Greek union workers have shuttered the country today, protesting austerity measures. According to the Wall Street Journal, the middle class workers say they have been bled dry. Go to the rich to make up the budget shortfall. At first blush, the cutbacks don’t look like much fun for anyone — a 19% hike in the value-added tax; higher fuel taxes, and even higher duties on luxury items. Pretty austere, right?
Hold the tea and sympathy. Did you know that Greek public sector workers get paid TWO extra months every year? The European Union has galloped onto the battlefield with true epic vigor to demand that the workers receive just one extra month’s worth of pay instead of two. H0-ho! You can’t take advantage of the EU and its shared currency.
The Greek government is “resisting” the EU request, the WSJ says.
Hold by your values, that’s what I say. That’s also why I need to report that the Greek government has been coming down hard on me to write a correction to my last post, an exclusive describing how the financial geniuses in Athens had planned on erasing a decade’s worth of debt by promising the Acropolis as collateral for complex derivative securities. “It is a colossal error,” the Greek government office declared.
You know, those Hellenes have lost all sense of proportion. So here’s my correction: The Greeks used things like airport fees and currency swaps to obscure — but not necessarily repay — the country’s debt so that the hard-pressed Greek middle class could continue to receive 14 months’ pay for 12 months’ work.
The deal to securitize the Acropolis, I assure you, is ongoing.
Image via Wikipedia