Πέμπτη, 29 Απριλίου 2010

Target cuts for reducing Greece's public spending for church, military and political parties


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Greece is at such a critical point that it should be prepared to make deep cuts into the established order of doing things if it’s economy is to survive and become competitive. A number of difficult questions should be asked –I mention three:
1) Should Greek taxpayers continue to pay the salaries of the clergy? If things are left as they are, church staffing is now part of public spending, although the Greek Orthodox Church has sufficient income to be self sufficient. The church should also cease to object to taxation and offer their share.
2) A second question concerns the political parties: should they continue to employ thousands of civil servants, taken away from their original job positions for the purpose of serving party and politicians offices, where they receive extra bonuses? This not only represents an additional but not easily discernible budget for the state, but brings chaos into public service structuring: as employees are “removed” by the parties with political criteria, they have to be replaced or else voids appear in the public sector. When, eventually, they return to their normal positions, as after every election, a surplus of employee’s results. The practice also perpetuates a "client" style relation of politicians with public servants. Political parties in Greece receive sufficient state funding to employ their own professional staff and should not continue to rely on those “generously” provided by the state, thus doubling or tripling their burden to taxpayers while subtracting medical personnel to make photocopies in their offices. Political parties should and could create new jobs, not increase public spending.
3) Last but not least, the high costs of military expenditure should be looked into: it should immediately be reduced to a GDP percentage proportionate to the Greek economy, as in most other countries, much less than the preposterous present 4% or 5%, more than the US and well above European average. After all Greece and Turkey are allies in NATO and no invasion of the country is imminent.
Investment in general should aim to reinforce the competitive advantages of the country, such as civilization and environment: if Greece loses the advantage of protecting it’s attractive and diverse natural and man-made heritage and biodiversity it will lose it’s main asset for the kind of development suited for the country with global significance.
This domain has been overlooked by all governments and this negligence may well be one of the reasons for the loss of competitiveness. Significant investment should aim to ameliorate quality and lower the family budget for decent education, as no other investment will assure a prosperous economy in the future: it should be regarded as a fair counter balance for the debts future generations will have to pay because of our carelessness.      

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