Here in Tinsel Town, Los Angeles, the headlines today are all about the Grammys and Whitney Houston’s tragic but sadly unsurprising early demise. Meanwhile, across the sea the Greek Parliment fiddles as Athens burns. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets to protest another round of newly approved austerity cuts to pensions, wages and living standards.
Dozens of banks and other buildings were set aflame across central Athens this morning after riots turned violent. The Greek Parliament voted to approve a package of harsh new austerity measures in exchange for a 130 billion euro bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The new measures include a 22% cut to the minimum wage and 150,000 government layoffs by 2015, among others. With unemployment already at 21 percent and the economy and political structure in tatters, Greece is already in a deep Depression. As the Australian economist Steve Keen says, “What cannot be paid back, won’t be.” I’m afraid to say, things will only get worse for Greece ahead, and their debts are not going to be repaid. This is the beginning of the end for the European Union as it stands.
The Los Angeles Times
Greek Parliament Approves New Spending Cuts Amid Protests
February 12, 2012
Greece Passes Crucial Baliout Vote As Country Burns
Roland Gribben and Louise Armitstead
February 13, 2012