The closer you look into the Greek economic fiasco, the more you'll see of a cautionary tale the rest of us need to absorb. The Troika - the IMF, the European Commission and the European Bank - weren't just demanding austerity. They demanded the punishing impacts be placed entirely on the shoulders of the Greek people, not the elite.
Purple Library Guy kindly sent me links to this, from Counterpunch:
The Troika’s demand was for austerity to be deepened solely by taxing labor and reducing pensions. Its policy makers had vetoed Syriza’s proposed taxes on the wealthy and steps to stop their tax avoidance. The IMF for its part vetoed cutbacks in Greek military spending (far above the 2% of GDP demanded by NATO), despite even the European Central Bank (ECB) and German Chancellor Merkel agreeing to this.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to expel Greece from Europe, despite no law permitting this to occur. Let us see now whether he still tries to carry out his bluff, which has been echoed by right-wing leaders throughout Europe.
His retaliatory actions from an ostensibly non-political, non-elected office are not alone. The eurozone class war in support of finance against labor and industry is now open and in earnest. Instead of doing what a central bank is supposed to do – provide liquidity (and paper currency) to banks, ECB head Mario “Whatever it takes” Draghi forced them to shut down even their ATM machines for lack of cash. Evidently this was intended to frighten Greek voters to think that this would be their country’s future if they voted No.
Paul Krugman hinted at the creditors' male fides in his New York Times column this morning.
...In the failed negotiations that led up to Sunday’s referendum, the central sticking point was Greece’s demand for permanent debt relief, to remove the cloud hanging over its economy. The troika — the institutions representing creditor interests — refused, even though we now know that one member of the troika, the International Monetary Fund, had concluded independently that Greece’s debt cannot be paid.
And then there's the bloated Greek defence budget, over 2% GDP, one of the highest in NATO. This, again, is a clear giveaway of what the Troika has really got in mind.
“We already proposed a 200 million euro cut in the defense budget,” Bournous said at an event hosted by the Center for Economic Policy and Research and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, referring to cuts in Syriza’s most recent proposal to its creditors. “We are willing to make it even bigger -- it is a pleasure for us.”
A German newspaper reported on Saturday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had vetoed a compromise plan put forward by the European Commission that would have allowed Greece to substitute 400 million euros in pension cuts for equivalent military spending cuts.
Why would the Troika demand Greece accept a debt load they know full well it could never pay? Why would they insist that crushing debt be placed squarely on the shoulders of ordinary, working Greeks? Why would they block Greek government proposals to hike taxes on the wealthy and implement policies to stop their massive tax avoidance? Why would they veto a bankrupt nation's request to slash its bloated defence budget?
If you believe the Troika when it claims that this is all about debt and responsibility and repayment, all of these gambits are more than counter-intuitive, they're madness. But this isn't the work of mad people and it's not about the debt Greece owes or how it will repay its creditors. It's something far more sinister than that, something that all people across the West need to understand.
This is nothing less than class warfare, capital versus labour, cloaked in a guise as transparent as the Reichstag Fire. This is an experiment in coercive social engineering and, if it succeeds in Greece, it will be repeated again and again whenever the excuse, real or contrived, arises. You can practically hear them humming the tune to Horst Wessel Lied.