Despite angry protests that left dozens injured and Athens "blanketed with tear gas," Greece's Parliament approved a widely deplored austerity program on Wednesday. The belt-tightening will save the government $40 billion over five years, by cutting programs and salaries, while raising some taxes. Lawmakers had to pass the measures to receive $17 billion in European Union loans that Greece needs to avoid defaulting on debt payments due in July. Will slashing government spending save Greece?
Greece has averted disaster: The Greek Parliament really had "no other choice," says economist Domenico Lombardi, as quoted by The Christian Science Monitor. Sure, Greek taxpayers are already extremely unhappy with the last round of austerity measures, so passing these new ones will only make protesters angrier. But the alternative was defaulting on the country's debts, which really would have sent Greece spinning out of control.
"Why Greece will likely pass austerity measures, despite protests"
The medicine might be worse than the illness: The EU had to ram this austerity program down Greece's throat, says Brown University professor Mark Blyth, as quoted by CNN. And "it's ultimately going to collapse the Greek economy." The Greeks are "basically hacking themselves to pieces" to buy themselves a little time, but the reckoning is still going to come.
"Greece austerity: Poison or cure?"
This might save Ireland and Portugal: Everybody knows Greece will never be able to pay back all its debts, says Matthew Dalton at The Wall Street Journal. But the EU is hoping that by keeping Greece afloat for a few more years, it can give "Ireland and Portugal, the two other bailed out euro-zone nations," time to get their finances in order. "Time is a valuable commodity," and it just might buy the EU a way to keep Greece's mess from spreading.
"Delaying the inevitable in Greece"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Chuck Hagel was a huge mistake
- Want to eliminate the scourge of frat culture? Lower the drinking age.
- 5 quick things you can do today to boost your creativity
- What would it take for humans to build a settlement on Mars?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- Yes, the Obama administration's green loans are unprofitable. They should be.
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why we gossip, according to science
Subscribe to the Week