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Many people have noted that Occupy isn't just a local phenomenon.  Protests around the globe have been straining at their chains for years as larger sectors of the populace grow weary of being fiscally marginalized.  Here in the states they harken back to our own 1999 Seattle Riots.  

And then there's Greece.  She's been in the news with talking points abounding about growth and debt.  Protests, much like the ones here, but characterized as backlashes at governmental austerity jangle.  But those news services don't get to the broad perspective, and minute detail.  In other words, they are wholly unrepresentative of the truth.  

Here in Oklahoma, we call that a lie.

More after the squigglydoo...

Greece's struggles aren't new.  Her history in the last 50 years, particularly with regard to tax structure mirrors our own to some degree.  The administrations that replaced the military junta from 1974 to the present have been ill at ease when finally condescending to tax the wealthy.  

Even after the progressive reforms, taxation did not translate into actual government revenue.  The wealthiest individuals comprising the top quintile hid their income and assets to the extent of the noted news story of years past as the Greek government proposed to use GoogleEarth to snoop out those hiding swimming pools.  Even so, corruption had long replaced civic virtue in elected officials.

A 2010 economic report proposed that more than 30% of income went unreported.  This was down from the 2005 estimate of 49%.   The Tax Justice Network  released a report that estimated over €20 billion in Swiss bank accounts are held by Greeks.  Evangelos Venizelos, Greece's Minister of Finance reported, “Around 15,000 individuals and companies owe the taxman 37 billion euros”.  Indeed, according to Micheal Hudson, fewer than 15,000 Greeks declared incomes of over 100,000 Euros, Greece's top tax bracket.  

Special legislation abounds for the wealthiest "job-creators" as well.  The entire shipping industry corporate incomes are tax exempt.  Profits from shares traded on the Athens Stock Exchange as well are untaxed, as well as dividends from Greek companies.  Corporate taxes specifically are drastically low and getting lower every year until they are planned to bottom out at 20%.  Donations to religious institutions as well are deducted.

The evil corporate withholding tax you've heard so much about?  I'm just going to quote the Wiki verbatim here:

As of 1 Jan 2009, Greece imposes a withholding tax of 10% on corporate dividends, unless the dividend qualifies for application of the EC Parent-Subsidiary Directive or if a lower rate applies under an applicable double tax treaty. It also imposes a withholding tax on interest and royalties, however the tax rates may be reduced or eliminated by an applicable double tax treaty or if the payment qualifies for application of the EC Interest and Royalties Directive.

But here's where the story of Greece's tax structure should give you about 10,000 volts.  
The lowest VAT possible is 6.5% (previously 4.5%)for newspapers, periodicals and cultural event tickets, while a tax rate of 13% (from 9%) applies to certain service sector professions. Additionally, both employers and employees have to pay social contribution taxes, which apply at a rate of 16% for white collar jobs and 19.5% for blue collar jobs, and are used for social insurance.

It should be noted that employer contributions in addition to direct labor taxation are 28.06% and are also earmarked for various social insurances.  This makes a cumulative direct labor taxation rate of 47.56% plus VAT (kind of like sales tax, but more progressive) for blue-collar workers--those most likely to be hardest hit in terms of job growth, job security, and purchasing power.

Both of these areas are bothersome in that they make the distinction not along income levels but white-collar/blue-collar lines.  While it's true that blue-collar workers are more likely to be injured, they already suffer lower wages and lower eventual disability/retirement payments.  The traditional unskilled/skilled dichotomy is untrustworthy as a correlation and indicator of potential and value.  (/rant)

Aside from the rant, high taxation on labor, and this is indeed very high, serves to disrupt job growth in every instance it's raised it's ugly head.  Direct labor taxes are in part a necessary evil, but when seen to this extent one no longer wonders why so much service income in an economy that is comprised of 78% service industries goes unreported.

The above figures are untrue regarding the VAT.  Greece's VAT is progressive in that it classifies goods into consumption categories.  Below is a better explanation taken from the Greece Tax wiki:

The VAT tax in Greece is 4.5% to 23%. For all goods not belonging to any special category, the VAT is 23%. For Category 1 goods the VAT is 13%, and for Category 2 goods it is 4.5%. On some islands there is a VAT reduction for Category 1 goods to 13%.

