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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1117 - 28. Nov 2013 at 23:56
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Don't they say that people get the politicians they deserve?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1116 - 27. Nov 2013 at 18:31
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quote  Yomo2 ....Sometimes, I feel as though I want things to get worse so that the voters finally snap, and the politicians get what they deserve -  on the end of a rope.
couldn't agree more Yomo .... there is hardly a politician in the world that can be trusted to be honest in any way ...the world needs a huge change away from career politicians with their own personal agendas.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1115 - 27. Nov 2013 at 18:13
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Well, at least the politicians are all right Jack in their safe, well-paid jobs.

Sometimes, I feel as though I want things to get worse so that the voters finally snap, and the politicians get what they deserve -  on the end of a rope.

The debt is still as bad as it ever was I think, so how will anything ever change?  Seems to me the only long-term solution is to default.

Andrew Sad
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1114 - 27. Nov 2013 at 18:05
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Back in 2001 the then Greek Government fudged the figures so the country could join the Eurozone. The ECB reported at the time that the figures were "suspect" but the politicians on all sides ignored the warnings. Today's Greek Government says the economy will grow by 0.6% next year. This is yet another lie. The OECD says the exact opposite and that not only will the Greek economy contract by a further 0.4% in 2014 but they will probably need further bailout loans. The EU, the politicians, the ECB and the IMF should hang their collective heads in shame.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25118477

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1113 - 26. Apr 2013 at 08:31
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Yes, but everything is OK because the UK has avoided a triple-dip recession!!!

This from BBC News:

"The UK economy has avoided falling back into a recession after recording faster-than-expected growth in the first three months of the year.

The Office for National Statistics said its first estimate for gross domestic product (GDP) showed the economy grew 0.3% during the first quarter of 2013.

Chancellor George Osborne said it was an "encouraging sign".

But the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, said that the economy was "just back to where it was six months ago"."
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1112 - 25. Apr 2013 at 23:56
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French unemployment at new high

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22301063

Spain unemployment hits record high

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22290422

Ah yes, our European masters seem to be on top of the situation!

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1111 - 20. Apr 2013 at 20:51
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You can only 'pass the parcel' for so long. When the dollar loses its reserve currency status - which it will - all hell will be let loose. Barroso, Rehn, Lagarde et al haven't got a bloody clue. One plus one equals two: always has and always will.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1110 - 19. Apr 2013 at 10:51
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Christine Lagarde - head of the IMF and also the ex French Finance Minister who has been summoned by a French court to answer questions over alleged abuse of power during her time in office - has expressed renewed concern over the health of the UK economy.

"The UK's growth numbers are "not particularly good", Ms Lagarde said.

But speaking ahead of a high-level meeting of policymakers in Washington, she refused to be drawn on whether UK should reassess its austerity policy."

Are these people living in the same world as we are?  Last year Lagarde trumpeted on about the need for austerity, a need to balance the books and has overseen a 25% plummet in Greece's GDP due to the very austerity policies she, Merkel and the ECB have foisted on the Greek people.  She has seen Greece unemployment numbers rise to 27.4% and surely knows the implementation of stringent austerity measures means the shrinking of national economies.

Yet here she is pontificating in Washington about the UK economy and it's failure to grow whilst George Osborne is doing the very thing she advocated last year i.e. cut costs, balance the books, bring down the national debt.

Again, are these people living in the same world as we are?

"The next Bank of England Governor - Mark Carney - has hinted at his concerns over the UK.  In an interview ahead of the meeting between the IMF and the World Bank, he said the US recovery was leaving behind "crisis economies" that included the UK, the eurozone, and Japan."

The US has the largest national debt of any country in the world and is continuing to borrow money to try and "buy" its way out of recession.

Does no one else think this strange i.e. the IMF forces austerity on the southern European countries whilst the US continues to borrow to fund it's growth?

Lagarde has consistently proclaimed the need for austerity, initially refused to give Greece any leeway vis a vis repaying loans - Samaras wanted a little leeway so they try could try and jump start some kind of growth - and yet Mark Carney points to the US and how their growth figures look better than anyone elses!!

I'm reminded of the madhouse being run by the inmates!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22209770   

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1109 - 16. Apr 2013 at 22:20
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The Telegraph article also says that a new German political party is pressing for Germany to pull out of the euro.  We should be so lucky..........

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1108 - 16. Apr 2013 at 11:17
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I wonder what the super rich median level is in the UK?   Cool Cool
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1107 - 16. Apr 2013 at 10:20
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The Telegraph's article, Christine, the Telegraph!

It said and I quote:

"The median or midpoint level – which strips out the distorting effect of the super-rich – was €183,000 for Spain, €172,000 for Italy, and €102,000 for Greece, and even €75,000 for Portugal.

Average wealth in Cyprus is €671,000, far higher than in the four AAA creditor states: Austria (€265,000), Germany (€195,000), Holland (€170,000), Finland (€161,000)
.
Prof Feld said the report showed that people in the crisis countries are richer than the Germans. “This shows that Germany has been right to take a tough line of euro rescue loans,” he said.

In other words, it also concerns Greece.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1106 - 15. Apr 2013 at 18:36
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the figures I quoted were from your article and concern Cyprus not Greece , Jon  Wink
« Last Edit: 15. Apr 2013 at 18:41 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1105 - 15. Apr 2013 at 18:30
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Today, according to the Troika, Greece's will return to growth in 2014.  Yeah right, 27.4% unemployment, the banks bust, Greek debt standing at 160% of GDP and they try to peddle this bull to the EU citizens that their medicine is working.

You'd laugh out loud if it wasn't so serious.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22151472

Jon

PS and by the way Christine, asset rich (land that might have been worth something in the boom years) does not mean Greeks, with over 27% unemployed, are cash rich.  Just more accountancy spin to show the rest of Europe that the lowly paid Germans are supporting their wealthy Southern European neighbours!!!  It's deplorable.
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1104 - 15. Apr 2013 at 16:31
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Average wealth in Cyprus is €671,000, far higher than in the four AAA creditor states: Austria (€265,000), Germany (€195,000), Holland (€170,000), Finland (€161,000).


quote taken from Jon's link.


Told you there seemed like "loads of Money " there Cheesy Cheesy
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1103 - 15. Apr 2013 at 15:57
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I have read these articles Don't the 5 wise men know that Spain and other countries already have a wealth tax. Sounds like another 'sticking plaster' solution. The euro should be put into 'trash'. The whole project has been an unmitigated disaster. You cannot have monetary union without political union. However, the whole of Europe is being held to ransom by a small number of EU fanatics, who constantly deny the citizens of Europe a fair vote on their proposals: you've voted NO, well you'll just have to vote again. The situation in Cyprus is pure robbery. The 'big' money left before the 'corralito', which means that local business people, retirees etc are left to pick up the bill: outrageous. Merkel's razed earth policy is devastating the countries of the Med. In my Spanish pueblo unemployment is 60%+. In a neighbouring pueblo it's nearer 90%. Graduates are leaving Spain by the thousand. They won't return apart for holidays. The effects of the financial crisis are going to be felt for years. How can any right thinking person still believe in the euro? With the Fed, the B of E, and the Japanese central bank producing money out of thin air, it seems like the madness will continue. But, who's going to buy all the bonds and other crap the central banks hold on their balance sheets when the time comes to unwind their positions. All the simple budgetary rules I was brought up with have been trashed. Who'll be the first country to default? Portugal, Greece...
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1102 - 15. Apr 2013 at 15:27
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There is a fundamental error with this theory! The size of your house is related to the size of your income or bank account - WRONG!
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1101 - 15. Apr 2013 at 14:59
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Remind me again, it was us who won the war...?!

"Senior advisers to Chancellor Angela Merkel are pushing for better-off households to pay towards the cost of any future bail-outs for the weaker members of the single currency.

The proposals, from members of Germany’s council of economic experts, raise the prospect of taxes being imposed on property in a country like Spain if its government was forced to seek a bail-out.

The council, known as the “Five Wise Men”, is often used to test new policies that are later adopted officially.

The German suggestion is the latest sign that Berlin is intent on imposing even tougher rules on weaker southern euro members in exchange for using its economic might to support their finances.

As well as inflaming tensions between Germany and its smaller southern partners, the suggestion could also mean that Britons with holiday homes are dragged deeper into the eurozone crisis."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9993790/Wealth-tax-to-pay-for...

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1100 - 15. Apr 2013 at 14:32
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I'm not sure what that has to do with a possible run on banks in southern European countries thanks to the idiots (Finance Ministers) who supposedly run the EU?

Nor am I'm sure I'd want to be a citizen of an EU country who had just taken 60% of all my savings above €100,000.

Then again, I'm not Russian...!  Smiley

Jon

ps did you read that a significant number of "investors" and Cypriot MPs mysteriously removed their funds from the banks before the doors were closed?
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1099 - 15. Apr 2013 at 13:26
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1098 - 15. Apr 2013 at 13:25
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Which means what?  Do you really think the ordinary Greeks aren't removing money from their bank accounts?

My good lady went into the bank a few days back and withdrew some funds we had sent over.  One of the bank personnel knows my wife very well and took her aside and asked why she was withdrawing the funds.  She has provided us with "pink slips" for the past six years and has been a god send when dealing with the bank.  My wife told her the truth i.e. we're uncomfortable keeping funds in the bank. 

She nodded sadly and said everyone was doing the same thing.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1097 - 15. Apr 2013 at 12:32
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that article was written a month ago  Wink
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1096 - 15. Apr 2013 at 11:53
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"But, still, not surprisingly, news that deposits in Cyprus's banks would be seized triggered an immediate run on the banks

And ... here's the important part ...

Other depositors at weak banks all over Europe, in places like Spain, Italy, and Greece, will rightly wonder whether this is the beginning of a new era of bank bailouts, an era in which bank depositors are going lose some of their money.

What do you think those other depositors in Spain, Italy, Greece, etc., are going to feel like doing when they realize that, if their banks ever need a bailout, they might have their deposits seized?

That's right.

They're going to feel like yanking their money out of their banks.

And if some of them yank their money out of their banks, well — then the financial condition of those banks will go from weak to insolvent.

And the banks will go rushing to their governments and the Eurozone for help.

And if, god forbid, the Eurozone decides to seize the deposits of more bank depositors ...

Well, then, a good portion of Europe is going to suddenly experience a good old-fashioned bank run.
That, to put it mildly, could be a disaster.

It could bring the European financial crisis, which has lurched from one flare-up to another for most of the past five years, to a rather sudden head.

How much would it cost for the powers-that-be to bail out all of Europe's weak banks at once?

A lot.

More than the Eurozone has in its emergency lending facilities, certainly. And more than the International Monetary Fund has on hand.

So the U.S. would probably have to get involved.

And, regardless of whether the U.S. needed to get involved, the European economy would likely suffer the equivalent of a heart attack.

That wouldn't be good for the U.S. economy.

Or the Chinese economy.

Or any other economy that sells things to Europe.

So, you can see, this little decision to seize a little money from bank depositors in the little island of Cyprus could be a much bigger deal than you think.

It could conceivably precipitate a run on weak European banks.

And a run on weak European banks could hammer the European economy and then the economy of Europe's trading partners. And it could cause global markets to crash.

So keep an eye on what's going on over there in Cyprus.

It's potentially much more important than it seems."

http://www.businessinsider.com/cyprus-bailout-risks-europe-bank-runs-2013-3#ixzz...

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1095 - 11. Apr 2013 at 11:48
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yes Jon we all know that money has been withdrawn from the banks here over the last couple of years that is well documented ,however your previous post concerned an "as yet unreported" mass exodus of funds in the last month.

Although I was just a "tourist" last week in Cyprus I have to say that there seemed to be an inordinate amount of wealth there, probably the Russians.

Fantastic cars ( first time I have seen a Bentley parked in a side street ) like this one http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/apr/10/bentley-jaguar-land-rover-sales-b... and the taxis were all stretch Limousines.

the shops where I was staying basically catered for the Russians.

As an aside I see that a Rich Russian Oligarch has bought the Onassis Island of Skorpios for over 100 million
« Last Edit: 11. Apr 2013 at 12:05 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1094 - 10. Apr 2013 at 23:35
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Strange though it may seem, I'm more inclined to believe that Spiegel's version is not only true but ongoing rather than believe the words of a government paid civil servant.

"Germany's Spiegel Online reported on 16 June last year – on the eve of the second general election in as many months – that €80 billion had been withdrawn from Greek banks since the start of the crisis - €5 billion in May alone - according to official figures."

Why would the wealthy Greeks be returning their monies here, particularly after the Cyprus fiasco, and why would the man in the street trust the coalition Government?  The one year only 'property tax' springs to mind!

