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Mayday 2010, No to Bailing Out Billionaires, Yes to Real Economic Development

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Mayday 2010

No to Bailing Out Billionaires

Yes to Real Economic Development




Last year there were many demonstrations and other public events under the slogan "We Will Not Pay for Their Crisis". That raised the obvious question; "How Can Workers Avoid Paying Taxes?" Just scribbling something like "Don't give my money to the billionaires and mega corporations. Please use it to fight unemployment, global warming and the spread of tuberculosis." in the margin of your tax form will not do. The politicians who control public finances depend on the power of the global PR machine. Because it is the private property of the 2%, they can do little to help the 98%.

Face facts; tax evasion is a rich man's game. We who work for our income do not have that option.

Last year the spotlight was on the US bailout ( see crisis02). In the meantime Michael Moore ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism_A_Love_Story ) has provided fascinating information;

" … Moore then speaks with several Members of Congress, with Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur supporting Moore's comment that the passing of the bailout is a "financial coup d'état".

Moore interviews Elizabeth Warren, the head of the US Congressional Oversight Committee, the government agency serving as a watchdog for Congress' wrong-doing and investigating Congressional "oversights" (mistakes). He asks her, "Where is the $700 billion bailout money which Congress gave to the big banks and Wall Street investment companies?" There is a dramatic pause and the committee head replies, "I don't know."

What lessons can we Europeans learn from the mistakes made on the other side of the Atlantic?

Well, there is quite an island out there in the Atlantic (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_debt_repayment_referendum,_2010 ). Against a chorus of threats and prophecies of doom, 93% of its electorate voted against paying for other people's speculative losses.

Having been badly beaten in the North, the loan sharks swam South East, through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the warm Aegean right up to the shores of Greece (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_European_sovereign_debt_crisis ).

There is still at least one way to avoid being eaten alive by bailout sharks; partial public bankruptcy (aka "restructuration"). Don't let this idea shock you into a panic. There are two very different kinds of lending. When I borrow money from a friend who charges me neither fees nor interest I am under a strong moral obligation to pay up. Suppose that I borrow money from a bank or other business that makes me pay fees, interest and even a special life insurance policy to guarantee their "investment" in the event of my unexpected demise. There will be plenty of legal liability, but I fail to see how I could have a "moral responsibility" to an impersonal corporation that is many thousands of times wealthier than I.

So there is absolutely no ethical reason why Greek national debt must be repaid in full. Small investors, especially private citizens, should all receive a lump sum to compensate them for part of their losses and to ensure that they can continue to live in reasonable comfort. But no one needs more than a million or two, especially if they are willing and able to work.

What about the rest of the debt, the part not to be repaid? There are no clear distinctions between investing, speculating and gambling. People who bought Greek bonds have chosen to accept a higher risk of default in exchange for more interest. Casinos are prohibited from reimbursing losses that gamblers suffer. So those who "invested" in Greek bonds will be treated much better than other gamblers under this proposal.

Consider the consequences of even seriously attempting to repay Greek sovereign debt 100%. Greek workers would be peons for the rest of this century. That is unlikely to end well. They will find a way to get rid of the corrupt state that has signed their lives over to the 2%.

What about the fallout from a partial public insolvency? As everyone sees now, Greek import revenues are too small to cover the cost of vital imports. The rest of the EU will have to pay for some of the necessary food, healthcare and education while it helps to develop the Greek economy towards competitiveness. That will take decades and cost many billions. But those billions will go to people, not to billionaires, and that makes a big difference.

That is what Mayday is all about.

Michael Ashbrook
SID
S olidarity with those who work for their money
I ndependence from those who don't
D emocracy in all decisions taken by groups of sane, adult humans


SID - Solidarity, Independence, Democracy is an independent Trade Union of all EU Institutions employees (Je souhaite adhérer au SID…)

Created by: admin last modification: Sunday 12 of June, 2011 [12:57:24 UTC] by admin

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