by Steve Forbes
March 23, 2015
Dear Prime Minister Tsipras and Finance Minister Varoufakis:
You may have won a four-month reprieve of sorts from your creditors, but your situation is desperate, and everyone knows it, most particularly Europe’s paymasters, the Germans. As you just painfully learned, your ability to blackmail your creditors is a fraction of what it once was. Businesses, banks and others have had plenty of time to prepare for the worst-case scenario: Greece’s exit from the euro zone. Your own citizens have no faith in you, as evidenced by the massive cash withdrawals from Greek banks and the exodus of capital from Greece to supposedly safer havens.
You do have something of a case in your objection to raising Greece’s already horrific 23% VAT (a form of national sales tax). And you are right when you say the present program isn’t working. But your ideas–higher taxes on the “rich,” more government bureaucrats, virtually no privatization, higher minimum wages–are worse.
If you’re serious about saving your country and rescuing its people from a more dreadful economic catastrophe, there are basic steps you should take that would promptly promote economic growth, while giving you the priceless political opportunity to tell the troika–the IMF , the ECB and the EU (i.e., the Germans)–where to get off.