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Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

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Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Post by witchfinder on Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:08 am

When the Greeks wanted to get inside Troy, they built the "Trojan Horse" and presented it as a gift to the people of Troy, however some citizens were very suspicious and hence the phrase was coined "beware of Greeks bearing gifts".

Of course the wooden horse was not what it seemed, it realy was a ploy to get inside the city, the huge wooden structure had soldiers inside it, I guess this is what we term as been "a great deception".

And in recent years, the Greeks have committed another great deception, the modern equivelant of that ancient wooden horse story is the story of the Greek economy, and the unseen enemy has not been soldiers hidden within it like in the biblical story, the dark secret this time has been hidden debt.

If the Greeks had been honest at the time of joining the Euro, and also in the time since then, then this crisis would have been avoided, the Greeks have deliberately hidden the true scale of both their national debt and the defecit they were running.

The problem for Greece has been a story of two lots of debt, the debt run up due to the world-wide financial crisis and recession, and then theres the debt accumulated through uncontrolled government spending, added together pushes Greece s total debt up into the "imminent danger" zone.

CONCLUSION

As a collective, the members of the Eurozone must now surrender their individual fiscal sovereignty to "The Collective", there must be lessons learned from all this, an individual member state should not be able to drag the others down due to incompetence or hiding uncontrolled spending.

THere is only one option open for Greece if they want to return to prosperity and stability, and that is to go along with the bailout including the spending reductions and tax raising plans, stay within the EU and the Euro and do as they are told, there are other options open to Greece, but these other options will not lead to a return to prosperity or stability.









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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by tlttf on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:02 pm

There is only one option open for Greece if they want to return to prosperity and stability, and that is to go along with the bailout including the spending reductions and tax raising plans, stay within the EU and the Euro and do as they are told, there are other options open to Greece, but these other options will not lead to a return to prosperity or stability.
There in lies the problem with the idiots that want an uber state. Simply do what your told and mummy will look after you. Disband the failed experiment now, take it on the chin and return to sovereign affairs with trading agreements in place.

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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:30 pm

In Greece, and similar countries, paying tax is considered to be on a par with donations to Charity - a voluntary activity. Businessmen trust each other to pay for goods or services provided, so transactions are not recorded where the taxman could find evidence of a liability. Government staff are appointed to settle personal favours, or on the basis of nepotism, and only American Express knows how many millionaires there are in the Country.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by jackthelad on Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:53 pm

Well what do you think about the Greeks having a referendum on Europe.
I personally think they should, after all it's the Greek people who are having to suffer from bad management from a few dozen men and women over the past few years. They should decide what they want to happen, after all it is them that has to sort the mess out one way or another, lower wages, lower pensions, higher taxes, some even will lose their jobs. This way, if it all goes wrong, then they can only blame themselves, and not the usless lot that they have now running things.
I wish our government was just as charitable and allowed us a vote whether to stay in the European Union. It's apparently clear this type of union is not working.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by astra on Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:13 pm

Pull up the Bridge and drop the portcullis, soon we will be over run with Greeks! Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta



Jist practising
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by witchfinder on Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:45 pm

jackthelad

If Greece decides through its referendum not to accept the latest deal, then Greece will suffer, Italy could be next, the whole of Europe will be pushed into turmoil, another recession would be highly likely and the UK would suffer.

The reality is that no one is realy certain what would happen if Greece defaulted, a lot of it is guess work, banks would probably cease to function, the whole economy would probably colapse, international markets would be shaken to the core, fear would spread and it is very possible that a world-wide depression could ensue.

The Greek government should not be putting the question to the people, there is only one answer, anything else is sheer madness.

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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by whitbyforklift on Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:56 pm

The EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU SPIT. The sooner we are out of it the better.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by astra on Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:02 am

I wonder if this is all a smoke screen to avert our eyes from the financial predicaments of Japan.

They could put the whole financial system upside down!
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by tlttf on Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:33 am

Just think, next year the Greek economy is reckoned to show a surplus if the debt is removed. This would mean they don't have to immediately rely on outside investment and could/should pull the plug from under the EU experiment.

Why should poor countries bail out their richer partners?

Just who exactly wins from having a single currency?

The rich are still getting richer being propped up by low/middle class excessive taxation.

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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:50 am

QUOTE: Just who exactly wins from having a single currency?

Right now it may well be the Currency speculators. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer had a painful lesson from them in 1992, trying and failing to maintain parity with the Deutschmark. That lesson was learnt and kept us from adopting the Euro.

The 17 nations of the Eurozone now have only one possibility to bring their ship back onto an even keel, by agreeing to have ONE central financial governing body. The notion of seventeen flies buzzing around inside a colander was always destined to fail.
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Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:03 am

This is why the eurozone-wide adoption of austerity cannot work. Greek demand for German goods is small, but Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Irish imports amounts to a large share of German exports. Germany's flawed policies for the eurozone are bound to backfire.

Greek austerity is especially harsh. Although Greece is in its fourth year of a severe recession with real output down by 12% since 2007, the fiscal deficit as a proportion of GDP has been reduced by seven percentage points, a historically almost-unique achievement. But those policies were self-defeating. The debt-to-GDP ratio has exploded.
The Guardian.

