It should be clear to everyone that our economic future is tied with the fortunes of Europe. This is a result of more than 20 years of deregulation and “opening up markets.” Capital flows freely because those on Wall Street have been pushing for the free flow of capital for more than three decades. A significant amount of our GDP, therefore, depends on Europe’s ability to buy our goods. Last night, the Greek Parliament agreed to bend over and take the beating that some in the financial community believe they deserve. Many of the Greek people, on the other hand, are not ready to take their beating.
Rioter being kicked by police
Molotov cocktail engulfs police
After violent protests left dozens of buildings aflame in Athens, the Greek Parliament voted early on Monday to approve a package of harsh austerity measures demanded by the country’s foreign lenders in exchange for new loans to keep Greece from defaulting on its debt.
Though it came after days of intense debate and the resignation of several ministers in protest, in the end the vote on the austerity measures was not close: 199 in favor and 74 opposed, with 27 abstentions or blank ballots. The Parliament also gave the government the authority to sign a new loan agreement with the foreign lenders and approve a broader arrangement to reduce the amount Greece must repay to its bondholders.
The new austerity measures include, among others, a 22 percent cut in the benchmark minimum wage and 150,000 government layoffs by 2015 — a bitter prospect in a country ravaged by five years of recession and with unemployment at 21 percent and rising.