And just how would a bankrupt government repay any depositer monies lost, particularly when the EU finance ministers made it very clear two weeks back that those same bank depositors should bare some of the pain? 

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1093 - 10. Apr 2013 at 22:57
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er

"He ( Bank of Greece Governor) said that more than €1.5bn entered Greece in March despite the crisis in Cyprus that triggered fears of deposit outflows in other indebted southern European economies."


quote taken from this article

http://www.enetenglish.gr/?i=news.en.economy&id=603

as to the merging of the objective and market value that has been widely reported for some time  Wink
« Last Edit: 10. Apr 2013 at 22:59 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1092 - 10. Apr 2013 at 22:07
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Unreported because the last thing the Greek government wants is to publicise the fact more and more people are withdrawing their savings in ever increasing numbers.

As for the increase in property tax values, the adage blood and stone comes to mind.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1091 - 10. Apr 2013 at 16:26
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Great!!!!!

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/04/10/greece-will-reassess-property-values/

"objective values of properties set to soar in Crete"!  Sad
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1090 - 10. Apr 2013 at 11:10
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I wonder why it is "as yet unreported".

As to when the madness will end I suspect it might (only might) at least reduce a little after the German elections.

Really though it will only end when the project eventually unravels as it surely must do.

That will take one country to say "enough is enough" and realise that leaving the Euro need not be the disaster everyone is predicting.

I would very much have liked the UK to offer Cyprus support and a link to Sterling for a new Cyprus Pound but I guess that would not have been politically expedient and, given history, would probably have been subject to all sorts of imperialistic interpretations.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1089 - 09. Apr 2013 at 12:50
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22061879

Shares in Greek banks have plummeted by 30% as a proposed merger between two Greek banks (National Bank and Eurobank) has been halted.

At the same time, and after the debacle in Cyprus, there is an as yet unreported run on Greek banks i.e. savers who have not already removed their funds are now removing them because the EU Finance Ministers showed last month (Cyprus) that they are willing to sacrifice anything and everyone to keep the Euro project on track.

One wonders when this madness is going to end!

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1088 - 27. Feb 2013 at 20:42
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Panic and herd mentality drive all markets, as witnessed yesterday by the big fall in the DOW and the FTSE and the recovery today.

The Sterling / Euro conundrum will ultimately depend on which economy is seen as the sicker and therefore less likely to recover in the short term. 

If unemployment is anything to go by, re the health of the economy, then Sterling should be ahead at the moment.

By the way, I write this in the shadow of Vesuvius, at least the Italians seem to have a reliable Internet service!

Jon
« Last Edit: 27. Feb 2013 at 20:43 by Topdriller »  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1087 - 26. Feb 2013 at 18:56
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And the rate shoots back up again to 1.16 as all the dealers who shorted the euro come back in  Smiley
Dealers don't care how prices move - as long as they move AND it makes good headlines for the financial press. Sounds like everyone is a winner then - or maybe not Angry
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1086 - 25. Feb 2013 at 15:32
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1085 - 11. Feb 2013 at 13:07
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It looks like it's not just the Brits on Crete who are concerned about the rising strength of the European single currency.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21408533

I'm at a loss as to how the markets determine currency strength.  Europe is basically in recession and nothing much has changed re the countries who need or are close to needing a bailout.  Unemployment is at record highs, the EU budget has been cut - although not by much - but in real terms it does mean a cut over the coming years.

The article above suggests that a number of countries e.g. Japan are purposely trying to weaken their currencies to stimulate exports and growth. The French Finance Minister want to follow suit but the Germans and the ECB are against a weaker euro.

Sadly, if the Germans are against it then guess what - we might not see sterling rise any time soon against the Euro.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1084 - 01. Feb 2013 at 18:41
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rate at this moment 114.87  Lips Sealed Lips Sealed
  
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Reply #1083 - 27. Jan 2013 at 17:23
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Am I the only person who read this and thought OMG? Oh for a crystal ball!
  
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Reply #1082 - 27. Jan 2013 at 00:36
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« Last Edit: 27. Jan 2013 at 00:37 by MartinP »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1081 - 25. Jan 2013 at 17:02
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all that does not help me with the cost of living Jon, I only have my state pension which is losing value by the day Wink

indecision and deadlines over the last three years have not  helped  the greek economy, and living in limbo for four years waiting for a referendum will do the same in the UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jan/23/weak-pound-sterling-what-it-means

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jan/25/uk-triple-dip-recession-gdp

do not know if this link will open as it is the FT, a subscription paper, but here goes

http://blogs.ft.com/the-a-list/2013/01/25/davies-davos-diary-hedging-bets-on-a-b...

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1080 - 25. Jan 2013 at 13:00
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I thought Cameron's speech was both measured and spot on i.e. the EU does have to change, does have to become more flexible, more competitive, less bureaucratic and then perhaps it will be something the British want to remain a part of.

As for Sterling, exports to Europe now represent over 50% of all UK exports - it's perhaps no coincidence therefore that the British Government is none too concerned that the pound is again on the slide since it makes UK exports more competitive across the Euro Zone.  This is particularly true when the one thing they can't seem to get right is sustainable growth in the UK economy.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1079 - 25. Jan 2013 at 11:47
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the exchange rate still going down , today 1.17.
Cameron's speech and the UK economy mean that we will have months if not years of a weak pound against the Euro.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/matt/

Cheesy Cheesy
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1078 - 14. Jan 2013 at 17:37
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Is it April 1st?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1077 - 14. Jan 2013 at 14:31
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Interesting article Latsida but it occurs to me that like so many of these ideas there is a fatal flaw.

You will be able to leave without paying if you are not given a receipt.....but how many businesses do you know that give you a receipt BEFORE you have paid the bill?

Shurely shome mishtake?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1076 - 14. Jan 2013 at 13:55
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so lets get back to the cost of living .

this new measure looks interesting Cheesy

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_14/01/2013_478279
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1075 - 14. Jan 2013 at 13:24
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the notion that people who are surviving on benefits ( not that they get any here) are doing so as a result of their own decisions or because they are feckless is a dangerous one.

People lose their jobs for many reasons, many of which are entirely out of their control or wishes

the way that the disadvantaged, sick or persecuted are treated surely should speak volumes about the maturity of the country's values that they live in.

this article speaks volumes about Bankers values, who invest/play with other peoples money to fund their bonuses  Wink
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9799877/Goldman-...

something wrong with the link so here is the gist of the article

"The move, first reported in the Financial Times, means bankers could avoid paying the current 50pc rate of tax on their share awards. From April 6, the top rate of income tax will fall from 50pc to 45pc.
The 50pc tax rate, introduced in 2010, applies to anyone earning over £150,000. A banker paid a £100,000 bonus on top of a £150,000 salary would save £5,000 in tax if his or her bonus was pushed back beyond April 6.
Goldman is thought to be only considering the delay, but if it did decide to postpone the payment of share awards, it would only apply to 2010 and 2011 payments, not 2012 awards."
another link

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5f44bcf0-5da9-11e2-ba99-00144feab49a.html#axzz2Hw...


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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1074 - 14. Jan 2013 at 13:09
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Herbert by name, Herbert by nature?

His English is more perfectly idiomatic than I would have expected from someone born in Greece.  Was he really born here?

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1073 - 14. Jan 2013 at 12:18
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Andrew,

No, but Herby does sound a lot like Fred and Ginger although I'm not sure Ginger was born on Crete.  They do both exist, and are a couple, although I've yet to see them trip the light fantastic.

As for my use of the British slang word Herbert or 'erbert - I think it's perfect for the contributor now calling themselves Herby - see the definition below!!

"A foolish, cheeky person. For many years, in London working-class slang, Herbert or ’Erbert was used to refer to any otherwise unnamed man or boy.  Gradually, probably by being used in phrases such as ‘silly ’erbert’, it came to have the more pejorative sense. There probably never was an eponymous Herbert; it was merely a common working-class name from the Edwardian era."

Wink

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1072 - 14. Jan 2013 at 09:37
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He's irritating enough to be a troll.........

Surely cannot be two allowed with same user name can there?

Andrew
  
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Reply #1071 - 14. Jan 2013 at 09:16
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There's a rumour circulating that Herby is in fact one of our erstwhile regulars having a bit of fun. If true, then there are two Herbies or should that be Herberts?

I've no problem with this - if true - because a good discussion is a good discussion but it does again beg the question why use pseudonyms in the first place?  We should all be happy to stand by what we write - good or bad - and by using our real names we're probably more restrained (and civil) than if we hide behind a cloak of anonymity.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1070 - 13. Jan 2013 at 22:17
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Herby, is there something wrong with immigrants outnumbering the local population?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1069 - 13. Jan 2013 at 22:05
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Smack on Topdriller.

It's also worth noting that at least for some and probably many their current difficult situations are do a degree a consequence of their own decisions. In many economies around the world where social benefit systems are not considered to be particularly supportive (though this cannot really be said to apply to Greece), people save for the possibility of such hard times.

Garrigue

PS: I don't think the word save is now in the new dictionaries, so for those who don't have an old dictionary, its meaning is "to keep safe or rescue from harm or danger" - in this case money.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1068 - 12. Jan 2013 at 12:43
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Herby wrote on 11. Jan 2013 at 19:28:
Do you really want me to add to the immigrants who currently outnumber the Brits in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Luton and Peterborough? (According to the last census)



Depends on how you define immigrants does it not?

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1067 - 12. Jan 2013 at 12:20
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Hi Jon, from the start of this year new qualifications have been introduced for those who work seasonal hours, and from next year even stricter ones are planned.

also I think you will find that many unemployed do not receive all the health care benefits.

"About half of Greece’s 1.2 million long-term unemployed lack health insurance, a number that is expected to rise sharply in a country with an unemployment rate of 25 percent "

taken from

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/world/europe/greek-unemployed-cut-off-from-med...
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1066 - 12. Jan 2013 at 10:51
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Herby,

My statement was 100% correct.  The unemployed - like your good self - still use the roads, still get their rubbish collected, still go to the hospital, still have children at school and so it goes on ad infinitum -  and all this paid for by those in work (or in Greece's case those in work in Germany, France etc.)

I can't believe you've not worked here on Crete for 12 months, unless of course you have a significant other who has employment and is happy to let you use the internet and phone line and chat with me every other day!

Most people who want to work here during the summer months can and a large number do without paying any IKA, tax etc.

If you want to see change in your country then perhaps an effective tax system, a fundamental culture change re tax and an untainted government would be a good starting point.

Jon

  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1065 - 11. Jan 2013 at 19:28
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Jon,
I am not splitting hairs – I simply said (repeating for the 3rd time) that your statement was not strictly correct. I also explained why. I did not need to explain my current circumstances to correct your misleading statement just as I did not ask the source of your information.

Topdriller wrote on 11. Jan 2013 at 17:15:
like me, you chose to come and live in your country and just like me you can presumably leave again if you wish to.  If not, then surely the onus is on you and other's like you to effect the political changes necessary to make this country work again?


I did not chose to live here (unlike you), I was born here! Agreed, I could leave and go to your country where, according to the UK press, I could claim lots of benefits. Do you really want me to add to the immigrants who currently outnumber the Brits in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Luton and Peterborough? (According to the last census)

You say that the onus is on me to effect political change. Should I join the riots or what? I have already asked, in another thread, who I should vote for. I still await your recommendations and reasons why.

  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1064 - 11. Jan 2013 at 17:24
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"Greece

Unemployment benefits in Greece are administered through OAED (Labor Force Employment Organization) and are available only to laid-off salaried workers with full employment and social security payments during the previous two years. The self-employed do not qualify, and neither do those with other sources of income. The monthly benefit is fixed at the "55% of 25 minimum daily wages", and is currently 350 euros per month,[10] with a 10% increase for each under-age child. Recipients are eligible for at most 12 months; the exact duration depends on the collected number of ensema ένσημα, that is social security payment coupons-stamps collected (id est days of work) during the 14 months before being laid off.[11]"

from wikipedia
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1063 - 11. Jan 2013 at 17:15
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Ah Herby,

You're splitting hairs - an idiom from my country.

Perhaps if you had explained your country's benefit rules in a little more detail - as I did - instead of simply saying "I am unemployed and get nothing from the state yet I am still expected to pay property taxes etc" your comment would have made more of a contribution.

It was only after I very kindly looked up your country's benefit regulations and explained them in a little more detail that you further clarified your position and explained you'd been out of work for twelve months. 

As for the property tax, it's my understanding the unemployed in the UK also pay something towards the Council Tax - not quite the same tax but close - although it is heavily discounted.