You know the more I look at the Greek economic data the more I believe the Austerity policy they have can never work. do you believe that watching the poor Greeks fighting with mass cuts and more and more Austerity has any lessons for us here in the UK? as to me it just proves to me... more and more that Austerity here is know better. that as a economic policy you could cut your economy to bits and it still would never work? I know Greece is not the UK. but the policy is the same here as it is in Greece.


The Keynesian model you studied in school. If you are three years into a recession, and you slightly reduce the deficit to still astronomical levels, is that supposed to cause another recession? That’s not the model I studied. Deficits were supposed to provide a temporary boost to get you out of a recession. At worst, you’d expect a slowdown in growth.

To cast a slightly broader net on the austerity which European countries are practicing the only two in which something that meets the intuitive definition of austerity are Sweden where the budget is balanced and Switzerland which is running a fiscal surplus of 1% of GDP. Sweden’s GDP growth rate was about 5.5%; its unemployment rate is 7.4%. Switzerland’s GDP growth rate is 2.6% (roughly the same as ours); its unemployment rate is 3.3%.

My point is not that austerity just cannot work without some sort of fiscal growth policy. I have two points:

Whatever Greece and Britain are doing, it’s not austerity.
There’s no obvious, simple, straight line connection between fiscal policy and growth. In either direction.


Can Austerity work in Greece without a fiscal growth policy? I am not so interested in the question of Greece, I am more interested in this right wing policy. as I have yet to find any country where this Austerity policy has worked it? The Greeks are seeing there country cut to bits on a policy that many believe can never work? as a 2nd question, are the Greeks doomed to years of economic hell?
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:43 am

The Greek government has been forced to take all sorts of austerity measures in order to avoid being thrown out of the Eurozone. But it is of course the Greek People that will actually endure the privation and misery which is inevitably to follow.

The Greek people may well decide they THEY don't want to be slaves to the Euro and governed by bean-counters until at least 2020, so would be no worse off by taking matters into their own hands.

U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as:
«Government of the people, by the people, for the people»
Democracy is by far the most challenging form of government - both for politicians and for the people. The term democracy comes from the Greek language and means "rule by the (simple) people". The so-called "democracies" in classical antiquity (Athens and Rome) represent precursors of modern democracies. Like modern democracy, they were created as a reaction to a concentration and abuse of power by the rulers.



http://www.democracy-building.info/definition-democracy.html
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:13 am

witchfinder wrote:When the Greeks wanted to get inside Troy, they built the "Trojan Horse" and presented it as a gift to the people of Troy, however some citizens were very suspicious and hence the phrase was coined "beware of Greeks bearing gifts".

Of course the wooden horse was not what it seemed, it realy was a ploy to get inside the city, the huge wooden structure had soldiers inside it, I guess this is what we term as been "a great deception".

And in recent years, the Greeks have committed another great deception, the modern equivelant of that ancient wooden horse story is the story of the Greek economy, and the unseen enemy has not been soldiers hidden within it like in the biblical story, the dark secret this time has been hidden debt.

If the Greeks had been honest at the time of joining the Euro, and also in the time since then, then this crisis would have been avoided, the Greeks have deliberately hidden the true scale of both their national debt and the defecit they were running.

The problem for Greece has been a story of two lots of debt, the debt run up due to the world-wide financial crisis and recession, and then theres the debt accumulated through uncontrolled government spending, added together pushes Greece s total debt up into the "imminent danger" zone.

CONCLUSION

As a collective, the members of the Eurozone must now surrender their individual fiscal sovereignty to "The Collective", there must be lessons learned from all this, an individual member state should not be able to drag the others down due to incompetence or hiding uncontrolled spending.

THere is only one option open for Greece if they want to return to prosperity and stability, and that is to go along with the bailout including the spending reductions and tax raising plans, stay within the EU and the Euro and do as they are told, there are other options open to Greece, but these other options will not lead to a return to prosperity or stability.










Withchy
A fair reply. However, moving away from weather Greece should or should not be doing within the EU. The real question is do you believe at this crazy policy of extreme Austerity with no GDP growth can work? remember this is the Right wings big idea. yet for me, The more extreme they cut Greek economy to bit, the more it will fail in my mind. The Right have got this crazy idea that you can cut and burn your way to economic growth? The Tory party here also believe you can cut your way to growth.? but I ask you? where is the proof of this?

By the Time the Greeks get back to any sort of economic growth the country will be past caring, as most will have left. I just fail to see any real economic data that shows the Austerity as a policy will lead anyone to prosperity or stability. Let put it this way...There are many extreme Tories over here who would just love to try a Greek style extreme Austerity policy over here? no, many will say....it could never happen over here for this reason or that....but I do not buy this at all....I have even meet some of these extreme right wingers myself....Now I really believe that after working within economics that this idea that extreme Austerity policy is a still born economic policy. The very idea that in two or three years of extreme Austerity can lead you anywhere is just amazing. as our own Government's banal Austerity policy can work is a total economic Right wing fantasy. also remember its a right wing dream to cut to death public sector job and services. I happen to believe that Greece is being used to see how far they can go in rolling back public services? as the Germany and EU plan make no sense as an economic policy at all.

in fact many have already said so in there posts? SO WHY CUT THEM TOO DEATH? unless there is another Agenda at play here? I think there is?
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by trevorw2539 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:44 pm

Stox 16.

