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Hardtalk - Vassilis Xenakis, Greek Trade Union Leader

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b010pxqj/

In 2010, Greece was saved from economic collapse by an emergency injection of EU-IMF loans. Or was it? The Greek economy is still in intensive care, and many outsiders still think default is inevitable. In Athens, the Government talks of austerity and wholesale economic reform, but are the words credible? HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur speaks to Vassilis Xenakis, a key player in one of Greece's civil service union federations.

I watched this programme the other night on telly, I was completely astonished (but not surprised alas) at the denial, the head-in-the-sand and just damn scared at when the next domino (portugal, spain) hits the fan

.... WATCH AND WEEP! :blink:

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b010pxqj/

I watched this programme the other night on telly, I was completely astonished (but not surprised alas) at the denial, the head-in-the-sand and just damn scared at when the next domino (portugal, spain) hits the fan

.... WATCH AND WEEP! :blink:

These people are a curse upon Greece. Parasites the lot of them.

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I wouldn't lend this man any money at any interest rate!

Still, the UK isn't far off when it comes to public sector spending as a percent of GDP. We're at 53%, where are they at the moment?

Edited by no accountant

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ah, found it. Greece spends only 40% of GDP on the public sector. Much less than our 53%. Yes of course you have to balance the budget with tax, and we have docile population that normally pays it taxes (why?). But it's incredibly difficult to reduce public spending - it's the easiest thing in the world to increase it.

Look at the protests in the UK, and we're not actually technically reducing spending yet, at least not in cash terms. I'll think we'll be in the same situation as Greece in a couple of years.

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ah, found it. Greece spends only 40% of GDP on the public sector. Much less than our 53%. Yes of course you have to balance the budget with tax, and we have docile population that normally pays it taxes (why?). But it's incredibly difficult to reduce public spending - it's the easiest thing in the world to increase it.

Look at the protests in the UK, and we're not actually technically reducing spending yet, at least not in cash terms. I'll think we'll be in the same situation as Greece in a couple of years.

As far as I know, the Greek public sector is in decline. This problem all started back in the 1970s, when George Papandreou's dad was in charge. Rural populations were given public sector jobs on mass, bringing them to the cities. Nowadays it's very difficult to get a permanent public sector contract in Greece. Most of the younger folk are on short-term contracts, if they can get a post at all. As people die-off or retire the public sector is getting smaller. Of course, public sector reform needs to happen NOW, not be left to drift until everyone retires but that requires a politician with balls and brains - a rare commodity indeed.

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As far as I know, the Greek public sector is in decline. This problem all started back in the 1970s, when George Papandreou's dad was in charge. Rural populations were given public sector jobs on mass, bringing them to the cities. Nowadays it's very difficult to get a permanent public sector contract in Greece. Most of the younger folk are on short-term contracts, if they can get a post at all. As people die-off or retire the public sector is getting smaller. Of course, public sector reform needs to happen NOW, not be left to drift until everyone retires but that requires a politician with balls and brains - a rare commodity indeed.

Such a politician is in grave danger of losing both.

That's why we left it to Thatcher, only half as much skin in the game.

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The Greek Trade Unions are not, of course, living in the same world as its government - but its middle classes are not living in the same world as the rest of the EU. I strongly recommend a (long) article in Vanity Fair about the reality of the Greek economy. . The author is business journalist, but this is a long (and perhaps a tad too discursive) feature and covers a lot of ground in Athens and on the famous monastery peninsula of Mount Athos. Here's a sample to whet your appetite; he is talking to one of two tax collectors whom he meets.

The vast economy of self-employed workers—everyone from doctors to the guys who ran the kiosks that sold the International Herald Tribune—cheated (one big reason why Greece has the highest percentage of self-employed workers of any European country). “It’s become a cultural trait,” he said. “The Greek people never learned to pay their taxes. And they never did because no one is punished. No one has ever been punished. It’s a cavalier offense—like a gentleman not opening a door for a lady.”

The scale of Greek tax cheating was at least as incredible as its scope: an estimated two-thirds of Greek doctors reported incomes under 12,000 euros a year—which meant, because incomes below that amount weren’t taxable, that even plastic surgeons making millions a year paid no tax at all. The problem wasn’t the law—there was a law on the books that made it a jailable offense to cheat the government out of more than 150,000 euros—but its enforcement. “If the law was enforced,” the tax collector said, “every doctor in Greece would be in jail.” I laughed, and he gave me a stare. “I am completely serious.”

(Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds)

And that's before he gets to the monks - hint: never let one take your confession.

db

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.. Which would all be fine if public spending was in line with the slack tax enforcement - i.e. around 28% of GDP (the deficit is around 12% isn't it?)

How does a population who doesn't pay tax expect expensive public services?

(my personal view is that the correct amount to spend is 30% to 35% of GDP - high enough for decent public services, and low enouugh that hard-working successful people are happy enough to pay the tax)

edit- so actually if they can raise 7% more tax (from 28 to 30% of gdp) and reduce public spending by 25% (from 40% to 30% of GDP), problem solved.

Edited by no accountant

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The Greek Trade Unions are not, of course, living in the same world as its government - but its middle classes are not living in the same world as the rest of the EU. I strongly recommend a (long) article in Vanity Fair about the reality of the Greek economy. . The author is business journalist, but this is a long (and perhaps a tad too discursive) feature and covers a lot of ground in Athens and on the famous monastery peninsula of Mount Athos. Here's a sample to whet your appetite; he is talking to one of two tax collectors whom he meets.

(Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds)

And that's before he gets to the monks - hint: never let one take your confession.

db

Interesting. Thanks.

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You are right ...

Most people don't realize that Britain's 'austerity measures' simply reduce the budget deficit - it does not turn into a surplus. That means the excessive spending on todays boomers increases debts for their children. If there is a heaven and hell they will go to hell. Mothers and fathers are literally stealing from their sons and daughters....... perhaps some here are starting to get the message. There is nothing more greedy and devious than a pensioner and there is nothing more naive than a youngster.

ah, found it. Greece spends only 40% of GDP on the public sector. Much less than our 53%. Yes of course you have to balance the budget with tax, and we have docile population that normally pays it taxes (why?). But it's incredibly difficult to reduce public spending - it's the easiest thing in the world to increase it.

Look at the protests in the UK, and we're not actually technically reducing spending yet, at least not in cash terms. I'll think we'll be in the same situation as Greece in a couple of years.

Edited by bpw

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.. Which would all be fine if public spending was in line with the slack tax enforcement - i.e. around 28% of GDP (the deficit is around 12% isn't it?)

How does a population who doesn't pay tax expect expensive public services?

(my personal view is that the correct amount to spend is 30% to 35% of GDP - high enough for decent public services, and low enouugh that hard-working successful people are happy enough to pay the tax)

edit- so actually if they can raise 7% more tax (from 28 to 30% of gdp) and reduce public spending by 25% (from 40% to 30% of GDP), problem solved.

The problems with Greek tax collecting in this:

1) The public sees politicians brazenly stealing and none are ever punished.

2) Many tax officals are corrupt and demand bribes for just doing their job when admistrating business set-ups etc.

3) The government actually assumes you fiddled your taxes, so even is you are honest you can be told that you have to pay extra or the auditors will be sent in and it will cost you a 5,000 euros bribe to ever get rid of them and get on with your work.

4) Big businesses often don't pay taxes or even their employees NI contributions.

5) Every now and then, there is a tax amnesty and you can pay off your obligations for a reduced rate.

Fabianism. The byzantine system makes 'honest' and 'simple' business administration a dream.

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The excessive spending on todays boomers increases debts for their children. If there is a heaven and hell they will go to hell. Mothers and fathers are literally stealing from their sons and daughters....... perhaps some here are starting to get the message. There is nothing more greedy and devious than a pensioner and there is nothing more naive than a youngster.

OK, let's start with this. I receive money from a pension, which makes me a pensioner. I am also a parent. I count as a "boomer" because of the year in which I was born. This means that all of what you are saying is aimed explicitly at me.

You say that I should be tortured for all etermity for what I have done to my children. You say that I am greedy and devious, that in the past I spent money which was not mine, and will in the future demand a life which will take up money that should be spent on the young . You imply that I knowingly manipulated my children, who were too naive to see how I was cheating them, robbing them and lying to them. You paint me as egotistical and ruthless in a fashion which you clearly feel surpasses that of previous generations and and which future generations will be unable to match.

You says that, "perhaps some here are starting to get the message," although I am not sure if you mean that some children are beginning to see how ruthlessly their parent have treated them and how much they (the parents) have embezzled from them. It follows that if my children do not hate me and despise me for what I have done, then they are suffering from what our Marxist friends used to call "false consciousness." If they understood their true situation, then they would urge me to stop clutching to myself the resources of space and money which they need now, hand it all over to them and then die quickly so that my old age is no financial burden to them..

How am I doing so far?

db

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How am I doing so far?

db

The death of a vaguely identifiable group which can easily be "labelled" is a traditional Pol-Pot remedy! ;):(:blink:

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You are right ...

