Wednesday, 26 February 2014

An update of the Greek situation

1. The laws that our politicians are passing are forced by the IMF, ECB and EU. They claim, that without the passing of these laws we don't get any new loans from those three and we have to declare bankruptcy. They also claim that these laws are not good, but they have to vote for them, probably gaining some time and hoping for a miracle. In fact we are going deeper into recession and with less chances to emerge soon. But instead of saying NO , they still drag us into the abyss with no hope.
And by the way, most of these laws are against Our Constitution! And people of Greece never voted directly for the EU constitution.

2.The Prime Minister is looking for investors, but although the government has created a new slavery for the workers nobody seems willing to come! They have passed laws that do not recognize working  experience, diplomas and languages, while they are about to banish the marriage benefit and the children benefits are already halfway down the drain. (Children are not recognized as an additional expense for the family, so if you have kids you are taxed the same with someone who doesn't) They have outlawed  the collective workers salary agreements and force everybody to settle with their bosses, (you know the type :" if you don't like it you can leave")  while they have lowered the salary limit to 460 Euros/month and they have made the flexible hours a devastating reality! I was offered a 5 hour job for 370 Euros but it was cutting my day in half, practically not allowing me to do a second job. And most flexible jobs are like this. Also two of the days of the week there was an addition of 3 hours, but in the evening, so I had to leave for an hour and return again! The legal break is lost in there, without getting paid! So working all day for peanuts!  But the unemployment is still going up and it is almost certain that new jobs for 1,5 million people can not be created very easily or soon enough. Unemployment benefit is for one year only in Greece. After that you receive no money (it was 460 for me, with 2 kids).  The state could counter balance this with other things, like not paying fare to the city transportation, when you are looking for a job, or give away the free crops that are left to rot on the trees and fields, because it is too expensive for the farmers to collect and too cheap to sell. Or build new workers houses in order to drive down both prices and rent! Or enforce rent control, like 20 years ago!

3. The new taxes are creating a new reality. Since they are not willing to catch the grand tax evaders (they are their friends and sponsors,  or the "investors" I have mentioned earlier) they have to find the missing budget money from the same people, US! So  two new taxes for your home, retroactive from 2009! They do not take into consideration anything, be that you already pay a loan for this house, or you don't live in this house because it is not habitable. Paying your loan  has stopped being tax deductible! They are about to vote for new taxes on everything you own. If your grandfather left you a small room in your village or even a small plot of land that doesn't produce anything, they are going to add them up to the rest of your possessions (like the only house you have and live in) and tax you like you are a big land owner. They say that a family has the right to live in a house up to 120 sqm. If the man or woman has an extra  room or land from heritage,  they add it up and force them to pay dearly for the difference. It is outrageous. And the big problem is that most people just don't have the money to pay those taxes, and it is hard to sell houses and land these days even for 10% of its value! 

4. No jobs with fair conditions can be found. The companies that still function, just took advantage of the new laws to gain more money from the pay cuts. They didn't need to do it, but they did it anyway. It was a gift from the government to them. Of course this means less money in the market, less taxes to be collected and a vicious cycle all over again. I can not accept any job too far away from home, because the strikes are very often and I will either be unable to go to work or pay most of my salary to get there by taxi!

5.There is no sense and stability in the tax department. They change the laws and rules 3 times each year. No wonder new investors don't come or even consider coming. And the same goes for health, education and justice. We had so many changes after 1974 that nothing was given enough time to show results. I wonder why...

6. Greeks have a high level of educated young (<40) people. University degrees are quite common. Masters and PhDs are common enough for the people that have them to create trouble finding a job!   Most Greeks (<40)  speak at least one foreign language (English) in Lower level. A high percentage have studied abroad so his language skills are near proficiency. Many speak a second language (Spanish, French or German) and quite a few 3 or 4 languages. Our great income as a country is said to be TOURISM, but still no works at this field. Great hotels are built but  apart from hiring people from other countries (like Pakistan, Albania etc) because they are willing to work for much less, they also provide very low prices for full accommodation (usually not available to Greeks)  and people don't get out of the hotels-resorts! So actually all the money are concentrated to these big hotels. Nothing goes out to the microeconomy of the places. And taxes for profits of big corporations is strangely very low!

7. Greece is the only country in Europe that has boarders with Asia. People from all over the world that are willing to come to Europe illegally, just do it  by entering from Greece. Greece has vast boarders, given that there are hundreds of islands and only a river boarder with Turkey. Still EU considers that it is only Greece's problem (actually they have created a force called Frontex, but it is only a way to avoid the issue) and when an immigrant is caught anywhere in the EU, he is sent back to the point of entry (usually Greece) and Greece has to make all the steps for his deportation. I don't have any problem with all these people. They are looking for a better future away from their countries and families. This is already hard enough for them. And they don't even want to stay here in Greece. It has nothing to give them. And since Greece was never strong enough as a country to influence the world economy or a big colonial power that drained the people and resources of foreign lands, it is somehow weird that it has to stop all these people and carry the weight alone and  suffer the consequences on behalf of the countries that actually  made  the world as it is today.   

8. Every value in Greece is counted in money. No human value. No history value. No civil rights. No nothing. And since money as a value is not steady, they have managed to de-value every property in Greece. They said that they are going to find Gas and Oil, Gold and Uranium, but with the rates and manners they are forcing us to "solve" the problems and borrow their money, these are already sold and bought in future prices. And the desperate as you know has no demands...

9. The most serious problem of all, is that the philosophy of life of the common Greek has changed dramatically. His faith in God, his over-view of the world and his relation with the people and nature has been degraded significantly. I fear that focusing on money and the economy and not trying to find solutions that are not using money as the only  value, (and EU, IMF and ECB point only to this direction)  deepens the problem. There is no hope for the next 20 years. I consider myself part of a lost generation. And lost because either it will be kept down to its knees or make changes the hard way.