I am not an economist but your thoughts make sense.

The only question I have about the situation in Greece is this. When all the details of the bailout filter through to the ordinary Greek people, and its effect on their individual and country's life, will they start to think that their lot cannot be any worse outside the EU. I don't know the answer to that, not being an economist. However, I do know human nature. You can only push people so far before they rebel.
The Greek credit rating cannot go any lower, and I have heard it said by an economist today that Greece is 'effectively' bankrupt.
I wonder, like you, if there is more behind things. But my evil thought Mad - is Greece being punished, rather than helped. Maybe as an example for Italy, Spain, Portugal and others, to take notice.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:04 pm

trevorw2539 wrote:Stox 16.

I am not an economist but your thoughts make sense.


I wonder, like you, if there is more behind things. But my evil thought Mad - is Greece being punished, rather than helped. Maybe as an example for Italy, Spain, Portugal and others, to take notice.

It's not fair to trivialise what, for the Greeks, is a serious situation, but there is a ready comparison which has been available to us since 1980. When Council tenants were given "The right to buy" many grabbed the opportunity with both hands and lived happily ever after. Others, who were in Council accommodation because they couldn't afford anything else, put in their application to buy anyway. They crashed and burned, because the sums didn't add up. The sums of Greece didn't add up either, but because everyone wanted the Eurozone to succeed, many blind eyes were turned.

Greece can't afford to be in the German's "Rich Man's Club" and it is increasingly apparent that not many other Countries can afford it either.

Maybe the only way for the Euro to succeed will be if Germany reverts to the DM.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by trevorw2539 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:44 pm

oftenwrong wrote:
trevorw2539 wrote:Stox 16.

I am not an economist but your thoughts make sense.


I wonder, like you, if there is more behind things. But my evil thought Mad - is Greece being punished, rather than helped. Maybe as an example for Italy, Spain, Portugal and others, to take notice.

It's not fair to trivialise what, for the Greeks, is a serious situation, but there is a ready comparison which has been available to us since 1980. When Council tenants were given "The right to buy" many grabbed the opportunity with both hands and lived happily ever after. Others, who were in Council accommodation because they couldn't afford anything else, put in their application to buy anyway. They crashed and burned, because the sums didn't add up. The sums of Greece didn't add up either, but because everyone wanted the Eurozone to succeed, many blind eyes were turned.

Greece can't afford to be in the German's "Rich Man's Club" and it is increasingly apparent that not many other Countries can afford it either.

Maybe the only way for the Euro to succeed will be if Germany reverts to the DM.


If I was seemingly trivialising the Greek situation, it wasn't meant.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:50 am

trevorw2539 wrote:Stox 16.

I am not an economist but your thoughts make sense.

The only question I have about the situation in Greece is this. When all the details of the bailout filter through to the ordinary Greek people, and its effect on their individual and country's life, will they start to think that their lot cannot be any worse outside the EU. I don't know the answer to that, not being an economist. However, I do know human nature. You can only push people so far before they rebel.
The Greek credit rating cannot go any lower, and I have heard it said by an economist today that Greece is 'effectively' bankrupt.
I wonder, like you, if there is more behind things. But my evil thought Mad - is Greece being punished, rather than helped. Maybe as an example for Italy, Spain, Portugal and others, to take notice.

Hi Trevorw2539
Well you are asking the one billion question, would the Greek be better outside the EU? well looking at all there data. They are buggered either way. in or out..There big problem is in two main areas...GDP to national debt and The internal Tax system..both are what you could call income...Greece has such a small industrial base that she cannot manufacture her way out of her GDP to national debt ratio. she has a very small finance sector too. she cannot bring in new industry or attract new investment either. this would not change if she was outside the EU. Greece also has a Tax system that only collects 40% of her taxes. what's more the Tax base if falling due to unemployment. What they are trying to do is buy off Greek debt held in Greek government 10 Year bonds held in mostly French banks and other EU states...its call the haircut..you right in saying Greece is bankrupt in all but name.

The only real way out of this, is cut her national debt..but you would need to cut her bond debt to something like 60%. however, this cannot or will not be done by other EU countries because of what it would do too say the French banks who hold this debt. what's quite clear to me..is Greece could sack or cut all her public sector job and it would do nothing at all. as Greece has a small population and this would not stop the problems to meeting her bond debts. plus who would be left to collect things like Tax or who would put the Tax system right? so in a nutshell, Greece cannot grow her way out..she cannot cut her way out...so the only thing left is to lower her debt level in government bonds..

Is Greece being punished rather than helped?

a very good question again? Well i would say she is being sacrifice more than punished, the Greek people are paying and being sacificed for the richer EU banks. why i say this is because richer EU countries are holding a great deal of Greek debt within the banking system. they fear this debt being called in. so there are some who think its far better to bail out the Greeks and not start a new EU banking crisis. you could even stay they feel this is a cheaper option would you believe.

