The Corner

Greek Government: Not As Austere As It Claimed

Last week, I mentioned a rumor that the Greek government didn’t actually cut spending and lay off public employees at the level that it had committed to in order to meet the bailout requirements. Now, it is official. According to Reuters:

Greece conceded on Thursday it had slipped “in some respects” in implementing the cuts and reforms demanded by lenders in exchange for saving Athens from bankruptcy, and tried to persuade them to cut the country some slack.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras made the admission after meeting senior officials from Greece’s “troika” of lenders from the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, whose inspectors have begun picking through the country’s books after weeks of political paralysis.

According to the report, in 2010 and 2011, rather than cutting spending as the Greek government had promised, it actually hired as many as 70,000 public employees. Now that they are exposed, the government officials are trying — it seems — to sell the deception as a good thing and as consistent with the European focus (driven by the French president) on growth. Growth, in theory, is supposed to materialize through government spending and the employment of bureaucrats.

I had mentioned my doubts about Greece’s actual commitment to cutting government spending after reading reports that the country’s “parliament kept full pay, full benefits, its fleet of BMWs, and a full staff. Greece maintained its sweetheart subsidies for businesses, banks, the army and those who choose not to work. Its sizeable delegations and facilities in Brussels, Vienna, Geneva and Washington are still large, as are the life-time pensions for politicians.”

The whole thing is here.

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Political Clans Choose Public Life

Announcing that she has filed for divorce from her husband, Donald Trump Jr., Vanessa Trump wrote: “We ask for your privacy at this time.” That isn’t quite what she meant — apparently, nobody in the Trump family ever will speak English as fluently as Melania — but the sentiment was predictable enough. ... Read More

Two Truth-Tellers, Brave as Hell

Yesterday, the Human Rights Foundation hosted an event they called “PutinCon” -- a conference devoted to the Russian “president,” Vladimir Putin: his rise and his deeds, both at home and abroad. Participating were both Russians and well-wishing foreigners. It was, above all, a day of truth-telling -- a ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Swamp: Navarro Nucor Edition

The Wall Street Journal has a story today about the ties between President Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, and the biggest steel company in the U.S. -- Nucor Corp. It is particularly interesting in light of the stiff steel tariffs successfully pushed by Navarro, which he championed ever since he joined the ... Read More


EMPIRICAL   As I can fathom neither endlessness nor the miracle work of deities, I hypothesize, assume, and guess.   The fact that I love you and you love me is all I can prove and proves me. — This poem appears in the April 2 print issue of National Review. Read More
Politics & Policy

Rolling Back Dodd-Frank

The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. The vote was 67–31, with 17 members of the Democratic caucus breaking party lines. If the legislation passes the House and is signed, it will be the largest change to the controversial financial-reform package since it became law in ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Samantha Power Regrets

‘I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life,” former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tells Politico. “Though none as immortalized as that one.” Wow. It’s a major concession. And what might “that one” be? Not standing idly by in the White House while Iranians protested a fixed election in 2009, then ... Read More