Greece's Extortion Game

Wolf Richter's picture

By Wolf Richter

Civil servants of bankrupt Greece enjoy the most curious bonuses. Train engineers of the state-owned railroads, who make up to €7,000 a month, get an additional bonus for every driven kilometer. Their days off don't have 24 hours but 28 hours. Plus they receive €420 a month for hand hygiene, a bonus that other railroad workers also get. Bus drivers of the state-owned transportation firms in Athens are paid for the time they spend commuting, and if they show up on time, they're paid an extra €310 a month. Messengers for ministries get an extra €290 a month if they carry documents. Other ministerial workers get bonuses if they know how to use a PC. At the culture ministry, they get a clothing allowance. Workers at the partially privatized telecom OTE receive €25 a month for warming up company vehicles (investigation by Handelsblatt, article in German).

These bonuses are now on the chopping block that the bailout Troika (IMF, ECB, and EU) graciously placed in Greece's kitchen. After having reviewed Greece's finances for the fifth time, the Troika inspectors were satisfied—unlike the prior times when they left angry—and recommended that the next bailout installment of €8 billion ($11 billion) be released. In return, Greece must chop off ever bigger parts of its budget as it is now clear that privatizations won't produce the initially expected revenues. Still, the fiscal targets for 2011 won't be achievable. Greece's national debt of €350 billion will continue to balloon and will reach 166% of GDP by 2012. Hopeless, really.

The Troika inspectors will submit their official report at the G-20 meeting in Cannes on October 23. And the transfer will likely happen in early November. If not, Greece will go bankrupt by the end of November. However, Greek dates are in flux, like its finances. The original bankruptcy-date the Greek government brandished to extort more money was mid October. But when that didn't result in more money, Greece suddenly "found" €1.5 billion (Greece 'Finds' Treasure, Stays Solvent For Another Month).

But on the street, resistance is growing. In Athens, transportation workers, who make up part of Greece's 1.3 million civil servants, have shut down the public transportation system Thursday and Friday. Even taxis are on strike. Lawyers are on strike till October 19. Thursday, civil servants at the state-owned power company occupied its billing offices to prevent it from sending out the new electricity bills that now include a property tax—and a latent threat that if you don't pay your property tax, we'll cut off the juice. Seamen, hospital workers, and others will go on strike next week.

It's not just bonuses that are on the chopping block. Salaries of civil servants are too. And now the minimum wage caught the Troika inspectors' eyes—at €750 ($1,050) a month, it's higher than that of Spain, Portugal, and Poland, countries with a similar standard of living. To make Greece competitive, the inspectors will include a demand in their final report that the minimum wage be reduced, on the theory that it would create jobs (L'Expansion, article in French). The reaction on the street will be interesting. But even more hardship is coming down the pike: they're going to have to pay their taxes.

"Tax fraud is a national crime, a national plague," announced finance minister Evangelos Venizelos in a speech to parliament on Friday (Zeit, article in German). And apparently, he is trying to do something about it, maybe. An investigation by his ministry revealed that Greeks owe €37 billion ($50 billion) in back taxes. The majority, €32 billion, is owed by companies. To remedy the situation, the finance ministry will publish a list of 15,000 people who haven't paid their taxes. It identified fraudsters who owed more than €1 million. It further determined that 3,718 Greeks moved €5.5 billion out of the country during 2009 alone. Of them, 542 declared income of less than €1,000. That's just for the tax year 2009. The investigations of tax years 2010 and 2011 are ongoing. And for what it's worth, he announced that private companies would be recruited to help in the collection efforts.

Half-hearted measures at best. Publishing a list, I mean come on. And years late. They're supposed to mollify the taxpayers in Germany, France, and other Eurozone countries who will be forced to bail out the banks that got fat recklessly lending to the Greek government. American taxpayers will pay via the FMI. And the French banks are now in the hot seat. Yet...

"We don't have any doubt about the solidity of French banks," said the French government—a week after the collapse of Dexia. All eyes are now on Société Générale and BNP, which just got downgraded again. BNP is the world's largest bank with assets of $2.8 trillion, dwarfing France's $2.1 trillion economy. And they're desperately trying to sell assets to stay afloat: France's Fishy Denials as Mega-Banks Teeter.