So does it matter if Greece is in or out?

well many believe Greece leaving would save Greece...The truth is it would make very little difference to her economic problems..as they would stay just the same..The Anti EU group within EU would just love Greece to leave. not for any real economic reason..but for a political reason...as they could then say the EU is braking up...They point to what Argentina did in the past...but we come back to the fact Greece is far too small in areas such a industry. so its a horse that will not run.

What is however quite clear. is that there are Right wing groups who are more than interested to see how far you can cut public sector workers..they call this a nice words...like rolling back the state...you may hear this from time to time...so in other words how far you can roll back the state while just about keeping most people within the country onside...its this that is most dangerous...one must be very careful not to full into the Right wing trap of saying you can cut your way to growth...as they will be more than happy to up the cuts here if we on the middle or Left ground make it sound as if we agree with it some how...

if you have any more question i will do my best to answer them mate? if you would like me to post the above in more detail i will be happy to do so...just think its easy'er to posts it in the way most people understand.. hope this helps
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by trevorw2539 on Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:56 am

Stox16.

Thanks for you post. It's helpful.
I can see the nervousness of European banks holding Greek debt, though I believe they have now 'written off' some of that?
I can see the Dickensian 'income 20 shillings - outgoings 19/11p is happiness. Income 20 shillings - outgoings 20.01p is misery'.
It seems to me the Greeks are in a no win situation, at least for a decade or two.
There are only so many cuts that can be made surely, before the country bleeds to death. It seems to me that there has to be a balance between infusion and efflusion. Which I presume it's all about to start with.

As to the Tax. It seems that Greece is in the same position as we are. So many loopholes for the initiated to exploit. Though I don't suggest our differential is as high as theirs.

Anyway. Thanks for your offer of help.

A man, recently converted to Christianity wrote to the Inland Revenue.

Dear Sir, I am finding it difficult to sleep due to my conscience. I enclose a cheque for £100 I owe in Tax.
PS. If I still can't sleep, I'll send the rest. Smile
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:52 am

trevorw2539 wrote:Stox16.

Thanks for you post. It's helpful.
I can see the nervousness of European banks holding Greek debt, though I believe they have now 'written off' some of that?
I can see the Dickensian 'income 20 shillings - outgoings 19/11p is happiness. Income 20 shillings - outgoings 20.01p is misery'.
It seems to me the Greeks are in a no win situation, at least for a decade or two.
There are only so many cuts that can be made surely, before the country bleeds to death. It seems to me that there has to be a balance between infusion and efflusion. Which I presume it's all about to start with.

As to the Tax. It seems that Greece is in the same position as we are. So many loopholes for the initiated to exploit. Though I don't suggest our differential is as high as theirs.

Anyway. Thanks for your offer of help.

A man, recently converted to Christianity wrote to the Inland Revenue.

Dear Sir, I am finding it difficult to sleep due to my conscience. I enclose a cheque for £100 I owe in Tax.
PS. If I still can't sleep, I'll send the rest. Smile

Hi Trevor
you are most welcome...yes they have written of quite a lot of the Bond debt...However...its not enough that is the problem...plus even thought the Government have agreed to write of Greek bond debt..They themselves do not hold it....its held by private banks...see the problem? then comes the next problem...as the Greek Austerity has become more extreme her small industrial base has shrunk even small as business and manufacturing core has shrunk even faster. so has her Tax revenues...so you have a classic income short fall...I would hate to even think what Greek Tax revenues will look like come 2013/14..

See weather she is in the EU or outside it just will not matter at all...as the core problems will still remain...you could say the Greek economy is facing 20 years of total pain with no guarantee that even then she will find herself back on her economic feet...you know I am not even sure if a 60% haircut will work...even this figure could be far to low...that his how bad it is mate...all that is happening is the more extreme the Austerity the faster the Greek economy shrinking...I had a friend go out there one month a go...he was just amazed to see young children of about 13 and 14 waiting for the restaurant to take out its food bins...that is how bad its got...as most public sector workers still in there jobs have seen their salaries cut from 750 euro to 450 euro..with rents and food prices rising...how bad is that...
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Papaumau on Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:50 pm


It seems easy here to simply blame "the Greeks" for what ails Greece when we should all know that "the Greeks" on the ground are the ones that are not to blame but are the ones who are suffering here because of the incompetent and reckless running of the country by a few government and banking types. These fools were not restricted in what they could do by the financial services watchdogs or the regulations that should have stopped Greece getting into the state it is in right from the start.

The people of Greece - just like the people of all of the other members of the EU, including Britain - are innocents here and what they are being asked again an again to do to bail out these nitwits in charge ensures that it is they that hurt and not the ones that caused the whole situation in the first place.

I do not blame them for rioting when they feel that they are getting squeezed more and more for something that they did not do.

Regards.....

Papaumau.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:25 pm

The well-aired problems of the Greek State are only different in scale from the difficulties of its People, or indeed our own.

