Reprinted from us4.campaign-archive1.com
Syriza promises that, if elected, it will cure Greece of leprosy.
Oddly, Syriza also promises that it will remain in the leper colony. That is, Syriza wants to rid Greece of the cruelty of austerity imposed by the European Central Bank but insists on staying in the euro zone.
The problem is, austerity run wild is merely a symptom of an illness. The underlying disease is the euro itself.
For the last five years, Greeks have been told that, if you cure your disease--that is, if you dump the euro--the sky will fall. I guess you haven't noticed, the sky has fallen already. With unemployment at 25%, with Greek doctors and teachers eating out of garbage cans, there is no further to fall.
Ask yourself, Was the Troika right?
There is a saying in America: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
There's a way back across the River Styx. But it's not by paddling on a euro.
There's Life after Euro
Many nations do quite well without the euro. Sweden, Denmark and India do just fine without the euro--and so does Turkey, which had the luck to be excluded from the euro-zone. As long as Turks stick to the lira, even Turkey's brain-damaged Islamo-fascist President Tayyip Erdoğan cannot destroy their economy.
Can Greece just dump the euro? They have happy precedents to follow. Argentina was once pegged to the US dollar much as Greece is tied to the euro today. In 2000, Argentines, hungry and angry, revolted. Argentina ultimately overthrew the dollar dictatorship, the IMF diktats and the threats of creditors, and defaulted on its dollar bonds. Free at last! In the decade since, the Argentine economy soared. Yes, today, Argentina is under attack by financial vultures, but that is only because the nation became so temptingly wealthy.
I was in Brazil when its President Luiz Ina'cio Lula da Silva told the IMF to go to hell--and rejected privatization of the state banks and the state oil company, rejected cutting pensions and thumbed his nose at the rest of the austerity nonsense. Instead, Lula created the bolsa familia, a massive pay-out to the nation's poor. The result: Brazil not only survived but thrived during the 2008-10 world financial crisis. Despite pressure, Brazil never ceded control of its currency. (It is a sad irony that Brazil is only now faltering. That's the fault entirely of Lula's successor, President Dilma Rousseff, who is beginning to dance the austerity samba.)
Austerity: Religion, Not Economics
The euro is simply the deutschmark with little stars on it. Greece cannot adopt Germany's currency without adopting Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, as its own.
And Schäuble has determined that Greece must be punished. As my homey Paul Krugman points out, there is no credible economic theory that says that austerity--that is, cutting government spending, cutting wages, cutting consumer demand--can in any way help a nation in recession, in deflation. That's why, in 2009, Obama ordered up stimulus, not a sleeping pill.