15 July 2015

Greece's Parliament Approves Austerity Measures 15JUL15

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THE Greek financial crisis isn't over, this agreement just pushes the nation closer to the abyss of total economic collapse. The blame goes to all parties involved. The Greek people consistently voted for governments that failed to crack down of tax evaders. The Greek government deceived their own people into believing they could have a socialist society without having to pay for it. And the lenders kept pouring their money into a nation that deceived itself into believing the good life would continue without having to accept responsibility for paying anything back. The lenders were blinded by their own greed, the profits they would make when the bills came due. Now the chickens have come home to roost. If Greece is to survive the pain will have to be shared by all. The rich and companies will have to pay taxes equal to those levied in the European nations to fund the kind of social welfare problems the Greeks want. Average Greeks will have to accept fair, humane cuts in pensions and social programs that will allow these programs to survive and provide for the least among them. The lenders should have to accept payment schedules that will allow Greece to heal financially, socially and nationally. Will this happen, is there enough leeway in this agreement with the European Union and enough courage among Greek politicians to save the nation? Or has Greece been thrown to the wolves, to devolve into the only Third World nation in the E.U?  God be with Greece and her people. From +NPR .....

Updated at 7:42 p.m. ET
Greece's Parliament approved the controversial austerity measures struck Monday with the country's creditors, but the vote created a rift within the ruling left-wing Syriza party.
"We don't believe in it, but we are forced to adopt it," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appealed to lawmakers before the vote.
The vote was 229-64, with six abstentions. Thirty-two of the "no" votes came from Syriza lawmakers; six of them voted present. Also voting "no" were members of the far-right Golden Dawn.
Tsipras needed the support of 121 government lawmakers. In the end, 124 backed the bill.
Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of the Greek daily Kathimerini's English edition, tweeted that this means "Tsipras keeps head above water."
The measure approved today raises taxes, cuts spending and overhauls the country's pensions system. The vote allows Greece to begin negotiations with its creditors on a third bailout.
Joanna Kakissis, who is reporting for NPR from Athens, tells our Newscast unit that Syriza was elected six months ago to end austerity. She says:
"[M]ore than half of the leftist party's central committee signed a statement slamming the deal signed by their leader, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis compared the deal to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, which crushed Weimar Germany and helped fuel World War II."
"These negotiations failed because the creditors refused the only issue that would put Greece on a viable path again," Varoufakis said, "the issue of debt relief."
He was among the prominent "no" voters.
Tsipras said though the deal signed Monday was flawed, the alternative, an exit from the eurozone, was worse.
Debt relief for Greece was the focus of a study released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund, one of Greece's creditors, which called the country's debt burden "highly unsustainable." The fund said it would not support the new bailout unless the agreement reduced the country's debt burden.
That position puts the Washington-based IMF in conflict with Greece's other creditors — the eurozone and the European Central Bank. The New York Times notes:
"The deal announced Monday morning stated that the creditors would not forgive any Greek debt and offered only a general assurance of further discussions about reducing annual debt payments by stretching out payment periods or reducing interest rates.
"The fund's decision to go public with its stance suggested that the draft agreement would be only the starting point for further negotiations about the sustainability of Greece's debt and the willingness of its lenders to recognize they might not get all their money back."
Greece owes its creditors about $330 billion, according to the Times, an amount that has been estimated to be 177 percent of the country's gross domestic product.