This is happening in a European Union country – a place of unparalleled cultural richness, of beauty, of history. How has it come to this?
To me, Greece has been a case of very uneven wealth/income distribution even before the EU/Euro. My wife’s parents, retired tobacco farmers, had to get by with a pension of about 300 EUR (in Drachma equivalent at the time) while only half-an-hour’s drive away in the city of Kavala the living standard could not be differentiated from the living standard in a Central European country and the residential areas, particularly along the beaches near Kavala, surpassed much of what I could see in Austria at the time.
The EU and the Euro have only seemingly narrowed that gap because of all the debt-financed growth. With that growth gone, we are back to an even greater gap than before the EU/Euro (it seems to me).
I keep reading in the Greek media how much more income the government would have if only the upper class of Greece would pay their fair share of taxes. Some of these estimates even suggest that Greece would not have a budget deficit in that case.
So the question asked in this article is valid: how could, in a member country of the EU, there be a situation where the upper class takes such brutal advantage of the others? The issue, to me, is not Greece in toto. Greece has undoubtedly as many hard-working/clean-living people as any other EU-country; possibly even more. Mind you that those are generally people who cannot even cheat on income taxes because they are taxed at the source.
What Greece seems to have more of relative to other EU-countries is an upper class which has no qualms whatsoever to take the rest of the country on a ride. How that can still happen in an EU-country is indeed a very good question!