Regarding “Greek elections deliver blow to brutal austerity” (Jan.26): Greece slipped into near bankruptcy primarily because of widespread tax evasion and corruption. The “brutal austerity” imposed on Greece as a condition of bailouts from the Eurozone has actually been working slowly but surely. The economy has been growing and unemployment is down.
True the austerity has been hard on the average citizen and the election of the far-left anti-austerity Syriza party is an expected reaction. But what will the Syriza party do? There has been growing support within the party for an “orderly default” or “grexit” on Greece’s public debt, which would allow the country to withdraw simultaneously from the Eurozone and reintroduce a national currency, such as its historical drachma, at a debased rate. However, should Greece take this route, the debts don’t just go away. Grexit would probably lead to isolation from world markets and eventually another default. After years of recession and reforms, it would be a sad sight for Greece to follow this course. If Greece renegotiates its debt, more austerity would probably be a condition of a renegotiated debt.
Greece and the Syriza party are at a crossroads — short term populism or stay the austerity course.
Ralph E. Stone
Filed under: Letters to the Editor