Wolf Richter

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turbomango's picture
"Train engineers of the state-owned railroads, who make up to €7,000 a month, "
  Right from the start this 2nd sentence struck me fakeI can't see how a railroad head can be making as much or near what a Parliamentarian or a Hellenic Minister makes. This is odd. Seems too high a salary for a socialist society.And while we're on salaries... why DON'T they cut the expense accounts and salaries for the professional leaches elected into Parliament...and likewise OURS.    
"Troika inspectors were satisfied—unlike the prior times when they left angry—and recommended that the next bailout installment of €8 billion ($11 billion) be released."
   they have a lot of fn BALLS to act as though they're "ANGRY".  They ripped off the people and now THEY'RE angry????!!!!     
  " Greece's national debt of €350 billion will continue to balloon and will reach 166% of GDP by 2012. Hopeless, really."
  Really? No chit. Greece's initial debt was in the n'brhood of  120 bill. So, who's fault is it these Kenysian dictator baboons decided to start paying off debt with more debt? The Greeks?

"The original bankruptcy-date the Greek government brandished to extort more money was mid October. But when that didn't result in more money, Greece suddenly "found" €1.5 billion (Greece 'Finds' Treasure, Stays Solvent For Another Month)."
   Ok. This is an outrageous lie. EVERYONE knew the next tranche of funds was due in Nov. EVERYONE. So whoever wrote this piece is looking more like a provocateur to me. Extortion my butt.
      That Greece's UNIONS are out of control, I know it. This is what's wrong with any Socialist society. WRONG GROUP THINK. They lost their way. With manfacturing our the freaking window and into some other country, they now all eat out of one pie and as it gets smaller, they turn on each other. The unions are not meant as a tool for public/civil workers to exhtort more taxes which become tyranical. It's no wonder why the other half that are not really socialists have taken to cheating on their taxes. 60% Income Tax brackets are UNAFFORDABLE. Noone mentiions that side of the coin. Greece has historically allocated their aggragate deficits to the trade balance sheet. IMPORT/EXPORT (country trade loans/balances by the World Bank central bank). Greece always owed everyone money. They need to go back to THEIR ancient roots and socialism isn't it. But I stress; how Greeks change their politics and economy are sovereign matters; Troika screwed them and now coming in as saviors, forcing Greece into a further dictatorial receivership? ABOMINABLE that we all discuss this as NORMAL.

  Greece can start by heeding ts constitutional mandate that no non-Hellenics cannot own more than 49% of any corporation, business or border land , whereas 51% must be Greek-owned. See how fast these scumbags tame.
ebworthen's picture

I would guess that the U.S. taxpayer is beginning to feel much like a Greek one; pay my taxes so they can be given to banks, U.S. and Foreign, and pissed into Africa and any number of charity cases, or blown on illegal immigrants hospital bills and college education?

The moral hazard levels have been exceeded; the incentives to cheat like the banks and insurers and our Treasury Secretary himself are the examples set.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

"The majority, €32 billion, is owed by companies."

Excuse me but what happens if companies say: "Fuck these bitches" and pick up stakes and move their businesses to a more business friendly country environment?

What are the poor leech invested, sloth filled parasitical State dependent Greeks to do?

Georgesblog's picture

These games are simply commercial invasion and conquest by contract. The world is being consolidated into one corporation. This is what is coming, in the United States.

theprofromdover's picture

There are a whole load of people in the western world who are going have to get used to a much lower standard of living.

If you look at all of Greece's neighbours, they were all poor, but some of them are industrious, and most of them are corrupt.

Greece had a very good decade, but cut many corners and took advantage of northern european unelected largesse. I don't really see how we can blame the greeks, a lot of bankers made very good money on the deals they were given; there is no law now and there certainly aren't any morals. It is probably every man for himself. After all that's only what the financial and political muppets are doing.

We would all be much better off if the whole aedifice came crashing down, so bring it on.

I am sure most of the disenfranchised (that's us) would rather sink or swim on their own efforts. (Get used to it, your pension has gone, your savings have gone). We are back at square one, if we are lucky.

It is amazing however, to see them bad guys managing to keep the stinking balloon in the air, month after month. Pity that it stops most people realising how terminal it really is (and they call us sirens panic-merchants).

Vendetta's picture

Wow, Germany is even more generous than the US liberals with the taxpayers money.  Gee, I wonder why they are the most productive wealthiest country in the EU.  /snark

Bicycle Repairman's picture

The Greeks won't learn to love their chains like you love yours and so you hate them.  Is it because the Greeks won't put the chains on or because you have to wear them?

Manipulism's picture

As long as they dont eliminate the Karamanlis and the Papandreou clans nothing will change.

