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Reading the Greek Deal Correctly | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

To understand the issues actually at stake between Greece and Europe, you have to dig a little into the infamous "Memorandum of Understanding" signed by the previous Greek governments. A first point: not everything in that paper is unreasonable. Much merely reflects EU laws and regulations. Provisions relating to tax administration, tax evasion, corruption, and modernization of public administration are, broadly, good policy and supported by SYRIZA. So it was not difficult for the new Greek government to state adherence to "seventy percent" of the memorandum.

The remaining "thirty percent" fell mainly into three areas: fiscal targets, fire-sale privatizations and labor-law changes. The fiscal target of a 4.5 percent "primary surplus" was a dog as everyone would admit in private. The new government does not oppose privatizations per se; it opposes those that set up price-gouging private monopolies and it opposes fire sales that fail to bring in much money. Labor law reform is a more basic disagreement - but the position of the Greek government is in line with ILO standards, and that of the "programme" was not. These matters will now be discussed. The fiscal target is now history, and the Greeks agreed to refrain from "unilateral" measures only for the four-month period during which they will be seeking agreement.

Cassidy acknowledges some of this, but then minimizes it, with the comment that the deal "seems to rule out any large-scale embrace of Keynesian stimulus policies." In what document does any such promise exist? There is no money in Greece; the government is bankrupt. Large-scale Keynesian policies were never on the table as they would necessarily imply exit - an expansionary policy in a new currency, with all the usual dangers. Inside the Euro, investment funds have to come from better tax collection, or from the outside, including private investors and the European Investment Bank. Cassidy's comment seems to have been pulled from the air.

Tidy job deconstructing the MSM narrative.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2015 at 07:05:13 AM EST
It would have to be via a new complementary internal currency or equivalent that expansionary programs would be undertaken. The domestic electronic payment system will serve that purpose if it even just provides supplementary income to older workers, as would the re-purposed bit coin about which Varoufakis wrote.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 04:25:09 PM EST
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