But not even near the end of the story yet.  The largest company in Greece happens to be the National Bank of Greece.  In fact, five of the largest companies were banks who have profited from the recent debt debacle amid massive deregulation of the financial industry and strict banking secrecy.  But it was with the help of another financial services provider outside of Greece that shaped some of the current crisis.  In his article, Beat Balzli explains just how Goldman Sachs aided Greece's cash-strapped government in hiding large portions of their debt in an Enron-esque accounting grift.  Goldman Sachs was paid to the tune of $300 million to organize the barely legal debt shell game.

After 2000 Greece was left with crumbling infrastructure and a slowing economy.  They used more debt for public investments without attaching real taxation to the wealthy.  What resulted is what Greece now faces.

Everyone who mattered knew the score in 2001, and today.  It was in the interest of the financial sector to secure new loans for Greece with open ended structures.  Each time Greece borrowed, it added risk to their bond issues which translated into profits for the same American, European and yes, global banks that had leveraged them into debt.  As their debt was traded and downgraded the interest and fees accumulated.  Rather badly situated.  And hearts universal palpitated.  That's what you get from a banker.  Ought to tie the lot of them to an anchor.

Faced with no choices, the Greek government turned to their people and their public resources to guarantee the debt caused by the top quintile of their economy.  Proposed mass sales of cultural treasures and public assets resounded earlier this year.  Greece has since seen stagnant wages and very high unemployment.  And this to a people whose average net income was below $1,700 US per month, less than half of the median income of the poorest state in our nation and less than our own poverty measure!

While the living cost index and PPP index is indeed different for the US and Greece, the comparison is very instructive.

What does this mean for us in the US?  

The correlation is obvious.  Right now when we view Greece's woes and the European debt crisis in general we're looking at where we'll be in ten years.  If only we're so lucky that it actually takes ten years.  

Our national credit has already been downgraded, and the rail against income taxes is booming in the halls of our government.  The Cayman Island banks are no farther away than Switzerland's for Greece, or even Switzerland for us in the modern world.  If we're lucky enough to have any social insurances at all, they will be borne on the backs of labor, not wealth, not business.  The spur of debt will be the headlong rush into even more hours worked, even more 2nd or 3rd jobs, even more debt, and even more poverty.  And all the while fewer and fewer social services will be there, ready to lift us up again.

To borrow a favorite from President Obama, "We can't wait."  We have to take the bankers to the mats now.  We have to regulate our financial sector in a meaningful and strict manner now.  We have to reform our overall tax code upwards now.

Am I calling for more taxes?  Hell yes, I'm calling for more taxes.  More, better and fatter taxes now!  Single payer health care before it's finally too late!

Originally posted to Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 01:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  asdf (8+ / 0-)
    The Cayman Island banks are no farther away than Switzerland's for Greece

    True, but we have the second lowest tax evasion rate in the world.  We do have - and always have had - strikingly high levels of tax compliance.  

    re: the general thrust: unlike Greece, we control our own currency.  While they have to try internal devaulation (read: austerity), we can always engage in currency devaluation.  That's the crucial distinction between the two, and it makes all the difference.

    •  Both points are valid (6+ / 0-)

      and I admit this is anecdotal and does carry the problems associated.  

      The euro specifically has made it very difficult for Greece, but we can see trends that correlate between the two economies.  The Fed serves the same purpose as the Euro.  Whereas here we've instituted a policy through the Fed that could be characterized as currency devaluation already, and it could be argued the Euro is also seeking to devalue to increase competitiveness.  

      The IRS as well have a history of restructuring tax-payer debt to keep compliance high.  Nevertheless, our shadow economy comprises 8.6% of total liability and is estimated at $337.3 billion.  While we may have the lowest overall ratio of shadow economy to tax liability, we have the highest total unreported income... by a LOT.  Our closest rival is Brazil at $270 billion.

      While your points are valid, they cannot justify dismissal in light of the hard data.  

      What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

      by Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 07:30:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the dollar (0+ / 0-)

        is a reserve currency which benefits the US treasury (via the Feds) unlike the Euro which does not provide for Greece.

        cheers,

        Mitch Gore

        Want to end too big to fail banks? Then move your money and they will no longer be too big.

        by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:13:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. thank you for posting it. (4+ / 0-)

    I threw in the towel when the President and congressional dems extended the Bush tax cuts in 2010. Our gross debt to GDP ratio is climbing at an alarming rate. This was nothing short of complete capitulation by the democrats.