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

If I wanted to seem like I'm an expert, I would have an avatar named

macro-economist or

market efficiency

It's clear that those two are not experts.

Most of the unvarnished negative comments on Greece here are from

Americans who couldn't find Greece on a map. They're spouting racist bile,

and most of the comments on corruption and tax avoidance are just pertinent

to the US as they are to Greece.

Greece didn't have a upright system of paying your way and taxation,

but the people are just surviving in a system made by and for the oligarchs.

They only thing that's really bad about Gr is that the oligarchs are so

narrow-minded and selfish that they got the country into this mess.

Greeks, as a nation, are not lazy. Go to a hospital or university and see

how many 10-letter unpronouncable names there are on the staff list.

5 years from now you're gonna see how the Greek people will have figured out

how to overturn this colonial system, at least temporarily, and meanwhile many

of the brain-addled people commenting here will still be enslaved in the great US or A.

To be fair to the Greek oligarchs, they are under a lot of pressure to go into debt to buy

the American, German and French products (mentioned by other commenters). And that's why

Seimens bribes Greek politicians, but the bill goes to the people, in the form of national debt.

If you were in such a battle in your own countries, and you are, or will be, you'd want to learn

from the Greeks. They know what's going on, unlike some of the 'experts' on this page.


surfersd's picture

pence you are a pinhead. 7 weeks on zero hedge and you still have learned nothing

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

Gnarly insult, surfer dude!


please educate me about something.

make a point and let's have a discussion

legal eagle's picture

Can you find Oregon and Wyoming on a map? What are their capitols? That is what I thought, more Eurotrash.

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

you didn't give me a chance to answer.

George W had the same debating technique when it came to Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

Shoot first, ask questions later.

Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

At least do me a favour and finish reading the avatar name: Market Efficiency Romantic. So, no claiming of expertise, only a somewhat ironic emotional association with the malfunction of the market mechanism. So intentioanlly or unintentionally missing a word may make a difference, a difference in how you perceive someone or how you falsely characterize them. Just notice that.

This is my last attempt to try to understand your intention. I have been criticising painting a factually flawed picture, which is then employed to make a political statement. If you respected other interests as you expect others to respect yours, you may just accept that Europeans outside of Greece are also allowed to merely have an opinion, arguably based on facts closer to reality. But I agree, that can be discussed.

Why such anger that any criticism by you and others here gets personal and insulting with drawing on simple stereotypes, which can easily be uncovered to reach from anti-capitalist to racist ideologies. If you really cared about the issue, you would try to argue instead of distracting any reasonable discussion of arguments towards ideological nonsense. That does not serve your purpose, participating in the forum you accept that this is about discourse not about chanting political paroles on the street.

Have you ever considered that people involving in a discussion on this issue may be Europeans, in the same boat with the Greece, defending the interest of Eurpeans against the money and power elites? Obviously not. With your reaction and that by many Greeks, you discourage and discredit any reasoning that may in the European public try to defend European objectives including those of Greeks against the elites.

Personally, I think it would be in the best interest of Greece to drop the Euro, which may economicaly hurt the rest of Europe, but it is the only way for Greece to reestablish a sovereign with a competitive economy based on a flating drachme. Even though, I believe the Greek perception of what they deserve in terms of income is not reflected by the nation's productivity, I also understand that austerity will never lead back to growth. But there is a major difference in arguing that it is not acceptable, because you think you deserve more and arguing that it is not acceptable because it does not leave the nation any opportunity for a future.

If you are so convinced that any malfunction in Greece can be explained by or excused with an oligarchy, you are too easy on yourself, respectively the Greek public. If so, why has Greece apparently been so calm and satisfied over the past decade? The Greek pubilc has not been fighting an autochratic oligarchy with the rest of Europe watching them suffer. I have to this day not seen Greeks attacking their oligarchy or calling for elections so they can chose new representation. Greeks reaction is somewhat reasonable opposition to their government, hatred for the rest of Europe and a threat to entirely stall the economy. But what is it, that the Greek public demands or intends? Please, I am seriously curious and interested, but I have not yet seen any constructive approach, which would be the necessary requirement for any chance at improvement. You cannot possibly limit yourself to exercising aggression if you want anything to change on your behalf, not as an intelligent person.

I would really appreciate, if you pick up this serious attempt towards understanding your point and a constructive suggestion based on a verified factual basis. You at least owe that to your Greek interests, proving that your and the Greek interest is not about insulting people and mixing up disjunct stereotypes.

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

firstly, I'm not angry. I'm not dissing anybody either, unless their arguments

are facile. It's not necessary for you to get insulted.


