11 Reasons Why Greece Really Went Broke in 2011

ATHENS – Unless you were rich, a business executive, a celebrity, or among the few privileged elite who run the country and for whom every year is a banner year of profiteering, 2011 was the worst year for most Greeks since the American-backed junta of repressive Right-Wing Colonels fell in 1974. The economic crisis rolled on, along with more pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and scores of thousands of layoffs in a bloated public sector that conspired with politicians for years for a sweetheart deal of lifetime employment in no-heavy lifting, no-show jobs, nice pay checks and early retirement until the day of reckoning came.

The country finished a fourth consecutive year of recession that brought some sad numbers to the country that invented math but couldn’t count when it counted: 17.5 percent unemployment, 500,000 people with no income;  500,000 who gave up and ran screaming to other countries looking for a better life (many of the country’s young and best and brightest among them stifled by a system in which lackeys and troglodytes with political connections get the best jobs and then do nothing);  the fastest increase in the rates of suicide and homelessness in Europe; a $460 billion debt that shows no signs of abating; a 10 percent deficit that is three times higher than the ceiling set by the Eurozone, the 17 countries that use the euro as a currency; and an as-yet unmeasured and incalculable number of people who have lost hope.

This doesn’t happen by accident. There are reasons why the most glorious country of ancient times has become the pariah of the world in the 21st Century. So how did Greece get from Pericles to Papandreou some 2,500 years after Greeks created democracy, arts, literature, science, math, medicine, philosophy and a system called democracy it has abandoned in favor of being a plutocratic oligarchy? Greece is being kept alive on $152 billion in bailout loans it can’t repay and needs a second bailout of $175 billion it can’t repay, hoping to write off 50-65 percent of the debt, ensuring there will be far fewer foreign investors taking a chance on a country which can’t pay its bills. Here then are Greek Reporter’s top 11 reasons why the sky kept falling, and why this time next you can repeat them because the people running Greece, and those who go along with them, never learn.

11. DENIAL, DENIAL, DENIAL – The Irish may have the best drinking songs, and the saddest, but nobody beats Greeks when it comes to denying there’s trouble on the road ahead, a bad moon rising, or hell at the doorstep. After years of cheating on its economic numbers to get into the Eurozone and stay there, successive incompetent Greek governments of the alternating PASOK Anti-Socialists and New Democracy conservative Uber-Capitalists who created the crisis and decided to make workers, the poor and pensioners pay for it, denied there was any problem. That despite abundant concrete evidence that showed the country was going down faster than a German submarine bought by Greece with bribe money. It reminded of Bugs Bunny’s line about someone who didn’t get it: “Ultra-maroon, what an embezzle.” It was all made easier by the loans from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank determined to keep throwing good money after bad and keep Greece afloat – not to save Greece, about which it doesn’t care, but to prevent the Greek Contagion from being down the rest of the Eurozone. The government missed every optimistic assessment it made and even the IMF admitted its own grim predictions were rosy because everyone hoped the problem would go away. It didn’t and it won’t because no one wants the truth.

10. LAWLESSNESS – We’re not talking bank robbery here, unless you count how Greek banks cripple customers with hidden clauses that make them pay for a loan they’ve already paid unless they ask for a letter of discharge, a favorite tactic of Eurobank, which deserves to go bust, but the little, petty everyday law breaking that leads from the proverbial broken window to murder. Greeks park on sidewalks, double park the wrong way, smoke where they want despite five smoking bans in 10 years, go through red lights at will, and simply ignore laws and are allowed to because, as they say when they shrug their shoulders and smile: “This is Greece.” Yes, it is, and that’s why this is Greece today: bereft, broke and still lawless because when there are laws and they aren’t enforced, that’s a textbook definition of lawlessness. Park on a sidewalk one day, get away with murder the next, it’s all the same here.

9. CORRUPTION – Transparency International annually ranks Greece among the most corrupt countries, not just in Europe, but in the world and there’s a good reason for it. Nearly everyone is on the take, from tax inspectors to politicians, doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, clerk, driving inspectors and anyone who has something to gain by making someone else pay for it. When nearly everyone’s corrupt, who’s going to turn them in? Nothing rots a soul faster than corruption, the sense of entitlement that you’re allowed to take bribes and get away with it. Former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was indicted by Parliament on charges of taking money for a submarine deal with a German company and cited by a German court for the same. He’s still waiting to go to court, scheduled for the 12th of Never and in the meantime is among former Members of Parliament suing his country to get a bigger pension.