Like me, you chose to come and live in your country and just like me you can presumably leave again if you wish to.  If not, then surely the onus is on you and other's like you to effect the political changes necessary to make this country work again?

Jon

  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1062 - 11. Jan 2013 at 17:07
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exchange rate at the moment 120.78

http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/market-overview-iag-flying-high-084400324.html

did you have a wager with your " financial market's guy " Jon?
that would be more interesting than all this endless speculating Wink
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1061 - 11. Jan 2013 at 16:10
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Jon
Please do not quote my countries benefit rules to me. I am well aware of them!

Topdriller wrote on 11. Jan 2013 at 14:07:
Recipients are eligible for at most 12 months……………………..those laid off over the last four years have been salaried State paid employees they would qualify for the above unemployment payments.


Exactly!! After the first year they get nothing! So for 3 years they have been expected to pay property taxes etc from zero income.
At the risk of repeating myself, I, and many others unemployed for over 12 months, get nothing from the state which is why I said that your following statement is not strictly correct:
Topdriller wrote on 10. Jan 2013 at 22:21:
Basically, this means that over one quarter of the Greek working population are not contributing to the country's coffers and are being paid to live by the 73% of people who still - at the moment - have a job.


Topdriller wrote on 10. Jan 2013 at 22:21:
I wonder what will happen to the debt repayments when 50% of the people are unemployed and are being subsidised by the 50% who still have a job?

This situation will never arise because, as you kindly point out, benefits are only paid for 12 months. As time goes on many of the unemployed (like me) will cease to get anything from the state.
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1060 - 11. Jan 2013 at 15:24
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If you think about it, the 26% figure is only recognised by those officially on the books.  Take the numbers that still work black and this figure is a lot higher.  Maybe the 50% figure is closer than thought, who knows.
  
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Reply #1059 - 11. Jan 2013 at 14:07
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"Unemployment benefits in Greece are administered through OAED (Labour Force Employment Organization) and are available only to laid-off salaried workers with full employment and social security payments during the previous two years. The self-employed do not qualify, and neither do those with other sources of income. The monthly benefit is fixed at the "55% of 25 minimum daily wages", and is currently 350 euros per month with a 10% increase for each under-age child. Recipients are eligible for at most 12 months; the exact duration depends on the collected number of ensema ένσημα, that is social security payment coupons-stamps collected during the 14 months before being laid off."

Since a large majority of those laid off over the last four years have been salaried State paid employees they would qualify for the above unemployment payments.  Just as in the UK, you do not qualify for the full range of unemployment benefits if you have savings over x amount in your bank account.

Winter payments (reduced this year) are also paid by the State to seasonal workers i.e. those who work for the summer tourist industry and who have had their IKA paid for them by their employer.  You may not view this as unemployment benefit but it's definitely paid by the State to those who can not find work over the winter months.

Jon

  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1058 - 11. Jan 2013 at 11:48
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Topdriller wrote on 10. Jan 2013 at 22:21:
Basically, this means that over one quarter of the Greek working population are not contributing to the country's coffers and are being paid to live by the 73% of people who still - at the moment - have a job.


Not strictly true Jon. What you say may apply in the UK but certainly not here. I am unemployed and get nothing from the state yet I am still expected to pay property taxes etc.

If the benefits here were like the UK there would be no need for the soup kitchens and 10,000 families would not be living on the streets of Athens.
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1057 - 10. Jan 2013 at 22:21
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And the good news just keeps rolling in.  The latest unemployment figures for Greece - the highest in the EU - now stand at 26.8% with most economists saying it will hit 30% sometime this year.

Basically, this means that over one quarter of the Greek working population are not contributing to the country's coffers and are being paid to live by the 73% of people who still - at the moment - have a job.

I wonder what will happen to the debt repayments when 50% of the people are unemployed and are being subsidised by the 50% who still have a job?

Last week I was speaking with a financial market's guy who shuttles between here and Dublin and asked him when the Greeks would return to the Drachma.  He said once Merkel gets re elected at the back end of the year she will cut Greece loose.

God knows what state the country will be in by then.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20968845

Jon

 
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1056 - 10. Jan 2013 at 12:21
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Lagarde is now down to a USB stick and who altered the contents.  Who had it first, the chicken or the egg.

  
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Reply #1055 - 10. Jan 2013 at 10:30
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I saw this too, and was stunned.  Just another symptom of a society that needs to change fundamentally.

Is it happening yet or is it continuing as before?  Tax and punish ordinary people.  Sanction the crimes of the rich and powerful.  Depressing. 

Any movement on the Lagarde list?  Not really.  Just lots of hot air.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1054 - 10. Jan 2013 at 09:33
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The Greeks are coming down on illegal immigrants with a heavy stick, which in truth is the Southern Mediterranean way but how will this punch and kick first, ask questions later approach be viewed by those thinking of visiting Greece on holiday?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20958353

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Reply #1053 - 27. Dec 2012 at 17:27
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Yeah, and that'll really help their popularity too.

Why do the words "shoot" and "foot" keep springing to mind.

The whole thing is just becoming more and more laughable day by day.

How about they just concentrate on some of the core issues?

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1052 - 27. Dec 2012 at 17:22
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The Government has recently suggested banning the production of Raki by locals so they can tax it when produced by large consortiums.

Yeah, like that's going to work.

They seem intent on hitting the little guy whilst doing nothing but pay lip service to the misdeeds of big business.

Jon
  

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Reply #1051 - 27. Dec 2012 at 16:21
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Agreed, but did you notice the entertaining little reference to illegal alcohol sales:

"companies in the sector have seen their turnover shrink drastically, as consumption has plummeted 50 percent compared to 2009, due in part to the major increase in the illegal trade of alcoholic drinks."

Nice to see the Greeks are as innovative as ever in avoiding taxes.  Seriously though, it all just proves that the higher you bump taxes, the more effort people will put into avoiding them!

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1050 - 27. Dec 2012 at 15:54
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The last paragraph of this article is the telling one i.e.

"Besides the reduction in revenues for the state, the drop in consumption, which is attributed to a great extent to the increase in taxes, has resulted in the loss of some 10,000 jobs in the sector in 2010 alone and a reduction in the sector’s added value to the tune of 387 million euros in the same year."

Same revenues from alcohol sales as 2009 but now 10,000 less jobs which means less income they can tax and worst still the need to pay increased unemployment benefit.

But don't worry, when it comes to feathering their own nest these politicians are in a league of their own!

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1049 - 27. Dec 2012 at 15:01
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Exactly the same thing has happened with alcohol - tax up, revenue down.  They just can't see it............

Andrew

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_26/12/2012_475965
« Last Edit: 27. Dec 2012 at 15:02 by YoMo2 »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1048 - 27. Dec 2012 at 14:07
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Are Politicians really this blinkered and stupid or do they just follow the German / IMF line without thinking out the financial consequences?

"...the special consumption tax for diesel and for heating oil levelled has not brought in the expected revenues, as energy goods tax revenues in November amounted to just 353 million euros, compared to 389 million in November 2011..."

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_26/12/2012_475966

Put bluntly, the Government earned more tax revenues from heating oil sales in November 2011 when the price was €1.00 per litre than they have this year with a 35% tax hike.

How on earth do they expect people to buy the higher priced  oil when they also saw their pay drop by a similar amount?

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1047 - 24. Dec 2012 at 15:53
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It's Greek politicians we're railing against, not ordinary Greeks.

Happy Xmas to all expats, and Greeks too, (except politicians, of course).

Andrew Smiley
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1046 - 24. Dec 2012 at 15:42
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tis the season of goodwill chaps , give the Greeks a break Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1045 - 24. Dec 2012 at 15:16
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Yeah right, like the majority of restaurants and tavernas have been handing out VAT receipts to every customer.  The reason the VAT receipts have been even lower this year is because the taverna owners have been handing out even less than normal.  And who can blame them? 

The Government put up the cost of cigarettes and the tax return went down.  Why?  Because people either quit, bought rolling tobacco or went to the black market for Albanian and Bulgarian counterfeit products.

The price of petrol went up and people drove less miles.  The price of heating oil has doubled in two years and who's going to bet that heating oil tax receipts will slump this year as people go without?

If your wages have been cut, if food prices have risen then how on earth can you afford a doubling in heating oil prices?

It's nonsensical - and surely the politicians know this and prices have only risen to appease the IMF / ECB / EU accountants?

You can't cut salaries by 35% and increase basic commodities by a similar or higher level and expect your tax coffers to grow. 

And why have they removed the tax free allowance?  Well, some smart accountant has worked out that if you reduce wages by 35% then the bulk of people will fall into the tax free zone which will reduce the income tax collected even further.

It's a joke, except for the people it's anything but funny!

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1044 - 24. Dec 2012 at 14:43
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Agreed, but will it happen?

I'd love to see a list of useful initiatives that have actually been implemented, rather than just talked about.

Guess I'm just sick of all the hot air.......

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1043 - 24. Dec 2012 at 11:41
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1042 - 18. Dec 2012 at 12:18
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The problem with cutting wages by 25% and raising basic commodity costs by a similar or greater figure e.g. electricity, heating oil, petrol etc. is that some people are going to die.

I guess this doesn't matter to the politicians and Eurocrats idly wondering how to get the best interest rates on their millions stashed away in Swiss bank accounts.

If you're going to cut wages and reduce the number of inefficiencies - which is 100% necessary here in Greece - then you can't increase the cost of basic commodities at the same time.  It's one or the other, not both at the same time.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1041 - 18. Dec 2012 at 11:33
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for those who think that nothing is really changing here ,this is the reality .
http://ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_17/12/2012_474877
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1040 - 15. Dec 2012 at 13:44
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oops sorry wrong website ! I thought Andrew meant the Travel Zoo website  Embarrassed
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1039 - 15. Dec 2012 at 13:05
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Latsida
If I didn't know otherwise, I would think there was an airport there.
http://www.domesofelounda.com/holiday-in-elounda/flights-elounda
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1038 - 15. Dec 2012 at 12:20
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YoMo2 wrote on 14. Dec 2012 at 14:25:
Interesting site, but needs that pinch of salt.  I see they claim there is now an airport at Elounda.  Never noticed it myself......   Huh

Andrew



does it?

"Getting there: The resort is under an hour's drive from Heraklion Airport. We found flights from the UK from £92, return. Click here to search for cheap flights using Fly.com.

Book by 26 December."
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1037 - 14. Dec 2012 at 20:32
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Latsida, costs may go up, but if your business drifts away then lower profits or losses will result. Better to keep the trade even if profits are lower or some losses are incured.

In fact, British exporters have yet to learn the lesson. Whenever the exchange rate goes for them and their profits rise they pocket the cash. The Germans forego the higher profits and lower the destinaton country price to encourage sales. This way they gain market share and, as we know, in certain sectors, particularly machine tools, dominate.

Greece has got to become competitive and remain so, ie with a stable currency and low inflation.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1036 - 14. Dec 2012 at 14:25
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Interesting site, but needs that pinch of salt.  I see they claim there is now an airport at Elounda.  Never noticed it myself......   Huh

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1035 - 14. Dec 2012 at 13:32
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latsida wrote on 12. Dec 2012 at 18:06:
I just received this special offer from Travel Zoo for a stay at the fantastic Domes of Elounda next year, this is what people want these days jacuzzis and luxury


"Greece may be an ever-popular destination for British holidaymakers but, with its award-winning, secluded accommodation, generous added extras and exclusive rate, this hotel deal really stands out from the crowd. For £316 (392€) per person, get a 7-night stay at the 5-star Domes of Elounda Boutique Beach Resort in Crete, saving up to 60% on the normal cost for a package that comes with all of the following:

Free upgrade to a Premium 1-Bedroom Suite with Garden Views and an outdoor Jacuzzi
Free upgrade to half board (worth £224 per person)
100€ resort credit per room, valid in the hotel's restaurants, bars, mini bars and spa
One free Domes Spa Thermae experience per adult (worth £32)
Discounted private transfers for 70€ each way from Heraklion, carrying up to four passengers (usually 90€)
Based on two sharing.

This offer is valid from 18-30 April, 2013. Stay 1-31 May, 2013 for an extra £161 per person. Other dates are available for a supplement, for travel until 31 August."
mmmmmmmmmm sounds good but have you attempted to book it? sometimes a hook to get you in as they will be sold out etc..
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1034 - 14. Dec 2012 at 11:17
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I have noticed that prices in shops and services have dropped or not risen over the last couple of years, which is surprising as  running costs  and VAT and Taxes have risen .