I'm glad you have the patience to write long, intertwining theoretical arguments. 

Others of us are involved in a more pressing crisis.


I don't see the relevance of most of what you wrote but, I'll tackle the most practical point:  

about the Greek people letting themselves off easy by blaming others-


What's needed to get rid of an entrenched oligarchy? Ever tried to do that? without an army?

I suppose we should say:

"we're Greek democrats, and don't let the door hit your ass, on the way out."

You march up to your government and try your version of that.


Greece already had already spilt plenty of blood, sweat & tears in the 20th c, and I sense that

they're no longer willing to solve their problems with arms. Unfortunately, that is what is needed.


Many of the very forthright Greeks have seen their only solution to be emigration, and so

that's what most educated, multilingual Greeks are doing. They're voting with their feet and going to work elsewhere. And , they work hard, and play by the rules. Check the police dockets, if you don't believe me.

Individual solutions work best in such a situation. Ever tried leaving your country because of hunger?

Please, don't gimme no more Romantic theories. That's so 19th century.








Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

Ok, you are just proving the point. You enter a discussion on your issue, I take my time and you discredit it as being theoretical while you have more pressing issues. It was not theoretical it was just to the very point of your activity in this community.

"Please, don't gimme no more Romantic theories. That's so 19th century." ... well, as expected, you cry for others awareness, but as the put up the bid, you have nothing but ignorance.

If you don't see the practical point of facing a constructive approach about the problem you are crying about, you are pretty lost, sorry for you.

It is actually rather embarassing to protest violently or support that protest and deny a request for articulating political demands by simply saying, no, we just don't want to shed any further blood. Why that excuse again, just articulate what you strive for, I didn't ask for your execution skills. If you did not aim for any change, why invest your time with all the protesting. It is wlways easy to make an evil abstract oligarchy accountable for the situation, just keep blaming others.

I have met Greeks in several geographical locations and have never gotten the impression they were economic fugitives. They chose to work and live abroad as do Dutch, Swedish, German and Polish. Staying free from the police in other countries does not qualify for anything or differ Greeks from the vast majority of others. What did you think I expected from Greeks abroad? That actually suggests, you to have an inferior image of Greeks abroad yourself.

Please give me a break, who has been leaving Greece due to hunger? The well educated people? Anyone else? Are you aware that the people you are trying to sell that BS to are not entirely blinded and have visisted Greece and are friends with Greeks in other countries. If I were Greek, such a statement would really embarass me. By now, I doubt your true representation of Greek sentiment and mentality.

In essence, I think your response only shows that you are not capable of abstracting from a predefined image of Greek social structure. You are also either so intimidated or just missing the honesty to play constructive. Well, not really my problem, but let me tell you, if you would just shut up, you would serve the Greek people better. What is all your involvement about, if you don't want to convey something better. You have just outed yourself as one of those typical bashers, being the loudest in terms of criticism and disrespect, but showing no willingness to contribute to the real purpose. Put a Greek solidarity flag up on FB, that is more your playing field.

You are definitely not pursuing a Greek or a European interest.

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

You're soo cool.

Either play the ball or get off the field.

I'm afraid what you're doing is just a verbal spanking.

I'm supposed to give in to your obvious rhetorical and racial superiority.

Try that attitude on your servants, not on ZH.

My last point before I depart this wonderful discussion is that life is messy.

Your theories work best inside your own head. They've got no basis in reality.

Keep your head in the clouds.

what disrespect am I showing? I'm only hemming in your superiority complex.


wow! you've actually "met Greeks in many geographical locations"

How magnanimous of you.  @sarc That solves everything.

By the sounds of you, it must have been at dinner parties.

Did you wash your hands before , or after?

BTW you've not "discredited" anything I've said. 




Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

Just stop, it is getting more and more embarassing with every line. I am inclined to respond, no, didn't wash my hands as in my barbaric culture, we are not getting paid for hand hygiene. Too bad, I took anything from you serious, now you see what remains, isn't that sad? You won't affect my open-mindedness about the Greek tragedy and its people, but please consider that you may negatively affect others with your bullshitting. In all of your writing there has not been one idea, suggestion or other constructive line of argument, so nothing I could possibly discredit.

Anyway, I whish you well, I never meant to personally attack you, only tried to get to the motivation of your comments.

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

alright! chill!

I take back all the sad jokes.

Here's a summary of our discussion:

You say, Greeks are "different" from north Europeans

you MEAN: short, dark, swarthy, corrupt, lazy, and they pop people up the backside, etc.

