You want to know what Greece would be like if it was not in the European Union… Do a search for Venezuela and you would have your answer. Once again Greece has completed their latest rounds of reforms and backed by the IMF are looking for yet another round of bailouts from members of the European Union. As Breitbart reports, “The vote in parliament, which was met by angry protests, satisfied the conditions of Greece’s bailout and opened the way for debt relief as well as fresh loans so that Athens can repay a debt of 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) in July.” Of course the people of Greece are still deluding themselves as they continue to demand additional debt relief from their creditors for making small cuts to government spending. The Greek people allowed themselves to get into this mess so why is it the responsibility of the other countries of the European Union to pay their debts, give them low interest loans or simply forgive the money they are owed.
Make no mistake there is only one party responsible for Greece’s debt, which stands about 180% of annual total output, the people of Greece are responsible. The bulk of this debt was accumulated by allowing the government to grow unchecked and without cause. As reported by The New York Times, “For generations, political power in Greece has been based in large part on providing public sector jobs in exchange for votes. To protect workers from being thrown out when a rival party came to power, virtually iron-clad job protections for government workers were enshrined in the Constitution. Though it was very rare for a government worker to be dismissed, this did not stop politicians from continuing to hire supporters — feeding a bloated, inefficient and expensive public sector that was accountable to no one.” They created an unsustainable beast where they traded political power and rewarded those who supported them by installing them in a government job from which it was impossible to fire them.
While the percentage of people employed by the government rose up to around 30% of the population, benefits, pensions and retirement packages kept increasing and placed additional burden on those in the private sector paying the bill. It should come as no surprise that as government salaries surpassed those in the private sector the government had to engage in massive spending to keep pace with what was being paid out to primarily government workers. If this round of bailout negotiations occurs like those in the past, further austerity measures will be required in order to secure additional aid. This will predictably result in further riots and protests from the people of Greece who are upset that they are finally being forced to act like adults. I do not have any sympathy for the people of Greece who brought this on themselves, but suggest that they look at the people of Venezuela before they complain too much as they learn this lesson.