Today, the Greek bailout officially ended. It’s true: No longer a pariah spending its money on drinks and women, the country’s alleged allies and longtime persecutors have declared it “a normal country” where “the worst is over” after a “crisis that has lasted too long,” with all of the congratulatory tweets that such a milestone calls for.
So I guess it’s time for those who despaired that the Greek nightmare would, in fact, never end to eat some feta-stuffed and phyllo-wrapped crow? Angela Merkel was right and austerity would solve everything and so the Greeks have nothing to worry about and can go on their merry way from here on out?
Household incomes fell by over 30 percent, and more than a fifth of people are unable to pay basic expenses like rent, electricity and bank loans. A third of families have at least one unemployed member. And among those who do have a job, in-work poverty has climbed to one of the highest levels in Europe.
Right. But, it’s getting better, yes?
“Greece is getting better,” Mr. Zafiriou said.
Good! End of sto…
“But that doesn’t mean things have turned around.”
Oh. So, then, it’s not really over?
Even after the bailout, Greece must continue belt-tightening for years, while creditors monitor its fiscal discipline and progress on structural reforms…. For the vast majority of workers, Greece’s labor market remains a rough-and-tumble landscape…. Today, a growing share of jobs are minimum wage. At least half involve temporary or part-time contracts….
“The end of the bailout makes no difference in our lives,” Mrs. Pavlioti said. “We are just surviving, not living.”
Someone please turn off the strobe lights and the Kool & The Gang.