Greece

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GaryT
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Greece

Post by GaryT » Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:53 pm

In light of the recent election there and the pledge of the new government to write off a large chunk of the debt they owe (??), can someone fill in a few gaps for me?

I read this excellent piece the other day (nicked from LFW) here which explains quite clearly how the elite got themselves into the mess they find themselves in. Reading the news it seems those protesting have the blame for their situation laid firmly at Merkel's door. I can see why the casual passer-by might think that (austerity measures means tightening the belt means less money to buy stuff with means bad news for me) but the next question has to be, So why are we so massively in debt? I'm reading about promises to cut taxes, minimum pay increases and pensions being re-instated but all of these cost money, which they haven't got. I haven't read anywhere about proposed tax reforms that will make the high earning tax dodgers pay their dues, why is this?

If Greece were a person it would be an unemployed 20 year old girl, wearing the latest designer clothes, resplendent in her orange tan and dripping in jewellery and all of this would be bought on a credit card. When you ask her how she intends to pay it back, she shrugs her shoulders and says "well, if they didn't want me to spend it they shouldn't have given me the card, it's not my fault".

Can a nation be this dumb? What am I missing here?
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Post by rblockells » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:02 pm

Ordinary Greeks have endured years of unemployment and/or decreased standard of living.

In no way can this be seen as being all their "fault".

Sure...some politicians made rash decisions,and some higher earning Greeks had a culture of tax avoidance.

But to punish millions of people who happen to be born Greek,teachers,policemen,firemen,nurses etc etc for the folly of the aforementioned is unfair.
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Post by GaryT » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:16 pm

rblockells wrote:Ordinary Greeks have endured years of unemployment and/or decreased standard of living.

In no way can this be seen as being all their "fault".

Sure...some politicians made rash decisions,and some higher earning Greeks had a culture of tax avoidance.

But to punish millions of people who happen to be born Greek,teachers,policemen,firemen,nurses etc etc for the folly of the aforementioned is unfair.
I agree, the ordinary Greek (as in those who work for an employer) have suffered with the austerity measures and although they did manage to turn a profit last year, the cost is clearly too high.

Did you read that piece I linked to? It paints a very different picture to it just being "some politicians and some high earners". A culture of tax avoidance is clearly the root of the problem but if everyone who files a tax return (including the tax inspectors) is corrupt, who is going to change that?

As it happens, it's the teachers, firemen, train drivers etc who are part of the problem. It's their wages that doubled and trebled when the Euro's flooded in and are reluctant to change their standard of living now that the bubble has burst...or so I read. Train drivers on €100k a year! Making it cheaper to put all their passengers into taxi cabs than to run the rail service.

Taxing the average Joe to make up the shortfall from non tax paying doctors, accountants, solicitors etc was never going to be enough and I'm surprised the PAYE's didn't make more of a stink about it years ago. I honestly don't see how they are going to get out of the mess they are in. If half the country are tax dodging high earners and the other half are low earning employees, how long before civil war breaks out? It's bad enough trying to get multinational corporations to cough up their tax dues in the UK but when the entire system of government is corrupt from top to bottom, what hope is there for them?

A Greek tragedy beckons.
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Post by DAVEf » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:48 pm

In most countries tax-evasion is a hobby of the rich (and some self-employed builders etc). In Greece, though, it seems (from what I've read) to have become more of a general national past-time.

But that's not to ignore what's already been written in this thread about Greeks (like so many others in western countries) wanting "stuff" before they can actually afford it or have plans to find a way to pay for it. And, obviously, politicians promising (and trying to deliver) such things in order to get elected.

Since Capitalism relies on production and consumption the whole problem can be laid at the feet of the rich not allowing enough dosh to circulate. If the rich --- and politicians --- and voters who regularly fall for stupid promises --- don't work that out PDQ the problems can only get worse/reoccur elsewhere likely leading to a general collapse of our economic systems.

Which isn't great is it. :?
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Post by GaryT » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:04 pm

Some of the blame has to lie at the feet of the people who approved their admission to the Eurozone. Who the hell checked their figures to make sure they really had met the 3% target? By cheating their way in it was inevitable they they would run amok with the credit card as they knew the safety net of the Euro billions would bail them out.

Whilst I'm all for live and let live and taking responsibility for your own actions, there are times when you don't give a light to a known arsonist, sometimes saying no really is for their own good.

Still haven't got a scooby how they fix it though, a cultural change to pay your taxes isn't going to happen overnight.
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Post by Lee Gib » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:29 am

That link was a bit shocking to read gary, but I'm sure some very rich people and corrupt politicians have made nice sums of money out of Greece's misery. And then throw in a large sprinkling of ineptitude (like not collecting taxes during an election year). How many people responsible for this are in prison? Meanwhile the tab gets picked up by ordinary working people with the loss of jobs, cuts to wages and pensions.

Can't help but think all this austerity thing is just a bit of a disgrace.

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Post by GaryT » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:45 am

I haven't looked deeply into how it was decided what the austerity measures would be but what is clear is that they haven't been thought through very well. Sure they turned a profit last year and we could all save money by scrapping the shopping budget but it won't be long before new problems arise. Every country has it's people in place to balance the books and most struggle to do an adequate job. The idea that a foreign body can instigate seriously tough measures in a country where the root causes of the problem have yet to be addressed, just sounds like it was doomed to failure.

