Why Greeks are spitting mad spending other peoples' money



The Greek people are spittin' mad spending other people's money, and if you had spent other people's money as long and as profligately as the Greeks did, you'd be plenty angry too! Consider if you get something for nothing for a long period of time. Oh, technically, the Greek people got loans, but these loans were refinanced, payment periods extended, and new loans came in to cover old indebtnesses; while not technically something for nothing, in a practical sense, Greeks did get something for nothing for many years. The division of labor was as follows: France and especially Germany earned money, and Greece and a few other countries spent it.

It was all working perfectly fine until the Europeans, especially the Germans, started imposing more and more conditions on the money. How does that work when you effectively give out something for nothing for years, and then start imposing conditions? And their conditions were ridiculous!

1) They demanded the Greek government not spent more than it took in through taxes. That's austere! Do you know any corporations or households that works like that? How could you expect government to?

2) They required the Greek government to loosen work requirements and regulations to make it easier to start businesses. But Greek businesses needed those requirements to protect themselves from unnecessary and excessive competition.

3) Lenders forced the Greek government to reduce the payments paid to pensioners. Some might say that previous and temporary political classes bought votes by promising pensions that were unsustainable and way above the norm for Eastern Europe. But even if Greek pensions are two or three times as much as pensions in the rest of Eastern Europe, do we really want to see a spectacle of retired government workers, who produced so much for the economy, denied what they think is their proper share of German taxpayer money?

4) Lenders also required the Greek government to make payments on their debts. That was too much. The Greek government never expected it would have to do that. No one reasonably thought that what it meant to take a loan.

This is why austerity is so unpopular in Greece. For five years the Europeans have been pressuring Greece to balance its budget and prioritize its payments. What government could exist like that?

In fact, I'm sure many Greeks believe the fault lies with the Europeans. It was the Europeans who lent this money to the Greeks. They should have known the Greeks could never repay it. It is the fault of the Europeans for agreeing to Greek requests for this money when they should have said no.

We have similar kinds of anger in America. "Predatory lenders" were said to be responsible for the housing crisis. They maliciously lended money to people who had no ability to repay their loans. The fault was not with the people who agreed to take the loans, who, after have no moral responsibility to only borrow what they can reasonably reply. Nor is the fault with the government for forcing the lenders to make the loans (through laws like the Community Reinvestment Act). By process of elimination, that leaves the fault with the people actually giving the money.

Whenever money is given out for free, or lent out and there is a default, the fault lies with the person or entity giving the money. That's because by giving something out for free or on easy terms creates an expectation that the recipient has no obligations. If you give a complete stranger $10 every day for a year, and then stop after a year, he will get very angry with you, even though you have no obligation to give any more.


That's why the Greeks are angry. Now that they have effectively rejected the Euro, they can go back to their own currency, the Drachma. All the


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