Hi MCD I just Googled the Domes because their own site was slow to load , if you click on each photo it tells you its location Cheesy
this is the real thing

http://www.domesofelounda.com/photo-gallery

« Last Edit: 14. Dec 2012 at 11:23 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1033 - 14. Dec 2012 at 00:21
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Latsida, could this be a new dawn in delivering value for money to clients. Looks great. Bums on seats (or should I say people in beds) drives profits. Fill them up.

A couple of years ago in the harbour in Chania my wife took a continual train of summer visitors for a meal. As often she ended up paying she went to the same restaurant several times - I even went twice! It offered a cheap, but good value menu deal. It was always full. The restaurants either side were only busy at the peak times. They just did not get it.

In the US when custom is thin on the ground they quickly reduce prices to tempt the customer to part with the filthy luka; in Greece they seem to put up prices in order to make the same income. It may work for a while, but soon fails.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1032 - 13. Dec 2012 at 22:33
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....in fact the pictures are of all the 5* hotels in Elounda and also from Agios Nikoloas ...... which are all very luxurious !!!! (plus a few 'odd' ones thrown in).
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1031 - 13. Dec 2012 at 22:16
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There is one picture that I instantly recognised as being the Blue Palace in Plaka............ this view is not the Domes !!!!

http://www.bluepalace.gr/en/gallery

  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1030 - 13. Dec 2012 at 19:58
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probably  Cheesy
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1029 - 13. Dec 2012 at 18:30
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Crikey!

Are there any more photos....... Smiley

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1028 - 13. Dec 2012 at 12:03
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yes, even a hot tub in the family suite see these photos

http://www.google.com/search?q=domes+of+elounda+family+suite&hl=en&client=safari...

I particularly like the  garden view and balcony jacuzzi
« Last Edit: 13. Dec 2012 at 12:08 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1027 - 13. Dec 2012 at 08:50
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18th-30th April!  Do they have heating?  Smiley

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1026 - 12. Dec 2012 at 18:06
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I just received this special offer from Travel Zoo for a stay at the fantastic Domes of Elounda next year, this is what people want these days jacuzzis and luxury


"Greece may be an ever-popular destination for British holidaymakers but, with its award-winning, secluded accommodation, generous added extras and exclusive rate, this hotel deal really stands out from the crowd. For £316 (392€) per person, get a 7-night stay at the 5-star Domes of Elounda Boutique Beach Resort in Crete, saving up to 60% on the normal cost for a package that comes with all of the following:

Free upgrade to a Premium 1-Bedroom Suite with Garden Views and an outdoor Jacuzzi
Free upgrade to half board (worth £224 per person)
100€ resort credit per room, valid in the hotel's restaurants, bars, mini bars and spa
One free Domes Spa Thermae experience per adult (worth £32)
Discounted private transfers for 70€ each way from Heraklion, carrying up to four passengers (usually 90€)
Based on two sharing.

This offer is valid from 18-30 April, 2013. Stay 1-31 May, 2013 for an extra £161 per person. Other dates are available for a supplement, for travel until 31 August."
« Last Edit: 12. Dec 2012 at 18:07 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1025 - 11. Dec 2012 at 08:30
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Wink
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1024 - 10. Dec 2012 at 19:41
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Quote:
do a bit of site seeing (camera in hand)

Our last visit was like that. We spent the entire week visiting building sites and taking photos of houses. Rather depressing, although we did find a suitable property eventually.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1023 - 09. Dec 2012 at 10:02
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That would be an interesting ruling, as if it is true both the leading UK tour operators would be in breach and probably not just in Greece  Seems the authorities are frightened to confront in case they lose the business - but what business.  Greece does not apear to benefit from profits made.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1022 - 09. Dec 2012 at 09:51
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Is this not what government policy should be addressing.  Where is the tourist strategy?  Greece has a lot of potential for quality tourism, alongside a restricted AI scene.

I understand there is an EU rule that says you cannot operate an exclusively AI hotel less than x kilometres from a town centre.  Is this true?  If so, is it being enforced, because it does not appear to be.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1021 - 09. Dec 2012 at 09:21
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Oh how right you are, but this type of tourist has been created unfortunately by operators.  It is cheaper for them to put guests into one big hotel than to pay transfer costs into a selection of small ones.  It also saves on Reps costs.  Unfortunately the price tends to be the deciding factor with holidaymakers and the poor hotel owners are forced to accept low contract rates or go without.  Watch the smaller hotel start to fold soon.  How can they afford to offer those little extras when they just about break even at the end of the season.  Bargain tourists have no intention of spending outside of their AI budget so the local souvenir shops and restaurants suffer.  Where is the packed Hersonissos square of years ago and the buzzing ambience of the Greeks and their speciality food.  That is an evening out in Crete, not stuck in a hotel bar surrounded by Brits.  Apart from the weather you can get that in Butlins.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1020 - 08. Dec 2012 at 04:51
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In answer to Mele’s question “has anyone noticed a difference in the standard of tourist” ..yes!
As a tourist myself rather than a resident.
We all want different things from a holiday, personally I like to hire a car get a nice hotel half board and get out and about during the day visiting villages, have lunch do a bit of site seeing (camera in hand) and back to my hotel for a late evening meal, a few drinks and a chat with fellow travellers.
Only once many years ago taking my family to Spain we booked an all inclusive hotel … which was for us a big mistake not to be repeated, but I can appreciate that  the type of tourist who takes 2 or 3 kids with them who only want soft drinks, ice cream and a pool all day, or they themselves consume a lot of alcohol, that the all inclusive packages are a good deal, but in all honesty I don’t want to spend my holiday in the company of that type of tourist. (or even travel on a plane with them)  …do I sound a bit like victor meldrew??
For our last 15 or so trips to Crete we have booked the same hotel in Agios Nikolaos because they offer us what we want ..service, good food and the right location, and just a few weeks ago we came back from a rare trip to the Canaries where we were fortunate and booked a very good hotel  (half board)..by the standards we want. However both of these hotels have, or are just about to start offering all inclusive packages because they need the business. Now are they trying to cater for what is now the mass tourist trade or are they being pressured by the travel companies who are trying to offer cheaper and cheaper holidays??.
In both hotels chatting with the staff, they were not happy with the change to all inclusive as they don’t get tips and they feel the standard of tourist drops. And as we all know local businesses don’t get much trade.
Jings when I start I forget to stop!!   In answer to your question Mele.   Yes I have noticed a drop in standards and the few hotels I’ve been to recently the staff notice as well.

Is that the future of tourism and is that the market the hotels have to cater for???  It would appear so.

Drinking out of plastic beakers is not for me.

p.s. I also notice that a lot of the nice touches in hotels disappear when they switch to the all inclusive client, i.e in the Hermes in Agios Nikolaos the shoe shine machine and the small hand towels in the public rest rooms disappeared to be replaced by paper dispensers.
« Last Edit: 08. Dec 2012 at 05:02 by brian c »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1019 - 06. Dec 2012 at 09:12
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Perhaps people are now starting to see the obvious logic of a return to the drachma......

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1018 - 06. Dec 2012 at 00:02
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One major change is that a local said to me on Sunday: "when we go back to the drachma after the German elections..". I hadn't heard that previously. They had all insisted that they were better off with the Euro, regardless.
  
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Re: Cost of Living - The Greek Experiment
Reply #1017 - 04. Dec 2012 at 09:38
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This site makes interesting reading and seems to sum up the current state of affairs.  So true about the standard of tourists too, which is a shame.

http://suddendebt.blogspot.gr/2010/03/greek-experiment.html

You will notice this was written in 2010 too - same old story, different year.  Has anyone seen any significant changes?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1016 - 03. Dec 2012 at 23:55
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I do recall the Wilson devaluation. Remember the speech about "The pound in your pocket" and how it would be worth the same. I also recall Wilson's "white hot industrial revolution" and how it would transform manufacturing industry. What a disaster these policies were for the UK. Wilson set the ball rolling by taking the easy option, Callaghan (can't spell his name0 followed. Heath was another idiot. Manufacturing sadly declined and declined with the continued depreciation of the pound in those days doing little, if anything, to avert it.

Only Thatcher had the balls to stand up to the Unions. Yes, manufacturing industry declined further, but at least she put in place the structural reforms that led to the 90s and early 2000s growth. Unfortunately, Blair made a mess of it all and manufacturing industry declined under him and Brown even more than Thatcher.

The truth is that you cannot successfully devalue your way out of a mess. History, not just in the UK, has shown these quick fixes to fail lamentably time again. To create lasting wealth, businesses need to be built on solid foundations of innovation, efficiency and other sustainable advantages.

We will clearly have to agree to disagree.

Nevertheless, at least for now, the situation is that Greece is in the euro. Whilst ever that is the case it needs to make the required reforms to enable businesses to succeed, which is clearly requiring signficant sacrifice and will continue to do so.

I see now for the first time Merkel has acknowledged that some more of Greece's debt will need to be written off, but only when it has acheived a budget surplus - just as I have been saying. Eventually it will be a whole stack of money. It will not be until after the German elections next year, but after that expect the Irish, Portuguese etc to join the haircut party.

I also see that Greece has put in place its bond buyback programme. I believe the expected discount is 67% ie the government will pay 33 cents on the dollar. The biggest losers are going to be the Greek bank who will make losses of about $4bn. This will deplete their capital and in a world of fractional reserve banking this means that loans to industry, commerce and individuals will take a very substantially greater hit.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1015 - 03. Dec 2012 at 17:27
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Taxi drivers!  Same the world over!  I suppose we'd all be the same.

Anyway, good news, no more bureaucracy.

See this  http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_03/12/2012_472659

Loved the last line!!!
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1014 - 03. Dec 2012 at 17:15
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Taxi drivers although a great source of information, often in conversation tell you what they think you want to hear Wink
I had my family from the UK staying here with their friends from Germany.
they both had the same taxi driver on their respective journeys back to the airport, to the Brits he was bemoaning the Germans, and to the Germans he was moaning about the Brits.
the last paragraph of this article sums it up nicely

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_01/12/2012_472533
« Last Edit: 03. Dec 2012 at 17:19 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1013 - 03. Dec 2012 at 15:45
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I wonder if people like Mele's taxi driver really believe what they say?  Surely no-one actually believes Greece can carry on as before.

I've heard many similar comments from Greeks, but always with tongue firmly in cheek.  Most of them are resorting to black humour since they despair of any sensible ideas from Greek politicians or the troika........

Not many years ago, people would seriously and passionately debate Greek politics.  Now all I hear is contempt and cynicism.  I don't think any Greeks outside the ruling class believe in their leaders any more.

A sad state of affairs.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1012 - 03. Dec 2012 at 15:26
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Oh how right you are and until this mentality is changed, then nothing will change.  I was sympathising with a taxi driver the other week from the airport about how the government do not appear to listen to all the demonstrations and how dire it all is and he laughed and said Oh, its ok, the EU will give us more money and then we will carry on as we always do.  Mmm, werent these the drivers who were setting fire to tyres in the airport roads last year in Heraklion?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1011 - 03. Dec 2012 at 11:47
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I flew out of Chania this morning, the quietest I've seen the airport in years. I'm now in Athens airport and it too is very quiet, even though its out of season.

Andrew makes a good point about the Euro being a Northern European currency.

It's like a couple of millionaires (France & Germany) going to dinner with two of  their country cousins (Greece and Spain) and deciding they want to eat at one of the more expensive restaurants in town.  The two cousins know they can't afford it but they hope their rich 'family' will pick up the tab, just like they always have over the last ten years.  They dine very well, the bill arrives but this time the two millionaires suggest the four of them split it equally.  They put cash on the table, their share of the bill, but the country cousins are broke and so they proffer their respective credit cards.  An embarrassed waiter returns and tells both country cousins their cards are maxed out and the credit card company has told him to cut the cards up and return them.

For the last ten years Greece has lived above its means.  It's now broke, in fact worse than broke because it owes €400 billion to its rich cousins.

The sooner it defaults and stops pretending it can dine out with its rich cousins, the better it will be for everyone here.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1010 - 03. Dec 2012 at 09:37
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garrigue wrote on 02. Dec 2012 at 23:30:
Hi YoMo, my presumption is that Greece will not leave the euro and so there will be no devaluation. In this scenario Greece will need to grow genuinely internationally competitive industries and services.


Of course if Greece does not leave the euro, there will be no devaluation.  Nothing changes.  We continue with no growth and a plummeting GDP and increasing debt burden.  How would we suddenly start growing internationally competitive industries?

And why do you say a devaluation would bring a drop in income?  Incomes are just denominated differently.  Devaluation, in itself makes no difference.

If you are saying that real incomes would drop because of higher prices of imports, yes, that's where we came in.  That would force people to stop buying imports and give Greek businesses a chance.  That's one of the reasons why leaving the euro would be a good thing. It's not, as you suggest, a bad consequence.  It's a desired effect for a long term benefit.

