Like love, nationalism can be blind, too.
The Greeks showed us a little nationalism with their "no" vote, as The Wall Street Journal wrote:
"The outside world sees Greece’s conflict with its creditors—the other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund—as an economics argument about debt, austerity and reforms.Back to my "love is blind" theory.
But to many Greeks, especially those outside cosmopolitan Athens, feelings of national humiliation and dependency are playing a bigger role."
The reality is that Greece has a "love is blind" relationship with the welfare state. It is an internal problem, no matter how often the local politicians blame it on the outside. In other words, it is not a German problem. After all, it was the Greeks who voted for the politicians who gave them these programs.
We've been reading about the Greek welfare state for a few years, such as this post that I found from 2011:
"Since 2010, the government has raised taxes and slashed pensions and state salaries across the board, in an effort to rein in the bloated public sector that today employs one in five Greeks. Last week, the government announced it would put 30,000 workers on reduced pay as a precursor to possible termination and would cut pensions again for nearly half a million public-sector retirees."I guess not much has changed – another glaring example of how countries get addicted to benefits that they can't afford. At some point, the money runs out, and difficult times must happen.
Greece, like other countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Italy, has gotten little out of the EU. Beyond the welfare state problem, the Greek crisis may offer countries an opportunity to check out of the EU.
For example, a friend in Spain told me this weeks ago. He is an exporter and was complaining that business to the U.S. has been hurt by the overvalued euro. As he said: "We could devalue the peseta before and help exporters." My guess is that you could hear the same thing in Portugal and Italy.
Reality will vote "yes" eventually. I just hope that Greeks – and, yes, Americans, too – will stop voting for charlatans who promise stuff that the country can't afford.
Greece is that ghost from the future that no one wants to think about!
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.
Greece and its impact on the European Union and US economy....... http://t.co/2mp8qHggec— Silvio Canto, Jr. (@SCantojr) July 6, 2015
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