The usually reserved waitress at our favorite Greek-owned Sunday breakfast place approached us in dismay. Her daughter and son-in-law were escaping Greece for the US. Even middle class professionals were finding themselves digging in the garbage for food to eat, she said. You cannot imagine just how bad it is in Greece, she told us, with tears in her usually stoic eyes.
What has happened in Greece is as Ryan McMacken quotes Mark Thornton in a recent LRC blog, about what passes in popular parlance as “austerity”: “The…idea of raising taxes on individuals to pay off international banksters…[which] is bad economics and is not real austerity.”
As the always enlightening Daily Bell website pointed out earlier this year:
“In fact, the Greek Parliament is voting today on a new tax bill that broadens the tax base to raise another 2.5 billion euros, and also introduces new annual income thresholds for salaried taxpayers. It does away with tax breaks for the self-employed.
“Entrepreneurs have emerged as the latest ‘bandits’ in Greece’s ongoing efforts to bleed the wretched Greek carcass of its last available drop of revenue. Government benefits have been slashed, taxes raised and Greeks are being pursued with maniacal determination for taxes, paid or not.”
But, the Daily Bell notes, this austerity does not apply to the elites:
“Not long ago it emerged that the IMF had in its possession a list of top Greek pols and other officials who had illegal Swiss bank accounts. …The IMF handed over the list to the Greek government, which promptly sat on it.”
Squeezed to the point of total economic and psychological collapse, Greeks are responding with desperate measures to the domestic and international elites who have destroyed their country: they are getting restless and violent. There have been more than a dozen armed incidents in the past couple of weeks and matters look to get far worse.
Former Greek career diplomat Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos is quoted in the New Statesman this week warning about the chilling turn in Greece — and an even more chilling government response:
“’It is an escalation of activities,’ he worries, adding that he expects the ‘explosion’ to occur sooner rather than later. He predicts the spark will be when new, retroactive and sizeable tax bills come due in the coming months that people simply cannot pay. ‘There will be further increases in armed actions. There will be bloody demonstrations.’”
Greece is about to turn on its own people but to continue the transnational elite’s “austerity” measures the Greek government needs to use some of that elite’s muscle:
“Chrysanthopoulos says that the government has hired Blackwater, the American private military firm infamous for its activities in Iraq, which now goes by the name ‘Academi’, along with five other international for-profit security outfits. Explaining why this has happened, he says bluntly: ‘The Greek government does not trust the police whose salaries have also been cut.’
Coming soon to the US?
Follow me on Twitter @DanielLMcAdams1:46 pm on February 26, 2013 Email Daniel McAdams