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Greece crippled by general strike

30,000 protest austerity in Athens


 

More than 30,000 angry Greeks demonstrated today near the country’s parliament to object to continuing austerity measures. Schools, public transportation, hospitals and airports were either shut down entirely or operating on reduced service as part of a general strike. It’s the first major strike in Greece since the New Year. Greece secured a $150-billion bailout from the EU and the IMF last May when its public debt rendered it nearly insolvent in return for cutting budgets. That has hurt many Greek workers. “We are facing long-term austerity, with high unemployment and destabilizing our social structure,” Stathis Anestis, the deputy leader of Greece’s big GSEE union, told Associated Press. At least one policeman was lit on fire by a Molotov cocktail hurled by a protester. Police used tear gas to control the crowds.

The Telegraph


 
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Greece crippled by general strike

  1. So. I'm curious how this works. If the gov't gives in, and agrees to keep paying these people what it can't afford, I guess, what happens?

    Does there come a point where a worker goes to cash their paycheque and it bounces? What happens next? Widespread riots as people look at assure themselves of basic necessities. Obvious targets for such riots would be the expensive estates of the rich over there.

    Yet if they don't, it looks like they're in for widespread riots anyway, just not as focused on the rich. While it's fairly obvious which one the government would prefer.. perhaps they ought to get ahead of this and address the growing violence by a more democratic wealth distribution… ie, start taxing the rich appropriately, and not allow them to get away with avoiding their payments.

  2. So. I'm curious how this works. If the gov't gives in, and agrees to keep paying these people what it can't afford, I guess, what happens?

    Does there come a point where a worker goes to cash their paycheque and it bounces? What happens next? Widespread riots as people look at assure themselves of basic necessities. Obvious targets for such riots would be the expensive estates of the rich over there.

    Yet if they don't, it looks like they're in for widespread riots anyway, just not as focused on the rich. While it's fairly obvious which one the government would prefer.. perhaps they ought to get ahead of this and address the growing violence by a more democratic wealth distribution… ie, start taxing the rich appropriately, and not allow them to get away with avoiding their payments.

    • My impression has been from reports that the government of Greece isn't the most stringent tax enforcer period. If true the cake eating transcends class politics in Greece.

    • ie, start taxing the rich appropriately, and not allow them to get away with avoiding their payments.

      The main purpose of that is the symbolism (which I'll say is not unimportant) or are you suggesting that that financial measure, on its own, would be enough to deal with the fiscal shortfalls that the government faces.

      • Nah, not on its own. But the symbolism might be enough to keep the people from turning violent which would give their government a chance to find other ways to sort the situation out.

        Although, I suppose it depends on how far down you take "the rich" to be.

        I'm of the belief that people are willing to take increases in taxes.. even significant ones.. if they have confidence in the uses those resources are being put to.

        • I find your clarification to be acceptable!!

    • The rich are already taxed far worse than appropriately. They bear the largest burdens of all.

      All should bear the burden equally, for true equality and fairness.

      • Sure they should. Except I look for equality on amount of suffering the tax burden inflicts, not necessarily dollar value.

        If you make 20,000/yr, a 20% tax rate is killler, as that's cutting into money that you need to use for food, shelter, or utilities. On the other hand, if you're making 200,000/yr, it sucks, but lets be honest, you're not really going to be suffering for it. You just won't be able to live quite as high on the hog.

        Cut the low rate in half and double the high rate, so 10% for 20,000 and 40% for 200,000 and the situation is the same.. albeit closer.. I think this is the way to equally spread the burden.

        • If Greece does that, the only employer left in Greece will be the government. Private investors and businesses will be living in droves, where they will be welcome. Switzerland, Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries knew that with global economy, money is fluid, so they have been voting consistently to lower corporate taxes in keeping and enticing businesses in. There are ideas that just look good in papers but disastrous when applied.

          • Hint: learn the difference between corporate taxes and personal taxes.

