Brain Dropping #143
“It’s All Greek To Me!” Remember that old,old saying? My father used it when something didn’t make sense, lacked clarity or defied understanding. Well, all that’s changed! In the light of recent events on the world stage the phrase: “It’s all Greek to me!” should now mean making complete sense and clarity. The victory of the left coalition Syriza in the elections in Greece was a clarion call for rationality and fairness in the economic turmoil spreading throughout the world caused by neo-liberal capitalist rapacity.
There could be no better spokesman for this embryonic sea change than Syriza’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis who has thrown down the glove to challenge the Greek and European oligarchy. Mr. Varoufakis is a professor of economics and one of the most articulate voices I’ve ever heard on the arcane entanglements of international finance. His eloquence, with an accent, makes me wonder why Europeans speak English so much more effectively than our politicians. And unlike our mealy-mouthed politicians (Gov. Peter Shumlin comes to mind) Mr. Varoufakis does not mince words – here are some quotes:
“We are not going to cooperate with a rottenly constructed committee!”
He is talking about the so-called “troika” – The European Central Bank, The European Commission and the International Monetary Fund.
“The Greek state has a future but what we won’t accept as a future is the
self-perpetuating and unsustainable debt!”
“We will destroy the oligarchy!”
“You have to be prepared to blow the whole thing up!”
“Just over 10% of the 240 billion Euro bailout has been used to fund Greek
government operations, the rest has gone to repaying creditors and bailing
The Greek economy has fallen by 30% since 2008. Worker unemployment is at the depression level
of 25% – youth unemployment 50%. The government previous to Syriza, was the center-right, liberal/conservative (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) under Antonis Samaris who collaborated with the proponents of austerity, which brought the vast majority of the Greek population to its knees. Samaris, in cahoots with Goldman Sachs, to hoodwink Eurostat regulators, manipulated Greek indebtedness with so-called cross-currency swaps in violation of the E.U Maastricht Deficit Rules which allow budget deficit limits of not more than 3% of GDP, and overall debt of no more than 60% of GDP. The Greek economy went down the toilet – Goldman Sachs, as usual, walked away with what has been described as a “hefty” commission.
One final note: The military junta which ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974, put in place with the
connivance of the CIA, as a buffer against the Soviet Union, eliminated most taxes for the wealthy. For example: Aristotle Onasis, billionaire shipping mogul and future husband of Jacqueline Kennedy, paid no taxes under the junta and beyond. The tax avoidance schemes of the wealthy contributed to the present turmoil, as they have in the United States.