Wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time
The country is in a perilous position. Why? Because its horrendous debt is unmanageable. Who created this mountain of a debt? Not the Church of Greece. The Politicians did. The politicians who have created the debt and everything that is wrong in this country, are the people charged with the task of coping with it, reducing the deficits which increase indebtedness and create the means with which Greece will scale down its debt load and still pay the interest due. Default on its debt is not an option so the country must, with the help of its EU partners and indeed those in the Eurozone, take all the necessary measures to reverse the tide. To add insult to injury the politicians are doing what, in their mind, is the right thing to do, which in fact is the wrong thing to do. The Government is a captive of its past and functions with what is in the interest of “its own”, the opposition is opposed to much, not all of the Government’s handling of the problem and both are out of touch with the mood of the country. What is clear is the inability of the Government to think “nationally” and do what is in the interest of the country.
It needs money, so instead of looking at where the money goes and begin cutting back unnecessary expenditures and indeed the irresponsible and wasteful practices of many Public entities, it taxes the old age pensioners and every group of citizens with no way to protest. At a time of a deep recession instead of cutting back expenses it imposes taxes upon taxes, takes money out of the Economy, because that is easy. To abolish unproductive expenditures is not. It is bound by its socialist principles and restrained by pressure from the syndicates and so it can not abolish the Railways organization, at least its insanely costly passenger services, given the tiny number of people using them, to thus save a few hundred millions. It can not abolish the Public Radio and TV network (what does it offer that the five private networks and the great number of local stations do not?) so it can not save more than three hundred million. It can not withdraw the financial support to Municipalities which fund money loosing businesses, even Radio and TV stations. It can not abolish Public Organizations who offer little, or nothing the country can not do without. It can not abolish the funding of the Political Parties, the Opposition does not mind that. It can not let go a quarter million redundant Public employees, no problem that a quarter million employees of the Private sector are already unemployed. If does decide to reduce employment in the Public sector this is not done the way it is done in the private sector, the privileged Public employees get a privileged severance pay. Two sets of standards. Social expenditures, if carefully scrutinized, can yield savings of about one Billion, but this is not an option for the politicians.
Sale of Public Assets is a must. Can the Government act rationally? No. It has the syndicates to reckon with and of course ignoring/opposing them is unthinkable.
To carry out a privatization program requires knowhow which the politicians do not have. To face the problem in its entirety requires skills absent in politicians, to solve it requires experience, which the politicians lack, speedy action, something foreign to politicians and determination which is contrary to their very nature.
Politicians are by and large professional. Politics is their business. Many of them are lawyers, when they are not engaged in political activity. They have no technocratic background, the very meaning of the word “technocrat” is not clear to all of them. These ignorant people attempt to solve the problem in the same irresponsible ways with which they created it. They are bound to fail because they ignore the cardinal fact that additional taxes at a time of deep recession devastate the economy and will not produce the revenue required. They may understand that they should begin by reducing Government expenditures, but they can not resist the pressures from the organized groups. Even their public assets sales are hampered by the syndicates to which they bow. In other words they act haphazardly, negligently, with political not rational considerations, the very ways with which the created the problem.
The Bureaucrats of the Government apparatus have drafted the bill for the creation of a separate entity which will conduct the sale of Public assets. Who can better manage the new entity, the entire privatization process? It never occurred to the politicians that technocrats can draft the appropriate bill realistically, to thus empower the effort which has now been planned by bureaucrats to be carried out in a bureaucratic way, the only way politicians know.
When the Prime Minister asked a prominent academic with a good background in the business sector to take a responsible Ministerial position from which to turn the ship around, he declined for the same reason the former vice-chairman of the European
Central bank, now a Harvard professor, refused the job. The politicians could not, or did not want to, understand that the task of turning the ship around requires the concerted effort of more than one ministry/agency and so whoever undertakes the responsibility must have authority over all those involved.
The country is in a precarious position and the politicians simply fail to realize it. They think that their Eurozone partners will keep pumping aid so why raffle feathers. Politics first. They do not take certain facts in to consideration, beginning with TIME. There is no time for “politics first”. The Eurozone Banks are fortifying their balance sheets. The stress test to be carried out soon purports to signal the red zones. When the Eurozone Banks will be ready to withstand a Greek default the Eurozone partners will abandon Greece to its fate.
Unfortunately for Greece the politicians are the wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time. Only a Government enriched with Technocrats who can deal with the situation quickly, effectively, with no consideration for politics can save the country and then return to their current activities, but the politicians live in a world of their own, not close to reality.