In the Telegraph we find a poignant item on the practical, street level effects of the austerity forced on Greece for its continued membership of the euro-zone:
Dmitris Andreou made the last sale out of his small estate agents business in June. His wife Mary, makes her living preparing high-school students for English exams.
But her living has dried up. Their savings are exhausted, their disposable income has dropped by about 50 per cent in two years, and they are angry.
“Some days we only buy the basics and a few days lately we were not able to buy even those. We have to count our cents to decide between buying bread, milk or butter,” says Mary.
“Some days are better, but some are difficult. We don’t buy clothes any more. People don’t go out. There is simply no money around out there.”
As argued in the article, effectively what austerity means is the destruction of the middle class in Greece.
If Greek public sector workers at all levels have been hit by pay and pension cuts, for the middle class – people like the Andreous, both of whom are self-employed – it is tax that is the problem.
Tax rises, a property downturn and the collapse of business income has halved their spending power, and that’s before the next round of austerity measures, due to be voted on in parliament on Tuesday, begin.
It is this sudden collapse of middle class lifestyles that makes the Greek situation so volatile.
As a result Greek politicians have started to worry about something called “anomie” – a pervasive listlessness, low-level social conflict and the erosion of bonds between the country’s citizens and the state.
The Andreous face four more years of austerity, their savings are gone, and the chances of a university education for their daughters Phaedra, 16, and Ira, 12, are evaporating. That’s just four people, innocent bystanders, victimized by the grand plans of politicians with no sense of morality, other then their will to power.
Because don’t delude yourself: This crisis is not some natural disaster randomly picking victims. This is a crisis brought on by a wholly inadequate scheme for a single currency used as a political tool to enforce European ‘union’. A scheme that overlooked well known fraud and lies of unscrupulous government socio-paths. A scheme that refuses to recognize the diversity of national idiosyncrasies. This is a crisis brought on by politicians, our politicians. They are responsible for the disaster washing over us. They should be held to account. But they should not, under any circumstance, be allowed to try to ‘rescue’ us. It’ll be the end if us.
For now it’s the Greeks (and the Irish and Portuguese) that have been hardest hit. But if the EUnion has its way the scenes described above will become very recognizable to all of us. That is, for all the loft promises of peace and prosperity of years past, the reward for membership of the EUnion: No hope and no money.
It’s time to be done with it.