Greek Liberals’ Economic Recovery Plan: Lie to the Rest of Europe
It’s almost hackneyed at this point to evoke Greece as a warning sign to the rest of the Western World; as a promise of what’s in store should the artificial decadence of the welfare state completely strangle individual initiative in developed nations. Yet there’s a reason that California on the Aegean is always the cautionary tale of choice: when it comes to outright political absurdity, the birthplace of democracy is constantly outdoing itself. The most recent example — which has to be read to believed — comes courtesy of James Angelos reporting in the Wall Street Journal:
Greece’s radical left party has upended the country’s politics with an idea as simple as it is seductive: Athens can renege on the deals it made in exchange for a bailout, and still remain in the euro.
Greece’s future, and possibly that of Europe’s monetary union, may depend on how many Greeks buy into the idea.
The Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, is competing with Greece’s conservative New Democracy to become the biggest party in Parliament in June 17 elections that could send further shock waves through Europe …
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, a 37-year-old former Communist youth activist, promises that despite its dire financial straits, Greece can halt austerity programs, restore social spending and nevertheless continue to receive the payments from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund that keep it from bankruptcy.
The repeated warnings to the contrary from Europe and the IMF are simply efforts to blackmail Greece into doing what they want it to do, Mr. Tsipras says.
A few facts about Greece to consider in light of Mr. Tsipras’s demagoguery. This is a nation where public employees have no compunction about taking monthly paychecks 14 times a year (yes, you read that right: 14) and where tax evasion is so widespread that it’s estimated that 30 percent of the national economy is in the black market. And now the proposed solution from one of the nation’s two major political parties is to welch on a deal with the rest of the continent?
Greece is experiencing an economic crisis, to be certain. But it looks increasingly like that is only a symptom of a deeper moral crisis.