Personally I would rather give it a try than take such a negative attitude as yours.  There is no way that Greece can ever make progress while it is tethered to the stronger northern European economies within the euro.  That is the great flaw of the euro.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1009 - 03. Dec 2012 at 08:09
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garrigue,

garrigue wrote on 02. Dec 2012 at 23:30:
In my view it is best to face the music now and build genuinely competitive services and industries within the stable currency, low inflation eurozone framework.


Do you really think Greece has a low inflation stable framework at the moment?  If so, then we must be living in a parallel universe!

GDP has sunk by over 25%, unemployment is rampant and inflation is well above the EU norm.  Over the last four years we have seen fuel costs almost double - due in part to a hike in Government taxes - imported goods are rising at an inordinate rate and the majority of people have seen a real term drop in there incomes by 30%.

If that's not inflationary, then I don't know what is!

By any definition, this country is broke and if it was a company the doors would have been closed and padlocked several years ago.

Both private and State investors have been asked to take a 'haircut' on previous loans and will be asked / told to do so again sometime over the next six months.  This being the case, who in their right mind is going to lend future monies to Greece whether in or out of the Euro?

The returning Drachma would be de valued and imports would be far more expensive but goods produced here in Greece would be priced in Drachmas and therefore if not affordable will not sell, so the onus would be to produce local goods at prices the locals could afford.  If not, why bother producing them in the first place?

The fact that the Drachma would be a de valued currency would mean labour costs here would be relatively cheap and therefore having a "China" i.e. low cost labour producer within the EU might attract some of the larger companies to produce their goods here for export.

Remain in the Euro and there is little chance of paying off the debt, little chance of turning around the cliff like fall in GDP and worst still Greece would be for ever dependent on further EU loans just to service the interest on current debt, pay pensions, unemployment benefits etc.

Harold Wilson de valued sterling in the sixties, George W. Bush devalued the dollar eight years ago - it's not such a bad thing in the short term!!

Jon 
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1008 - 02. Dec 2012 at 23:30
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Hi YoMo, my presumption is that Greece will not leave the euro and so there will be no devaluation. In this scenario Greece will need to grow genuinely internationally competitive industries and services.

If Greece does leave the euro there would be a very temporary labour cost advantage that would quite quickly (2 to maybe 4 years) be eroded by rampant inflation. I cannot see the Greeks accepting massive cuts in income (drachma devaluation) or, put another way, massive rises in their living costs (due imported costs rising due to devaluation). They would surely demand and need, unless they starve, much higher wages because of the extent of drachma devaluation.

The low cost industries you speak of would take years to develop so as to replace imports.  Even that would only be if businessmen have the confidence to invest for fear of unknown high inflation and potentially unfriendly business environment. Also would lenders be prepared to lend Greece the money! There is not much chance of that after a default. The other question that must be asked is whether these industries would even then be competitive. They would in many cases be quite inefficient due to being sub-scale and maybe no cheaper despite lower labour costs - which could only be maintained by further devaluation to offset the rampant inflation.

In my view it is best to face the music now and build genuinely competitive services and industries within the stable currency, low inflation eurozone framework.

  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1007 - 02. Dec 2012 at 21:17
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Garrigue, there is a major fallacy in your thinking.  There is no similarity between Buy British and what is being suggested here.

After leaving the euro and devaluing all the cheapest items would be home-produced, by definition.  You would not need to legislate to force people to Buy Greek, the rising cost of imports would automatically produce the desired effect.

In any case, buying Greek is not an end in itself.  The whole economy needs sorting out, with all the structural problems as a first priority.  We only got into a debate about buying Greek products because people have been using the inevitable rise in the cost of imports as a reason for not returning to the drachma.

Which I am trying to show is a red herring, since you CAN replace so many imported goods with Greek IF YOU HAVE TO.  (Not shouting)  Smiley

Andrew
« Last Edit: 02. Dec 2012 at 21:17 by YoMo2 »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1006 - 02. Dec 2012 at 19:38
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YoMo2 I am very sympathetic to the intentions behind what you are saying. I just do not think it is very realisitic. I recall years ago the Buy British campaign. It was a failure because people were free to buy what they wanted. Generally, people buy the best and the cheapest. Given the average Greek family's difficult financial circumstances I can't see this changing short of statute forcing local purchases - which is not allowed under EU law.

As I said, Greece needs to develop scale industries in areas in which it has natural advantages. Tourism is one and I still regard agriculture as another.

The tourism issue is inevitably a trade off between how much development and wealth generation. It's one for the Greek's to decide, but if they want to maintain (or improve) their living standards then it seems to me that the barriers need to be removed.

I don't have the statistics, but I recall two or three years ago a guy who owns one of the garden centres near Chania telling me that far too much land was out of production because it was far too fragmented to be profitable. He thought the inheritance laws needed to change and ways found to consolidate land. He said (I don't know if he still does) he bought his plants (but probably not them all) from Sicily!

My guess is that there is still far, far too much red tape and protectionism in Greece to enable entrepreneurs to succeed. It was one of the Eurozone/IMF's first demands that whole swaths of Greek industry and commerce be de-regulated ie cosy protectionism removed. Remember the lorry drivers issue.

I am optimistic that Greece can develop other long-term scale industries, but this will only happen if the conditions permit it. Business people and particularly innovators need to be set free and allowed to leverage off the advantages that Greece has, including a highly educated workforce.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1005 - 02. Dec 2012 at 18:01
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Crete's Tourism on the Rebound:

Population:  630,000
Area: 8336 sq km
GDP: €9.167 billion
GDP per capita: €23,500
Number of visitors: 2.8 million
Number of olive trees: 30 million

"In 2011, after a couple of meagre years, locals breathed a collective sigh of relief when tourism was up by 15%.  As a key engine of the Cretan economy, tourism generates some 40% of its output and accounts for at least one in five jobs. Though welcome, the uptick did not mean that Crete was out of the woods, especially since visitors were largely lured by lower or stagnant prices."

Source: ©Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1004 - 02. Dec 2012 at 16:38
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There's tourism and there's tourism.....
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1003 - 02. Dec 2012 at 16:36
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garrigue wrote on 02. Dec 2012 at 00:07:
Greece needs to develop scale industries where it has natural advantages. Tourism and agriculture are two and they are under exploited. 


Agreed, but how can you develop the tourist industry when some vested interests campaign against it by organising petitions to stop it? (Petitions which were signed by many members of this forum. e.g the Cape Sidero development)


  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1002 - 02. Dec 2012 at 15:16
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1001 - 02. Dec 2012 at 14:25
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garrigue wrote on 02. Dec 2012 at 00:07:
For example, for agriculture to grow, farms need to be substantially larger to benefit from scale economies and new methods. This requires consolidation of land.

You could say the same about France ie. why do you think the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is almost 50% of the EU's total annual budget and why does the highest percentage go to the French?  The French take €10.25 billion (2009) in CAP subsidies which is almost 25% of the total budget. 

The Greeks already get €3 billion a year in CAP subsidies.

The reason they can't produce much more is down to the quality of land here i.e.

"Greece's agricultural sector suffers from a lack of many natural resources. Approximately 70 percent of the land cannot be cultivated because of poor soil or because it is covered by forests. Agriculture is centreed in the plains of Thessaly, Macedonia, and Thrace, where corn, wheat, barley, sugar beets, cotton, and tobacco are harvested. Greece's low rainfall, its rural land ownership system, and the emigration of the rural community into urban areas or abroad are factors that hold back the growth of the agricultural sector"

www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Europe/Greece-AGRICULTURE.html#ixzz2Dtbv64...

As for penknives and leather bags, it was simply an example of how you can produce local goods using local materials to sell to the 2 million or so tourists who come to Crete each year.  Why sell tourists the same 'tat' they can buy in any other country (mostly imported from China) when you can sell them something different which is produced locally?

Tourism may be 18% of Greece's total GDP but I'd bet it's a far higher percentage of Crete's GDP.

Jon
« Last Edit: 02. Dec 2012 at 14:26 by Topdriller »  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #1000 - 02. Dec 2012 at 09:38
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Garrigue, you do interpret everything rather too literally don't you?  Maybe it is deliberate to get a debate going or maybe you are just obtuse?

No-one is recommending going back to the land, nor that a growth strategy for Greece would be based on making penknives or leather bags, although those businesses could well provide a living for someone.

Let's say we stop buying imported fridges.  No need to drink warm beer, buy a Pitsos fridge, made in Athens, support Greek jobs.  And while we're talking about beer, why buy Heineken or Stella, when you can buy Alpha or Fix or Amstel.  Yes, you can split hairs and say that some of the profits from at least one of those brands go overseas, but they are produced here.  Greek jobs.  You get my point.

Greek factories produce lorries.  Why could they not, in time, produce cars. 

But you would not start there.  Start with the easy wins. 
1. Stop buying imported brands where there is a local one.
2. Resurrect industries that existed but were killed off by imports.
3. Look for new businesses that could take advantage of local resources and technologies that did not exist before the euro.

And don't believe the politicians telling us what a disaster it would all be.  They have their own agenda.

Let's try it.  Clearly the current approach isn't working.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #999 - 02. Dec 2012 at 00:07
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Whilst I personally would not recommend going back to the land I suspect that strategy would be a lot more successful (that is to say it would be much less of a disaster) than going back to basics if that means making leather bags and penknifes. The problem with forgetting about buying imported cars, fridges and TVs is that you would have to walk home, drink warm beer and contemplate your navel for the rest of the evening. Come on guys how realistic is this.

I am not surprised that boutique type shops are closing. With tourism substantially down there is less demand from visitors and the Cretans are probably saving up for the possibility of tax payments - a novel experience. I was shocked two of summers ago in Rethimno when I saw a Timberland shop selling kit (I love their shoes) at prices I would not pay in the UK. There were several other up market boutiques in that parade and it was well away from the harbour area. How can Cretans afford that kind of stuff? One other thing worthy of note is that in the UK approximately 20% of unit shops are vacant.

Greece needs to develop scale industries where it has natural advantages. Tourism and agriculture are two and they are under exploited. However, both need substantial changes in the law before they can flouish. For example, for agriculture to grow, farms need to be substantially larger to benefit from scale economies and new methods. This requires consolidation of land.

The high level of bureaucracy clearly hinders growth. You don't seem to be able to do much more than breath without a permit. However, I guess all this regulation is necessary to preserve employment levels in government and may well be the reason government are afraid of dismantling it.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #998 - 01. Dec 2012 at 13:55
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Yup.

The whole back to basics thing has been so underplayed.  It's not, as someone misunderstood some days ago, about going back to the land.  It's Greeks looking again at all the ways in which money can be made using local resources.  And ignoring all the soft options involving imports and overseas investment until the country has returned to growth.

And let's not forget the immediate benefits we'd get in the tourism and property sectors from returning to a devalued drachma.

The thing is, why do I get the feeling that no Greek politician is giving any thought  at all to any of this?  Surely there is a viable strategy here that someone should be putting to the voters.

Or is there just too much knee-jerk opposition to the thought of leaving the wonderful euro?

Andrew

PS.  Well done Platanias!!
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #997 - 01. Dec 2012 at 13:17
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Andrew,

Last Sunday I was wandering around Chania, looking for somewhere to eat having watched Platanias soundly beat Panathinaikos (2-1) in the Super League.  (Small stadium with excellent facilities, great pitch and, when all said and done, a good game and result to boot.)

After eating an excellent meal including starters, main course, two litres of wine, four beers, three bottles of Raki, three different deserts etc. (all for €14 per head - there were five of us) we went down to the harbour area.  What struck me is how many of the boutique type shops have now gone i.e. the shops were boarded up and not just closed for the winter.  It looked like every third shop had gone out of business at the back side of the Agora.

I only mention this because it shows, even with the Euro as legal tender, you can't make a living if the punters haven't the funds to spend in your shop!

An Indian born acquaintance of mine owns a shop in Agia Marina and a restaurant in Platanias.  (As far as I know, it's the only Indian restaurant on this side of the island.)  Lloyd has lived here all his life, is married to a Cretan lady and last winter decided to forget buying in imported goods for his shop and instead returned to his first trade i.e. producing leather bags, belts, wallets etc. 

And this, in a microcosm, is what Greece as a whole needs to do i.e. people have to forget about importing German, Chinese and US made goods and instead get back to producing things for themselves.  Lloyd uses Greek tanned leather and during the winter months worked each and every day producing hand made goods to sell on to the tourists.

Last week I was given a beautiful pen knife - made right here in Chania - with a polished olive wood handle engraved with Cretan motifs.  The blade was also hand made in Chania and it too was engraved with my name on one side, a Cretan proverb on the other. 