  •  Nice piece, but ultimately all comparisons of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judge Moonbox, pfiore8

    U.S. and other nations fail to have any meaningful relevance.

    Unlike most nations, we are one of the very few that have the capacity of self-reliance. IOW, we can literally sustain ourselves, and that is what gives us the ability to lead the world in any direction we choose. Unfortunately, we have chosen to lead the world off the cliff (or toward the iceberg. Pick your own analogy).

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 07:08:49 AM PST

    •  I don't agree (4+ / 0-)

      We certainly overproduce foodstuffs, but that doesn't suggest that we can sustain ourselves without trade.  We desperately need our hemispheric alliances whether or not that trade is unimpeded.  

      Our resource and geographic advantage is real, but is nonetheless dangerous to overstate.  

      What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

      by Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 10:22:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If there is a desperate need, it exists only (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AppleP, CentralMass

        because of the criminal mismanagement of this nation for generations. We have the resources, capital, and capability to produce and/or create everything that we need to sustain ourselves.

        I'm not necessarily advocating a resurgence of "Fortress America", but the real threat of such action would ensure much more favorable terms in negotiating with other powers to obtain that which we want from them. But our time is growing short, the moment these parasites have a comparable market, they will leave so fast their shadows will have to catch up. In fact, if you look around you will see that they already are.

        21st century India and China both, for example, were built exclusively on the backs of American workers through the money expropriated from them and given to "our" corporations to finance those nation's expansion and development. It was our jobs, our technology, and our treasure that made it possible for them to build their industries and it is our markets that buy what they produce.

        We are devolving at an alarming rate and it is only happening because after WWII those that rule here decided that the American riff-raff are much too troublesome, demanding, and strong. They saw the trouble brewing during the post-war labor shortages, increasing living standards, rise in union membership and activism, the numbers of servicemen taking advantage of their benefits, the rise in post-secondary education even as the cost of that education declined. In short, we were gaining access to areas previously reserved for them and they set about correcting that.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

        by Greyhound on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:12:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think (0+ / 0-)

          you're oversimplifying international relationships.  The hardest currency in friendships has always been hard currency, this true, but is not explicit in implication.  

          What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

          by Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:34:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  we must import 11 million barrels of oil daily (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marie

            we aren't very self-sustaining.  Without that out our economy would falter.

            80 % of success is JUST SHOWING UP! from the Former Republic of the United States of America; now under Corporate Occupation

            by Churchill on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 12:26:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But we do produce almost 6 mil barrels daily (0+ / 0-)

              and we use most of the total burning it up to move people and stuff around. We are certainly not self-sustaining now, but that is not because of a lack of capacity, rather it is inefficiencies built into the system to profit the very few at the expense of the many.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

              by Greyhound on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:07:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  You can't even talk about taxes (0+ / 0-)

    with a party in power that will not consider any increase in taxes whatsoever. The only thing we need to talk about is how to lessen the power of the GOP over the next several elections.

    •  That statement was complete bullshit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AppleP

      up until President Obama and a majority of congressional dems handedthe Gop the issue by extending the Bush tax cuts.

      •  Strategic mistake (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Churchill

        It is a strategic mistake to not allow the Bush tax cuts to expire.

        Sure, it would have meant that middle class taxes went up, but the discussion would have been Obama and Democrats trying to decrease middle class taxes and Republicans voting against it unless the 1% is appeased.

        Obama and the Democrats won that battle last month.  They would have won that battle as well.

        Which is good news for John McCain.

        by AppleP on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:44:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is a very small consolation. (0+ / 0-)
        •  It was a strategic mistake to (0+ / 0-)

          allow the first Bush tax cut to be passed in 2001.

          White House officials were becoming nervous. It was March, and Democrats were insisting that President Bush needed to compromise on his tax cut, change the package into a real economic stimulus plan and, above all, put some action behind his vow of bipartisanship. Bush's economic team had come to believe it was time to start cutting deals. "Steady," the president replied as he tried to calm his agitated staff. "It's not time to negotiate. We'll be negotiating with ourselves."
          ...
          But Bush was stubbornly sticking to his plan. "We'll be giving up something without getting anything for ourselves," he told aides.