8. PERCEPTION: Not Inception, the surreal movie, but almost as insane. The world thinks of Greeks as lazy, corrupt, inefficient, ouzo-chugging, cigarette chain smoking (the world’s highest rate) sun-loving beach layabouts, not unlike in the the movie Shirley Valentine, and while it’s generally not true (Greeks have the longest working hours in Europe but many, of course, sit at their desks the whole time) Greeks perpetuate it with their laissez-faire attitude toward everything and now believe it of themselves, which makes it so much easier to do nothing, get away with it, and feel okay about it. So as you sow, so also shall you reap, etc.  Even worse, you couldn’t hear the word “default” without having “Greece” before it and that became the reality, even if we’re still waiting for it to inevitably happen.

7. UNCOMPETIVE/UNPRODUCTIVE – Less than half of Greeks work, nearly 50 percent of those under 25 are unemployed, 25 percent of the estimated Gross Domestic Product is in the undeclared underground black economy, and the government spends 42 percent of its limited funds on social benefits, the Socialist state created by former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou 30 years ago that was dismantled by his son, former Prime Minister George Papandreou, who resigned on Nov. 11 after 18 months of social unrest and turned over the reins of a dead horse to a coalition government headed by former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos. Greeks are less productive than their peers, producing only $35 per hour worked compared to $55 in Central Europe. With a workforce of nearly 1 million in the public sector, including state-owned entities that were outside the books, there are too many alleged workers trying to prop up an economy in which even the country’s best products – olive oil, honey, saffron, lamb – aren’t marketed properly. Greek olive oil, the world’s best,  is sold to Italian companies, which re-brand it and things are so bad that Greece is importing olive oil – from Germany – which gets it from Greece and sells it back. Of 193 countries in the world, Greece ranks 101st in the Ease of Doing Business Index from the World Bank. Of course, it’s easier if you hand over a “fakelaki,” a little envelope stuffed with bribe money.

6.  RIOT CITY – Most of the images the world saw in 2011 were the riots in downtown Athens, particularly Syntagma Square, where protesters regularly massed to oppose austerity measures, and where for weeks thousands of so-called “Indignants” occupied the area across from the Parliament. When Papandreou called out the riot police, they swarmed into the crowd swinging batons, firing tear gas and chemical weapons and attacking anyone in their way, not just the cowardly anarchists who hide behind hoods and toss Molotov Cocktails, but legitimate protesters. This is the Greece people saw on their televisions and it created a huge public relations problem. Despite those horrific scenes, tourism went up inexplicably by 10 percent because not even the televised nightmare, nor shoddy service and cheap hotels could keep people away from a country whose beauty transcended the ugliness of its rulers.

5. DEAD ENTITIES – Remarkably, Greece does have some good companies – mining, pharmaceutical, health and beauty aids, construction supplies, agricultural products, and even state-run enterprises such as Hellenic Petroleum. But the government operates some dead entities, such as the multiple-bankrupt OSE railway system which is useless, runs near empty trains, pays workers five times the $18,000 annual salary of teachers and has almost no value on the open market. Still, the Troika believes Greece can raise as much as $70 billion by selling or leasing state-owned properties and privatizing state-owned entities, but so far has raised only $3 billion because buyers don’t think there’s any worth in them or are waiting for the prices to fall even further. Germany and China are already licking their chops at picking up some of those of value for rock-bottom prices, but in the meantime, most of the enterprises are big money-bleeders because they are packed with dead weight feather bedded political patronage jobs.

4. INJUSTICE – If people believe they are sacrificing for the common good, they are more likely to accept sacrifice, but all Greece does is sacrifice its best and most decent, creating outrage. Pensioners have to wait months for their first check and years for lump sums they earned – unless they work for companies such as Hellenic Petroleum, and then they get it fast and in full. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos imposed an avalanche of taxes on everyone except the rich and privileged, and will make the poor pay while the country’s vaunted shipping industry of Captains and Kings pay nothing  – zero, tipota – in taxes. No one goes to jail in Greece it seems except the poor and immigrants, further fostering the belief by most Greeks that the government protects its own while making workers, pensioners and the poor pick up the tab. That makes ethical people become unethical and undermines any sense of a nation’s people pulling together because they’re all pulling in different directions.