It's the Live now, pay later lifestyle we've been taught to regard as normal. Almost every page of today's newspapers has an advertisement for a Motor Car which can be obtained for NO MONEY.

All sorts of brand-new automobile can be driven away for nothing more than your signature promising to pay for it out of the next four years wages.

Haven't we learned ANYTHING from the 2008 Credit Crunch?
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:44 am

Papaumau wrote:
It seems easy here to simply blame "the Greeks" for what ails Greece when we should all know that "the Greeks" on the ground are the ones that are not to blame but are the ones who are suffering here because of the incompetent and reckless running of the country by a few government and banking types. These fools were not restricted in what they could do by the financial services watchdogs or the regulations that should have stopped Greece getting into the state it is in right from the start.

The people of Greece - just like the people of all of the other members of the EU, including Britain - are innocents here and what they are being asked again an again to do to bail out these nitwits in charge ensures that it is they that hurt and not the ones that caused the whole situation in the first place.

I do not blame them for rioting when they feel that they are getting squeezed more and more for something that they did not do.

Regards.....

Papaumau.

Papaumau
Can i say your post is very fair one...most people had little of know idea how an economy works or who it workers for...in most cases most people have little idea that bankers where gambling with money they did not have...however, The Greek Tax system is a mess...

Greece is a fairly small country, but for the past year it has been causing an awfully big uproar. Burdened by a pile of government debt that could force it into default (and the European banking system into a meltdown), Greece has had to adopt ever more stringent austerity plans in order to secure a bailout from the European Union, while having no data to back up this policy will work in the end. Explanations of how Greece got in this mess typically focus on profligate public spending. But its fiscal woes are also due to a simple fact: tax evasion is the national pastime.

According to a remarkable presentation that a member of Greece’s central bank gave last fall, the gap between what Greek taxpayers owed last year and what they paid was about a third of total tax revenue, roughly the size of the country’s budget deficit. The “shadow economy”—business that’s legal but off the books—is larger in Greece than in almost any other European country, accounting for an estimated 27.5 per cent of its G.D.P. (In the United States, by contrast, that number is closer to nine per cent.) And the culture of evasion has negative consequences beyond the current crisis. It means that the revenue burden falls too heavily on honest taxpayers. It makes the system unduly regressive, since the rich cheat more. And it’s wasteful: it forces the government to spend extra money on collection (relative to G.D.P., Greece spends four times as much collecting income taxes as the U.S. does), even as evaders are devoting plenty of time and energy to hiding their income.

Greece, it seems, has struggled with the first rule of a healthy tax system: enforce the law. People are more likely to be honest if they feel there’s a reasonable chance that dishonesty will be detected and punished. But Greek tax officials were notoriously easy to bribe with a fakelaki (small envelope) of cash. There was little political pressure for tougher enforcement. On the contrary: a recent study showed that enforcement of the tax laws loosened in the months leading up to elections, because incumbents didn’t want to annoy voters and contributors. Even when the system did track down evaders, it was next to impossible to get them to pay up, because the tax courts typically took seven to ten years to resolve a case.

As of last February, they had a backlog of three hundred thousand cases.
It isn’t just a matter of lax enforcement, though. Greek citizens also have what social scientists call very low “tax morale.” In most developed countries, tax-compliance rates are much higher than a calculation of risks would imply. We don’t pay our taxes just because we’re afraid of getting caught; we also feel a responsibility to contribute to the common good. But that sense of responsibility comes with conditions. We’re generally what the Swiss behavioral economist Benno Torgler calls “social taxpayers

Greeks, by contrast, see fraud and corruption as ubiquitous in business, in the tax system, and even in sports. And they’re right to: Transparency International recently put Greece in a three-way tie, with Bulgaria and Romania, as the most corrupt country in Europe. Greece’s parliamentary democracy was established fairly recently, and is of shaky legitimacy: it’s seen as a vehicle for special interests, and dedicated mainly to its own preservation. The tax system had long confirmed this view, since it was riddled with loopholes and exemptions: not only doctors but also singers and athletes were given favorable rates, while shipping tycoons paid no income tax at all, and members of other professions were legally allowed to underreport their income. Inevitably, if a hefty chunk of the population is cheating on its taxes, people who don’t (or can’t, because of the way their income is reported) feel that they’re being abused.

The result has been a vicious circle: because tax evasion is so common, people trust the system less, which makes them less willing to pay taxes. And, because so many don’t chip in, the government has had to raise taxes on those who do. That only increases the incentive to cheat, since there tends to be a correlation between higher tax rates and higher rates of tax evasion.
Even while dealing with protests and open riots, the new Greek government is trying to change things. It is rationalizing its tax-collection system. It has simplified taxes and done away with some of the loopholes. And it has stepped up its enforcement efforts in ways large and small—tax officials have, for instance, been sending helicopters over affluent neighborhoods looking for swimming pools, as evidence of underreported wealth. These efforts have made some difference: the self-employed seem to be reporting more of their income, and the evaders have had to step up their game. (There’s now a burgeoning market in camouflage swimming-pool covers.)