A few days ago I met the Athens based owner of a family run company (established by his late father in early sixties) which produces and engraves glass ware etc. for both the local and the export market.  Again, this company would continue to prosper if Greece returned to the Drachma.  www.sptableware.gr

And yes, it would be harder to buy imported cars, fridges, TVs etc but in truth it's going to be equally hard to buy these goods even if the country remains with the Euro as their currency.  The crippling taxes the Coalition Government are imposing on its people will continue to bite into their disposable income and with GDP continuing to plummet every quarter, unemployment continuing to rise and the debt growing every month the only option they have (as we've discussed for months now) if they want to turn the country around is to default and return to the Drachma - painful though that will be in the short term.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #996 - 01. Dec 2012 at 13:10
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Here is the link to that article. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15452180

Interesting quote from the article:  "Default accomplishes this quickly, and imposes the losses on those who made the gains when times were good. That is the right outcome."

Makes sense to me.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #995 - 01. Dec 2012 at 12:55
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Have a look what Jeffrey Miron says on the matter, senior lecturer in economics at Harvard.

             Google Jeffrey Miron BBC News
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #994 - 01. Dec 2012 at 12:40
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Jon and Andrew,

I agree. Greece should default and start again. Whatever the debt is reduced to, it will remain at a level the Greek economy cannot service.  The best Xmas present the Greek government could give young Greeks is to raise 2 fingers to Brussels. Loading future generations with debt is unsustainable.

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #993 - 01. Dec 2012 at 11:55
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Jon, I agree with you, but I think it's more of a political issue than anything else.  The size of the problem is not really the issue.  Whatever the Germans think of Greece, I don't think Merkel would ever throw them out of the euro, (if indeed that is technically possible even).  Just because of what that would mean for her USE dream.

I do think Greece should default and leave however, as I have said in many previous posts.  We seem to be the only two of this opinion!!

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #992 - 01. Dec 2012 at 11:22
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If you read the German media you'll see that the Germans are a) sick and tired of the Greek situation and b) don't understand the Greek mentality.

The Greek "hand" was a lot stronger a few years back but since then a large number of European banks have received State / EU monies to help them recapitalise.  Perhaps more importantly, the Spanish situation is far more worrying for Germany and the EU in general i.e. Greece only represents 4% of the collective EU GDP.

The large financial companies e.g. Schroeders are still expecting a Greek default and exit (now known as a Grexit) although they now admit the chances have receded in the  short term but they still believe (and are telling their clients) it may well happen towards the end of 2013.

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #991 - 01. Dec 2012 at 09:07
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Topdriller wrote on 28. Nov 2012 at 16:26:
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt believes the reason Greece has not been thrown out of the Euro (yet) is because Merkel has a General Election next year.


I don't think Greece will ever be thrown out.  Too many people are making too much money out of Greece's problems, and more importantly, Merkel does not want anything to threaten her cherished vision of a USE run by the Germans.

For that to happen they need the euro to continue as is, more integration, more centralisation and more federal powers.

Personally, I don't think Samaras or any of his predecessors realise what a strong hand they have in the poker game. They keep folding when they should be calling......

Andrew
« Last Edit: 01. Dec 2012 at 09:09 by YoMo2 »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #990 - 30. Nov 2012 at 18:27
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It's just a game of numbers for the money men.  It looks like the good news Samaras came home with is not quite as good as first thought.

"On Wednesday, the Greek government announced that it would seek to carry out a buyback next week.

How much of its debts Greece actually manages to cancel depends entirely on the price it can buy the debts back at.

For example, Greece's existing 10-year bond is currently traded in financial markets at a price of 35% of the amount owed. If Greece could buy the bond at this price, it would be able to cancel the other 65% of the money it owed under the bond.

If however Greece is forced to pay a much higher price for its debts, then the amount it could cancel would be commensurately lower.

In that case, the IMF may deem the government incapable of reducing its debts to a sustainable level, and therefore refuse to endorse the deal it reached with eurozone lenders, unless some other way could be found of reducing the Greek government's debt burden."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20546990

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #989 - 28. Nov 2012 at 16:45
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it seems her popularity is high, so why the concern? the Germans would probably welcome any resolve to the problems of Greece

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germans-support-merkel-amid-doubts-a...

  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #988 - 28. Nov 2012 at 16:26
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20508071

The BBC's Gavin Hewitt believes the reason Greece has not been thrown out of the Euro (yet) is because Merkel has a General Election next year.

How interesting is that i.e. one woman & one election a thousand miles away decides the fate of 11m people struggling to make ends meet.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #987 - 28. Nov 2012 at 15:18
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andrew wrote

"Some great performances from Nigel Farage on YouTube!!"

however this is better and funnier Wink

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/oh-how-fun-to-see-the-wheels-come-of...
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #986 - 27. Nov 2012 at 21:09
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #985 - 27. Nov 2012 at 12:10
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1) Introduce automatic non-cancellable fines of 100% per annum for any tax not paid on time.

They already have fines for non payment of tax and the Greeks view these with the same disdain they view tax payments.

2) Automatic prison sentences for anyone convicted of tax evansion of more than €100,000 starting at 6 months actual term and increasing depending on the amount.

Where will you get the monies to build and staff the new prisons to hold the thousands of people this new rule would snag?


3) Introduce electronic tax records to assist detection of fraud.

Again, where will you find the money to put in the new software and hardware to do this and what makes you think the Greeks would be any better than the Brits at introducing country wide software?  The NHS tried it with patient records and had to write off something like £12 Billion.

4) Immediately dimiss any employee of the various tax authorities who is judged to have been involved in fraud - OK I know this is probably quite a few, but think of the employment cost savings. Where proven, send them automatically to prison.

More people going to prisons then?  And what if you'd had your salary reduced in the last two years by over 30% how would you incentivise tax collectors?  They're reputed to be paying them commission payments now which means they'll do anything - legal or otherwise - to boost their own pay.  Not exactly the best way to collect taxes!

5) Introduce incentives to report tax evaders. Payments will depend on level of tax recovery. The idea is a bit like those guys from banks who provided lists of various people.

Yep, like the Athens based journalist who printed the Legarde List of top Greek tax evaders and was immediately taken to court by the very people he blew the whistle on!

6) Change the legal system to substantially simplify tax cases and require them to be determined within 6 months.

A good idea but not one the Greek Government seems keen to do.

7) Subcontract tax collection on a commission basis to accountancy firms. This would probably leave the government flooded with takers.

Would that be the same accountancy firms who currently consort with their clients to evade taxes?

Remember, there are 11 million people in Greece and probably only half of those are of working age.  There is only so much blood you can squeeze out of a rock and even if every single working person paid their taxes they could still not make a dent in the burgeoning interest payments, never mind the loans themselves.

The only way for Greece to get back on it's feet is to default on all loans and interest payments, return to the Drachma and try and rebuild their country one step at a time.

Think of Leeds United.  They borrowed money like there was no tomorrow and managed to get into the European Championships i.e. the top table of European football.  Greece did the same thing and just like Leeds United all they did was build a house of cards which was bound to come tumbling down when their revenues, inflated wages, high costs could not be sustained or repaid.  Leeds was relegated to the lower divisions and after years of struggling has begun to rebuild itself and is now in the Championship League i.e. one below the Premier League.  It has been difficult but by restructuring and watching every penny they have begun to rebuild their club on a sound and sustainable financial model.

Stay in the Euro and try and pay off the debt - which everyone knows is not possible - and in another two years Greece will owe even more than they do today, their unemployment levels will be higher and because of this the taxes they pull in will be lower than today, as will their GDP.

It just doesn't make economic sense to keep the Euro.

Jon


« Last Edit: 27. Nov 2012 at 12:25 by Topdriller »  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #984 - 27. Nov 2012 at 11:39
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would you apply those same rules in the UK?  Cool

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/series/offshore-secrets
« Last Edit: 27. Nov 2012 at 11:41 by latsida »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #983 - 27. Nov 2012 at 00:45
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Hi Topdriller, one thing they could do is get serious about tax collection. There are billions owing that are begging to be collected. I have the impression they are toying with the matter. There are too many vested interests.

Here are a few ideas:
1) Introduce automatic non-cancellable fines of 100% per annum for any tax not paid on time.
2) Automatic prison sentences for anyone convicted of tax evansion of more than €100,000 starting at 6 months actual term and increasing depending on the amount.
3) Introduce electronic tax records to assist detection of fraud.
4) Immediately dimiss any employee of the various tax authorities who is judged to have been involved in fraud - OK I know this is probably quite a few, but think of the employment cost savings. Where proven, send them automatically to prison.
5) Introduce incentives to report tax evaders. Payments will depend on level of tax recovery. The idea is a bit like those guys from banks who provided lists of various people.
6) Change the legal system to substantially simplify tax cases and require them to be determined within 6 months. 
7) Subcontract tax collection on a commission basis to accountancy firms. This would probably leave the government flooded with takers.

It's time to forget about politics and pride and get on with the job of mending the country and looking after its long term interests - particularly the future of the young.

At the end of the day Greece needs to get its house in order. If it does that and sticks with it there will be a basis for a negotiated debt forgiveness in due course. 190% debt to GDP is too high and everyone knows that. Right now further foregiveness cannot be sold to the German, Dutch etc electorates, ie those footing the bill.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #982 - 26. Nov 2012 at 19:33
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The workers are on dangerous ground. For every one of them, there's twenty willing to take the job and probably for less money. I don't know how it works in Xaniá but in Georgioupolis area they are on an 8 month contract, which is pretty well guaranteed not to be renewed because they have so many on the waiting list for jobs.

  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #981 - 26. Nov 2012 at 18:09
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Integration in the US is still not right and that's after several hundred years.  Ask a Texan whether he's American first, Texan second and he'll wonder if you're mad.

If anyone is wondering why the garbage has been piling up over the last week (at least in the Chania area) it's because the Demos told the garbage collectors they were going to arbitrarily cut the work force by 33%.  Not unexpectedly, they all came out on strike and the result is a stinking, putrifying mountain of waste piling up around every metal bin across the region.

You have to feel sorry for the people who have metal bins outside their front door because the smell, cats, rats, health risk is growing daily.

You also have to feel sorry for the garbage collectors who eventually go back to work and have to clean up this mess.

It will be interesting to see what kind of fudge / compromise / climbdown the Demos comes up with because, and if you think about it, the mess piling up on our streets is a direct analogy for the mess Greece now finds itself in.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #980 - 26. Nov 2012 at 10:35
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And who do you think will boss the United States of Europe?

In practice integration will probably turn out to be domination.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #979 - 26. Nov 2012 at 10:19
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Further EU integration - California didn't cause an international when it went bankrupt. Maybe because the other states weren't making billions on the interest payments?

Not saying it will happen or should happen but there isn't any other answer I can think of without long term chaos.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #978 - 26. Nov 2012 at 00:08
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So, please explain how Greece will pay off the interest on their current loans, never mind the loans themselves, when their GDP has already dropped by over 25% in four years, unemployment is 25%+ and rising, they can't cover their basic infrastructure costs and the only way they can meet their existing interest loan commitments is to beg / borrow more monies?

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #977 - 25. Nov 2012 at 23:12
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Quite a few commented in the past that Greece should follow Argentina's example because of the apparent success of their default.

I see this week that there was a massivive $1.3 bn court judgement against them in the US. This was in relation to bond holders who did not accept a compromise deal, ie the court ruled they should get the whole lot back. The ruling also required Argentina to pay those who did accept the deal - at the reduced sum I believe. The problem is that unless Argentina pays the whole lot, ie both the $1.3 bn and the sums due to the accepting bondholders, it will be judged to have defaulted again on its debts. So after 10 years (or something like that) they are still in dire trouble. They are still very largely locked out of the internatonal debt markets.

I see also that currently in this global world of low inflation the inflation rate in Argentina is 25% pa! In the same article I was reminded that earlier this year Argentina sequestrated its largest oil company from its Spanish owner for, apparently, not investing enough! The Spaniards did not get a cent.

I guess the trouble with reneging on your commitments, whoever you are, individual, corporation or country, is where does it stop and where does it lead you to. In Argentina's case it looks like continued misery. In Greece's case I think it would likely be a whole lot worse.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #976 - 24. Nov 2012 at 09:32
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I think if Ilived in the UK I might well vote for the UKIP to try to produce a wakeup call to UK mainstream politicians.

Some great performances from Nigel Farage on YouTube!!

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #975 - 23. Nov 2012 at 21:26
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stavros wrote on 23. Nov 2012 at 19:54:
Nigel Farage is 100% correct. The EU is a hopelessly inefficient, wasteful, and at times corrupt organization. During the last 18 years, its accounts have never been signed off.

