Average Greek citizen on the debt crisis

Average Greek citizen on the debt crisis

Posted in the Greece Forum

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JJB

Pemberton, OH

#1 Feb 8, 2012
OK, I'm not trying to troll here but I really would like to hear from people in Greece. I'm an American and I think our government spends way too much and we need to get out budget balanced. In other words, I'm not trying to say my country or any country is better than Greece or anything.
I see Greeks protesting in the street against austerity; fine. But do these same anti-austerity folks want Greece to default and leave the Euro? That key part is never explained in our media.
The way our news (I try to read foreign perspectives online too) makes it sound is that the protester want to keep the government spending AND get the bailout, which of course is impossible because then the debt and bailout would just increase and go on forever.
So what's the word on the street?
Hellenas

Thessaloníki, Greece

#2 Feb 9, 2012
Although I may not be the right greek to ask because due to my job I haven't really been hit by the crisis, greeks indeed don't really have a unified idea about what they want, but they do complain because most of them who work for the public sector have had their salaries cut by half (for example teachers and doctors get about 600€ to 1000€ a month), they also have to pay for health care now (someone who works for the government and has a heavy disease like cancer is pretty screwed right now).
And while people who do simple, necessary jobs for the government can hardly make a living any more, the corrupt people who stole money from the government keep doing so and have no consequences.
Even though we have buses that can take people anywhere around in Greece, we also have the railway that's completely bloated and costs the government billions each year to run.
Every Mayor of every greek town and city I have heard of is known to steal money and take request and usually receive money from the government in order to take on unnecessary projects such as square renovation, for which they may spend 6 times the sum of money that is required, and after the renovation is complete the square is in a worse condition than before they began, because the engineer pocketed most of the money, in cooperation with material providers so that they may have their "job" appear clean.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: stuff like that continues to happen even in 2012, and it's only, for example, the poor teacher the government goes after for money, and them and their families suffer for it.
Also, greeks where taught in school again and again that democracy means that if most people go protesting about something, the government oughts to comply, if there is total social unrest the government is obligated to go to elections so that a new government will be elected, and so they keep doing that, hoping that the government will do what they ought to. But since our lawmakers elected a banker as the prime minister, the situation is quite disappointing.
IMO some degree of austerity MAY be required, such as increasing the age before pension is given and cutting some of the benefits, but elimination of corruption is all-important. There is so much lying and stealing here, from top to bottom...
JJB

United States

#3 Feb 9, 2012
So if corruption is tge problem, should the EU stop paying for Greece's debt until the corruption is fixed? Here in the US we spend more than we have and it's China that buys our debt; if they stopped we'd have to default too. That would force us to balance our budget; which of course no one would want because the spending cuts would be painful.

But the bottom line is that you have to spend what you collect in taxes, if you spend more you need to sell treasuries. Greece can't sell them so why should the EU keep funding the over-spending?

Again, I don't want to turn this thread into Greece-bashing, I'm worried that my country is going down the same road. We need to balance our budget before the Chinese pull the plug on us!

So do Greeks want to default so they can a fresh start?
Hellenas

Thessaloníki, Greece

#5 Feb 9, 2012
Do bear in mind that the opinions expressed are my own, and I haven't researched the subject too deeply, but how can you say that if China stops lending you money you will default? Out of the aprrox. 14trillion debt USA has, 10 trillion is owned by the US itself, in other words America owes America 10 trillion dollars, and it's "only" 1 trillion US government owes to China.
Just google who us owes to, it doesn't look like I can post links.
In the case of Greece however, 80% of the debt is foreign-owned, and that is the highest EXTERNAL debt-to-gdp ratio in the world (shit). France has most of Greece's debt and then it's Germany.
"So do Greeks want to default so they can a fresh start?"
Greeks aren't natural-born economists to know what strategy their country should follow, but what is generally wanted among all greeks is for nearly all the currently elected lawmakers to go away.
And as far as the economy is concerned, I guess we want to follow the path of least sacrifices to the end of the crisis, whether we default and leave the €uro or I don't know what.
JJB

United States

#6 Feb 9, 2012
Here's another question: Does Greece really intend to implement austerity?

I mean, Germany and France have already played their cards: they keep reiterating that Greece leaving the Euro is absolutely off the table.

If Greece can't leave, Germany and France can't let them default. So why on Earth would Greece agree to anything?

Just make the Euro Zone pay for everything; seriously, it's childish but it's seems true.