I said: no, they're smart, hard-working people who had learned to survive in a corrupt society.

You say (amongst tons of diatribe): change your country, because Europe wants change

I said: Nasty oligarchy with police and guns. better to leave country than starve.

You say: met lots of Greeks at dinner parties and they're not starving.

I say: forgetaboutit! Have a beer. Live to argue another day.



macro-economist's picture

LOL! chill dude. everyone has a right to their viewpionts but off late there has been unnecessary blame-game going around with respect to the Greek and EU sovereign debt crisis.

yes, yes, greeks and romans always considered the germanic tribes barbarians who looked funny, smelt funny, did not bathe and had unkempt hair.

hey, all of us are humans and all of us are fully of intricacies, weaknesses, fallible and selfish. But we have to learn to get along.

fiddy pence haff pound's picture

Well said, man.

I think the humanity of it all 

was what I was trying to get across to MarkEff,

but he wasn't having any of that.

He does condescending very well, don't you think?

Perhaps I was goading him too much.

macro-economist's picture

Sir, I am not a racist and neven have been. I have been brought up in a household where close family includes: Americans, Portuguese, Irish, Italian, Middle Easterners, etc.

But I am flabberghasted to see people on this forum defend the crisis and laying blame on "biological Germans", "capitalist Anglo-Saxons", "WWII", etc. It is in reaction to these defenders of Greece that you might feel that I am being unduly unfair.

I have visited Greece many times and have met people from age 16 to 60 over there: the outlook on life is VERY DIFFERENT from the outlook you get when you visit Germans, British, or Americans. Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal definitely have a lot more in common from the perspective of outlook on life compared to Germany, France (to an extent), Austria, Holland and UK.....its just the facts.

I don't purport to be an expert: far from it.

enjoy ur stay on the forum and if you keep an open mind, you might also learn new ways of thinking about things.....


fiddy pence haff pound's picture

Have you ever noticed how much you use the word 'fact'?


I think I was right the first time. You DO think you're an expert.


BTW, statistics can be used to manipulate positivists.


fiddy pence haff pound's picture

I didn't necessarily say you're a racist.

I'm more concerned with the way you argue your case.

It's hard to understand mentality, until you get the whole picture. Like I said, people

learn to survive within a system. If the system is corrupt with little or no fairness,

they learn to be selfish, short-sighted and more than a little cunning. That then pervades their

'attitude'. So, look at how the society is set up. Then look at how big countries manipulate

little countries. That's just for a start.

The Germans do have a well-functioning society, but they're, now, no better off than the

banksters who are running their government. And, they're blaming Greeks, and not their

oligarchs. It seems that you are too.

A lot of those work ethic countries are living off the wealth created from colonialism, which , by

the way, is still going on, which is what I'm telling you. The attitude of people in a country with tons of money and lots of jobs is naturally more pro-government, pro-business, conservative, and mentally lazy.

The Greek people are sharp because they have to be. They're put upon by so many forces. That's why I say,

"watch and learn". 

Thanks for the friendly discussion.

but, remember, it's a banking crisis, not a Greek crisis. Greece is the solution.

hourglass86's picture

Siemens scandal (Siemens bribed greek politicians) hmmmm

Army and submarines scandals (Germans bribe greek politicians) hmmm

Banks and big corporatiosn tax evading hmmmm

Lidl tax evading and making money thanks to the crisis hmmm

I will say it again. Germany made a lot of money thanks to Greece and is still making.

German anf Greek politicians,corporations and banks are the problem not the tax payers (greek and germans).

And  how you expalin that Troika demands the wage in private sector to  500 Euro???

But you are right the Greek tax payer is the main problem. MAKE THEM FEEL PAIN! 




Reptil's picture

Moreover, it's BECAUSE Of this whole crony system, the corruption that is EVERYWHERE, the greek are not paying their taxes.

Wealthy greek don't pay taxes, they're milking the system. Corporations too. Did anyone had the impression this changed because of austerity measures?
Austerity measures are for common people. LOL

So.. the man in the street knows this, and stops paying anything to government.
Wouldn't you? The BIG issue is the decade of EU subsedies and bank loans ended up in the WRONG HANDS IN GREECE.