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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:54 am

"Keep it in the Family" governs the way most Mediterranean traders prefer to conduct their affairs.
Any British businessman thinking of penetrating those markets must first cultivate the acquaintance of a local, because they simply won't deal with someone they "don't know". Once within the fold, you find yourself introduced to Cousins, Uncles, Nephews and assorted brothers-in-law.
In all this of course, the taxman is the common enemy, and is told as little as possible.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Papaumau on Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:37 pm


Thanks for that interesting review if what ails Greece Stox16, and it just goes to show that while it is the Greeks on the streets that are - just like the Brits BTW - having to suffer under government austerity measure after austerity measure, it was NOT the "Greeks on the streets" that caused the "meltdown" of Grecian and European finances.

While we are debating what is wrong with the finances of most of the countries in the modern world, we must NEVER forget this point !

Regards....

Papaumau.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:19 am

Papaumau wrote:
Thanks for that interesting review if what ails Greece Stox16, and it just goes to show that while it is the Greeks on the streets that are - just like the Brits BTW - having to suffer under government austerity measure after austerity measure, it was NOT the "Greeks on the streets" that caused the "meltdown" of Grecian and European finances.

While we are debating what is wrong with the finances of most of the countries in the modern world, we must NEVER forget this point !

Regards....

Papaumau.

Hi Papaumau
you are most welcome...you are quite right it was not the Greeks on the street that caused the Greek meltdown at all...the plain fact is many of them are just the victims of bad Government economic policy over many years for reasons of political favours within the Greek ruling class.. it hard not to feel deeply sorry for the poor Greek people. what's more there is just no economic data that shows that austerity measures are in fact working if not linked to some sort of fiscal GDP growth policy...

if you have any question please feel free to ask Papaumau...as economics is what I do for a living..plus enjoy it as well.....
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:28 am

oftenwrong wrote:"Keep it in the Family" governs the way most Mediterranean traders prefer to conduct their affairs.
Any British businessman thinking of penetrating those markets must first cultivate the acquaintance of a local, because they simply won't deal with someone they "don't know". Once within the fold, you find yourself introduced to Cousins, Uncles, Nephews and assorted brothers-in-law.
In all this of course, the taxman is the common enemy, and is told as little as possible.

True
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Papaumau on Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:18 pm


Hi again Stox16, and thanks for the offer of advice. ( I might take you up on that later on ).

I can honestly say that it is refreshing to see an economics expert taking such a stance as many if not all of them seem to spend more time blaming other people for the country's woes instead of looking inwardly for fault or solution.

Regards....

Papaumau.
.... BTW, just call me Papa if you like as I am old enough to get away with that name and many others in and out of the internet already call me that !
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:19 pm

Papaumau wrote:
Hi again Stox16, and thanks for the offer of advice. ( I might take you up on that later on ).

I can honestly say that it is refreshing to see an economics expert taking such a stance as many if not all of them seem to spend more time blaming other people for the country's woes instead of looking inwardly for fault or solution.

Regards....

Papaumau.
.... BTW, just call me Papa if you like as I am old enough to get away with that name and many others in and out of the internet already call me that !

Hiya Papa
Its funny but I have always believe in trying to be fair on the whole question of economics. its just not right in my view to blame all Greeks or any people for the failings of the ruling group. However, I do look at economics from a left of center view point, as I believe the Right wings views on economics carry far too many floors for my liking..to me you need to not have any one favourite sector within an economy..they alas do..quite wrong in my view..However, The left of center have made economic mistakes..but for me..they are not as bad overall.. in my view Papa...anyway..here is an up date I what I know for you...as i know your very interested...I hope is readable for you Papa? any question I will try to answer for you...

GREEK HAIRCUT DEAL IN FEB 2012

It is starting to look as if there is the makings of a Greek deal on bonds, here is how I read it so far. But there are still issues over Government and ECB debt holdings as I will explain.

So the private holders of Greek bonds have been forced to take a ‘haircut’ (loss) on their investments this has been deemed to not be a ‘credit event’ that would trigger Credit Default Swaps to pay out.


When investors take on debt in large quantities it is normal for them to insure themselves against the bond issuer failing to pay out when they are due to be redeemed for their face value. The UK are Greek bond debt as insurer, so its good news for both Greece and the UK economies. The Bank for International Settlements, UK banks hold a relatively small $3.4bn worth of Greek sovereign debt
However, this is done by purchasing Credit Default Swaps (CDS) so that if the bond issuer doesn’t pay then the CDS provider takes the bonds and the bond holder gets the face value of the loan.

With the Greek debt position, private investors only (not organisations like the ECB) are taking a 53.5% haircut or loss on their investments which has up-set the private investors, but because these

losses were considered as ‘agreed’ therefore ‘voluntary’ it was initially decided that it wouldn’t trigger CDS insurance payout.

But this created a sort of two tier debt system where the governments and the ECB are holding ‘senior debt’ and the private investors hold ‘junior debt’ even though they are in reality holding the same asset.

In the case of Greece there is exposure to about $3.25 billion covering over $200 billion in outstanding debt, an easily manageable situation where some of the money lost could be recouped for private investors if there was a level playing field


And to most people if it waddles like a credit event and quacks like a credit event then it’s a credit event. But some would argue that if no coupon or maturity payment has yet been missed then there can be no credit event.