          When Bush signs the largest tax cut in 20 years into law next week, his hold-the-line strategy will receive clear vindication. He campaigned for a 10-year, $1.3 trillion tax-cut package (later re-estimated as $1.6 trillion over 11 years). He got a $1.35 trillion package over 10 years.

          In 2010, the only Republican Senator that opposed those cuts enough to vote against them said,

          Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (I-R.I.) said on Tuesday that history has vindicated his opposition to the Bush tax cuts and that by the end of the year Congress should let those tax cuts expire both for the wealthy and all Americans.
          ...

          Remember, there were fifty Democratic Senators in 2001.  More than enough to block any POS out of the Bush/Cheney WH.  Too bad Daschle didn't know how to wield power.    

      •  Your comment is the "complete bullshit" (0+ / 0-)

        The extension was to get UI benefits extended, which was (and is vital) given the unemployment picture. Both Obama and the Dems pushed for letting the upper brackets expire (thus increasing the effective progressively of the tax rates).

        cheers,

        Mitch Gore

        Want to end too big to fail banks? Then move your money and they will no longer be too big.

        by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:16:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  well done (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, Chi

    nice analysis of Greece's problems.  

    Scientific Materialism debunked here

    by wilderness voice on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 08:01:23 AM PST

  •  Greece has lousy revenue policies; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry J

    they SPENT all their revenue; they then SPENT all the low-interest money they could borrow (even though their economy didn't justify it); they can't pay back the money they borrowed, and knew they wouldn't be able to when they borrowed it.

    But it's all the lenders fault. Got it.

    •  This diary didn't say that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins, Marie

      I have noticed whenever the subject of Greece comes up, certain commenters jump right on any suggestions that the lenders might have even partially responsible. The person buying the rotgut for the alcoholic are totally within their rights to purchase a legal product over the counter, and could even be teetotallers themselves, but they are still enablers.
      Well written diary. More of this please.

      "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

      by northsylvania on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:06:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        valion, northsylvania, Balto

        Both the lenders and the borrowers are at fault here: the lenders for making bad loans and the borrowers (Greece) for irresponsibly borrowing the money.

        Now the lenders are going to be out a lot of money, and the Greek economy is in horrible shape and will be for some time.

        This situation is a perfectly "acceptable" result (not good that it happened, but it is the expected result when lenders and borrowers make bad decisions).

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:24:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Depends. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Jones, Marie

          If you put it in a US perspective and say that George W. Bush borrowed all the Social Security funds to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (which he admitted to) and any hopes you might have had of benefiting from your lifetime contributions are pretty slim, you might get pissed. If you also observe that Bush borrowed enough beyond that to make the full faith and credit of the U.S. so unstable that all Obama could do was try to put out the worst of the financial conflagrations as they arose, you might feel really pissed, especially when you realise that the kids you educated at great expense might have to live the same lifestyle as your grandfather who was a roustabout with an eighth grade education.
          Now think about it from a Greek perspective: a few Greeks made out like bandits, including their politicians, who are the same class of grifters as ours. The rest of the working class schmoes duly paid their taxes and are wondering why they, not the assholes who profited and dodged their taxes, are paying the price. The bandits were enabled by G.S. who seem to be happy to help out some dodgy company in both countries.
          Yes, Greece was profligate, but the only difference between them and the U.S. is America's ability to print money to inflate their way out of debt, should they so desire. If you were around in the '70s, you will remember how pleasant that was.

          "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

          by northsylvania on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 02:27:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  While I agree openly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, Chi, Marie

      that some of their policies are lousy, I find your comment to misrepresent the situation in the same way that mass media usually does.  The recent Greek issues cannot be adequately explained in a sound bite.  Any attempt to do so skews understanding of the real situation.

      What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

      by Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:24:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  IIRC, some years ago in Aviation Week magazine, (3+ / 0-)

      it said Greece was buying more planes- F18's or Eurofighter, which would it be? Then later it said they'd bought both, about 75 of each type. It seemed to me that was crazy, economy-busting mil spending for a small country.

      Goldman Sachs is still bad.

    •  Meet Mr. Horst (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie

      his story might teach you a bit more.