This is how the EU Commission FAILED. THey were assigned with dealing with this distribution of wealth to stimulate the PIIGS economy. Keep an eye on it.
And now that corrupt black hole must be fixed by throwing more money in it.
Of course it's going to fail, they know this, that's the whole purpose. THey are JUST as corrupt in Brussels. The plan: To transfer wealth, not to other countries, but from the public sectors to private hands. Corporations are lining up to put an EU poliitician in their pocket. Backroom deals, is where the real power is.

Siemens put their capital in the ECB bucket. Would you do that is you were not really sure of the actions of that ECB. It's all so obvious.

The system needs a reset, not more power into invisible hands:


What about Slovakia? Are we going to hear from that? Could be fireworks, could be a wet dud.

macro-economist's picture

So the reason why Greeks haven't been paying taxes properly for decades is becasue of German mnc's bribing Greek govt. contractors????!

Greeks are lazy but not lazy enough to run to the European Economic Area when it was being formed by France, Germany and Italy. They thought the free lunch could be extracted by hiding in the shadows of Europe because somehow, someone, somewhere will also take the tab. The so-called Greek govt. that you talk about is not a dictatorship but brought into power by the Greeks themselves. How come the Greeks never protested against all this corruption but are now suddenly protesting when it comes to restoring economic equilibrium??! The Greeks enjoyed the last decade in the eurozone but now that the $hit has hit the fun they are too lazy to even try to do something about it but instead are playing Germans, WW2, banker wankers, etc.!

IF Greece is so noble as you claim, then it would voluntarily exit the eurozone by giving a credible plan to the world while leaving....but we all know that when it comes to responsibility, well.....most Greeks would rather not even bother thinking about it.

Do you realize that the only reason why Greeks are protesting is not out of noble sense of national pride, or alleged German corruption but it is to vent anger: "hey, why u take the euros out of my pocket - is not my problem- let me lie on the beach and waste time" This is evident becasue greek protestors were blocking the Ministry of Finance of Greece, etc. - i.e. we won't even let the govt. employees reach their office buildings so that they also don't work like us and then some Anglo-Saxon morons sitting somewhere will bail us out because we are part of "Europe" and we are the "cradle of western civilization"!!! "we are too cuddly to fail"!!!

what a joke! if I was greek, I would salvage my national pride and start rebuilding earnestly instead of blaming my problems on the "northern barbarians"



turbomango's picture

You stick your nose where you apparently know nothing about. Papandreou's ancestors, grandfather George and later his uncle Andreas, have been ripping off the county for decades. People's taxes no matter how high and heavy a burden were never high enough. The infrastructure remained a sorry third-world state from way back in the mid 20s. That's coming out of a Teutonic fascist monarchy imposed on Greece, right after two Greco-Turkish Wars, Ottoman Pogroms and Ethnic Cleansing on the western coast of Asia Minor (eradicating 2500 yrs of Greek settlements) causing a sudden flood of more than 1.5 million refugees in a country of 3.5 mill, Dictatorships, Smyrna's Burning in 1921, The Citizens Exchange of 1922, then Mussolini in the north and Hitler's landing, and the Greek Civil War with the Communists. The City of London central bankers had their hand in most of the list above to aggitate, to start a war, the step in to SAVIOUR both sides with loans so everyone becomes indebted.

These names: Besides the fascist monarchy, Karamanlis, Mitsotakis, Bakoyannis, Venizelos, Pangalos, Rallis, Papandreou HAVE BEEN EATING GREECE FROM THE INSIDE OUT FOR DECADES. The Greeks knew then and know now they are being ripped off.  How they will handle it.. you should live and learn. When a pummeled and helpless predominantly agrarian people back then realized their taxes went into these oligarchs pockets and not into the intended infrastructure to better their country, they rebelled by tax evasion. How does this change with the ages? Their voting choices have been a Hegelian the American Left-Right paradigm our taxpayers have been voting in to our ruin. There has been a NO EXIT sign on the front door of Greece for many many years. I cannot begin to describe the hardship as late as the 80s: no rights to an education unless you pass government tests, no jobs for the graduates, mule wages for those who get a job at some slop joint, controlled income/wages, state controlled pricing from restaurant menus to motels tot single rooms in private homes, to shoes, to gum... everything... no loans except for high echelon, so most everyone rented unless they inherited. Adult children had to live with parents out of necessity. Vehicular tax for new OR used purchases were THREE (3) times the cost of the vehicle (a new VolksWgn Glf would cost $50K in the 80s, a used one $30K), and an escalating tyrannical progessive income tax system where the taxman went through garbage cans in back of stores for an excuse to arrest people on myths... for so much as black ink on an egg peel as suspected tax evasionaccusing someone for possibly calculatig sales tax or income tax due on an egg peel instead of paper! 

