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What You Should Know / May 2, 2010

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www.timesonline.co.uk -- MAY DAY protests in Greece turned violent yesterday as youths in gas masks and hoods set fire to vehicles, smashed shop fronts and threw molotov cocktails and rocks at police in an explosion of fury over austerity measures they claim will hurt only the poor. Tourists were cut off from their hotels as thousands of communists, civil servants and private-sector workers converged on a main square in Athens to vent their rage at the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “No to the IMF’s junta,” they chanted as a youth in a black hood produced a hammer to try to smash windows of the luxury Grande Bretagne hotel. Another painted anti-capitalist slogans on the facade, and demonstrators intervened to prevent him from spraying an Australian woman with paint as she tried to get back into the hotel. Japanese tourists stood taking photographs of the mayhem with mobile phones before being forced to retreat, coughing and sneezing, under a cloud of tear gas.

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5 Comments

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  • 1. Bob  |  May 2nd, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Meh, no doubt financial criminals are partly to blame here but so are the Greeks themselves. They have a long and proud tradition of simply not paying their taxes. It’s socially acceptable to defraud the state in any way possible. Payment for everything is preferred in cash so that they can avoid declaring the income. Go to Corfu and most houses you see will have pillars sticking up from the roof, as though they were building another floor. They aren’t, but it allows them to avoid paying tax on the “unfinished” property.

    So now it turns out some creative accounting has been going on, and the state is massively in debt? Well duh. Given their *highly* generous public sector and state pensions, the only surprise is that they’ve been able to keep the façade going for this long.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8509244.stm

    On and here is a link by a new org run by convicted financial conman-turned-business journalist: http://www.businessinsider.com/greece-cant-collect-property-taxes-2010-4

  • 2. Plamen petkov  |  May 2nd, 2010 at 9:00 am

    wow, blame the Greeks for NOT paying their taxes,yeah, THAT’s the way!
    Personally, I have never seen a real in depth explanation as to WHY exactly things went bad in Greece but I have several suspicions.
    One is that the previous gov lied and cooked the books so they can qualify for both the EU and the Euro. Exactly what the current Bulgarian government is doing right now (I am currently in Bulgaria) because they desperately want the euro so they can get their salaries in euros.

    Yeah, blame the people for not wanting to pay their taxes when they don’t see much in return for them.

  • 3. Anarchy  |  May 2nd, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Fuck off, Bob!
    Death to capitalism!

  • 4. Bob  |  May 2nd, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Heh … okay, that BI link was just one of the top hits in google. It looked like a straightforward enough story so I didn’t dig into their background for the sake of a 2 minute post, mea culpa.

    All I’m saying is that if you have a relatively socialist government with a large public sector and generous welfare, but nobody pays into it, then of course it will collapse at some point. If they don’t want high taxes that’s fine, they should vote accordingly, but then they don’t get big government and its benefits. Instead they’ve been trying to have their cake and eat it which was never sustainable in the long term.

    I don’t see how this basic logic makes me an apologist for unchecked capitalism … or says anything at all about my politics. (For the record, I’m centre-left economically and a member of Liberty.) If you think anarchy is the answer, ask yourself if you’d like to live in Somalia.

  • 5. Pete  |  May 5th, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Hey Anarchy – what do you think funds this website so you could freely post your opinion? It sure wasn’t socialism—OTHER THAN THE NEW DEAL AND STUFF—, anarchism or communism… What about the super fast broadband you’ve probably got set up? Are you paying the full cost or is it a mass of users sharing the cost to make it economically viable?
    If you’re not seeing much in return for your taxes then vote.In most cases across Europe if as few as 2 in 100 people changed their(or bothered to)vote then changes could happen.
    I think some people think it’s easier to blame a government conspiracy then get off their @ss and giva damn. Tha’s my two cents (or 1 Euros) worth.


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