At times corrupt...?

You're too generous, Stavros!!

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #974 - 23. Nov 2012 at 19:54
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Jon,

Nigel Farage is 100% correct. The EU is a hopelessly inefficient, wasteful, and at times corrupt organization. During the last 18 years, its accounts have never been signed off.

Stavros.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #973 - 23. Nov 2012 at 19:35
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The EU leaders have failed to reach agreement on a new seven year budget - now there's a surprise.

The biggest net contributors i.e. the countries who pay in more monies than they get out (UK, France, Germany and Italy) made the argument that they can't 'sell' austerity cuts to their own people while at the same time increasing the European budget by 4.8% per year.

Not surprisingly, the countries that pay in less than they get out - just about everyone else, including Spain, all voted yes to a 4.8% per year budget increase.

Once again, the EU has kicked the discussions into the long grass and will meet again in the New Year to see if they can work out a compromise.

I'm at a loss as to why we remain net contributing members of the EU when basically this means UK taxpayer's money is subsidising the inefficiencies of French agriculture, the largesse of Greek politicians who over the years have used EU monies to buy votes etc.

What happened to the block of like minded European countries who simply wanted to set up a free trade agreement between participating nations?  Wasn't that the original thought behind the 'Common Market'?

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, had circulated a revised proposal for the new budget at the start of the two-day summit and said he believed a compromise was possible.  He had tinkered with some of the monies going to CAP as well as the poorer countries but, unsurprisingly, made no cuts to the burgeoning and increasingly wasteful administration part of the budget i.e. the 30,000+ high paid EU civil services.

The more I read, the more I think Nigel Farage has a valid point re the self-serving, unelected people at the heart of Europe.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #972 - 21. Nov 2012 at 11:23
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Yeah, I reckon those figures look about right.

So really,the politicians are just living in some sort of dream world.  Or they know exactly what will happen but don't have the balls to face up to it.

Hmmm, I wonder which one of those is true.  Either way, I'm worried.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #971 - 21. Nov 2012 at 11:09
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12 hours of talks last night yet EU finance ministers still fail to grasp the nettle re Greece.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20421246

"The eurozone finance ministers have been considering ways of reducing Greece's public debt, which is projected to rise to 189% of gross domestic product, GDP, by next year.

The country's bailout programme aims to get debt down to 120% of GDP by 2020.

"The Eurogroup has had an extensive discussion and made progress in identifying a consistent package of credible initiatives aimed at making a further substantial contribution to the sustainability of Greek government debt," Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.

There has been disagreement among the ministers and the International Monetary Fund, Greece's other bailout creditor, on how to make the country's debt manageable.

Schroders economist Virginie Maisonneuve: "Clearly we'll have more negotiation"

The eurozone ministers favour giving Greece an extra two years, to 2022, to bring its debt to 120% of GDP, but the IMF has resisted that extension."


Let's say that Greek debt is €400 billion and that the interest on the total loans overall is a modest 5%.  If the EU gives Greece a two year extension on their existing loans then the interest due - just for those two extended years - could amount to an additional €40 billion.

Greece's current GDP per capita was estimated in 2010 at €18,961.  Over the last two years GDP has fallen by nearly 10% so the per capita figure today is probably closer to €17,065 i.e. 11 million people x €17,065 = the country's GDP figure for 2012.

€40 billion divided by 11 million people = €364 each person will have to find (or earn for the country) simply to pay off the additional interest should the EU grant Greece a two year extension on repaying their debt.

And since the people can't possibly find an extra €364 each this means Greece will have to borrow more money from the EU simply to pay the interest on the 2 year extension which will incur further interest payments.

And remember, the interest is compounded so before we even reach the proposed two year extension in 2020 Greece will be paying interest on interest for the next eight years.  Of course, the EU also expect Greece to have paid off 33% of the total debt by 2022 which means most Greeks will have starved to death by the time the extension comes into play!

The joys of being in the Euro Zone just keep on coming!

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #970 - 20. Nov 2012 at 18:43
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garrigue wrote on 19. Nov 2012 at 23:28:
Opinion poll after opinion poll during the election consistently showed a large majority of Greeks wanting to stay in the EU and eurozone. I guess they don't say that sort of thing for entirely no reason.


That's fine, but to stay in the Euro you need to not only read but also obey the rules that come with using a multi country currency.  The only reason the Greeks think the Euro is good for them is because their so called leaders have not obeyed any of the rules and have in fact consistently flouted them at every twist and turn.

So, if they wish to remain in the Euro every strata of Greek society has to make, accept and put through the austerity cuts - and not just for a month but for a generation - to bring their debt down to manageable levels.

Poll the Greek people tomorrow on the present austerity cuts, never mind the future cuts in the pipeline, and I'd bet even more would say enough is enough - we cant take any more. 

We therefore have a conundrum i.e. the Greeks like the Euro because for the past ten years it has been akin to using an open ended credit card belonging to someone else.  Now, they have to repay the debt and interest on that same credit card and if they want to remain within the Euro Zone they will have to obey all the rules going forward.

What's more, and even if Greece remains within the Euro Zone, who in their right mind - apart (perhaps) from the ECB - is going to lend them future money when lenders have already taken a haircut and no doubt will take a further haircut over the coming months?

garrigue wrote on 19. Nov 2012 at 23:28:
Also, if Greece defaults I doubt anyone would be rushing to build factories in Greece no matter the cost of labour being cheap. Most businesses looking at overseees expansion want first and foremost be sure their investment is safe. Nobody would lend Greece anything. It would be completely devoid of the capital needed to invest in expanding its industries.


If this is true, then it stands to reason that no one is going to be rushing in to lend the Greeks money full stop, so what's the benefit of staying with the Euro?  Stay within the Euro and you have no control over your interest rates, no control over prices, no control over VAT rates, no control over anything inside your own borders when it comes to currency.

Bring back the Drachma and you should immediately see a boost in tourism numbers.  Increase tourist numbers and you will need to build more hotels, develop infrastructure e.g. roads to accommodate the increase in numbers and that means local construction jobs and use of local materials.

Bring back the Drachma (at the same time defaulting on all current loans) and most importantly ensure that the reforms already in place are continued at an even quicker pace and you might just have the taxes to cover your annual expenditure.

The reason Greece's GDP has gone into free fall is because they haven't yet fully addressed their ongoing costs, Union militarism, closed shops etc. whilst at the same time their unemployment levels have soared.  This has had two knock on effects i.e. far higher unemployment benefits and a drop in taxes collected because 25%+ of the available work force is out of work.

How on earth do you expect the Greek economy to recover with all of the above + the huge and unsustainable debt they are paying off each quarter with yet further loans from the EU?

It's time to bite the bullet, time for Greece to stand on it's own two feet, time for it to smell, rather than just drink, the coffee!

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #969 - 20. Nov 2012 at 14:35
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Garrigue, you are ignoring the facts.  Until relatively recently Greece's debt to GDP ratio was not much worse than the other south European countries.  Top end of the scale admittedly, but not way out of line.  Then when it started to get out of line and the speculators started to circle, the EU failed to take a grip and just kicked the can down the road.  It was the EU that failed time and time again to grasp the nettle in the early days, making the situation worse every year.  And far from saying enough is enough they have just agreed to another two year extension for meeting the debt ratio target.  Most of the debt Greece now has is as a result of bailout loans.  And lets not forget that all these loans are making money for EU governments and institutions.  I think 85 or 90% of each bailout goes back to these people as repayments.  So where is the benefit?

Another point.  Personal borrowing in Greece at the start of the recession was much lower than in most EU countries, certainly massively lower than in the UK.  The borrowing was done by the government; unwisely for sure, but watched and sanctioned by the Eurocrats.  This problem was obvious and predictable from the beginning of the euro. 

We can debate how and where the money went for hours.  The only issue is what do we do now.  We can carry on fudging as we have for the last 5 years, which is what you seem to be suggesting.  Or we can cut to the core of the problem and resolve it finally.  Countries like Greece have no sustainable future in the eurozone because they are so ill-matched with the north European economies.   

Whether or not the Greek voters want to stay in the euro or leave is a total red herring.  The only question is what is the correct course of action.  Most voters do not have sufficient understanding of the issues to make that decision.  That's what we pay our politicians for.  (Hollow laughter).  Of course the chances of the politicians taking a correct decision for the long term good of the country as opposed to taking decisions that keep them in power are minimal.  Pretty much as in any other country......

I don't think anyone is suggesting going back to the land.  What is being suggested is that the country regains control of it's own destiny, and rebuilds it's economy without being bled dry by European banks and institutions.  Much of this can be done by developing domestic industries.  Obviously raising capital outside the country will be a problem, but overseas investors looking to start up businesses will also come after a settling down period.  They just need to see opportunities.  They will not care about the default, they raise their own money outside Greece. 

Another sector that would benefit from a return to the drachma is property/construction.  Once things settle down overseas buyers of property will flood back to Greece since property will be much cheaper in their own currencies against a devalued drachma.

Default and leaving the euro will be painful.  It's debatable how much worse it will be than struggling on as we are.  And it is the only course of action that has a future.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #968 - 19. Nov 2012 at 23:28
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Hi YoMo2, you say "We need to get rid of the debt burden that has been loaded on to us". I beg your pardon, but was it not the Greeks themselves that loaded the debt on themselves! It was after all them that spent the money and already they have had a substantial debt write off. So far its been a bit like borrowing a £100 from a bank at a low interest rate and on top of that getting a £100 cash back! My guess is that eventually Greece will probably pay back about 10p for every pound it has borrowed. I don't think anyone can complain about that. As regards kicking the can down the road, that is what the Greeks have done consistently over many years - nobody wants any change. It is Merkel and Co who are saying enough is enough, now the music stops - fix it now.

YoMo2, how do you justify your comment "And the fact that most Greeks want to stay in the euro means nothing". Opinion poll after opinion poll during the election consistently showed a large majority of Greeks wanting to stay in the EU and eurozone. I guess they don't say that sort of thing for entirely no reason. Perhaps they like the idea of being able to rely on something. I must say I get the impression from you and Topdriller of a going back to the land mentality. It's just not realistic.

I am sure you are right Topdriller that the 18% of Greece's economy that is the Tourist industry will benefit from a move to the drachma. So lets say it grows at 10% pa (very high) for 2 or 3 years (until Greece is full). That might add 5 to 7% to GDP. I don't think it is going to make up for the 20% of GDP lost in the recession so far or the further 20 to 30% that might be lost from a move to the drachma. Also, if Greece defaults I doubt anyone would be rushing to build factories in Greece no matter the cost of labour being cheap. Most businesses looking at overseees expansion want first and foremost be sure their investment is safe. Nobody would lend Greece anything. It would be completely devoid of the capital needed to invest in expanding its industries.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #967 - 19. Nov 2012 at 17:51
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Speaking of the EU and their devious, undemocratic machinations:

On Thursday there is an EU budget meeting.  The Brussels mandarins want the collective countries to vote for a seven year budget which will increase member state contributions by 5% a year.  25 of the 27 member states have already agreed in principal with only the UK and Sweden saying no to the 5% increase.  Cameron has said he will veto the proposals unless the budget remains at present levels i.e. an effective drop in contributions over the next seven years.

The EU mandarins - you know, the guys who have been appointed not elected - have suggested their very well paid lawyers can get around the UK veto by re writing the seven year budget and turning it into seven x 1 year budgets.  By doing this the UK's veto would be null and void because yearly budgets can be passed by a majority of member states.

The fact that their proposal will probably fail, because to make it work they would need a change in the treaty, doesn't hide the fact that the EU mandarins will do almost anything - apart from use democratic means - to get their own way.

Over the weekend a survey suggested that over 60% of the UK electorate would be happy for the UK to leave the EU.

One has to wonder how long it will be before people across Europe finally realise that the EU (once known as the Common Market) has become a self serving undemocratic monster prepared to bend any rule or treaty to get it's own way?

Jon

  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #966 - 19. Nov 2012 at 14:54
There are no actions to perform.
Exactly right, back to basics.  The sooner the better.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #965 - 19. Nov 2012 at 13:14
There are no actions to perform.
It's got to be remembered that the bailout money is not a gift, it too will have to be repaid to the lenders i.e. ECB, IMF etc.

What's more, a large chunk of the bailout money is being used to pay off previous loans, as well as pay for bloated pensions, State salaries etc.

Northern European governments are already baulking at giving Greece any more money which only brings the possibility of a disorganised default closer.

Andrew is correct, a return to the Drachma would immediately stimulate the tourist industry (18% of Greece's overall GDP and a far higher percentage of Crete's GDP).  What's more, a 100% default on all loans would save billions every year in repayments.