So a couple of questions were fired at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) to make a ruling. But the 15 members of ISDA’s Europe Middle East and Africa Determinations Committee ruled unanimously today that no credit event has happened (yet), so no CDS payout. It did not however rule out any future developments that might trigger one as events were still ‘evolving’.

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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by astra on Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:53 pm

Ratings agency Moody's has downgraded Greece to the lowest point on its bond scale, following a deal with private investors that would see them ultimately lose 70% of their holdings in the country's debt.

Moody's lowered Greece's sovereign rating to C from Ca, arguing that the risk of default remains high even if a bond-swap deal with banks and other private investors, due to be completed this month, is successful.

>>> LINK <<<<


HMMMMMM!

Will this mean that the British TAXPAYER will be bailing out BRITISH investor's losses just like we did for Barings, BCI and LLoyds?

(Said 'Investors' are very quiet, so a deal must be forthcoming/mooted somewhere. OR is it just me again?)
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Papaumau on Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:09 pm


Thanks for that explanation of the Greek "bonds" system Stox16, I think I got most of it.

I have always found the issuing of government bonds to be a rather artificial way of protecting debt repayments as our own government and the BOE have been doing it rather a lot recently with what they euphemistically call "quantative-easing" ( in other words, the printing of paper instead of actually making the money they have work better ).

As I see it, if there is too much of this quantative-easing going on we see what happened in Germany before the wars and in Zimbabwe only a few years ago where the money that was printed finished up only being good for loo-paper.

As a novice in the world of economics I still look for intrinsic value when I pay good money for anything, but when prices get sky-high and money gets devalued, ( as with what happened in property values in the big boom ), there always has to be a reckoning with an automatic "big bust" that is sure to follow.

Maybe the only way to do it safely nowadays would be to go back to the barter system; either that, or to start to use gold as a currency once again.

Regards.....

Papaumau.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:23 am

astra wrote:
Ratings agency Moody's has downgraded Greece to the lowest point on its bond scale, following a deal with private investors that would see them ultimately lose 70% of their holdings in the country's debt.

Moody's lowered Greece's sovereign rating to C from Ca, arguing that the risk of default remains high even if a bond-swap deal with banks and other private investors, due to be completed this month, is successful.

>>> LINK <<<<


HMMMMMM!

Will this mean that the British TAXPAYER will be bailing out BRITISH investor's losses just like we did for Barings, BCI and LLoyds?

(Said 'Investors' are very quiet, so a deal must be forthcoming/mooted somewhere. OR is it just me again?)

Hiya Astra
its a interesting one this...I still favor a deal will be done in the end...but your right if the British banks take a hit we could find ourselves with some sort of new bill...However, the ECB has topped up many European banks plus I think three of ours...
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:36 am

Papaumau wrote:
Thanks for that explanation of the Greek "bonds" system Stox16, I think I got most of it.

I have always found the issuing of government bonds to be a rather artificial way of protecting debt repayments as our own government and the BOE have been doing it rather a lot recently with what they euphemistically call "quantative-easing" ( in other words, the printing of paper instead of actually making the money they have work better ).

As I see it, if there is too much of this quantative-easing going on we see what happened in Germany before the wars and in Zimbabwe only a few years ago where the money that was printed finished up only being good for loo-paper.

As a novice in the world of economics I still look for intrinsic value when I pay good money for anything, but when prices get sky-high and money gets devalued, ( as with what happened in property values in the big boom ), there always has to be a reckoning with an automatic "big bust" that is sure to follow.

Maybe the only way to do it safely nowadays would be to go back to the barter system; either that, or to start to use gold as a currency once again.

Regards.....

Papaumau.

Hiya Papa
Well its a interesting point papa you make...but given a normal economic cycle and given level playing field then 10 and 5 year bonds would be quite a safe way of rising income. however...you do need to have a good level of GDP and Tax revenue to operate on the bond markets. yet what's happened is Greek government bonds have been sold to pay off other government bonds. so the Greek government has found herself in a endless cycle of bond buying.

As Larry Elliott has noted in the Guardian another round of quantitative easing was almost inevitable as money supply has fallen in the UK, again. That will be £350 billion in all.Opinion is divided: the ITEM club says we're in recession; the NIESR says we've narrowly avoided it (that's a turnaround from two months ago when it estimated a 70% risk of a double-dip recession).
The OECD has also predicted recession for the first-half of the year (28 November). Last month, Standard Chartered (12 December), which has made the most accurate forecasts on the economy in the past two years, warned Britain was already in a recession that would last until the middle of next year.
The man on the street also seems to see a recession as highly likely. Paddy Power, the bookies, is giving odds of 4/7 that there will be two quarters of contraction in 2012.

However, as you rightly point out this is not GDP or income at all, its stored debt...what's more they are also borrowing on the bond markets as well and have racked up £160 billion more debt...At the very time tax revenues are declining and a debt crisis is ravaging the global economy, our politicians have chosen to go on an unprecedented spending splurge. To fund it, the Government borrowed a monumental £170.8 billion last year. If all goes well, we're set to borrow another £167.9 billion this year.

