Greeks Baring Pain
It is impossible to avoid reports from or commentary about the Greek economic situation. I cannot help but notice parallels with the US economy. Both governments (well, at least Republican politicians in the US) want to cut public services, government jobs (teachers, police, fire, health, etc), and pensions. In both cases, the wealthy are being excluded from sacrifice or making a contribution to the economic and social health of the country. Taxes are being reduced or not collected at the top, while sacrifices are being demanded at lower levels of society. No one is making a case (except those with no voice) for solidarity at times of trouble (Greece) or the continuing long slide (US) into economic trouble. Protesters are being made into villains, while the real ones go unpunished.
Other parallels are the lack of government financial discipline and the role of banks in both countries’ troubles. US debt has been financed by China, while foreign bond holders support Greek’s lavish spending and corruption. Guess who’s made, is making, and will continue to make a lot of money. Politic discussions in both instances focus on saving the banks “investments”, more than on what is good for citizens. Politicians bend to the wishes of powerful and wealthy pressure points. No wonder the Greeks are rioting; Americans still believe in “the Dream” and their own fault in the crisis. They do not notice that the government allows corporations to move jobs overseas (destroying their jobs, livelihoods, and communities), make huge profits (carried on their balance sheets and boosting stock prices: again helping stockholders and traders), and avoid taxes (not a luxury afforded individual citizens living in foreign lands).
There is a good column is today’s Guardian by the incomparable Simon Jenkins on Greece.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.