More importantly, Greece could no longer import German, French "luxury goods" and if, for example, it wanted chain saws to cut down olive trees they would have to build their own.  Is this such a bad thing?

Something else, the Germans, French etc. would suddenly view Greece as a good place to build a factory and build goods within Europe since their labour costs would be considerably lower once they returned to the Drachma.

The main problem area would be imported fuel for cars and power stations and this would be the primary concern for the first year or two after Greece returned to the Drachma. 

Ask yourself this, do Greeks really need to spend their hard earned cash on imported iphones, ipads, luxury cars, 3D televisions or do they need to get back to basics, rebuild their economy - using only sustainable means - and reform the way they regard income tax?

Jon
« Last Edit: 19. Nov 2012 at 13:15 by Topdriller »  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #964 - 19. Nov 2012 at 11:27
There are no actions to perform.
Quite right about reforms being needed.  But why have the reforms not happened yet?  Because when you can just kick the can down the road and wait for the next fudge there is no incentive.

Leave now and sort it out as soon as.  My view anyway.

Andrew
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #963 - 19. Nov 2012 at 10:15
There are no actions to perform.
If I didn't live here and have some good Greek friends then I would agree 100% with the return to the Drachma - as long as membership of the EU was retained.
But with the current economic and political infrastructure a unilateral default would only 'wipe off' one debt mountain in order to start another! Both because of populist politics and because the cost of essentials [food, fuel, medicines] would soar - and that assumes suppliers would accept a Drachma underpinned by nothing.
Greece is being overwhelmed by its own mistakes but mainly it is happening during the greatest world recession since the 20's and a faltering acceptance that growth based purely on ever increasing discretionary consumer spending is not sustainable.
Greece 'invented' hubris and this is a time when pride must be put aside and the least worst solution has to be accepted. I never liked my employers but had to accept that if I wanted my salary I had to play by their rules [at least until I was sure I could afford to tell them to 'go away' I can survive on my own now  Grin]
If Greece wants to return to the Drachma then start planning for it by implementing the reforms that would allow for a secure future.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #962 - 19. Nov 2012 at 09:17
There are no actions to perform.
Everyone knows exactly what needs to be done, but as usual the game of brinkmanship goes on at the expense of ordinary people who are paying the price.

Nothing that has happened over the past five years has tackled the real issue.  Only made things worse, much worse.

The sooner someone has the balls to accept the inevitable, the sooner we will come out of this mess.

Greece needs to default now, and return to the euro.  To paraphrase Confucius from Topdriller's earlier post.  The right decision is usually the most painful one.  However, it will not be anything like as painful as Samaras and Co would have you believe.  They are just desperate not to become pariahs on the European political scene.  Not interested in what is best for the country.

And the fact that most Greeks want to stay in the euro means nothing.  That is an emotional rather than a rational position, I'm afraid.  Call it fear of the unknown if you like.

Until Greece regains control of its own destiny, things will never get sorted out.  And I say that not just as a reaction against the idiots in Brussels, but also because I believe that the budget will never balance until it is forced to.  We need to get rid of the debt burden that has been loaded on to us, and start running a balanced budget.  Unavailability of more bailout money will force the Greek government to start addressing the issue.

Yes, it will be painful for a while, but at least there is the prospect of a resolution.  Continuing to be jerked around by Merkel and Co just guarantees a continuation of the present situation.

Imported goods and motor fuel will go up for sure.  On the other hand the tourist industry and the property market will take off.

If imported goods go up, maybe Greeks will start to buy Greek again.  Many, many business will start up to take advantage of this.  There are many neglected sectors that could be developed to provide Greek products to the home market.  We need growth not austerity, but genuine sustainable growth.

I'm sure lots of BICers will disagree with me, but when you look at the community of international economic commentators you will see they are probably split 50/50 on return to the euro.  So I don't think it's a no-no by any means.

Must go back to chopping wood for the woodburner now, heating oil already up to 1.40......

Andrew
« Last Edit: 19. Nov 2012 at 09:19 by YoMo2 »  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #961 - 19. Nov 2012 at 01:24
There are no actions to perform.
For sometime I have been of the view that there will have to be a further massive debt write-off. Now I see the press are starting to talk about the idea. It is inevitable, but it will not happen for a quite while. Last summer Merkel decided Greece was no longer a no hope case and she surely knows the debt write-off is coming. However, as she is the paymaster, she is going to make sure that Greece gets its house in order first. She or a successor has to justify it to the German electorate.

Also, for this reason there will be no let up in the austerity. The only other option is to leave the euro and go back to the drachma. Most Greeks want to stay in the euro and, in my opinion, for good reason. Despite the current pain, most believe the move back to the drachma would be instantly catastrophic at least in the short-term and most probably for quite a number of years afterwards. Why otherwise have the “failed” centrist parties with their pro-euro policies still clung to power?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #960 - 19. Nov 2012 at 01:24
There are no actions to perform.
For sometime I have been of the view that there will have to be a further massive debt write-off. Now I see the press are starting to talk about the idea. It is inevitable, but it will not happen for a quite while. Last summer Merkel decided Greece was no longer a no hope case and she surely knows the debt write-off is coming. However, as she is the paymaster, she is going to make sure that Greece gets its house in order first. She or a successor has to justify it to the German electorate.

Also, for this reason there will be no let up in the austerity. The only other option is to leave the euro and go back to the drachma. Most Greeks want to stay in the euro and, in my opinion, for good reason. Despite the current pain, most believe the move back to the drachma would be instantly catastrophic at least in the short-term and most probably for quite a number of years afterwards. Why otherwise have the “failed” centrist parties with their pro-euro policies still clung to power?
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #959 - 18. Nov 2012 at 16:21
There are no actions to perform.
One of our friends is a finance 'guru' and each week he sends out a 'letter' re his thoughts on the markets, the global economy etc.  He has built a house just outside Chania and so his take on the Greek crisis is a little more personal than his other economic thoughts!  This week he comments on the EU's decision to give Greece a two year extension and the huge cost this will further heap on the country and its people.

(Please note that English is his second language.)

"On the  Greek case, European leaders did not follow Confucius advice: always chose the most difficult way. They choose instead to pick the easy one giving Greece two more years to fix the deficits. Greece has now
until 2016 to meet goals for narrowing the spending gap. The country will receive a 31.3 billion-euro disbursement of emergency funds in late November or early December.

However, the problem did not stop and these two years have a cost. Greece may need as much as 32.6 billion euros in extra financing through 2016, putting pressure on a German-led bloc of creditors to make concessions. Plans to give Greece two more years to meet deficit-reduction targets open up financing gaps of 15 billion euros through
2014 and 17.6 billion euros in 2015-2016, according to an assessment by the country creditors.

This decision does not fix any issues. Until now the Greek government has
not been able to even implement reforms: inefficient tax administration, reform of the education system, etc.

The key risks concern the overall policy implementation, given that the coalition supporting the government appears fragile and some components of the program face political resistance.  Indeed, it is going difficult to cut 
more the different budgets and this government supposes to reform a country with no majority.

Secondly, for the moment Greek debt is not sustainable and therefore a significant reduction of the debt burden is needed, but that does not include haircuts to principal or public loans. 

Opinions floated for plugging the financing hole include cutting the interest rates and extending the maturities on Greece aid loans, accelerating rescue bailout payments and engineering a buyback of Greek debt are on the table. The search for a solution will run in parallel with parliamentary debates in countries such as Germany, Finland and the
Netherlands, three countries that have handed control over bailout policy to lawmakers concerned about wasting taxpayers money.

I am not sure German government will be able to get approval about an extension of funds just few months before an important election in Germany.

As usual, European leaders took a decision without really thinking about consequences. Lack of leadership in Europe has been the reasons
why we come so deep in the crisis about a country which represents less than 3% of the euro GDP."

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #958 - 01. Nov 2012 at 14:21
There are no actions to perform.
Greece Recession & Debt Problems Even Worse !!

Greek debt is now 189% of it's annual GDP and the economy is set to shrink a further 4.5% next year.

To understand fully what this means imagine you earned €10,000 per year but you owed €18,900 to your bank.

You have to buy food, pay your rent, utilities etc. and therefore at best you can only pay off a very small proportion of the debt owed each year.

Next year, your €10,000 earnings are going to drop by 4.5% so you will only have €9,550 to cover your costs and pay off some of the debt.  At the same time, the amount of debt will increase because of the interest being charged.  What's more, as inflation continues to rise year on year you can no longer afford to buy the basic food, heat, fuel etc with the ever reducing true value of your earnings. Catch 22.

Put simply, if you want to eat and stay warm you can never pay off the interest, never mind make a dent in the debt itself! 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20153875

Jon
« Last Edit: 01. Nov 2012 at 14:48 by Topdriller »  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #957 - 30. Oct 2012 at 19:06
There are no actions to perform.
This afternoon I had coffee with a friend and owner of a local souvlaki shop here on the Akrotiri.  We were talking about the pros and cons of returning to the  Drachma and the real cost of staying with the Euro i.e. the burgeoning debt mountain and the ever higher taxes just to buy time, repay existing loans and get further crippling loans from the Troika.

My friend told me that from next year his small business would have to pay 40% tax on earnings that pass through the till.  He employs four full time staff and if this tax is confirmed then he will no longer be able to pay his staff and might be forced out of business.

With unemployment officially standing at 25% but probably far higher one has to question the sanity of 'our' so called politicians.  What's more, is it any wonder small businesses and citizens alike evade tax when the government / Troika are stifling any possibility of growth and therefore the reduction of the unemployment levels?

Jon

      
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #956 - 19. Oct 2012 at 14:32
There are no actions to perform.
More sickening "Nationalism"!!! So "immigrants are subhuman" - well I've never been called that before! If GD give me back all the money I've spent in Crete. i'll be on the first plane back!

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/10/18/greek-mp-immigrants-are-subhuman/
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #955 - 18. Oct 2012 at 22:23
There are no actions to perform.
Lets not jump to conclusions.  Looking at the news reports, nowhere does it say they asked for names and addresses.  All the requests seem to have been for percentage breakdowns.  Obviously this in itself is dodgy, but it's not quite got to full pogrom yet has it?

Andrew

PS I do not support GD, but neither do I think they should be banned if they represent a significant part of the electorate.  It's not for us immigrants to tell the locals who to vote for.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #954 - 18. Oct 2012 at 19:12
There are no actions to perform.
Spot on Herby, keeping the data is fine, it's a question of what you do with it!! i think the reasoning behind The Dept. of Work and Pensions (or whatever it is now) is very different from the reasoning behind GD. I can't remember any Ministers going around to a Pakisatani's house and terrorising them!!
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #953 - 18. Oct 2012 at 19:08
There are no actions to perform.
It should perhaps be noted that you do not have to answer the questions on the Council's (UK) Diversity Monitoring Forms and that they claim the information is only to assure themselves they are not being discriminatory.

The Golden Dawn request certainly does smack of Germany in the thirties and the Third Reich's need to know the number and whereabouts of all Jews.

If this is true and the information does get into the wrong hands then 'the good people' (and that includes us) better speak up soon so that evil can never prevail.

Jon
  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #952 - 18. Oct 2012 at 18:54
There are no actions to perform.
When my partner worked in the UK, part of his job was completing government forms requiring details of the workforce.

Among the information required was:

Ethnicity of workers by % of workforce
Religion by %
Sexual orientation, if know, again by %

This was , supposedly, to ensure that the co were not prejudiced against any particular group.

Britain requires even more intrusive information than you are complaining about. Have you petitioned your MP?

Having said that I neither voted for or endorse any of GD's actions or policies.

« Last Edit: 18. Oct 2012 at 18:55 by Herby »  

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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #951 - 18. Oct 2012 at 18:20
There are no actions to perform.
Even more sickening

http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/10/11/outrage-as-golden-dawn-requests-data...

Thank goodness the ΔΗΜΟΣ ιn Ιerapetra  told them where to stick it.


  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #950 - 18. Oct 2012 at 18:00
There are no actions to perform.
A very worrying trend to allow the golden dawn activities to go on unpunished, memories of the germans in  WW2 are horrible contemplate, the situation in Greece today is reminiscent of and similar to their rise to power then. I for one would be back to England like a shot if not shot first,the Greeks must have short memory. Sad
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #949 - 18. Oct 2012 at 14:14
There are no actions to perform.
  
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Re: Cost of Living
Reply #948 - 18. Oct 2012 at 13:57
There are no actions to perform.
Extremists should not be tolerated in a democracy and they are openly fascist and violent! They should be stopped before things get totally out of hand!