Germany’s Parliament agreed to continue to bailout Greece for the next four months. However, in this process, the socioeconomic tone-deafness of Berlin became, well, deafening. From accusations that Greece is trying to dictate the Eurozone’s future, to calling Greece a “success story,” it’s hard to know where the most noise is coming from when Berlin is deciding the fate of Athens.
Let’s start with the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble. According to the AP, he’s quoted as saying: “We must say to our colleagues in Greece that, with all respect to voters’ decision in Greece, Greece alone cannot decide the right path for Europe.”
In other words, who cares about a democratically elected government in Greece? Let Germany impose upon a sovereign nation their 6-year failed policy; even when that policy has led to 26% unemployment, a 35% drop in GDP since 2009, and a depressed nation that has no hope of recovery. Then, after that, let Germany tell the voters of Greece that they don’t really know what’s good for them, and they should take their economic beating as what? A growing experience?
Let’s be clear: the Greek voters are not trying to decide the fate of Europe; they are trying to decide their own fate, which is their sovereign right to do. They are acting in their own interests of survival, and probably know what’s best for them to accomplish that lofty goal. Consider this:
With 26% of the Greek population unemployed, imagine if you and I were to have a family dinner, where there were at least 1 in 4 people in our family that haven’t been able to find a job in the past 6 years. Now imagine a government (controlled by Berlin) that has cut all social safety nets. In Greece, there is no (un)employment insurance. There is no “welfare.” There are no public services. Trash pickup is sporadic at best. Public utilities are non-existent. Basic health services do not exist. In such a society, does Berlin really think that the Greek people are trying to take over Europe? Or are they trying to feed their families through political social movements?
Next came Mr. Schaeuble’s comments about this not being a Greek bailout, but a means to “complete the program successfully.” It’s hard to imagine what “successful” program there is, unless it’s the one where Berlin starves Athens in a symbolic battle of monetary siege warfare. The argument has always been that Greece needed to cut it’s government spending. Greece has done that:
Since 2009, along with its 35% drop in GDP, Greece has also cut government spending by 26.5%. Germany appears to want a 1% cut in government spending for every 1% drop in GDP. That is socially, politically, and economically insane.
Success, as operationally defined by Berlin, has never been more tragic.
A lawmaker from Merkel’s Christian Democrat party, Klaus-Peter Willsch is worried that Greek bailouts will never end. He may be right; they may indeed never end. Many economist around the world (including the World Bank) are questioning whether Greece will ever be able to survive on their own under the Eurozone. However, if anyone would like to know why, then Berlin simply needs to look in the mirror. There is absolutely no economic way for Greece to recover under the failed 6-Year austerity program as instituted politically by Berlin.