John Colson: Hit and Run
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado
I’m glad I’m not Greek, and not just because of all the lame animal-husbandry jokes we all heard as kids in grammar school.
No, the reason I’m glad to not be Greek is because Greece has become the world’s whipping boy when it comes to draconian measures supposedly meant to solve the nation’s “debt crisis.”
I suppose I should note, before going any further, that all this “debt crisis” palaver is such a tangled web of corruption and lies masquerading as fiscal policy that is makes me a little dizzy.
No, wait … make that “fabulously dizzy.”
Thanks to the World Wide Web, there is a vast amount of information available about Greece and its problems, much more than I am either interested in or spatially capable of getting to here.
But a few salient points can be made.
First off, I notice with interest that many of the web-based articles and analyses of the Greek situation start off with, or finish with, the notion that the Greek government is a bunch of socialists. As we all know, socialists do not know anything about running a country like a business.
And much of the anger directed at Greece by the international financial community revolves around the accusation that Greece is ranked at 100th in the world in terms of the ease of doing business there. By that, the analysts mean, the ease by which rapacious international capitalists can move in and make a killing on the backs of the Greek people.
Considerable ink has been used to point out that the Greek people have recently enjoyed a fairly high standard of living, as compared to others in the “developed” league of nations. They earn pretty good wages with equally nice benefits packages, they get a month or two of paid time off each year by order of the government, and they seem, as a whole, to like it that way.
Clearly a nation of overpaid slacker socialists, slobbering at the public trough and giving nothing in return in terms of adding to the profitability of banks, multinational corporations and other respected institutions.
To top if all off, the socialist government had the audacity to accept the loans offered to them by those same banks and international monetary agencies, back when things were flush and money flowed like rivers of gold.
They clearly need to be slapped, and slapped hard. They must be brought to heel with the notion, tightly held by monied elite, that the only ones who should be raking it in right now are the, well, the monied elite, and perhaps the managerial class that watches over the wealth of that elite.
The rest of us should be happy to eat beans and rice (if we can afford it, at the prices charged that that same elite), live in hovels, tents or holes in the ground, and work ourselves to death to ensure that the elite enjoys the kind of life to which they’ve become accustomed.
I can’t argue with claims that the Greek government is among the most corrupt in the world, or that it has been living beyond its means for some time.
Our own government, here in the U.S. of A., can be tarred with that same brush, as far as I can tell.
As can just about any government in the world.
Which, in the end, means we all are Greeks in waiting, as we are ripped off by shifty bankers, stock peddlers and other shills who hold our future in their sweaty, grasping palms.
As I said at the outset, I’m glad I’m not Greek.
The trouble is, the intractable fiscal puzzle faced by Greece is distressingly similar to the situation facing the world at large.
So, what’s the solution?
Since 20 percent of Greeks are out of work, maybe they should go to law school or business college and become financiers.
And the 15 percent of Americans who are unemployed, underemployed or simply missing from the statistical tables altogether – what should we do?
Well, it might not be a bad idea for us to go back to school, too, and learn to speak Greek. Or Chinese. For all the good it will do us.
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