Troika’s Athens demand: More axe, and more tax


Evangelo Venizelos more Friar Tuck than Robin Hood

But Privatisation demands may produce stalemate today

I’ve been getting some irate emails from Greek Sloggers of late – especially those who earn a living suplying goods to the Athens Government. Their bitch is simple: while the new Coalition is very happy to suck up to the Troika, monies it owes to its own citizens can go hang. As one correspondent remarked last Thursday, “It’s easy to balance the books if you don’t pay any bills”.

The day before, the Troikanauts came to town with a very clear message: no more backsliding, or no more money. But it all depends on how you define ‘backsliding’. If a Vesuvius of debt just erupted and you’re on the side of the mountain, chances are you’ll backslide. In fact, the reality is, you’ll perish.

Prior to the meeting, the key Greek Party leaders –  Antonis Samaras, Fotis Kouvelis and Evangelos Venizelos – had pledged to stand firm on ‘no further cuts, and no further taxes’. At the meeting, the Coalition presented further spending, pension and salary cuts, with an update on the progress of tax collection following the recent elections. Together they totalled just under €13bn

The Slog can reveal that the tax situation is dire. It is 20% won’t pay, and 80% can’t pay. The savings are impressive, but the Athens regime is miles off target. (As any government faced with this mad Troika fantasy Herculean task would be). However, in the context of an economy at close to standstill, Coalition leaders put their case for no further attacks on the populace.

The Troika reply was a curt “More axe and more tax, or no further money”.

The Coalition response was immediate capitulation. All three leaders are now reportedly ready to to satisfy international lenders by lining up further austerity ideas when the two sides meet again today.

Greece is currently ‘surviving’ on a bailout of  €140bn in loans, but release of the last instalment (around €36 bn) is being withheld. Today will be a telling debate between Troika and Coalition: until the government makes more cuts and institutes major privatisations, no more money will arrive.

The Athens government will do anything to keep control of its State assets. So we might, at long last, be at an impasse.

Greek media reported that the government may end universal healthcare, and go ahead with a proposal to cap health care subsidies at €1,600 per annum. The idea is something of a sick farce, given that the Health Service is already not paying its pharmacy bills, and so ordinary Greeks are running out of essential medication. But I understand that, once again, the Coalition is turning a blind eye to the €65bn annual tax evasion practised by those in the elite of Greek business. There will also be no salary cuts for tax collectors, military personnel, and the Judiciary. Just fancy that.

What we have here – and the consistency is depressing – is a ruthlessly hypocritical Troika of face-saving maniacs raping a corrupt and illegally privileged governmental class. The outcome of this obscene sexual union cannot be anything other than taxpayers in the other 16 Eurozone countries subsidising and minimising the losses made by bondholders – while ordinary Greeks pay for the excesses of embezzlers and tax criminals in their own elite. Add to this the glaring reality of any kind of recovery being ruled out by austerity, and you can see why, for once, the Greek Left and the european bond markets agree: this charade of consensual scorched earth will blight Greece, and doom the eurozone.

“The Troika men came to Greece as doctors, and prescribed the medicine they said would save the Greek economy and people,” Yannis Panagopoulos, the head of the GSEE union, remarked bitterly. But from the start, most of us knew that the Troika consisted entirely of Harold Shipman* clones.

*For Greek, US and other foreign readers, Dr Harold Shipman was a British NHS physician eventually unmasked as one of the most prolific serial killers in recorded history, with over 250 murders being positively ascribed to him. Ironically, he had achieved the status of being a ‘preferred supplier’ to the UK’s State Health Service.

SEE ALSO: Geithner gambles on Greek default, sends envoy to embrace Greece after return to Drachma.

61 thoughts on “Troika’s Athens demand: More axe, and more tax

  1. The Troika are nothing more than extortionate ‘HEAVIES’ representing the banking cabal. They pronounce austerity and the sale of state assets at knockdown prices as the solution.
    Reminds me of the LOANSHARK at the door on a Friday night with his goons to enforce payment from a poverty stricken family.
    Greece should revert to the Drachma and default. There is no comfort in the Eurozone and their economy is imploding.
    It is not taxpayers duty to finance failed banks who made bad loans.


  2. “The Athens government will do anything to keep control of its State assets…” (?!?)
    Limited time offer! Choose your island, motorway, airport, marina, lottery and much more:
    The Fund’s Mission
    “The sole mission of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund’s (HRADF) is to maximize the value to the Hellenic Republic from the development and/or sale of assets.” HU!

    (btw, the server is in…..Germany!