  3. We are facing long-term austerity, with high unemployment and destabilizing our social structure

    So, the obvious solution is to cripple the country with a general strike and to torch a cop. Brilliant.

    Mr. Obama, are you paying attention?

  4. We are facing long-term austerity, with high unemployment and destabilizing our social structure

    So, the obvious solution is to cripple the country with a general strike and to torch a cop. Brilliant.

    Mr. Obama, are you paying attention?

    • It takes two to tango– Obama's budget is profligate to be sure, but Congressional Republicans need to get serious about non-discretionary spending or raising taxes as well.

  5. 30,000 protest austerity in Athens

    What an interesting concept. I am going to protest my difficulty keeping up with my mortgage payments by peeing on my own carpet and by clubbing my own skull so that I am even less able to support my family by earning a living.

    It has been a long, long time since Greece was the source of a good idea.

  6. 30,000 protest austerity in Athens

    What an interesting concept. I am going to protest my difficulty keeping up with my mortgage payments by peeing on my own carpet and by clubbing my own skull so that I am even less able to support my family by earning a living.

    It has been a long, long time since Greece was the source of a good idea.

  7. The protesters have a much clearer understanding of the situation than others seem inclined to give them credit for. The "structural irregularities" have been in place for a very long time, in Greece and elsewhere, to the extent that it is very difficult to make a go of it in that country. This is no sour grapes. A sizable number of people have a strong attachment to location and family with no desire to go elsewhere. It is all well and good to preach fiscal prudence, economic responsibility and/or collective suffering, if one where actually on the receiving end of the benefits of the deals that lead to the collapse, but that is not the case for the overwhelming majority in Greece. The beneficiaries of the economic arrangements that lead to the structural irregularities are the coterie of client elites that have signed on to sell out their countrymen. Now the call goes out to collectively share in the pain, yet when was the call to share in the benefit?

    The record is now very clear. No-regulation "banks" were set up in multiple jurisdictions – Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Eastern Europe, Egypt, etc. – to make funny money deals that would be impossible to service under any conditions other than a bubble. It isn't anything more than a smash-and-grab. Now we are supposed to trust the same deployment of economic incompetents at the helm of the nations they drove off the cliff?

  8. The protesters have a much clearer understanding of the situation than others seem inclined to give them credit for. The "structural irregularities" have been in place for a very long time, in Greece and elsewhere, to the extent that it is very difficult to make a go of it in that country. This is no sour grapes. A sizable number of people have a strong attachment to location and family with no desire to go elsewhere. It is all well and good to preach fiscal prudence, economic responsibility and/or collective suffering, if one where actually on the receiving end of the benefits of the deals that lead to the collapse, but that is not the case for the overwhelming majority in Greece. The beneficiaries of the economic arrangements that lead to the structural irregularities are the coterie of client elites that have signed on to sell out their countrymen. Now the call goes out to collectively share in the pain, yet when was the call to share in the benefit?

    The record is now very clear. No-regulation "banks" were set up in multiple jurisdictions – Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Eastern Europe, Egypt, etc. – to make funny money deals that would be impossible to service under any conditions other than a bubble. It isn't anything more than a smash-and-grab. Now we are supposed to trust the same deployment of economic incompetents at the helm of the nations they drove off the cliff?

  9. My impression has been from reports that the government of Greece isn't the most stringent tax enforcer period. If true the cake eating transcends class politics in Greece.

  10. Perhaps if Greeks had paid their taxes, they wouldn't be in this mess.Tax avoidance was a national sport, and now they're paying the price

    Strikes and riots are just putting them deeper in debt.

  11. Perhaps if Greeks had paid their taxes, they wouldn't be in this mess.Tax avoidance was a national sport, and now they're paying the price

    Strikes and riots are just putting them deeper in debt.

  12. Hilarious – "destabilizing our social structure" – sitting around on welfare is hardly a 'social structure', it's a pathology, let'em protest.

  13. Hilarious – "destabilizing our social structure" – sitting around on welfare is hardly a 'social structure', it's a pathology, let'em protest.