Just watch, this next batch of bonds will become due 20 March and the Euro will pay them "to give Greece more time". Then they'll talk tough for a while until the next batch is due and they'll pay that one "to give Greece more time"

It's kind of a nice spot to be in for the Greeks, they can spend whatever they want and they have all of Europe promising that they'll never let them fail.

Greece should just agree to everything and impliment nothing. What would happen? Merkel and Sarkozy would just whine and plan a bunch of meetings until the next bill is due; then they'll pay it.

How does that effect Greece, who cares what the rest of Europe thinks? Their only goal is to keep Greece in the EU and Greece would be staying in the EU!

Now if only we can convince Canada to that for us here in the 'States!
FTG

Valby, Denmark

#7 Feb 9, 2012
JJB wrote:
Here's another question: Does Greece really intend to implement austerity?
I mean, Germany and France have already played their cards: they keep reiterating that Greece leaving the Euro is absolutely off the table.
If Greece can't leave, Germany and France can't let them default. So why on Earth would Greece agree to anything?
Just make the Euro Zone pay for everything; seriously, it's childish but it's seems true.
Just watch, this next batch of bonds will become due 20 March and the Euro will pay them "to give Greece more time". Then they'll talk tough for a while until the next batch is due and they'll pay that one "to give Greece more time"
It's kind of a nice spot to be in for the Greeks, they can spend whatever they want and they have all of Europe promising that they'll never let them fail.
Greece should just agree to everything and impliment nothing. What would happen? Merkel and Sarkozy would just whine and plan a bunch of meetings until the next bill is due; then they'll pay it.
How does that effect Greece, who cares what the rest of Europe thinks? Their only goal is to keep Greece in the EU and Greece would be staying in the EU!
Now if only we can convince Canada to that for us here in the 'States!
If Greece took that stand it would tear EU apart.
Hellenas

Thessaloníki, Greece

#8 Feb 9, 2012
Greece (that is, the politicians that people go on strikes to make them go away) already have implemented deadly austerity. As I said before doctors get at most 800€, and medicine is no longer given for free to patients. There not only bitter cuts to public sector jobs, but the government requires by law it has set for all greeks to pay big sums for money to the government based on what they have. So a doctor who has an office and a home and makes 800€ a month has to give 400€ of what he makes to the government. The EU bailout money never reaches Greece, they just go from one european bank account to another.
And of course, despite all these measures the budget deficit remains the same, since the money keeps leaking from the same places it always has.
JJB

United States

#9 Feb 9, 2012
Good posts.

FTG, how would it tear the EU apart? Nobody would default and no austerity.

Hellenas, I like how you separated the governmet from the people, that's always true and needs to be remembered. I disagree about the money not going to the Greek people though. They were loans, the Greeks already got the money, the issue is not paying it back with, of course, interest. Besides, most of it is free money if the 70% haircut is accurate.

It's like if I loaned you $100a at 10%, you would owe me $110. Then I agreed to take only $30 in payment. Not only would you get the money but you get a lot of it for free!

So I disagree about the people not getting the money, they already borrowed it! They just don't want to pay it back. I realize it's tough right now but don't Greeks believe in paying pack loans? You can only do that so much before banks stop lending.

If you loaned me $110 and I gave you $30 to pay it off because times are tough, I'd appreciate it. But how many times would you do that?
Hellenas

Thessaloníki, Greece

#10 Feb 9, 2012
Before EU and the IMF make a bailout deal they require that greek salaries go further down and that more money is collected from the citizens, so Greece is poorer after each bailout deal.
JJB

United States

#11 Feb 9, 2012
Hellenas wrote:
Before EU and the IMF make a bailout deal they require that greek salaries go further down and that more money is collected from the citizens, so Greece is poorer after each bailout deal.
True but they were already poorer when they borrowed the money. That's why anyone borrows; to spend more than you have. So when your creditors ask for payment you can't say that those payments are making you poorer. Rather, they were helping you out. Now if nobody wants to lend anymore you have to spend less, which in the case of a country, means government salaries, programs etc. have to be cut.

It sounds like you're saying that Greeks deserve a higher standard of living than they actually earn. I mean, who's going to pay for that forever? I mean, if we as people are going to pay for people to live beyond their means, shouldn't we care more about countries worse off than Greece?

Shouldn't we be spending billions to bring Africa up to Greece's level rather than spending billions to bring Greece up to the rest of Europe's level?

And how is it that Greeks are burning German flags when if it wasn't for them, Greeks would be in even bigger trouble? What if the world cut you off and you could only spend how much you collect in taxes? How much would doctors and teachers be making then?

From your responses it sounds like Greece just needs to leave the Euro, default on their debt and really lower their standard of living.

