Thank goodness we have George Papandreou and his government in leadership positions as we solve the problems necessary to once again become solvent.
The transparency that PM Papandreou's leadership demands is exactly what any country needs to work out this bewildering financial problem. (Transparency is especially appreciated after the secrecy and corruption of the former Karamanlis-led government from which PASOK took over only a few months past.)
Transparency in Greece not only means the systems put into place that Mr. Papandreou mentioned but also the calm, articulate explanations of the PM, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economics. It means the open discussion in the media and communities about each proposed and adopted step along the way to solvency.
A few of the steps taken that will effect me include the following.
At first, salaries were going to be frozen, but now salaries will be reduced.
Each taxpayer/entity is charged with keeping all receipts in order to more accurately track the VAT national income tax.
An increase in taxes on gasoline, cigarettes and alcohol is to be implemented.
Stronger enforcement to stop the para-economy, undeclared income, will add billions to the treasury.
The exceptions to the income tax will be erased and a unifying tax system will be adopted. So for example, mayors, congress members, soccer players, etc. will have to pay a fair amount of tax - not at the current 10% of their income rate.
Every tax deductible item will require receipts - even children! (birth certificates is my guess)
Social security for men and women will be equivalent. No early retirements at 47 years of age, etc. will be possible. Those who only receive from Euro 1000 to Euro 1500 a month is SS will see a 1.5% increase. Everyone else will receive an amount approximately equal to the 2000 level and there will be no increases in the near future.
This is an excellent time for Greece to put into place the systems that have been needed for several years in order to make the tax system fair
P.S. At first it was laughable, not it is ludicrous to hear leaders in countries with financial problems and inherent corruption, such as Germany, USA and Great Britain, telling Greece how to handle the situation.
I trust the Greek leaders will be working to solve the problem in a far more democratic way than any of the above mentioned countries.
Christiane, I would be interested to hear how countries can solve the most difficult problem that Greece must tackle - the money held in foreign banks. Does there exist an international court which can be used to handle such cases and if not, when we will have one?
See the following for a video of Ms Amanpour's interview with Prime Minister Papendreou
February 16, 2010PM: Greece looking for support, not bailout Posted: 1542 GMT