As somone else said herein; people react and when they see no exit, they learn to adjust. It's called survival. Greeks are not thieves. The central bankers are THIEVES but pose as SAVIORS. But if these fascist dictators think they will get a positive reaction out of anyone, be it Greek, American or Africa by loading their own bankruptcy debt on a nation of people not responsible, these pompous caezars have another thing coming. Ah, but I suspect they already know... or they would allow sovereign REFERENDUMS.  THE LAST TIME OLIGARCHS TRESPASSED IN GREECE, THEY HANGED AT GOUD!

As for you, sir, you should at least learn about a country, its history and its people to understand behavior, before dissparaging them.

hourglass86's picture

The  Western economies  lived beyond their means the last few decades not olny Greece.  Of course greeks are also to blame because they voted for these corrupted politicians but blaming the tax payer makes you look like retarded when we all know that dark pools do exist.

AnAnonymous's picture

In this US driven world, bribery is not a tango, it is a solo taking.

The burden of the fault rest on the corrupted, never on the corrupter.

It is how it works in this US driven world. Yep, biological Germans are behind many scenes, like that Chinese poisoning story.

But again, the rule is: the corrupter is never at fault. Always the corrupted.

Such is 'justice' in the US world order.

koperniuk666's picture

I agree. Islamic law puts it very well. If you have to offer an inducement to get something that you had a right to have ( eg getting your car into a public parking lot) then the giver has not committed a crime.

If you offer an inducement to get something that you did not have a right to, then you are guilty.

In both cases the receiver is guilty.


Sadly just about the only good sense you are likely to get from Islam.

macro-economist's picture

Stick to the little things you might have knowledge of and don't venture into Islam.....or perhaps any other religion....dear 666!!!

koperniuk666's picture

I have read and studied the Koran. I have studied the Bible in great depth - perhaps to College degree level, and  I even had a go at the Talmud 

They are all uniformly deranged drivel and undoubtedly responsible for a large part of the world's problems.


Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

If it was not so sad, I would have to laugh my ass off. I am getting a pretty clear picture of your destructive intentions and weak execution capability.


"Biological Germans are behind many scenes"


Just watch your back you paranoid fuck! It is really hilarious, how you employ a by definition racist argument to discredit a nationality and accuse them of racism-motivated crimes. Move to some skinhead community, they will sure appreciate your wisdom.

AnAnonymous's picture

What do you mean by a racist argument?

There have been a lot of racist arguments on this site, which is normal as racism is a key component of US citizenism and the site is mostly visited by US citizens. So if you want to spend your time underlining racist argumentation, you have plenty of work available. Not in my posts though.

There is nothing racist about stating that biological Germans are behind many scenes.

English are biological Germans for most of them after the Anglo Saxon tribe imposed an apartheid structure on britania Celts.

When you look at the US hierarchy, who prevails? Biological Germans.

Bush is a biological German. Clinton is a biological German. The negro as the current president is not.

Biological Germans propelled themselves on the world scene as first and above all biological Germans. They are thus characterized as they, biological Germans, want to be.

AnAnonymous's picture

I would even bet that the article's author is a biological German. Wolf Richter. Quite a give away.

macro-economist's picture

You mean the same Germany that is keeping Greece aflot right now? The same Germany that is at the core of the EU and ECB which visit Greece and where the Greek PM and FM welcome them and tell them "Please don't let us sink, please don't kick us out of the Eurozone"?

the article, whether authored by a German or a Jew, quotes the current Greek FM saying that tax evasion is a big problem in his country. I'd rather focus on the issue at hand than guessing the author's nationality!

Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

I am just giving up on some people around here, Don't even try to argue with them. The ideology presented by some forbids any further arguing with them, a mere waste of time.

Just a sidenote: Biological German is in itsself a flawed construct. Ascribing biological artefacts to national entities has no logical link whatsoever. But this very extreme articulation of race is favourably picked up by fascist authors. I am really sorry for anyone, not only wasting their time with reading such stuff, but being so stupid to try and inject this construct into an intellectual discource by just naive repetition. Cancel your ultra-nationalist-party subscription and get some real reading. Here, you are just wasting your time and getting on peoples' nerves.

AnAnonymous's picture

You are the one ascribing German to a nationality.

In US citizenism, it is common to refer to be an American german, an American Irish, refering to biological german, biological irish.

