Greeks Call For Referendum On IMF Bailout, Call Austerity "Barbaric Attack" And "Premeditated Crime Against Greek Society"
Looks like the downloads of "Austerity for Bankrupt Dummies" on all those paradropped Kindles, which Amazon was forced to do after the market did not share its outlook enthusiasm, has had the desired effect: suddenly with everyone understanding what is required, the threats of an revolution (both literal and metaphoric) are hitting a crescendo. As Bloomberg reports: "ADEDY, the Athens-based federation representing the more than 500,000 Greek civil servants who have seen wages cut this year, said the move signaled a new and “barbaric attack,” and called a protest rally for April 27 [yep, another day of strikes and rioting]. Another demonstration has been set by the opposition Syriza party for today in Athens. "This is a premeditated crime against Greek society,” Alexis Tsipras, the head of Syriza said in an e-mailed statement. “The majority of the Greek people are being tossed helplessly in the tempest of insecurity, unemployment and poverty.” He called for a referendum on the decision to seek IMF support." So here we are, and neither Germany nor Greece really wants the bailout So who the hell is benefiting from all this theater? Why, the major banks, of course, and a few politicians who are, and tried and true Chris Dodd fashion, are merely their lackeys for life. We are now convinced that there will be a government overhaul, hopefully peaceful, but most likely violent, in Greece in the next 3 months if the IMF bailout in fact occurs. We wish we could say the same thing about the United States.
Papandreou, who announced today he will trigger the rescue is under fire from voters and unions for raising taxes and cutting wages to reduce a budget deficit that is more than four times bigger than European Union rules allow. Greeks fear the EU and IMF package, crafted to stem the country’s soaring borrowing costs, will mean lower pensions and benefits, more wage cuts and produce a deeper recession.
The premier won elections in October promising to raise wages of public workers and step up stimulus spending. Within weeks of coming to power, the new administration discovered they faced a 2009 budget deficit of 12.7 percent of gross domestic product, more than twice the shortfall the defeated New Democracy government had revealed. EU officials revised the deficit further to 13.6 percent of GDP yesterday.
The shortfall derailed Papandreou’s spending plans and forced him to raise taxes and cut wages to try to make good on a pledge to cut the shortfall to 8.7 percent this year. Investors shunned Greek bonds leaving the government struggling to finance its debt. Papandreou’s popularity has declined, particularly among the public workers who suffered the pay cuts and are the traditional base of his socialist party.
And, yes, the same incompetent politicians driving the ship straight into the iceberg, are waxing poetic about the last hours above surface:
Activating the rescue mechanism and turning over economic policy to EU and IMF oversight is “a new Odyssey for Greece,” Papandreou said. “But we know the road to Ithaca and have charted the waters,” he said, referring to the return of mythological hero Ulysses to his island home after a decade.
Confidence in Papandreou’s handling of the economy dropped this month on deepening fears of new austerity measures. The share of people trusting his management of the crisis fell to 47 percent from 55 percent in February, according to a survey of 540 Greeks by Public Issue for Skai radio.
And the political infighting is reaching new highs:
Ninety-one percent of those surveyed said they expect a wave of new fiscal measures from the IMF, around the same proportion as in an April 18 poll for Eleftheros Typos newspaper. The poll showed 51 percent believe the IMF will harm the country, compared with 27 percent who said it would be of benefit.
ADEDY has held four 24-hour national walkouts so far this year. GSEE, the umbrella group representing 2 million private- sector workers will meet next week to decide “how and when” to strike, spokesman Stathis Anestis said.
“Papandreou spoke of a new Odyssey: heaven only knows how long that will be,” Antonis Samaras, the leader of the main opposition party, the center-right New Democracy which was defeated by Papandreou’s socialist Pasok party in October.
Samaras said that while he had taken responsibility for the previous government’s failures in some policies “the borrowing crisis is exclusively the achievement of Pasok.
One thing is certain, at the end of this crisis, getting funding at sub-10% yields will be the absolute least of Greece's worries.