  3. “The Slog can reveal that the tax situation is dire. It is 20% won’t pay, and 80% can’t pay.”
    This is the other way round…. we 80% say we wont pay…

    “Greece is currently ‘surviving’ on a bailout of €140bn in loans”…
    Should read The Elite is ……


  4. It no longer matters who started it, who finishes it… the demands of the Troika are unattainable… it is an offer we can’t possibly except. Greece is bankrupt, the economy is completely stalled, everyone has been running on fumes for over a year… none of these plans will work. Even a massive write down of bond debt will fail because the economy is shattered and not producing revenue… so smaller loan payments don’t mean shit if you still can’t make the payments. Revenue is stalled, trade is stalled, and the money has run out… at this point I just want them to not privatize our oil and gas reserves because that is the only future we have. Years from now, when this is all over… no one will care why or how it happened so… it doesn’t matter, game over.


  5. When you have foreign governments interfering in your elections and Greek politicians rigging the elections… the only thing you have left is to vote with your taxes… not that it matters, I can tell you now… no one I know in this country (even foreigners who live here) has any more money for any more taxes… we are staring a humanitarian disaster in the face over the winter… anything that regular folks have left is going in the mattress so we can survive the winter. As far as (the few) wealthy Greeks (left) not paying taxes… well they never did, so that is that.


  6. Good point… Once the drilling starts we will live the stereotype put out by Northern Europa and Western media that we are all lazy… well yes we will be as you will be paying us Euro’s/Pounds for our reserves and we will be be sailing the Med…


  7. Salford L

    the problems all begin when Greece defaults. The problem is that heavies like the Troika are standing in line, waiting for Greece’s next move. That includes the Americans.


  8. Ioannis

    all I can see is the desire of various “elements” (we will call them this for the sake of politeness) want your oil reserves. Whoever they are, they have no interest in Greece whatsoever. They will use any and every method to attain their ends. I simply do not know how much pressure the Troika is coming under from these elements, or if it is acting for its own sake. One way or another, one or other element will wind up with the mineral rights.

    One thing is for certain: your government is going to give them to someone. If your government can’t get the taxes in, how on earth can it expect to handle elements as powerful as those lined up in front of it?


  9. Ironic isn’t it? The 30 billion barrels they found are only in one area… that number will climb. Even at 30 billion that ties us for 11th largest reserves in the world (and they usually find more)… if you add the fact that it is right in Europes backyard and would not incur large transport costs… why the EU is turning their backs I don’t know… kind of poetic justice… they’re own propaganda ruins a good thing for them.


  10. I can only assume these politicians are being advised by game theorists or world-class poker players. Certainly not by economists, surely?


  11. Yes Greece is bankrupt – insolvent – and the economy is not ‘stalled’: it is in a severe contraction. I would not be surprised by the time the economy stabilises it will have lost between 30-40% of its capacity. That is a complete and utter disaster. And that disaster has been created by the Euro. And by the incompetence of your political class who have conned you all. Yet many of you still believe it.


  12. It will decimate northern europa… Drilling in Ice/snow is proving to be very difficult and this especially for scandanavian countries is a silver bullet to them. Finland/Sweden/Norway Gooooone. The German’s purchase of future contracts will become well lets face it a burden to their economy due to the cost as they materialise. Could this be one of the reasons why they are turing their backs? oh shucks freu merkel you could of bought it so much cheaper from Greece…. and not to mention have a hedge for your industrialists.

    Spain is now warming to Greece… mmm repsol got booted outta argentina so why are you back now? Wasnt it spain that some months ago put the knife in?

    Italy’s ventures (along with France’s) in libya are not proving fruitful. Why is Hollande then pressuring along with the monti freu merkel to save it. save it all? Desperation me thinks.

    Seems to me that the rest of Europe is like that other half that left ya for something better but that ended up being a lemon so they want ya back.

    Time to get on your knees Europa and dont forget to ……


  13. “… the incompetence of your political class who have conned you all. Yet many of you still believe it”

    Agreed… but I believe it is more of a world wide problem, than just Greece… US, Germany, Russia… or else the worlds markets wouldn’t be so shaky. The biggest con of all… is that most countries did the same kind of things, are responding in the same way, and getting the same results… the con, is global.


  14. JW,

    You state that the Greek wealthy owe 65 Billion Euros through tax evasion, am I right in assuming this is a total historical sum?

    How much underreporting of GDP is there in Greece currently on an annual basis?

    Greece (along with all other heavily indebted countries, such as UK, USA etc) should consolidate all there existing government debts into a 200 year zero bond with a coupon of, let us say 0.25%.

