Every day brings a new twist to the Greek/Eurozone debt drama. It’s as confusing and quick-moving as a whirling Greek folk dance. One day it’s general euphoria because another bailout deal has been struck. The next day it’s back down in the dumps because the markets question whether the bailout will work.
The most recent outlook change is stunningly abrupt, even when judged against by the roller-coaster turnabouts that have characterized the ongoing European solvency crisis. The decision by Greece’s prime minister to put the new round of austerity measures up for approval by referendum has shocked other European governments and put the latest deal in peril, causing markets around the world to plummet.
People are afraid that the Greeks won’t approve of the deal because they don’t like the austerity measures that have been imposed on them already. No kidding! So far as I can tell, the Greeks have borrowed to the hilt to finance a lavish, benefits-rich lifestyle that has been effectively underwritten by the Germans and the rest of thrifty Europe. The Greek grasshopper just wants the German ant to save it, again, from the ravages of the approaching winter.
Although I don’t sympathize with the Greeks, who created their own predicament, isn’t the European response to the notion of a referendum a bit . . . awkward? A plebiscite is in the finest traditions of democratic government, — which was invented in Greece, after all. Is having a referendum really such a bad idea, when the alternative is to have unpopular austerity measures shoved down the unwilling throats of the Greek people, who are likely to respond with general strikes, work stoppages, and riots that will just make the situation that much worse? Why not let the Greek people have their say?