Want to see what your future looks like under Obamacare? Look at Britain? Want to know what America’s future looks like in a decade or two if the Democratic Party gets its way and keeps spending us into oblivion? Then look at Greece.
A clerk in her local town hall, Ms. Firigou, like all public-sector workers, took a precipitous pay cut last year — in her case to less than $1,300 a month from $2,000 a month — as the government slashed wages to meet the terms of its foreign lenders. Her husband, who sells used car parts, has seen his commissions drop. Her mother’s pension was cut to about $800 a month from around $920.
Like many families here, the Firigous cushion the impact of such cuts and the rising cost of living with property acquired in the past. Her grandfather built the two-story apartment house in this Athens suburb, Psychiko, where the six now live, starting in the 1930s and finishing it after the Second World War. And so the new tax, probably in excess of $2,000 per year for the Firigous, stings particularly hard. “The house is the only thing we have left,” she said.
There is a lot for Greeks to swallow. Beyond the public-sector wage cuts, in recent months the government has also imposed a “solidarity tax” ranging from 1 to 4 percent of income on all workers and an additional tax on self-employed workers, who make up the bulk of the economy. It has also raised its value-added tax on many goods and services, including food, to 23 percent from 13 percent.
The economy is flagging, and it is not uncommon for even private-sector workers to see pay cuts of 30 percent or more, sometimes in exchange for a reduction in working hours.
…Some private-sector workers say they have not been paid in months. “It’s illogical and unfair,” Aphrodite Korogiannaki, 38, a speech pathologist at a center for intellectually disabled youth, said of the property tax as she participated in a peaceful demonstration in Athens last week. “If I haven’t been paid for two months, how can I pay?”
Funny thing about those cuts — Notice who’s getting hammered into the ground there; it’s not the rich, is it? Know why? Because all the “eat the rich” talk you hear from the politicians is just a useful distraction. You see, despite all the talk about the rich “not paying their fair share,” they pretty much are. So, they may be able to squeeze a little money out of them, but the REAL MONEY is with the middle class. You pay them less, you tax them more, and it adds up in a hurry.
Politicians can promise you something for nothing and tell you that some rich guy is going to pick up the tab. For a while, maybe they can even get away with it. But there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch and eventually, no matter what they tell you, the bill is going to come due for the middle class.