    As far fetched as the above suggestion is I think we are in fantasy financial accounting territory, and have been since early Thatcher and Reagan (eg Baclay’s currently claim of their £56 billion in ‘assets’ over £10 billion are tax credits, as though you could buy a loaf of bread with them plus that great fantasy, over £8 billion of ‘goodwill’!).

    Remember QE is now thought respected mainstream economic practice (soon we will be encouraged to believe it is ‘prudent’ as well)

    JW keep up the good fight on Greece.


  15. Excellent points James E!!! no wonder Finland has been especially antagonistic about our staying in the Euro… and no wonder Spain now finds some balls to care about it’s “partner” Greece… no wonder all of Northern Europe (led by Germany) engaged in a massive character assassination propaganda blitz from the very beginning…


  16. When I read all these comments it seems to me that something doesn’t add correctly, there’s a huge pile of money in Greece for someone, who’s gonna end up with it? It ain’t gonna be the Greek people that’s for sure. Don’t think it’s gonna be Europe either.
    There are dark forces at work here and the only aim is to get their grubby hands on the money.
    Shouldn’t these resources the Europe’s? Wouldn’t they be Europe’s under a Fiskal Compact/Shared debts?
    Why is Germany looking at this from this angle?
    This, I believe is America’s doing.


  17. Harold Shipman? probably a bit extreme…..the troika are just trying to implement someone elses policy…… its the wrong medecine though I agree…..
    They need to cut Greece loose and maybe others also… some point there has to be true currency union including complete equality of fiscal policy properly applied throughout. All of that should have been in place before the introduced the E….


  18. It was significant that Merkel/Hollande’s latest statement was to ‘do all they can to protect the stability of the Eurozone’ – note, not the integrity of the Eurozone, just its stability.
    Is that a flag that it’s stability will be protected by losing some of its integrity – i.e. the Grexit, then the Spexit ? The remaining area may be thus ‘stabilised’


  19. I know right… to us here in Greece it did not have the uplifting tone it seems to have had for the markets… LOL!


  20. Depends on what happens to the revenue from the oil, if your government is corrupt now how do think things are going to be when a shitload of cash is going to be around? Will the average Greek see any of it?


  21. ‘Only Mario Draghi’s ECB can avert global calamity before the year is out. Mario Draghi has promised the moon. The European Central Bank’s council had better deliver on his pledge this week. If it does not, the crisis will surely escalate out of control in August or soon after.’
    Finger poised over ‘Control P’
    To be or not to be, that is the question, whether it is nobler in the printing press….


  22. It’s about control of power and money. Normal people with a functioning brain call that politics.


  23. @Garry… what about the current scenario makes you think we have any control over the matter?… were broke… if Germany sees no use for the oil and decides not to take advantage of it… someone else will, whether or not they will be unscrupulous pirates that will rip us off and whether or not our den of thieves (re-elected with EU support) will be stealing as well are not questions.


  24. Pingback: TROIKA READS RIOT ACT TO GREEK COALITION | Machholz's Blog

  25. Having problems signing on again.

    Anyway – when a government has to take extended credit from its suppliers that is a very very bad sign. Governments tend to cash account but all they are doing is hiding liabilities and pushing government spending back onto others. A business may get away with 6 months but this has now been going on for years. No wonder the Greek economy is in near collapse. The Greek government has in effect run up more debt but chooses not to count it as long as it remains unpaid.

    More obfuscation and bllx from the Greek government but it is truly and totally insolvent. It needs new cash from somewhere and fast – maybe the sort with dry ink. This is not a story which will recede. And it would be interesting to hear from Italian and Spanish Sloggers to see if the same thing is happening there.


  26. Sebastian

    you are as bad as my Troll for making comments that are wholly unimaginative. It is truly incredible that an intelligent person such as yourself can utter such things.

    Power and money are what has corrupted politics. I thought you read the Slog to find out how it happened.


  27. I,

    It strikes me that the Greek citizens should adopt Norway’s system where I understand everyone’s income tax returns are published on line…..


  28. KFC

    “Mario Draghi has promised the moon.” – – – the American banks just went ahead and created enough credit-debt notes to cover any futures called on the Moon. What is it at present? Getting on for $800 trillion?


  29. Ioannis,
    I never believed Greece should have joined the Euro, and I said so (told some of your politicians to their faces) because I felt it would turn out badly. I could not see the logic of lashing together the economies of Nuremberg and Naxos. I still don’t see it. Now the chickens have come home to roost big time – credit booms always go ‘pop’ eventually and this is what has happened in the private sector and also with the State.

