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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sobering Messages From The US To Greece

After FinMin Varoufakis had his conversations with President Obama and Treasury Secretary Lew, the following two quotations caught my attention:

President Barack Obama: "When the new PM (Alexis Tsipras) came in, I called him and recognized you need to show your people that there's hope, that you can grow, but you have to show those who are extending credit, who are supporting your financial system that you're trying to help yourself; that requires making the tough decisions".

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew: "I believe that the kind of detail that's needed requires going literally through every line in your budget. This isn't resolved by speeches, it isn't resolved by rhetoric. It's resolved by the hard technical work. It's something that the European and global economies don't need — to have another crisis".

When one translates this from diplomatic prose into day-to-day English, and can recognize some fairly blunt recommendations. No longer is there talk about “You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression" (President Obama on February 1, 2015). It now sounds more like: "Stop talking! Start working! And come down to the real world!"

I just read that Alternative Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis said: "We will NOT implement the reforms that Obama and Merkel want, but those the Greek people want".

Well, Mr. Stratoulis, what are the reforms that the Greek people want? Since the Greek people (albeit not the majority of them) voted SYRIZA into office, I can only guess that the Greek people want the reforms which SYRIZA outlined in its socalled 'Thessaloniki Program'. That rested on the following 4 pillars: (1) Confronting the humanitarian crisis; (2) Restarting the economy and promoting tax justice; (3) Regaining employment; and (4) Transforming the political system to deepen democracy. SYRIZA calculated the total additional cost of these 4 pillars at 11,4 BEUR. Others have come up with calculations up to twice that amount. These are not reforms. These are spending plans.

Perhaps you should rephrase your comment as say that "We will implement those reforms which are good for the Greek people". Default and/or Grexit are not good for the Greek people!


  1. Syria should have added a 5th pillar: (5) Demanding from the taxpayers in other Eurozone countries to pay for our spending plans.

    Default and/or Grexit will certainly make it utterly impossible to do anything of all that. But a nationalsocialist like Stratoulis doesn't care about such worldly things of course.

  2. Varoufakis in a recent speech said that for Greek people "reform" is a hate word. I was astonished about so much self cognition ;)

    He further explained that "reforms" first must be carefully explained to the population (not using the word "reform") in order to avoid allergic reactions that make it impossible to change anything.

    These remarks seem only too true, but most probably he will no longer be FM before he has finished explaining it in homeopathic doses.