Thursday, January 17, 2013

Papaconstantinou and "Them".

George Papaconstantinou [A]
Last year George Papaconstantinou was passing judgement on the whole Greek nation and a harsh judgement it was. (See here)

Papaconstantinou (economics graduate from LSE and New York University and former Greek Finance minister) excoriated smaller parties for, in his views, their part in the fiscal chaos involving their nation:
"I didn't hear any smaller party ever being against an additional measure of including more people in the public sector. I did not hear them be against any kind of extension of benefits, even if they were going to the wrong side".
Once started, Papaconstantinou would not so easily stop, either. Everybody in Greece was equally at fault and he was there to tell them so:
"We cannot have a private sector which doesn't take its obligation seriously, and we cannot have people not paying their taxes and I'm sorry, this is the vast majority of the population which is somehow evading their taxes.
"So nobody is outside this, nobody is innocent to the crime. Of course politicians bear the biggest burden, and of course they will be punished for this, as they are being punished, but let's understand that this is a mentality change, we need a regime shift, but one that is based on Greece staying in the euro and Greece being true to its obligations".
Since then and for almost a whole year they (the politicians, that is) went unpunished, largely thanks to Papaconstantinou losing the infamous Lagarde list.

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This is Papaconstantinou now:
"Greek ex-minister Papaconstantinou faces tax probe
"Greek MPS have voted to launch a criminal investigation into ex-Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.
"He is accused of tampering with a list of suspected tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts.
"Three of Mr Papaconstantinou's relatives were removed from the list. He has denied involvement.
"But MPs voted against extending the probe to another ex-finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, and former PMs Lucas Papademos and George Papandreou"
. (See here)
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Papaconstantinou no longer points his righteous finger at them. He now claims he was singled out among them for punishment: he is being made a scapegoat (see here).

And, you know what, now I believe him:
"'Horrible Citizens': The Life of Greece's One Percent
"The Greek economy has been tanking for years now as the country struggles to balance its budget by imposing deep austerity measures. But the country's richest residents haven't noticed. Many aren't taxed at all, and some of those that are prefer to dodge their obligation to the state instead".
(See here)

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Does that leave the little fish off the hook? Not at all. But there are two differences among the little and the big fish.

Firstly, because the bigger the fish, the bigger the bite:
"I won a public works contract through an open tender. I met the local mayor and he proposed giving me another works contract. But he tells me straight - you get 2,000 euros, and I get 8,000 euros. Well, I was really disillusioned and I wasn't having any of this. So the mayor gave the contract to another company instead."
"My driving school teacher told me that if I wanted to pass the driver's test I had to give 200 euros to the examiners, otherwise they would fail me. I asked him what I should say if they had any technical questions about the car's mechanics. He said, 'Just tell them there's 200 euros under the hood and they'll get the message'."
Secondly, the little fish are trying to change things (See here). The big fish are happy with things as they are.

As long as the big fish remain big, the little fish will have to put up with them...

Image Credit:
[A] "Greek politician Giorgos Papakonstantinou on September 30, 2009". File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence. Wikipedia. My use of the file does not in any way suggests its author endorses me or my use of the work.

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