Plans for Destroying Greece Stall
by Stephen Lendman
Monied interests want Greece destroyed - trapped in endless debt peonage. Industry groups said nearly 60 Greek companies shut down daily since January 1 - costing over 600 jobs and 22 million euros in GDP every 24 hours.
EU officials complicit with the IMF and ECB (the so-called Troika) want Greek enterprises and assets handed to Western corporate predators at fire sale prices and its citizenry reduced to impoverished serfdom with no rights whatever.
It wants democracy entirely eliminated in its birthplace. It wants Western plunder turning Greece into a dystopian wasteland - a nightmarish ruler/serf society enforced by police state harshness.
It wants it serving as a model for what's intended for other European countries and America. So-called Western civilization was never civilized. It's on a devastating race to the bottom for ordinary people - beyond the worst of what Orwell envisioned.
Wednesday Brussels marathon talks continuing past midnight accomplished nothing. They resumed Thursday morning and remained stalemated. According to an unnamed Greek official, Troika officials "are saying if you don't agree, we are simply going go force you until you do."
After everything Athens agreed to at the expense of its citizenry, Troika bandits want more. An unnamed official said "(t)he level of frustration is so high. I don't see a deal. It's looking pretty grim right now."
EU finance ministers blame Greece for their own rapaciousness. They demand greater punishing austerity than already - while balking at higher corporate taxes to raise revenue.
Will SYRIZA Prime Minister Tsipras cave more than already? Given his betrayal of popular interests so far, things aren't encouraging.
On Monday, he presented an 11-page document outlining austerity measures far greater than any responsible government would permit. Not good enough, according to Troika officials.
Their revised proposal demands more - imposing greater cuts harming ordinary Greeks more than already. Tsipras responded saying:
"The repeated rejection of equivalent measures by certain institutions never occurred before, neither in (bailout countries) Ireland nor Portugal."
"This odd stance seems to indicate that either there is no interest in an agreement or that special interests are being backed" in pursuing an ongoing process to loot Greece entirely.
A five-page Troika "prior actions" list was leaked to the Financial Times
and perhaps other news sources. It covers Troika demands, including a timetable. Major pension plan changes are called for beyond huge damage already inflicted - reducing pensioners to increasing poverty.
The FT said they require an entire pension plan makeover to get bailout funding - a major red line Tsipras already crossed but not far enough for Troika bandits. Terms include:
- raising the effective retirement age to 67 by 2022, not 2025 as Tsipras proposed;
- early retirement at age 62 only for workers paying into the system for 40 years or more;
- so-called "solidarity grant" special payments to poor pensioners would be phased out by end of 2017; Tsipras wanted a later date;
- most new contributions and fees in his latest plan are eliminated - including a 3.9% employer pension plan increase, accounting for most of the savings in his proposal;
- most of his revenue-generating taxes were slashed - including a one-off 2015 12% levy on corporate profits over 500,000 euros;
- instead of raising corporate taxes from 26 - 29%, Troika officials want 28% max;
- they want more spending cuts - including ending subsidies for diesel oil farmers buy and surprisingly agreeing to greater defense cuts than Tsipras proposed - 400 million instead of 200 million euros; and
- no VAT discounts for Greek islands - a major red line for Tsipras' Independent Greeks party coalition partner risking its parliamentary support on any deal if reached.
Instead of renouncing unrepayable odious debt, defaulting and walking away, ending destructive austerity, abandoning euro straightjacket mandates, and regaining Greece’s lost sovereignty (including control over its own monetary and fiscal policies), Tsipras insists on paying bankers first at the expense of his own people he’s sworn to serve. It's hard seeing a good ending to this long-running nightmare.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.