Doug: As far as I can tell, they’re doing absolutely nothing except print up more currency, in hope that will move the problem further into the future, when a deus ex machina device will magically appear.
I haven’t seen any hard numbers published as to exactly what Greece has to cut to meet its EU-imposed austerity obligations, nor how that fits into Greek budgetary realities. But, as usual with popular reporting, the terms used are inaccurate, which makes clear thinking impossible. These idiots aren’t even capable of framing the problem, much less solving it.
First of all, it’s not “Greece” we’re talking about, but the Greek government. It’s the Greek government that’s made the laws that got people used to pensions for retirement at age 55. It’s the Greek government that’s built up a giant and highly paid bureaucracy that just sits around when it’s not actively gumming up the economy. It’s the Greek government that’s saddled the country with onerous taxes and regulations that make most business more trouble than it’s worth. It’s the Greek government that borrowed billions that the citizens are arguably responsible for. It’s the Greek government that’s set the legal and moral tone for the pickle the place is in.
Second, the term “austerity” is used very loosely by the talking heads on TV. It sounds bad, even though it just means living within one’s means… or, for Europeans, not too insanely above them. But who knows what’s actually included or excluded from what the EU leaders think of as austerity? Take the Greek pension funds, for example: exactly how are they funded? I’d expect that private companies make payments to a state fund, as Americans do via the Social Security program. I suspect there’s no money in the coffers; it’s all been frittered on high living and socialist boondoggles. Tough luck for pensioners. Maybe they can convince the Chinese to give them money to keep living high off the hog…