      The race to lend

      •  One giant tip for the (0+ / 0-)

        link to Yanis Varoufakis' blog and Kastner's piece.  From my limited experience with international financial services guys, this rings all too true:

        Their colleagues responsible for domestic lending operations in each of their banks think of them “overpaid wine-tasters” because in their view, Horst, Jean-Pierre and Charlotte spend their time like diplomats who mingle amongst their own kind and who feel like being above the dirty day-to-day business of a normal bank.
  •  It seems like the Greek problem is not in tax (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc

    rates for the most part (except maybe lack of taxes on dividends and capital gains as it seems to be the case; corporate tax rate of 20% is about average). The problem is tax evasion and you describe it well. Increasing tax rates will not fix it.

    •  Nor will higher tax rates fix our problems (0+ / 0-)

      I found it rather amusing the diarist would use a country like Greece - on of the highest taxed nations on earth - especially labor - as an example of why we should raise taxes here in the U.S..

      The wealthy in this country could surely spare some higher amount of their revenue.  But, it is nowhere near enough to balance our books.

      And, if you tax labor, more jobs will move overseas.

      •  That's exactly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LillithMc

        the implication I make and why I chose this article to write.  I even state so several times in the article.  

        The fact is that the wealthy in this country evade taxes, corrupt our political system to avoid taxation, and purposefully manage their positions in our finance industry to profit off our loss.  

        Nevertheless, I do not at all agree that the wealthy of this country cannot pay their fair share of taxes.  In fact, Greece's woes point to the opposite hypothesis that wealth can afford it but simply doesn't want to.

        What we see in Greece are the eventual effects of the rot of corruption in our democracy.

        What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

        by Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:43:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You don't seem to be able to connect (0+ / 0-)

          cause and effect.

          You state in your diary that it is understandable why so many in Greece seek to avoid taxes - because they are so overtaxed!  Businesses eventually have to shut down rather than run at a loss.

          Yet you seem to think that is a model for the US?  Why would the US be any different?  Higher taxes on businesses will lead to lower revenues.  How can you not see that?

          •  That is unethical (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, Marie
            You state in your diary that it is understandable why so many in Greece seek to avoid taxes - because they are so overtaxed!  Businesses eventually have to shut down rather than run at a loss.

            In context of blue collar labor.  You just lied.  You deliberately misrepresented my statement.  YOU LIED.  And this is you being caught lying.  

            What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

            by Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:01:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

      From all the reading (albeit not an overly vast amount) I have about Greece debt problems, this was the central take-away I gleaned.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Want to end too big to fail banks? Then move your money and they will no longer be too big.

      by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:20:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We Won't Be Where Greece Is (0+ / 0-)

    We can print more money to pay off our debts.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:23:59 AM PST

    •  Lol (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      When our economy eventually implodes, people like you will be chanting "print more money!" as lenders stop sending us goods and services.

      The "something for nothing" economic theory of printing money has been a demonstrated failure everywhere.

      Our deficits will end. It is only a matter of how. When they do, printing more money will not help, because it will just increase interest rates.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:42:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Diarist Says That We Will Be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        Where Greece is in ten years. This is not possible, because we borrow money in our own currency. Green has to borrow money in Deutsche Marks -- or, as they are called today, Euros. It's a totally different situation.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:01:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again (0+ / 0-)

          I think you are wrong about this and it will (unfortunately) eventually be proven so.

          You can't print money because interest rates will always rise to compensate.

          Since we can print our own currency, the specific mechanisms under which the collapse will happen may be different (or not), but at the end of the day consuming more than you produce (like we do to the tune of 10% of GDP) will always end in disaster.

          Always.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:20:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We Are Certainly Headed for Worse Times (0+ / 0-)

            I am pointing out that we are not Greece.

            As far as what the right monetary policy is -- no, we cannot consume more than we produce. If it cannot be paid back, it will be taken out of the value of our currency. We can do this in a managed fashion, or keep letting crisis after crisis roll over us, like Greece is doing, with each wave intensifying.

            "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

            by bink on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:34:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Re (0+ / 0-)
              If it cannot be paid back, it will be taken out of the value of our currency. We can do this in a managed fashion, or keep letting crisis after crisis roll over us, like Greece is doing, with each wave intensifying.

              Which are we doing right now? I would argue that we are doing everything possible to take the Greece path. We need to be reducing our deficit slowly over time. As it is, we just continue to increase it. Seriously, do you see our deficit at say 5% of GDP in 2014?