Most people don't realize that Britain's 'austerity measures' simply reduce the budget deficit - it does not turn into a surplus. That means the excessive spending on todays boomers increases debts for their children. If there is a heaven and hell they will go to hell. Mothers and fathers are literally stealing from their sons and daughters....... perhaps some here are starting to get the message. There is nothing more greedy and devious than a pensioner and there is nothing more naive than a youngster.

I did not realise we had God on this forum dishing out eternal perdition to unrepentant sinners.

How is the universe going almighty one.

Don't you get bored knowing the result of every football match in eternity before the kick off.

I think Matt 7:1 covers the issue.

As mortals our judgement is only contigent with this world not the next. Otherwise you end up like all those Islamic fundamentalists who so hopelessly confuse God's will with their own egotistical wishes

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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Last night one of the major Greek tv channels showed a film that could have come right out of hpc HQ. This 'youth' show is more used to discussing who has the nicest butt rather than the meaning of life. The main presenter looked like he wanted to burst into tears and run for mummy after watching the film.

http://www.antenna.gr/tv/radioarvyla/

A bit 0-60 for Greece. Can't remember the name of the film but it is an American productions that dicusses the debt=money issue; the need for ever increasing debt and consumption to sustain the system, as well as peak oil. They were also showing links to the zeitgiest movement and insidejob.

It was very definitely a call for mass resistance.

Edited by izzy

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Last night one of the major Greek tv channels showed a film that could have come right out of hpc HQ. This 'youth' show is more used to discussing who has the nicest butt rather than the meaning of life. The main presenter looked like he wanted to burst into tears and run for mummy after watching the film.

http://www.antenna.gr/tv/radioarvyla/

A bit 0-60 for Greece. Can't remember the name of the film but it is an American productions that dicusses the debt=money issue; the need for ever increasing debt and consumption to sustain the system, as well as peak oil. They were also showing links to the zeitgiest movement and insidejob.

It was very definitely a call for mass resistance.

Cheers izzy, is that available to watch online there? I shall point it out to my other half.

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Cheers izzy, is that available to watch online there? I shall point it out to my other half.

Not sure. Go to the web link and see if they let you download.

Edited by izzy

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The death of a vaguely identifiable group which can easily be "labelled" is a traditional Pol-Pot remedy! ;):(:blink:

As mortals our judgement is only contigent with this world not the next. Otherwise you end up like all those Islamic fundamentalists who so hopelessly confuse God's will with their own egotistical wishes.

If you take bpw's post and change a few words, putting in "Christian" or "Muslim" then you end up with the sort of "hate speech" which will get you warned and then banned on many mainstream forums. Put in a racial descriptor and the post will get deleted as soon as the mods see it, so that no legal sanctions will follow.

Maybe bpw just enjoys being really unpleasant about other people who, if suitably addressed, cannot take any action against him. Perhaps this is just something seen in one of the more vigorous articles elsewhere and reproduced without thought. Perhaps this just needs translating as, "My Dad has just bought a big new car, and my old banger is falling apart and it's not fair."

Whatever the case, this sort of thing needs stamping on. It is a way of making sure that the anger of those who feel dispossessed is directed away from those in power and towards a convenient hate target. The Prime Minister is choosing immigrants, Ian Duncan Smith is busy pointing out to the Sun that what the bankers did was just a bit of a misjudgement with short-term inconvenience as the result whilst the real hardship in society comes from the financially ruinous and morally intolerable habit of giving money to people who can't work.

David Willets, OTOH has actually written a book inviting everyone to blame their parents and grandparents for the state of the economy and the state of society and to demand that they be stripped of money and social care. They are, after all, no longer of any use (unless in government) and could safely be dispensed with.

What I am trying to do is to confront the people who reproduce this sort of thing for the buzz that righteous anger gives them. Have they really thought through what they are saying? Do they really want the consequences of what they demand? Or are they simply convinced that those who (they believe) have should hand it over to the have-nots - but without the scenarios where the have-nots are those in the 3rd world living below the poverty level, with a life expectancy of 35, rather than those who can't get a mortgage in London.

db

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Don't you get bored knowing the result of every football match in eternity before the kick off.

This comment led me to an interesting thought - did God give Man free will because he found that a universe where he arranged the disposition of every molecule just too boring.

He will still know the outcome of every decision, but at least He hasn't had to arrange it.

BTW your reminder about Matt 7:1 is timely. Not just to bwp, but to ourselves as well. We do have to judge, but should remain temperate, which I was not. Mea culpa.

db

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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