    • They aren't on welfare.

      • Government 'jobs' where they don't even have to show up to collect money on which they pay no tax, that's hardly productive. Let'em starve.

        • No, it's not productive, and no I'm not sypathetic. However it also creates mess for people elsewhere.

          • Not if they don't get bailed out. Greece produces nothing the world wants, their only real 'industry' is tourism and the beaches will still be there. Economic collapse would ultimately make vacationing there cheaper.

          • Greece also has shipping.

            Don't worry, they'll be bailed out. Even China has offered to do it.

            But hey…as long as you get cheap vacations, why worry about starving people, right?

          • Canadians don't mind cheap vacations on the backs of hungry people, Cuba is very popular for example, but I wouldn't go there.

            Shipping is a finicky 'industry', if the Greek gov't squeezes them too hard they'll simply register the ships, with their Philipino crews, in Liberia.

          • No one in Cuba is starving, nor do they have street people.

            Capital flight has already taken place in Greece

            It's the average person who isn't paying their taxes, it's been a national sport…and a country can't survive without taxes.

  14. ie, start taxing the rich appropriately, and not allow them to get away with avoiding their payments.

    The main purpose of that is the symbolism (which I'll say is not unimportant) or are you suggesting that that financial measure, on its own, would be enough to deal with the fiscal shortfalls that the government faces.

  15. They aren't on welfare.

  16. Government 'jobs' where they don't even have to show up to collect money on which they pay no tax, that's hardly productive. Let'em starve.

  17. Nah, not on its own. But the symbolism might be enough to keep the people from turning violent which would give their government a chance to find other ways to sort the situation out.

    Although, I suppose it depends on how far down you take "the rich" to be.

    I'm of the belief that people are willing to take increases in taxes.. even significant ones.. if they have confidence in the uses those resources are being put to.

  18. I find your clarification to be acceptable!!

  19. No, it's not productive, and no I'm not sypathetic. However it also creates mess for people elsewhere.

  20. The rich are already taxed far worse than appropriately. They bear the largest burdens of all.

    All should bear the burden equally, for true equality and fairness.

  21. Sure they should. Except I look for equality on amount of suffering the tax burden inflicts, not necessarily dollar value.

    If you make 20,000/yr, a 20% tax rate is killler, as that's cutting into money that you need to use for food, shelter, or utilities. On the other hand, if you're making 200,000/yr, it sucks, but lets be honest, you're not really going to be suffering for it. You just won't be able to live quite as high on the hog.

    Cut the low rate in half and double the high rate, so 10% for 20,000 and 40% for 200,000 and the situation is the same.. albeit closer.. I think this is the way to equally spread the burden.

  22. It takes two to tango– Obama's budget is profligate to be sure, but Congressional Republicans need to get serious about non-discretionary spending or raising taxes as well.

  23. If Greece does that, the only employer left in Greece will be the government. Private investors and businesses will be living in droves, where they will be welcome. Switzerland, Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries knew that with global economy, money is fluid, so they have been voting consistently to lower corporate taxes in keeping and enticing businesses in. There are ideas that just look good in papers but disastrous when applied.

  24. Not if they don't get bailed out. Greece produces nothing the world wants, their only real 'industry' is tourism and the beaches will still be there. Economic collapse would ultimately make vacationing there cheaper.

  25. Greece also has shipping.

    Don't worry, they'll be bailed out. Even China has offered to do it.

    But hey…as long as you get cheap vacations, why worry about starving people, right?

  26. Canadians don't mind cheap vacations on the backs of hungry people, Cuba is very popular for example, but I wouldn't go there.

    Shipping is a finicky 'industry', if the Greek gov't squeezes them too hard they'll simply register the ships, with their Philipino crews, in Liberia.

  27. Hint: learn the difference between corporate taxes and personal taxes.

  28. No one in Cuba is starving, nor do they have street people.

    Capital flight has already taken place in Greece

    It's the average person who isn't paying their taxes, it's been a national sport…and a country can't survive without taxes.

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