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 01:21:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Except that the fact show otherwise (0+ / 0-)

            We have had two rounds of massive QE and yet interest rates are at an all time low. The facts simply do not support your rhetoric.

            cheers,

            Mitch Gore

            Want to end too big to fail banks? Then move your money and they will no longer be too big.

            by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:24:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Greek... (0+ / 0-)

              ...bonds were trading at 4% in November of 2009. Unsustainable situations can fall apart in a hurry (and will, eventually).

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:39:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'm afraid (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LillithMc, Chi, Marie

          it's not that simple.  The banking industry is global.  When we print more money or borrow money, it effects our market value just as it does everyone else's.  

          The falling dollar against the euro is the most ready example of this equation.

          What a man can be, he must be. -- Abraham Maslow

          by Mr Jones on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 12:49:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yet interest rates are at an all time low (0+ / 0-)

        Because the dollar is the world reserve currency.

        cheers,

        Mitch Gore

        Want to end too big to fail banks? Then move your money and they will no longer be too big.

        by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:23:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's only a reserve currency... (0+ / 0-)

          ...because we are perceived as stable, which includes not doing things like deliberately devaluing it. There have been other 'reserve currencies' in the past that ceased to be such.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:42:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not the only reason but yes (0+ / 0-)

            And is going to be for the foreseeable future. In fact because of the Euro instability of late, most of the world is buying dollars at record rates.

            cheers,

            Mitch Gore

            Want to end too big to fail banks? Then move your money and they will no longer be too big.

            by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 06:30:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Imagine being Greece (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    without some sort of national health care.

    Social services keep the rioters off the streets.  

    Which is good news for John McCain.

    by AppleP on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:33:22 AM PST

    •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      Except that Greece probably cannot maintain those social services under its present structural economic model without deficit spending. Those social services will only last as long as Greece is allowed to run a deficit.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 11:43:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is increasingly class warfare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LillithMc, Chi, Marie

    The rentier class has the upper-hand, and now they are looking to take it all.
      Of course, they can't have it all. Even if they got it all, the system would collapse.

     But at a certain point the people will have no choice but to fight back, and eventually they will. Unfortunately, it'll only be when they have nothing left to lose but their lives.

    "The rich are only defeated when running for their lives." - C.L.R. James

    by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 01:12:31 PM PST

    •  Sadly, the masses don't act (0+ / 0-)

      until "they have nothing left to lose but their lives."

      The rentier class isn't invested in an economic system that doesn't collapse.  Only one that doesn't collapse before they have accumulated enough wealth for themselves and their kin to live in luxury and remain among the elite forever.  A modern day version of royalty.  (Not that some wouldn't also like to inherit titles along with their wealth.)

  •  Hosting the Olympics pushed Greece over the edge (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Jones, AoT, allenjo, Marie

    "Here's an angle on the Greek financial crisis I hadn't considered: Victor Matheson, a member of the Sports Economist group blog, argues that one reason the Greeks wound up in such deep financial trouble is that they went deep in hock to pay for the Olympics:

    Greece's federal government had historically been a profligate spender, but in order to join the euro currency zone, the government was forced to adopt austerity measures that reduced deficits from just over 9% of GDP in 1994 to just 3.1% of GDP in 1999, the year before Greece joined the euro.

    But the Olympics broke the bank. Government deficits rose every year after 1999, peaking at 7.5% of GDP in 2004, the year of the Olympics, thanks in large part to the 9 billion euro price tag for the Games. For a relatively small country like Greece, the cost of hosting the Games equaled roughly 5% of the annual GDP of the country."

    Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/...

  •  It has been my understanding (0+ / 0-)

    that the rates of taxation in Greece isn't the problem so much as non-collection of taxes. Is this take on non-collection not accurate?

    cheers,

    Mitch Gore

    Want to end too big to fail banks? Then move your money and they will no longer be too big.

    by Lestatdelc on Sun Jan 01, 2012 at 04:11:07 PM PST

  •  Two-tiered systems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie

    The Greek blue-collar tax of almost 50% to pay for their social services was interesting combined with the Goldman-Sachs "Enron" accounting scheme to help the wealthy.  In my "broke" county in CA, the Supervisors have decimated  public obligations with budget cuts while using expensive bond financing that seems to be a crony relationship.  Next year we shall see if the 1% can keep their scams going given the level of financial collapse of the workers.  The rubber band is stretched too far.

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