Peter Pan's picture

Greece does not owe the banksters anything. The banksters knowingly made sub-prime loans to a nation that they already knew did not qualify for membership to the Euro. The German multinationals and Europe in general were happy to see Greece continue to arm herself to the teeth against Turkey rather than guaranteeing her territiorial integrity. Why is this?

Simple. They were selling her military armaments by the billions. Siemens bribed her way into Greece big time and then covered that cost by boosting the cost of Greek projects well beyong the cost of the bribes. The Germans may be industrious but as World War II showed they can also be clinically self serving.

I take my hat off to the Jewish people for the way in which they extracted compensation, apologies and monuments from the German State for what was done to them.

The Europeans need to take the losses and the Greeks need to be left to their own devices without any more credit, to either ressurect their nation or else descened into complete anarchy.

The chances of Greece paying back the debt is no better than the chances the Germans have of winning World War II. In other words, default is a done deal, it's only the percentage write-off that is in question because the Europeans are scared shitless to take the real percentage loss required to recognise the reality of the situation.

Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

Wow, you truely show master-level abstraction and reassociation of historical facts. You actually insult Jews with your statement, but don't mind, as long as it fits into your model of German-bashing and incentivizing uselesness, you would offer any argument.

Just for the facts, Greece invests heavily in its military (buying from the US) as the US has long pampered Greek's worst enemy, Turkey.

Right, Europeans are shiverng to death and once the derivative chain reaction sets in, who will be holding the bag? No, not Europeans, but some other insitututions that lately send that freakin Timmeah to make sure their interest are taken care of. Just take a look a the Congressional analysis of US exposure to Europe and Greece. You may reconsider your assessment a bit.

macro-economist's picture

Greece never qualified to be in the Eurozone to begin with - they did NOT meet the GDP/Debt-deficit ratio at the outset. They went back and added the approximate size of the black economy to their GDP - so in order to join they added the income of prostitutes, brothels and drug dealers and presto! greek magic - we are in!

Meanwhile some moronic Germanic bureaucrat yelled "Ja, Ja, thiz iz wunderfool ja" - we will have more countries to join the European wet dream of ours!

End result: see for yourselves.

Greece should do the noble thing - get the heck out of the eurozone, float the drachma and commit to honour the debts it owes. The way things are now, the world sees them as holding the world economy hostage.


Azannoth's picture

Something Every German Taxpayer should read, thanks

philipat's picture

When I was last in Greece two years ago I was paying restaurant prices about the same as Frankfurt or Paris. When I used to spend summer vacations in Greece as a College student, it was virtually impossible to spend money. I remarked to my wife on the recent trip that "Something is wrong" but she had no point of reference. This what the Euro has done to Greece, and will now undo.

Peter Pan's picture

Europe compounded Greece's exisiting problems of low tax compliance, poor systems, infrastructure etc by allowing her into the Euro, whereby Greece was able to borrow more than she ever could at rates she had never previously been offered to do things that no sane government would otherwise have done.

You are perfectly correct that this is what the Euro did to Greece and now everyone will pay the price, both lender and borrower, both state and individual, both crook and law abiding citizen.

mjk0259's picture


Lawyers on strike? Damn, how can we get that to happen in US?


EU needs to kick Greece out and just eat the losses now.  Greece is too corrupt for democracy to be effective. They need another dictator. Maybe Turkey could administer it again.


macro-economist's picture

I think the Turks have much better things to do than get involved in this messy Greek tragedy.

Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

Maybe the threat of unleashing the Turks will recreate some moral in greece.

I am aware that the issue should not be discussed at that level, but lastly an increasing number of EU citizens would rather vote down their governments than obviously being played by Greeks, watching the unwillingsness of the people to comply with what their government promised. I really have some compassion with G-Pap and respect for his resignation considerations. It is certainly embarassing going on roadshow and trying to convey trust, when proof of the ex-ante defecting is flickering across TV screens. I am just baffled, how the Greek pride and minimal sense of collaboration appears to have gotten lost within roughly a decade.

True, it becomes so obvious, Greece is playing cat and mouse with the EUR. Kicking them out and taking the burden doesn't do, as the signal of successful moral hazard to other periphery countries would be devestating. Greece would free from debt beat the competitive position of any other EUR periphery country.

dolly madison's picture

Boo!  nobody on earth needs a dictator. 

ZeroAffect's picture

Lawyers on strike? Damn, how can we get that to happen in US?

 You're in the Green Zone my Friend, my sentiments exactly. Utopia reborn. Ought to be a Presidential Directive, you know, in the National Interest and all that jazz.