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Everyone who lives and or works in New York City will be affected by these austerity cuts. Would we rather wait until things get as bad as they are in Greece before we react?
I have been closely following the popular movements in Europe on Facebook. They are not being adecuately covered by the media (what a surprise). I found an interesting article which gives the perspective of a Greek citizen. It is called, "Democracy vs Mythology: The Battle in Syntagma Square".
The writer does a good job of debunking the blame-the-victim misinformation that is being propagated through the media. Although most of the article uses facts and figures, it ends with some powerful annecdotal evidence.
" And the biggest myth of them all: Greeks are protesting because they want the bail-out but not the austerity that goes with it. This is a fundamental untruth. Greeks are protesting because they do not want the bail-out at all. They have already accepted cuts which would be unfathomable in the UK – think of what Cameron is doing and multiply it by ten. Benefits have not been paid in over six months. Basic salaries have been cut to 550 Euros (£440) a month.
My mother, who is nearly 70, who worked all her life for the Archaeology Department of the Ministry of Culture, who paid tax, national insurance and pension contributions for over 45 years, deducted at the source (as they are for the vast majority of decent hard-working people – it is the rich that can evade), has had her pension cut to less than £400 a month. She faces the same rampantly inflationary energy and food prices as the rest of Europe.
A good friend’s grandad, Panagiotis K., fought a war 70 years ago – on the same side as the rest of Western democracy. He returned and worked 50 years in a shipyard, paid his taxes, built his pension. At the age of 87 he has had to move back to his village so he can work his “pervoli” – a small arable garden – planting vegetables and keeping four chickens. So that he and his 83 year old wife might have something to eat.
A doctor talking on Al Jazeera yesterday explained how even GPs and nurses have become so desperate that they ask people for money under the table in order to treat them, in what are meant to be free state hospitals. Those who cannot afford to do this, go away to live with their ailment, or die from it. The Hippocratic oath violated out of despair, at the place of its inception.
So, the case is not that Greeks are fighting cuts. There is nothing left to cut. The IMF filleting knife has gotten to pure, white, arthritis-afflicted bone. The Greeks understand that a second bail-out is simply 'kicking the can down the road'. Greece’s primary budget deficit is, in fact, under 5bn Euros. The other 48bn Euros are servicing the debt, including that of the first bail-out, with one third being purely interest. The EU, ECB and IMF now wish to add another pile of debt on top of that, which will be used to satisfy interest payments for another year. And the Greeks have called their bluff. They have said 'Enough is enough. Keep your money.' "
The cuts that are being threatened are just the beginning. Every single dollar of debt that the US government has taken on is to be paid by we, the people; not they, the banks. You and I will pay every cent of it out of our salaries and pensions, and so will our children, and perhaps their children.