    A big part of the problem stems from poor policy in the early years of the century. The main culprit was the FED who kept monetary policy far too loose for far too long. The ECB and the Bank of England followed and allowed credit booms to develop to alarming size. It went ‘pop’. Add to this the incompetence of idiots like Gordon Brown and your politicians and you have a toxic mix. Certainly here in the UK it will take at the very least a generation to sort out the mess and it will more than likely take far longer than that.


  30. KFC

    That is the problem here. The Americans can pull one string with one hand, and another string with the other. The resulting chaos must be consoling.


  31. Pingback: Greece: the Washington v Berlin poker game returns…to Athens’ advantage. | A diary of deception and distortion

  32. In order for the USD and the Sterling to survive whats coming they need to destroy the Euro. Simple as that. So Greeks are awake to this fact and are changing tact.

    Some comments about taking wealth away from Greece, about politicians selling out are very true, however how many people here go for a high paying job and want it over the next person… he who lives in glass houses!!!

    This unfortunately is how we are…. and if it doesnt change well we all know whats coming.


  33. Pingback: Troika’s Athens demand: More axe, and more tax / Oι απαιτήσεις της Τρόικας στην Αθήνα : Περισσότερο τσεκούρι και περισσότεροι φόροι « eleutheriellada

  34. Add to this the glaring reality of any kind of recovery being ruled out by austerity

    this is exactly the kind of comment which makes me certain that john ward is a raving lefty – if the government has been overspending on inbred inefficiency, surely the spanish-practices must be excized so that the individual tax-payer has more leverage to invest in sound grassroots business? but obviously, if the word ‘austerity’ has been reconfigured to mean higher taxation (as promoted by david ‘the jackdaw’ cameron), i can appreciate that the economy would be adversely affected.


  35. @kfc; If our old friend Draghi resorts to Control-P, I think he should send a coupla grates of them over to us for guessing he’d do it a long time ago ;-)


  36. Pingback: John Ward – Greece : The Washington v Berlin Poker Game Returns … To Athens ‘ Advantage – 31 July 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  37. Creditors already took an 85% haircut. The remaining 15% is trivial; the damage is already done.


  38. Yeah … the term austerity is used as the solution to Greece’s financial problems and people assume this means massive cut backs in valid State spending. But it could simply be a euphemism for cutting back on the wasteful and corrupt spending that you allude to.


  39. I guess you don’t consider pensions for the elderly, school funding, university funding, special needs educational spending, services for the disabled, public health insurance, Hospital funding, cuts to police pensions, military cutbacks, and 100,000 jobs in the public sector… these are the proposals… sound valid to you? of course not, you silly sad nutsack of a fool, you hillbilly twat… last word.


  40. It was joke you weak witted nitwit, you blathering tazmanian devil of bullshit, you towering inferno of stupid, you raging wildfire of duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… you gotta stop trying to match wits with me… you’ll break your “brain”.
    Last word.


  41. @Ioannis: You’re babbling again. And you still have a reading and comprehension problem.

    I will just say that every one of the spending items you so carefully list to make your point against the wicked Troika could easily be subject to massive corruption (misallocation of funds, kick-backs, hands in the till, dead or uneligible pension claimants, all sorts of other wastage that one can only begin to guess at etc).

    That would be standard MO for Greek govts, and seemingly many Greek people. You’ve all been living way way above your means for years and now the chicken has come home to roost. *Perhaps* that is what austerity is a euphemism for. I do not know because I do not live in Greece and I’m not privy to the detailed information, but it has to be a serious possibility. ha-ha HAND :-)


  42. What lie? never mind, I realize that trying to prove I lied about the fact that I was joking would be more than one thought in your head simultaneously… dramatically increasing the chances of extinguishing that dim bulb of intellect that you hide deeeeeep in the cavernous resources of your thick skull… please explain… what lie? Your pathetic.


  43. “I do not know because I do not live in Greece and I’m not privy to the detailed information,”

    This is the only credible statement you’ve made. Additionally all the arguments you just made are fantasies of yours… or you would have bothered to validate them with this little thing we call facts… “could be subject to…”, “maybe this”, “possibly that”… what a joke. I can’t be insulted when you talk about Greece because as you say… you don’t live there, you don’t know the facts, and you have no idea what you are talking about… every time you respond you make a bigger fool of yourself… please continue.


  44. Pingback: Greece: the Washington v Berlin poker game returns…to Athens’ advantage / Ελλάδα: To πόκερ της Ουάσιγκτον κατά του Βερολίνου… προς όφελος της Αθήνας. « eleutheriellada

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