This kind of deficit is far greater than during the recessions of the 80s and early 90s and even higher than when Britain went cap in hand to the IMF in 1976
So I would not be calling this governments economic policy anything other than a total disgrace. The trouble was they took power believing they could just cut there way out while private business would take up the unemployment. what's more they set out with with no fiscal GDP Growth policy....a very silly thing to do...yet they did it. This was added to by the Labour party spending far to long selecting its new leader...

anyway, your quite right in saying that Q.E is just a fancy word for printing new money. no one is yet 100% sure if Q.E will even works in the long run. so its fair to say the jury is still out on all of this. what's has become clear is that most of the £350 billion Q.E is being used to bolster capital


LTRO MK II is still seeing the ECB dishing out some 530 billion Euro to some 800 European banks with HSB taking 350 billion Euro, RBS taking 5 billion Euro and Lloyds taking 11.4 billion Euro’s . this is on top of LTRO MK I that saw 489 billion Euro. All just like junky Bankers on methadone…so what is the credit needed to bolster capital now. all I can say is without any sort of real meaningful GDP and growth the UK economy will stay as it is. Q.E. has yet to really show that it can lead to economic growth. all it can do is slow down any crash in banking once more.. if we stay as we are we will get into a deep problem in the long term. not that the UK government will admit this just yet...

interesting times ahead papa.


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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:17 am

When the US Government printed billions of dollars to pay for the Vietnam War in the 1960s, it took almost forty years to completely repay foreign countries that had supplied goods for paper.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by trevorw2539 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:07 pm

Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?
by oftenwrong Today at 11:17 am




When the US Government printed billions of dollars to pay for the Vietnam War in the 1960s, it took almost forty years to completely repay foreign countries that had supplied goods for paper.

Blimey. Was that at simple interest or compound interest?Wink
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:31 pm

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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Stox 16 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:43 am

oftenwrong wrote:When the US Government printed billions of dollars to pay for the Vietnam War in the 1960s, it took almost forty years to completely repay foreign countries that had supplied goods for paper.

how very true...always easy to print money...but 100% harder to pay it off...you could even say the same of us after WW2 and WW1
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:50 am

Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Lessons for us? Many of us would indeed like to know how you can persuade your Creditors to "forgive" a trifling debt of €100million.

Maybe it is the sheer size that makes it possible. If you owe £1000 on a Credit Card they'll pursue you to the grave.
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by witchfinder on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:02 pm

The crisis in the Eurozone should never be termed as been "The Euro Crisis" because it appears to suggest that the problem was caused by the Euro, and that is absolutely not true, the problem was caused by debt and bad accounting which then threatened the Euro.

In the United States of America there are 50 seperate states, all with their own legislature, their own state laws, state taxes and state governments.
Yet these 50 states are part of one sovereign nation - the UNITED STATES of America.

Look for example at defence

In the Caribbean there are Dutch colonies, there are also French colonies and there are British overseas territories, and at any one given time there is a Dutch navy presence, a British navy presence and a French navy presence deployed in the Caribbean.

IF there were to be a European navy, then the need to have three warships with three supply vessels would not be necessary, costs would be reduced.

IF there were to be a joint European nuclear detterent, then the costs would be shared between France and the UK, thereby halfing the expected £20 billion which is going to cost the UK tax payer in the near future.

A united Europe of 27+ seperate states pooling sovereignty and sharing costs would massively benefit the people, there would be billions upon billions of extra money saved which could be used to improve the lives of ordinary Europeans everywhere.

At present the EU is in no mans land, its neither an economic block or an economicaly and politicaly united entity, it is somewhere stuck in between.
If we moved forward and took the next obvious step, then what a bright future we could all have.


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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by astra on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:40 pm

A
united Europe of 27+ seperate states pooling sovereignty and sharing costs would massively benefit the people, there would be billions upon billions of extra money saved which could be used to improve the lives of ordinary Europeans everywhere.


A nice cuddly, 'romantic' idea Witchfinder.


I have to think however, that if this money WAS 'released' it would stay in the hands of the 'ruling classes' simply because it is [/u]their[u] MONEY, NOT OURs!

We only crawl out of be at 0330hrs to earn the wage to pay the taxes which is what the afore mentioned money actually is in the first place!


EDIT

Would that ultimately mean that TAXES could er Would be reduced?
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Re: Can austerity work in Greece? Does it have any lessons for us?

Post by Papaumau on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:14 pm


Thanks for that interesting illustration Stox16 !

I think that after reading all of that you have very aptly proved that both quantative easing and austerity drives simply don't work and all that results is that the people on the ground suffer as that extra paper gets lost in the machine and prices keep going up and up while wages for the ordinary people either stop rising or in many cases contract.

With that thought in mind I have to ask - as you just showed - why do this government think that they can keep blaming New-labour for all of Britain's and Europe's woes when their austerity plans have only succeeded in making the people poorer, the economy contract and have not in fact cut any of the borrowing that the old regime gets so badly vilified for ?.

Regards....

Papaumau.
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