As a proud Greek American seeing the situation that is going on in Greece today makes me sad. I think to myself, did it really have to get this bad for government reform to take place?
As most people who follow politics know, Greece was under a socialist rule for many years. It wasn’t until the Mid 90s when Greece entered the EU and the new conservative government came in, that things started to change…. but they didn’t change fast enough. At this moment in time, Greece can be the only one to blame for the economic catastrophe that is taking place there at this moment.
Here’s a question, how do you expect a government to sustain itself when:
1. No one really wants to “work”
2. No one really wants to pay taxes
3. But everyone wants the government to feed them
The answer is, it can’t. The unions in Greece have destroyed the economy to another degree. How is it possible that they were allowed so much power for so long. I remember numerous occasions throughout the years listening to the Greek news and showing one organized labor union literally shut down a whole city, because they weren’t happy that the government was trying to cut spending to help sustain itself.
I recall a time in the summer of 2004, I was in a taxi cab from Greece’s airport to our house in Athens and the driver began to tell me how he doesn’t like the Euro and the EU because they are putting too many regulations up and now Greece is turning into “America” where everyone just works all the time. I laughed at this comment, because I thought to myself, do you expect people not to work? How are they supposed to survive? But again, this shows the logic of some of the Greeks in Greece. Furthermore, credit has definitely been a contributing factor to Greece’s economic failure at this moment. Before the EU, there was no such thing as credit in Greece, I remember that everyone only used cash at all times no matter how big the purchase. Well, again, what happens when people are opening up credit lines left and right, yet don’t have the funds to pay them off? They go into debt. And that goes for America and Americans as well. We are partly to blame for the situation that we are in here in the US. Although I’d definitely say the Banks and our Government are definitely the main culprits in our demise as a country and leader.
But not to get side tract from Greece, let’s go back to another major issue. Youth unemployment is out of control there. It is unacceptable to think that students with college degrees cannot find work in the main Cities of Greece. The only fortunate part of the young Greeks is that they are able to work and live in other EU countries, but it’s still not fair to them, why can’t they live and work in their home space?
The bottom line is this, Greece needs to diversify its industries and they need to do this immediately. Explain to me why Greece after SO many years still has only to major industries; Government and Tourism? Well the answer is simple. Outside companies find Greece hard to work with because of the current labor and union laws. How can you expect a company to hire someone and after a year, they aren’t allowed to fire them without paying out unemployment the rest of their lives? What company would want to invest in a country like that? The answer is NO country would want to do this.
Now, many might not agree with my thinking, and I never say that you should. I simply write out my own thoughts and opinions in the effort to begin a great conversation and dialog. I never impose my views on anyone as they shouldn’t impose their views onto me. This is just a simple rant because I do love Greece and have so many family and friends there. I had at one point envisioned living the rest of my life in Greece, but at this point in time, that is just no an option. I hope that things change and Greece can become a prosperous country the way it once was.