3. TAX EVADERS – And the biggest injustice, one infuriating enough to make the Dalai Lama want to punch someone, is that while people are paying through the nose – two income taxes, two property taxes, a Value Added Tax of 23 percent that has crippled restaurants, closed hotels, and a pending tax on bank deposits, tax evaders are costing the country more than $60 billion and as much as $13 billion a year more and have escaped with near impunity despite a recent public relations crackdown in which 50 were arrested but none prosecuted. Venizelos has in his pocket a list of 6,000 of them but won’t release it and it wasn’t until the country’s two top tax evasion prosecutors resigned after citing political interference in their work – and then were promptly reinstated – that there was any real momentum toward trying to take the albatross off the neck. None of it will work because tax evasion isn’t limited to the rich and celebrities and politicians, but everyone from fruit and vegetable sellers to mechanics and professionals. As a journalist hired by a British TV show which is designed to promote an image of Greeks as tax cheats put it: “If you pay taxes in Greece, you’re stupid.” Maybe that should be the country’s new slogan.

2. POLITICAL INFIGHTING – After Papandreou threw in the towel, some 75 percent of Greeks gave Papademos their approval, but he’s just like Obama keeping Bush policies and there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between what he’s doing and what Papandreou did on the orders of the Troika because international  lenders own the mortgage on Greece and the coalition administration that includes PASOK holdovers like Venizelos, New Democracy and the just-shy-of-cuckoo far Right-Wing LAOS party are its puppets and are busy fighting amongst themselves and trying to position themselves for the next  elections, now set back from February to April, in which –if they are held – a new government will take over that will look like all the previous governments and nothing will change. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Greece has no leaders anyone would want to follow into a dark alley. The Greek City States are still waging war but now they are political parties.

1. ZELEVOUNAI – Michael Lewis, the Vanity Fair magazine financial writer who came to Greece and was overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of corruption, inefficiency and just don’t-give-a-damn attitude, put it best when he said the bottom line problem is that, “Greeks just don’t trust Greeks” and jealousy and envy rule. The favorite game is Poneeros, in which everyone tries to be more clever than everyone else and isn’t happy until they both win and someone else loses. In this case, it’s the whole country.


  • Daniel

    Wow! If the truth is only half as terrifying, then Greece needs to go down in flames. There is no other way than to rise from the ashes. This is the self-destruction of what used to be the cradle for modern civilization. This hurts.

  • You forgot to mention political dynasties and the mafia-like unions.

  • Observer

    You forgot, conveniently, to mention anything about profiteering bankers (domestic and especially international), harsh “austerity” measures imposed by the IMF and our “friends” in the EU that are only serving to strangle the economy even more, military spending that continues without any cuts and with the blessings of the EU and the Germans and French (who put conditions for Greece to purchase more military hardware into the “bailout agreements.”)  Why do you ignore these realities and instead continue the new national pastime of self-loathing?  Greeks have to take a lot of the blame, yes, but so does the corrupt, imperalistic and greedy EU which turned a blind eye all these years while the going was good (and while they were benefiting from the spending in Greece) and the IMF.  And if Greece is to blame in the 11 ways in which you outlined, well, what should people in Spain (21% unemployment), Portugal (even lower wages and pensions than in Greece), Italy, Ireland (more migration than in Greece), etc. be saying about their governments?  Why is Greece always the bad boy, the misfit, the profligate and uncivilized one?  Doesn’t anyone in Greece realize that it’s not just the “riots” that hurt Greece’s image, but this immense self-loathing as well?  Oh, and by the way…things are NOT better in the United States or Australia or wherever young Greeks (far less than the 500,000 who you mentioned without citation) are migrating to in the mistaken belief that they will find the promised land.  Just ask the millions of people in these countries who have lost their homes, careers and livelihoods thanks to a corrupt and failing economic system that was woefully underregulated by these supposedly “just” and “uncorrupt” governments.  Perhaps the Greek Reporter should get over the national pastime of self-loathing any report the whole truth, not half the truth.

  • Anonymous

    Bottom line is, Greece will default and 50% haircut will simply not do it.
    When it does, people there will really feel what being broke really feels like. People will be unable to use their cars and essential services even those involved in public safety will be crippled.
    But they are still in denial and anger only the first two of the grief stages and a long way from acceptance.

  • Anonymous

    Imperialistic? Puhleeese everyone tries to force their way on the rest, only there are those who can and those who can’t. Alexander was the de-facto imperialist but is adored and called “great”. Same with some Byzantine emperors.
    Blaming Europe is also as silly as it is ineffective. It was Greece that cooked the books to make admission to the Euro possible. Greeks were celebrating it, as if it was their salvation.
    Of course the Germans and the French will use every chance they get to benefit. Don’t you think Greece would do the same if the roles were reversed? It’s ironic to call Europe corrupt when Greece’s corruption rivals some that of some undeveloped countries.
    Unless you’re a believer in *solidarity*. Well funny thing about solidarity is, that people only mention it when they are about to ask something, and never to give.

