updated at 16:15 MST
"Riots" in the streets of Athens. Spoiled Greek workers who refuse to accept "austerity measures" and youth too lazy to work, are destroying that beautiful vacation destination they are lucky enough to live in, if you listen to the BBC or the Washington Post or any other of the corporate owned media outlets.
|Liu Rui illustrations|
So what's going on?
Neoliberalism is what's going on. The economic paradigm launched by Reagan and Thatcher, quickly adopted by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and eventually by the governments of all the global powers, including the US under Republican or Democratic leadership, is what's going on.
That scheme cooked up by the super wealthy who hold the reigns of power and who were seeing their profits decline in the post WWII years as Labor gained a more just share of the wealth its labor creates, the scheme passed off as an economic theory, designed to slash wages and benefits (austerity measures,) lower standards of living (austerity measures,), and slash government social programs (austerity measures) -- that's what's going on.
After reducing our wages and benefits as much as they could the political processes, the power elite, through their handmaidens the western Capitalist democracies, are now using sovereign debt -- what a nation owes -- and budget deficits created by lowering taxes on the wealthy, to bring workers and the few remaining unions to heel.
The recent series of bank bailouts are part of that plan. Governments have gone further into debt to hand money over to the big banks, and we are now required to pay back the resulting deficits in our respective national treasuries, with our taxes, of course, because the rich pay virtually no taxes any more. We have no say in the terms of these bailouts. The billions are simply handed over, with no conditions. The banks could be forced to ease credit to get the economy moving. They could be forced to halt foreclosures. Instead they sit on the money, use it to make more money by buying bonds from the government, for which we the people pay the interest. Foreclosures are sped up, are done illegally. No banker has been held accountable for anything.
Greece's debt problems are blamed on workers' salaries and pensions and both have been slashed several times, but like in the US, it was bank bailouts that caused Greece's deficits. It's all been part of a scheme of massive redistribution of wealth upward. Greece, which now spends 70 percent of its annual budget on debt repayment, with more debt to come, is overflowing with millionaires, almost none of whom pay taxes or have any intention of helping Greece get out of its current crisis. But that's how the wealthy have been acting all over. Greece is simply where the class warfare from the top down is being focused at the moment.
Earlier, it was Italy. Remember how Berlusconni was forced out and an IMF-installed technocrat took over? (Greece's new IMF-installed president is a banker). Before Italy it was Spain. Remember the mass protests? Before that, Ireland, and Iceland, and Portugal, and so on.
The screws were being tightened in the US, before the Occupy Movement reared its head. Recall how the president and congress were outdoing each other in how much they could slash from the budget, and Social Security and Medicare were in their gun sights. Occupy changed the national debate, and put a different cast on the presidential elections. Now, we're in re-election mode, for the time being, but you can count on the innate Neoliberalism of Barak Obama or whoever takes his place to reassert itself after the votes are counted.
Stephan Steinberg, writing in Global Research, goes into the particulars; how it's playing out now in Greece, and in an earlier piece written with Barry Grey, laying out in broader outlines how it's being done.
More on the subject here, including this late update.
Megan Greene, an economist at the investment advisory firm Roubini Global Economics specializing in Europe, told the BBC this morning that she expects Greece to eventually default on its debt, leave the Eurozone and reissue its currency, the drachma. Others have pointed out that this would allow Greece to devalue its currency, thereby increasing its exports, and pull itself out of its recessionary slide, which the austerity measures being imposed on it by the IMF and the Eurozone are only making worse. Greene thinks the ongoing round of "bailout: loans are intended to be temporary and that Greece will be "cut loose," i.e., allowed to leave the Eurozone and reissue its currency. That step is being postponed until Europe's banks can be propped up enough the withstand the shock to financial markets of Greece dropping the Euro, she said, and until after German Chancellor Angela Merkle stands in upcoming elections in Germany.