One thing the ordinary man could do is to refuse to pay for things in cash any more. Time for the common man to expose the tax cheats and get them to fall in line. Would require a hell of a shift in culture but it has to start somewhere.
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Post by rblockells » Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:57 pm

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ppen-video

For "Greece"... read Britain...USA...a few months hence ?

:shock:
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Post by rblockells » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:04 pm

Does anyone on here have a good idea of what will happen if there is,indeed a "Grexit" ??

All kinds of scenarios get discussed..but if anyone one here is well-versed in these matters,then it would be appreciated if you could share the knowledge.

Some of the scare-mongering seems outlandish...Greece leaves the Euro and defaults on it's debts...Cyprus follows soon after...the Spanish look on and think..hmmm..if they can do it..why ca't we? Portugal then follows suit...and then even Italy...(now that WOULD cause chaos,given the size of their economy).

Anyone know?
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Post by super_hooper » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:47 pm

I doubt anyone REALLY knows what will happen if a Grexit does occur, politicians/economists etc

One thing I did gather form an 'old flame' was that tax avoidance in Greece was (is?) a way of life for certain people. Her father paid in cash for a Porsche and that was normal for people who could afford one!

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Post by GaryT » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:18 pm

super_hooper wrote:I doubt anyone REALLY knows what will happen if a Grexit does occur, politicians/economists etc

One thing I did gather form an 'old flame' was that tax avoidance in Greece was (is?) a way of life for certain people. Her father paid in cash for a Porsche and that was normal for people who could afford one!
That's what it's all about Super. If you stop and think about it, it's actually quite scary. Any sensible person knows that you need to pay tax for the government to be able to run the country. The fact that a large percentage of the rich refuse to do so and are taking their country to the edge of anarchy and STILL blaming someone else (Merkel) is quite staggering.

As you say, it's a way of life which was best summed up by a friend recently who, when the subject of Greece came up said, "They're f***ed". That was pretty much the end of the conversation, hard to argue with that.
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Post by super_hooper » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:10 pm

Totally agree than everyone should pay tax but at the same
Time I'm quite relishing being able to see what will happen to Greece/wider democracy/capitalism here.

Being a Brit' I know we'll be okay so seeing what happens to a country that finally says **** you to the EU is a genuinely exciting prospect and one I want to see how it pans out. To me (and I will hold my hand up and admit that I know f' all!!) it's nice to see a country seemingly stand up for itself against the corporate powers/established 'processes' (see bail-outs/IMF/World Bank).

In my totally pointless opinion the worlds a bad place and somethingn needs to change. If I can watch a democratic - the Greeks did vote them in - social experiment from the safety of Ol' Blighty, all the better. Good luck to them!

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Post by Lee Gib » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:54 pm


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Post by GaryT » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:24 pm

super_hooper wrote:Totally agree than everyone should pay tax but at the same
Time I'm quite relishing being able to see what will happen to Greece/wider democracy/capitalism here.

Being a Brit' I know we'll be okay so seeing what happens to a country that finally says **** you to the EU is a genuinely exciting prospect and one I want to see how it pans out. To me (and I will hold my hand up and admit that I know f' all!!) it's nice to see a country seemingly stand up for itself against the corporate powers/established 'processes' (see bail-outs/IMF/World Bank).

In my totally pointless opinion the worlds a bad place and somethingn needs to change. If I can watch a democratic - the Greeks did vote them in - social experiment from the safety of Ol' Blighty, all the better. Good luck to them!
The World is what we have made it and there's not a great deal little old you and me can do about it. Those pulling the power strings and reeling in even more money than ever before and not likely to have a change of heart any day soon.

I can't say I'm relishing what could happen to Greece as the shock wave from a Grexit will hit Europe hard and will have a ripple effect around the World. The recession we've been in for the last 7 years was started by a large number of (some say) greedy yanks buying houses they couldn't afford. You would think something as trivial as a few thousand house repossessions would be kept in house but alas, no. The chain reaction has effected almost everyone on the planet so don't get too comfy if it all goes nipples north.

OK I've trivialised it just a tad with the greedy yanks but there is a real possibility of Greece becoming a third world nation when it's civilisation collapses because they can't afford to pay for the police/nurses/ambulance/army/train drivers/water companies/electricity etc. A real doomsday scenario. Interesting in a 'End of the World, horror movie, kind of way I suppose.

As for standing up for itself, yes, the working people are fighting back but it's the rich that have screwed the country. Living beyond your means is something most of us were taught at a young age is a 'bad thing' but when the well to do half of the country stuffs itself on tax free money and to hell with the consequences....some say, they deserve everything that's coming to them. Of course, that half of the population will be long gone before civil war breaks out.

I haven't seen Lee's link yet, I lag the kids out if I try to watch it so will do so when they are in bed.
I am (mostly) a kind, considerate, caring, understanding, generous and liberal sort of bloke. Except when it comes to football. And I have no wish or will to change that at all. ©DAVEf 06/03/2015

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Post by super_hooper » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:49 pm

I do see your point, Gary, but at the same time I refuse (naively?) to believe that a Grexit or anything similar will end up with Greece being a third world country. I was in santorini (okay, hardly the real Greece with it's spactacular prices etc, but Greece nonetheless) and I saw nothing that said it would collapse without EU backing/bailouts/agreement. Greece could feed Europe of it wanted. It has a number of valuable 'commodities' - labour (if they're so fooked then there will be economic emigrants who can send money home like Poland and so many other EU states), natural produce and I'm sure more...

Maybe a decade or so of difficulty but compared to the UK, Greece can stand o it's own

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