  • Observer

    So to sum up your “points”: opportunistic behavior is justifiable if you’re Germany or France, but not Greece.  The “might makes right” mentality is justifiable if you’re Germany or France, but not Greece, especially because Greece was a world power…3,000 years ago.  Corruption is excusable, if you’re Germany and France and can benefit from it.  You of course completely ignore any of the points about Spain, Portugal, Ireland, even the United States, because they are inconvenient for your so-called argument.  As for the corruption, remember that corruption isn’t something tangible that can be measured.  The rankings come from something called the “corruption perception index.”  The key word here is *perception*.  And Greece does indeed have a perception to be as corrupt as some undeveloped countries.  What never makes it into this perception index, however, are two facts: 1) the supposedly “uncorrupt” who benefit handsomly from such corruption and encourage it, and 2) the corruption that goes unperceived by the public because it’s not at the level of the fakelaki, but at much higher levels (with much bigger stakes and indeed much bigger impacts on the public, even if it’s, in essence, “invisible” to them).  And for this latter category of corruption, I can tell you that the supposedly clean, just, “civilized” countries of the “west” which the self-loathers in Greece love to admire in the same way the colonized seem to admire their masters, are just as corrupt as the worst banana republic you can think of.  But such realities are beyond the comprehension of people like you and all of the self-loathers.

  • Looks bad, but then again… Greece has survived one way or another for what? 3000 years?. Greece is what it is and if left alone will stay on and its people will do as always and as now, Helping each other, opening their doors to their neighborg and looking to a good life. The problem is to change the youngesters minds and make them happy without the EU toys and the cars, the I pods and all thta crap they got while playing rich. Be happy with what you got, feta and wine is sooooooo good, no need for McDonalds, Porshe and what else. That, that is the problem wanting too much too sonn and not happy with life itself. We live in Greece, have no car, no I pod, no fancy cable, no big plasma TV and guess what? we have a very happy family and hurt when we see our elders next door broke and in tears because their legitimate pension has been choped down to 8 euros this month…

  • Observer

    All very true but let’s not make this sound as if it was just the wayward Greeks who have been living beyond their means all these years.  The system of easy credit, unabashed materialism and overspending is in place all over the world and we are seeing the direct results of it in the United States, in Europe and elsewhere.  In fact, Greece was a bit late to the game if anything.  And yes, we would do well to stop “playing rich,” but so will the Americans and Germans and French and Australians and Canadians and everyone else who is living on borrowed, imaginary money.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I’m not sure resorting to personal attacks is somehow justifiable either. In fact people who favor them see their point being weakened and try to derail the discussion with cheap shots

    I never said anything was “justifiable”. It is what it is, and opportunism is universal, not just a trait the strong share. I find it comical that anyone would use the term “imperialist”, and somehow give an ethics lecture if their own house is not in order. It’s a double standard.
    Nobody forced Greece it’s people and politicians to borrow and spend the money to support the nanny state and the buying of votes by bloating the public sector.
    There has to be a point where the victim mentality has to end and acceptance of responsibility to begin.
    Spain, Portugal and Ireland have very different problems and they will bounce back. Italy has a real economy too! I hope Greece bounces back too, though the outlook is grim

  • Observer

    When you say something “is what it is” you’re implicitly justifying it.  Nothing “is what it is.”  People shouldn’t just stand idly by and accept things because they are what they are.
    You are also lumping the people of Greece and the politicians of Greece into the same category.  If the people of Greece lived beyond their means, they did nothing different from the people in the United States, Canada, the rest of Europe (because Greece is part of Europe and not some separate entity) and elsewhere have been doing for the past 20+ years: credit-fueled consumerism and a spending frenzy.  Spain, Portugal and Italy may have “different” problems but the impact on the people of these countries and ultimately on their economies is the same.  Unemployment is very high, salaries are low, prospects are grim, spending is down.  The minimum wage in Spain and Portugal is even lower than in Greece, and in Italy, there is no minimum wage.  Spending in Italy for the holidays was down an average of 38 Euros *per person* this year.  And despite whatever “real” economy Italy may have, its black economy is huge, just like Greece’s.  I realize the national pastime in Greece nowadays is to think up all the ways in which Greece is the worst country in the world, but facts are facts.