What am I missing here? Greece can't pay it's bills, Europe has given them billions and now they're mad that everyone helped them? I don't get it.
Hellenas

Thessaloníki, Greece

#12 Feb 9, 2012
I'm saying the extra money the government spends isn't in order to serve the interests of the majority of the Greek people first and foremost.
I'm saying that the government isn't listening to the people.
I'm saying that no matter how much more money they try to detract from the simple citizens the economy won't be better off.
I'm saying that we have the right to revolt against the government all we want.
The life of the average Greek isn't made with money that isn't their own.
FTG

Valby, Denmark

#13 Feb 9, 2012
Hellenas wrote:
I'm saying the extra money the government spends isn't in order to serve the interests of the majority of the Greek people first and foremost.
I'm saying that the government isn't listening to the people.
I'm saying that no matter how much more money they try to detract from the simple citizens the economy won't be better off.
I'm saying that we have the right to revolt against the government all we want.
The life of the average Greek isn't made with money that isn't their own.
Isn't Greece the cradle of democracy? Didn't you elect your politicians your self?
tarmo

Tallinn, Estonia

#14 Feb 9, 2012
Hellenas wrote:
In the case of Greece however, 80% of the debt is foreign-owned, and that is the highest EXTERNAL debt-to-gdp ratio in the world (shit).
I am not sure the Greece external debt-to-gdp is the worst, but I believe the Greece debt-to-export is possibly the worst, requiring about 30 years of export income to pay the debt back (assuming a nonshrinking economy in a post-peak-oil world and that all the export income would go for paying back the debt, both assumptions being unattainable)?
JJB wrote:
From your responses it sounds like Greece just needs to leave the Euro, default on their debt and really lower their standard of living.
Yes, that's what I am thinking.

If the assessment of Hellenas of Greece politicians spending most of the foreign "aid" is correct, then the first goal for recovery and change in leadership should be to cut off as much funding for those corrupt politicians as possible - and that means defaulting and leaving the Eurozone.

If Greece is unable to elect good enough politicians to govern them, then they first need an almost complete reset of the state (learn from Estonia). But that would also mean stopping defense expenditures, which might become ugly.

I have also read that Greece has a very rigid labor market, with lots of old guilds with arcane legislation. Much of that has to go ASAP.
Daniggelis

El Paso, TX

#15 Feb 9, 2012
Based on all that I have read in the last 6 months,
and these posts, there is no way that Greece can avoid default regardless of what the EU claims. Sooner or later, the solvent(?) countries of the EU will take a long look at what lies AFTER Greece and simply decide it is a losing proposition. They will opt to save themselves and I wouldn't blame them. However, that road may lead to war which, if history is any guide, is how we always solve these problems. It's human nature. The only thing that can alter human nature is evolution and it's an excruciatingly slow process. Of course, there are always miracles but I'm not a betting man. Ciao!
Nut

Thessaloníki, Greece

#16 Feb 9, 2012
FTG wrote:
<quoted text>
Isn't Greece the cradle of democracy? Didn't you elect your politicians your self?
Yes though it was only the city-state Athens in ancient Greece, and that was direct democracy, unlike the democracy with representatives that the western world knows now. Believe me, most greeks now are cursing that democracy was restored in 1975, and that they elected to power those who restored it.
Daniggelis wrote:
Based on all that I have read in the last 6 months,
and these posts, there is no way that Greece can avoid default regardless of what the EU claims. Sooner or later, the solvent(?) countries of the EU will take a long look at what lies AFTER Greece and simply decide it is a losing proposition. They will opt to save themselves and I wouldn't blame them. However, that road may lead to war which, if history is any guide, is how we always solve these problems. It's human nature. The only thing that can alter human nature is evolution and it's an excruciatingly slow process. Of course, there are always miracles but I'm not a betting man. Ciao!
It doesn't take a miracle, just accepting that most of Greece's problems come from inside it, and if foreign help can solve them, it wouldn't be the I-give-you-more-money kind of help.
The EU is far too united, I don't think anyone's thinking there could be a war, a civil war inside Greece would be more possible, but even that is far too unlikely.
JJB

United States

#17 Feb 10, 2012
Hellenas wrote:
I'm saying the extra money the government spends isn't in order to serve the interests of the majority of the Greek people first and foremost.
I'm saying that the government isn't listening to the people.
I'm saying that no matter how much more money they try to detract from the simple citizens the economy won't be better off.
I'm saying that we have the right to revolt against the government all we want.
The life of the average Greek isn't made with money that isn't their own.
That's a great point, it goes with the corruption and waste spending you were talking about earlier. So would you say that the Greek citizens are more mad with their own government or the Troika?

