can be found singing Kumbaya in cafes with an encore of We Are The World.
Since even a broken clock is right twice a day, government spokesman and paid liar Gavriil Sakellaridis was correct when he said that, “We have largely reached our limits,” when trying to explain why, after months of saying a deal was coming “any day now,” a patent falsehood set out for gullible public consumption, that Greeks can’t take anymore.
It’s still most likely that Greece will get another bailout extension or an 11th-hour death row reprieve because while EU officials want to bury Tsipras and SYRIZA in a hole so deep that they can’t be exhumed, that they do fear the effect on the Eurozone.
It doesn’t matter if Greece gets a deal or not because in the short-run whatever is agreed upon will hurt the helpless even more while exempting politicians and the rich, and in the long-run (not the one where we’re all dead) that the economy won’t recover for decades, leaving a trail of the broken behind.