  • Anonymous

    Believe it or not raising the minimum wage hurts the poor more than it helps. Why? Cause businesses raise their prices to absorb the higher wages. No country can create wealth out of thin air. Wages in Greece do not represent the real productivity, they are way high. And don’t bother with some statistic that says Greeks work the most in the eu. Showing up for work does not qualify as productivity. Greece has virtually no viable exportable goods with some very few exceptions. If the anti-business laws don’t change investment won’t come and salaries will keep dropping.

    Sure other countries have had issues like consumerism and living on credit but vacation loans? Gimme a break! Biggest problem though is the lack of private sector growth. How will the government collect taxes to support all those programs.? Sure the US is on the wrong path especially with this socialist obama administration. But it is irrelevant to Greece. I know that misery loves company but Greece is waaaay down the tubes, thanks to all e socialist nonsense.

  • Observer

    Vacation loans are hardly exclusive to Greece.  And with the lower minimum wage now enacted in Greece and the lower salaries in place since 2010, have we seen a corresponding decrease in prices?  On the contrary, prices have gone up.  Greece also has plenty to export and exports have gone up in the past two years.  The fact that Greece’s export sector isn’t more robust is in large part due to old mentalities that unfortunately die hard, and yes, the defeatist attitude of many Greeks who don’t think highly enough about their own country and what it can produce.  As for working hours, the facts are facts and most Greeks I know in Greece work very hard and don’t simply just show up to work (and do so in many cases for a paltry salary).  I can say the same thing about lazy Americans (boy are there many), lazy French, lazy Italians, etc.  Unless you’re prepared to argue that somehow, the Greek DNA mutates when Greeks migrate overseas, because diaspora Greeks are regarded as very hard workers.

    By the way, in the United States, with its pro-business laws, real incomes are lower today than they were in 1997 and have been on a downward trend for at least three decades. 

  • Iasonas

    “Things are not better in the United States, Australia, etc, etc…”

    Take it from someone who has lived there and has family who left Greece after WWII and spent the remainder of their lives building a successful business, owning property and living our lives in a society not completely drowned in apathy and petty dishonesty. Things ARE better there. Take it from me, someone who has lived in Greece and in those other countries you shame. When you need something done, it is done, it is done correctly, efficiently and without an expected bribe in order to make it happen. Where our children go to school and the teachers and professors encourage learning, not sitting in and exercising your right to demonstrate against “the man” by choosing laziness and self entitlement over education and responsibility. Things are better in a place where the reward of a successful career comes from a demonstrated ability to do well and serve, not merely because your uncle appointed you to that public job and the only way you will ever be fired is if you kill someone.
    If you choose to want to live in a society based on the truths listed in the story above, then you are clearly victim to example number 11 in that very piece, “Deny, deny, deny.”
    Take it from someone who has lived in all three places and unless you have too, your words against other opportunities and in other countries are simply jingoistic, uneducated and blind nationalism.

  • Anonymous

    Well in that case Greece should have no problem pulling out of the crisis. I wish what you say is true.
    I do have a problem with this statement.
    “exports have gone up in the past couple of years”…. Well up from what?
    Decreasing the minimum wage does not decrease prices even in a healthy economy, much less in one that’s deflating. It is a one way street.
    Diaspora Greeks are not only hard workers, but great enterpreneurs and generally wealthy. I don’t believe it’s a DNA issue. It’s more of a nurture issue and unfortunately the leftist way of thinking of a nanny state has penetrated mainstream thinking in Greece. People expect to be taken care of, cradle to the grave. This is the defining issue! Diaspora Greeks KNOW their future is in their hands.
    The us has been anti-business ever since Obama took office. This guy is a disaster.
    The us economy has been in a severe recession caused largely by the real estate bubble that liberal policies of the Clinton administration created and Obama simply just took it for a nosedive. A lot of wealth has been destroyed by this Marxist president. Of course the poor are paying the price since businesses are sitting on $2 trillion capital that is not being invested.

  • Anonymous

    Good points and for those of us who have lived in and out of Greece, we simply know.
    Why is it that when I go to a bank in Greece I have to wait an hour in line then have to see three different people in order to make a deposit? And during all this the bank workers sipping their coffee and chatting over how to cook lamb while customers are waiting? Supervision? It doesn’t matter they cannot get fired but if things worked the way they were supposed to, they should be fired on the spot.

    I went to the consulate in NY for a power of atty and the guy behind the counter was illiterate! He did not know how to spell basic words in Greek, much less in English! Why does he have this job while others more qualified workers are unemployed?