This gets to the heart of why I started this thread; what the average Greek citizens are thinking. From the media coverage I've read it sounds like the Greeks are angry at the EU for "forcing" them to enact painful austerity. The problem is that if the EU and banks etc hadn't loaned (bought bonds) Greece the money in the first place, Greece would've been forced into much worse austerity.

So without the EU the Greeks wouldn't be complaining about 15,000 job cuts or a 22% lowering of the minimun wage. They would be forced to stop paying 300,000 people and halting many other service; they could protest all they wanted but there'd be no money.

It seems the Greeks want one of two scenarios:

1. Overthrow the government, leave the Euro, default on all debt and go into poverty.

2. Keep the government, stay in the Euro, continue with the 'organized' default on debt and ask the world to keep paying for Greece to stay out of poverty forever.

#1 is the only fair solution; I imagine that Greeks are too proud to take hand-outs from the EU forever.

#2 would work but then Greece would be known as the great welfare state that can't help themselves. Is that really what Greeks want? I don't believe Greeks have no pride. Although, the Germans and French are very weak minded and have already said they'll never force a member out of the EU, so Greece could probably get away with it forever.
PEOPLE

Finland

#18 Feb 10, 2012
ARETHAT ELSE LAND SHOW OWN DEBTS SEE GREESE IF WANT SOMTHINK RATE INVEST MONEY,NEED SHOW IS RIGHT ASK RATE IF HAVE SOMTHINK CORRUPTIONS AND TRY DO MORE BUSINESS GREESE LAND AREA.
GREESE MAYBY WANT KNOW THE EU COMISSIO SIDE INVESTOR RIGHTS.DO INVEST GRIMINAL
GREESE AREA.
Nut

Thessaloníki, Greece

#19 Feb 10, 2012
JJB wrote:
<quoted text>
That's a great point, it goes with the corruption and waste spending you were talking about earlier. So would you say that the Greek citizens are more mad with their own government or the Troika?
This gets to the heart of why I started this thread; what the average Greek citizens are thinking. From the media coverage I've read it sounds like the Greeks are angry at the EU for "forcing" them to enact painful austerity. The problem is that if the EU and banks etc hadn't loaned (bought bonds) Greece the money in the first place, Greece would've been forced into much worse austerity.
So without the EU the Greeks wouldn't be complaining about 15,000 job cuts or a 22% lowering of the minimun wage. They would be forced to stop paying 300,000 people and halting many other service; they could protest all they wanted but there'd be no money.
It seems the Greeks want one of two scenarios:
1. Overthrow the government, leave the Euro, default on all debt and go into poverty.
2. Keep the government, stay in the Euro, continue with the 'organized' default on debt and ask the world to keep paying for Greece to stay out of poverty forever.
#1 is the only fair solution; I imagine that Greeks are too proud to take hand-outs from the EU forever.
#2 would work but then Greece would be known as the great welfare state that can't help themselves. Is that really what Greeks want? I don't believe Greeks have no pride. Although, the Germans and French are very weak minded and have already said they'll never force a member out of the EU, so Greece could probably get away with it forever.
Yes, greeks generally hate their government as it is today much more than they do foreigners.
And don't hold your breath to see all greeks go into poverty. With such tourism, and with one of the best, if not the best shipping industry in the world, and with many parts of Greece being generally not so touched by the crisis, there will always be millions of greeks that will be well-off regardless the economy of the country.
PEOPLE

Finland

#20 Feb 10, 2012
IF LAND WHAT IS OPEN MONEY AND LYE OWN DEBTS GERMANY UP DO INVEST BUSINESS
GREESE DO INVEST GRIMINAL WHEN NOT ARE OWN DEBT PAY AND TRY HIDE DEBTS AND DO INVEST RATE BUSINESS GREESE.LIKE CORRUPTIONS DO PARTNER LAND WHAT ASK RATE.
JUST GERMANY HAVE EU COMISIIO CASE WHEAR ELSE EU LAND IS SEND OWN DEBTS AND GO GREESE DO BUSINESS.
FTG

Valby, Denmark

#21 Feb 10, 2012
Nut wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, greeks generally hate their government as it is today much more than they do foreigners.
And don't hold your breath to see all greeks go into poverty. With such tourism, and with one of the best, if not the best shipping industry in the world, and with many parts of Greece being generally not so touched by the crisis, there will always be millions of greeks that will be well-off regardless the economy of the country.
So why can you pay for your self?

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