It is now abundantly clear that pledges, hints, and pious wishes that pension cuts can be averted were all hollow rhetoric. A top finance ministry official conceded after the government’s talks with the troika of creditors that everything that has been agreed to and passed into law will not change.
We are thus headed toward fresh pension cuts, and the fairy tales peddled by various MPs and ministers were just cheap propaganda. They may call pension cuts the abolition of the personal difference [between older and newer pensioners], but such tricks will not change reality for pensioners.
Beyond pension cuts, the aforementioned government official lowered the bar for future growth for the second time in a few months. Of course, it was stressed that there is no concern about primary surplus targets. After all, how could there be? The huge primary surplus is not due to growth and the economy’s performance, but rather on ceaseless over-taxation.
That will continue after the “clean exit” from the bailout memorandum, as promises of tax cuts are postponed for the future, and plans are underway to hike the ENFIA real estate tax. Despite the pronouncement of the PM and his ministers, the day after the end of the bailout will be anything but rosy.
The much-touted independence in policy-making is just a ploy to attract disgruntled voters, a pipedream.
There will be heightened fiscal surveillance. Prospective debt relief will be linked to harsh rules, and there will be pension cuts, and over-taxation will continue.
With a comprehensive growth plan that is just a bunch of pious platitudes with no basis, the economy will continue its weak course, without the dynamic needed for a take-off.
The more vulnerable and poorer segments of society will continue to rely on paltry handouts, and the reconstruction of the country’s productive base is put off for the future.
Obviously, the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government has exhausted its own dynamic, as well as the economy and society.
Along with the clean exit from the bailout, we clearly need a clean political solution that can give the country new prospects.