  • Observer

    Fun fact: did you know that the members of the United States Congress, on average, have seen their stock portfolios INCREASE by 25% in the past three years (of economic crisis)?  Did you know that the laws that those very same members of Congress have written outlawing insider trading DO NOT APPLY TO THEM?  They can, in other words, trade on insider information with impugnity (and immunity).  How’s that for corruption?  Oh, but I thought that Americans, Brits, French, etc. and particularly their leaders have superior DNA that prevents them from doing anything dishonest or corrupt.

    Fun fact 2: A man who did not win the popular vote, and who did not legitimately win the electoral vote and who “won” as a result of electoral fraud that would make third-world African nations blush and with the collusion of the Supreme Court (which included members selected by his father when he was president a decade earlier), ended up becoming president.

    Fun fact 3: For such a clean and uncorrupt political system, the United States seems to have quite a remarkable number of political dynasties, just as in the supposed banana republic that is Greek.  The Bushes, the Clintons, the Kennedies, the Roosevelts earlier in the 20th century, and so on.  Members of Congress have their own dynasty going on as well, since no term limits apply to them and they have a 90%+ reelection rate despite the fact that approval ratings for Congress historically range between 10-25%.

    Fun fact 4: The mayor of the largest city in the United States, with a population of almost that of all of Greece, recently was “elected” to a third term in office after first forcing through a change in the city charter which set a two-term limit for the mayor and city council which had been first put into place by referendum.  Having billions of dollars certainly helps if you’re trying to accomplish this, however.

    There’s much more where that came from, but I’ll leave it here for now.  Cheers from the decidedly clean, democratic and uncorrupt United States.

  • Observer

    Most banks I’ve been to in Greece don’t work like that at all.  I was in Greece for this past summer and found that banks such as Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank were rather efficient.  The National Bank of Greece, however, still functions in a Soviet style…but it’s really quite simple, don’t do your business there!  That’s what I did four years ago when I closed my account there.

    In the meantime, here in efficient America, it took me over two hours just to start a simple checking account at a new bank the other day.

    As for the illiterate employee in the Greek consul, that’s no different then the plenty of unqualified, lazy, uneducated public servants here in the United States, or the people who get jobs thanks to patronage here too (yes, it does happen, just as the sons and daughters of politicians or of political lobbyists and daughters also get jobs that they are unqualified for while bright young people with college degrees are unemployed.)  Wake up.

  • Observer

    The fact that you think Obama (who has extended the Patriot Act, signed an indefinite detention bill into law and has bailed out banks that are too big to fail, among many other things) is Marxist makes everything you’ve said completely invalid, because your ignorance has finally fully shone through.  Obama is as much a Marxist as the current Greek prime minister is an elected representative of the Greek people.  I suggest you stop watching Fox News before you start trying to make informed comments about the world.

  • Anonymous

    The national bank of Greece yup that was it! Unfortunately I had to go there since this was an estate account I administered.
    If you’re saying that Greek banks provide better service than American banks, well good for you, my experience has been the exact opposite.
    I wonder why you choose to live here since you seem to think things are so much better in Greece, and so abysmal here…..unless of course you’re just trying to be argumentative.
    Comments like “wake up” are patronizing and foolish; they can only serve as a distraction. As if you’re the enlightened one somehow. I could easily scoop to that level but it is beneath me. Please refrain from personalizing this and stick to the topic, no matter how irrational your point look.

  • Anonymous

    Your comments are high on emotion and low on substance.
    Obama is a Marxist and Marxists tend to be self serving hypocrites. That is consistent with him following policies that are opposed to his ideology but help his re-election effort. He knows he poisoned the well with moveon.org and soros so now he’s trying to appear mainstream. In his heat hes a marxist. He often spouts off idiotic comments about wall st “fat cats” and “evening the playing field”. Not to mention that in the first year of his presidency, the most frequent visitor in the white house was no other than Andy Stern, the SEIU president and über-Marxist. Obama told him many times that the SEIU agenda is his agenda. He is on tape!
    And please stop the cheap shots again! I can easily tell you to stop reading the New York Slimes and listen to MSNBC…..stop being patronizing, you’re not as smart as you think.

  • Observer

    I’m not an Obama supporter (thankfully) by any means, but talking about Wall Street “fat cats” and “evening the playing field” makes one a Marxist nowadays?  You have a peculiar conception of what politics is.  Allow me to ask you by the way…do you like weekends?  The fact that your children, if you have any, aren’t working in a factory from age 8?  Certain laws are responsible to that, and the fact that those laws exist is directly because of the efforts of people and organization, including “Marxist” unions, to improve working conditions for everyone.  So I suppose it follows, using your logic, that not working on Saturday and Sunday is “Marxist.”  When you retire, will you be collecting your Social Security check (assuming it’s still in existence) or will you turn your back on such “socialist” “entitlements”?

