Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Sad Truth about Greece
Honestly, I still wonder why my country - and several others - shy away from doing away with Greece’s debts and allowing them a restart of their system. It must be obvious to everyone and their blind grandmother that anything else will simply fail. Of course, all the banks who have backed up the debts don’t want that - and we know how important the thoughts of the banks and ‘the economy’ are for our politicians. The cuts (right down to getting money out of your own bank account, if you happen to be a Greek) don’t hit those who are really responsible for it, after all. Who is responsible? The rich who don’t pay taxes. Those live everywhere, but in Greece, they’ve really lived out their dreams.
Look, none of us wants to pay taxes. Nobody wants to hand over some of their hard-earned money (the money someone earned the hard way for them at some point, anyway) to the government, instead of buying the tenth Ferrari.
But the government doesn’t take that money just to fill its own pockets. They pay for social security, public schools and hospitals, public transports, roads, the police force, the army, and oodles of other things. The government keeps the infrastructure of the country working and makes sure people can live in peace.
So, you’re a billionaire and say you have your riches, your private school and hospital, your car, and you also could afford to pay some security company for the protection of your family and your possessions. True, but your car is driving on roads kept in working condition by the government. The teachers in your private school, the nurses (and some doctors) in the private hospital, and the security personnel most likely went to public schools themselves, some of them will most likely also have been to public universities. And no matter how many security guards you pay for, if the whole economy breaks down and riots start, your possessions and family aren’t safe at all.
The problem with rich people don’t paying their taxes is similar to the problem with telling the banks to stuff it and accept defeat. Both are very cosy with politicians. They pay for political campaigns. They offer jobs after the political career or ‘consultant positions’ throughout it. And for that, they can be sure to be on the winning side of new laws and other political decisions. Thus, there’s no real pressure put on Greek billionaires who don’t pay taxes and have moved abroad.
What I would do? I’d tell them to either pay their taxes or be throw out of the country for good. If they ever come back afterwards - even if it’s just the plane touching down in Athens to fill the tank -, they’ll be arrested on the spot and kept in jail until the outstanding taxes have been paid. It’s probably not legal, but it would be effective. How many of those people would want to lose the country they consider their home? Perhaps lose all the property they still own back home (confiscated to get at least some of their debts paid off)? They’d be without citizenship (although they could probably ‘buy’ their way into another). They’d be outed for the criminals they are.
Would it be right on a moral level? I’d say yes. If they don’t pay for the state they’re part of, even though they can afford to (unlike the people at the other end of that scale who simply have no money to pay taxes from), they don’t deserve to be a part any longer. Community (and a state is nothing else) only works when everyone does something to keep it working. Once upon a time, everyone could put in a few hours of work or, perhaps, donate some of their harvest. But we’ve all grown specialized and so we need the government to organize all the community stuff and pay people to do it.
Most of the rich Greeks would probably pay their outstanding taxes and would continue to pay them later on. I think only a minority would really risk having all their connections with their home country severed.
What the EU is doing, on the other hand, is basically pushing Greece deeper and deeper into misery. Punishing the normal people for something they didn’t do and had no power to prevent. It’s not the rich ones who now ‘pay’ with unemployment and poverty, it’s the normal people and those who were poor to begin with.