    By the way, I don’t watch MSNBC ever nor do I read the Times.  You’ll have to try better than that to insult me.  Seems I’ve struck a nerve with you though.  And speaking of substance, you’re not even responding to any of the factual points I’ve made, but ignoring them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

    You’re a great representative of the Greek-American community, however, since the large majority is, in reality, very far right to a terrifying degree.

  • Observer

    See how I knew and you even admitted it?  Does that feel better now?  In the meantime, taling about irrational, you completely ignore my substantive points and instead choose to put words in my mouth.  I never said American banks have worse service than Greek banks, but I did say that there are some American banks with poor service, just as in Greece, and there are some banks in Greece who provide a very good level of customer service.  I, like you, make nuanced arguments and don’t color everything black or white.  If you can’t understand the nuance and get frustrated as a result, well, that’s not my problem.

    Same thing with telling me where I should live.  Where I choose to live and for what reasons (which may have nothing to do with economics) has nothing to do with you or with the argument.  Talk about patronizing.

  • Anonymous

    He’s a Marxist because he catered to the SEIU and moveon. They are Marxist!
    Why is it ok to insult me with ” stop watching Fox” and when the shoe is on the other foot you freak out? Double standard like any good leftist. The only nerve you struck is your own! I simply pointed it out. You’re trying unsuccessfully to provoke me.
    What points did you make that I did not answer? The idiot tried to close Gitmo but he saw that he was talking out of his rear and he could not do it! Civil trials for terrorists? Same thing! NYers did not want it even who are largely leftist elitists. Obamacare is why business is not hiring!

    Unions used to be good representative for workers’ rights. Now they are mobsters with corrupt governance and self serving agendas.

  • Observer

    It seems to me that anyone that disagrees with your far-right worldview is a “marxist”.  You don’t even know what Marxism is, but your comments are a disgrace to people who had to live through real, repressive Marxism regimes.  Your arguments make no sense and calling Obama, who has bowed to Republicans time and time again a Marxist is ludicrous.

    And NYers are not “leftist elitists” if you at least go by the results of their past five Mayoral races or the fact that a republican was recently governor there for three terms.  It’ll be nice if you had an original thought or two to share rather than parroting what Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and Lush Rimbaugh are telling you.

    As for Obamacare being why business isn’t hiring, you’ve also proven you know nothing about business.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that consumer spending is down, unemployment is up, and banks aren’t lending money.

    Union leadership may be corrupt and may be mobsters, but so are most politicians (from both major parties) and the same is applicable in Greece and in the EU.

    And if you support something unconstitutional like Gitmo, then I’m sorry, you’re beyond hope.

  • Anonymous

    What? I did not tell you where to live, it was in question form. Now you’ve lost it.
    Fortunately, unlike verbal debates, it’s all written down.
    Same thing with the banks. It was in question form.
    If English comprehension is a challenge to you, well as you said.., it’s not my problem.

  • Anonymous

    Look, Barry went with moveon and Soros and SEIU. He tried to push all that crap through. When he lost the house and his approval he bowed to the republicans because he had no choice.
    I think Glen. Beck is a complete idiot and for the most part Rush Limbaugh. Hannity I don’t really know much about. I think the first two do the conservatives a disservice and are mostly showmen. I like George Will’s views.
    Obamacare is certainly affecting hiring as it has made premiums skyrocket. I know first hand, I’m in the business. It is a nightmare for patients and providers but good for insurance companies.

  • Observer

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/03/news/swiss_bankers_charged/index.htm?hpt=hp_t2 – funny, I thought only Greeks were petty, corrupt and dishonest.  Not the honest, fair, and just Americans or Swiss.

  • Gnk1

    Greece is abasket case and nothing will change unfortunately..Very sad and very true.
    Lets face it Greeks in Greece are corrupt from our top politicians down to the last public servant who is the cleaner..and unless you bribe all of the above nothing will get down or happen..
    Illegal buildings are built on land that does not belong to them and onsold..And all the Greelk government does is legitimise these buildings as they have been paid off rather than demolished..Only in Greece of course…
    The country is a basket case and no one even cares or takes pride in anything they do..except sit in coffee shops while getting an Albanian to do there work for less than half the price and consider this as a smart move..
    What is worse is that alot of the wealthy have never paid any taxes or VAT yet charge it and collect but never remit it.And have moved the funds to London as is reported in all foreign media yet teh Greek government will do nothing..to chase these millions except cut a poor mans pension in half..
    All the Greek politicians are gutless and lack forsight to do anything…except call for elections so more Greek assets can be sold off at bargain prices so they can get teh kickbacks before the country goes down the gurglar..
    What a joke Greece is and percived by the world…A corrupt place to do business and who would have thought, from the country that invented demogracy??? Our forefathers would be ashamed..
     

  • I must say, I am rather bored of hearing ‘Greece is not productive’ Greece has the biggest shipping Industry in the world. Second is Japan, and third is China. 24% of products in North America are from Greece (I don’t see 24% of North American products in Europe) Greece has one of the biggest mining industries in Europe, and they are only a population of 14 million-max. Debt is not about ‘productivity’ (Japan has the biggest global debt, and you cannot say they are not productive!) the debt is about spending more than you make. This was Greece’s key error. 

  • Alex

    24% of products in North America come from Greece?  What are you smoking?

  • Yasmin

    Obviously the truth hurts.

  • Yasmin

    Why are you comparing Greece to the usa? As a British person here in Greece I am appalled at the way things work or rather not work. Instead of responding to the article with positive points (as I agree with 99% of what was written by Mr Dabilis), you have gone on the attack! Demonstrating exactly what Mr Dabilis has written. First of all do you really think the EU and IMF did not know that Greece was heading for trouble? They work figures well into the future and you will see what they had in mind, if Greece does not default!

  • Yasmin

    Well done Mr Dabilis you summed it up in eleven nutshells thank you!

  • Observer

    Yes, “Yasmin,” the truth does hurt.  That’s why you failed to respond directly to anything that I posted (including truthful facts from Greece *and* from other countries, which demonstrate that Greece should not be the scapegoat when there are equally high levels of filth and corruption elsewhere, believe it or not), instead preferring to come at me with an attack.  And if you think that I have proven what “Mr” Dabilis wrote or that I said that the EU and IMF did not know that Greece was heading for trouble, then I suggest you take some reading lessons.  In the meantime, watch out for your own country, which is slipping into recession and is experiencing a “brain drain” of its own…

  • Yasmin

     Well well I think it is you that needs reading lessons as I did not attack you? Mere questions to your points. Yes England does have its troubles but it is not so corrupt that the people in charge, could diminish the country’s budget to the point that it cant sustain itself! That is why you need to focus on the trouble at hand in Greece and not try to justify it by other countries failures.  Focus on the fact that as soon as the former PM tried to have a referendum he was promptly removed!! By-passing all  LEGAL democratic procedures!  If this is the power of the EU and IMF then they do not have the welfare of Greek people at heart. Not to mention it was a complete infringement on your rights and should be addressed!!! Focus on the fact that the IMF want to serve their  interests and care not for Greek people or their rights.  This will lead to oppression and social decay giving way to a two tier society. Meaning the gap between the rich and poor will widen.  Will this be ok for you because in the States a presidential candidate can manipulate the votes etc?

  • John-DE

    Well, I think this attitude clearly shows why your country is in problems. And the rest of the world has to pay for you. Pathetic 🙁

    It’s hard to admit that your own country is a mess, I understand that. But you need to face the facts first, because you can change the future.

  • Observer

    The rest of the world isn’t “paying” for anything.  You’re giving Greece large loans with a high interest rate.  That’s not “paying.”  And if you’re denying that any of the things I wrote about the other countries are true, then it is YOU that is denying that those countries are also a mess and it is YOU that are not facing the facts.  Pathetic 🙁

  • Physcobama

    NO BAILOUTS FULLSTOP> 🙂

  • Physcobama

    Australia is now in a Dictatorship-with a prime minister NO ONE VOTED FOR- This is the international banksters as everyone knows. Join the CITIZENS ELECTORAL COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA. & Learn the TRUTH. 

  • I am Greek

    Well, whats more do we need to bankrupt a country’s economy??? Corruptionocracy bankrupt Greece and people together. Nothing will be left standing soon. 

  • I am Greek

    Corruption like the one in Greece is just enough to bankrupt any country…

  • Paddy Hatch

    The Euro is better off without Greece. The EU is better off without Greece. They’ll drag the whole thing down–a real Greek tragedy! Why do we think this is the best way to support the Euro?

  • artemis entreri

    Lol and what news source do you watch or get your info from. Oh there are some crazies on fox no doubt, but I haven’t seen any news agency that didn’t have them.