Market Overview

Greece's Biggest Union Sets Strike; Tax Collectors Stage 48 Hour Walkout

Hmmm... it looks like the Greek's austerity measures will be facing a massive fight.  Not surprising action - even locally in Detroit's school system where literacy rates among high school students approaches that of any fine 3rd world country, (pay for performance!) the teachers union won't budge an inch on any givebacks.  So a system which is a failure and a money losing one at that continues.  I assume the US taxpayer will foot the bill for this one via "stimulus!" err, I'm sorry "job creation plans!"

I expect the same across this country or any other, as turf once gained won't be relinqueshed.  It's a whole different world than the private sector.  The taxpayer, or federal government via new borrowings can just find more money to 'fix it'.  (just don't call it 'stimulus' - doesn't poll well anymore; we're using "job creation plans" from here on out)  Until the world market's say "no" such as in Greece.  But even then, the fight goes on.   This mindset is so entrenched even the tax collectors in Greece are walking off the job...

  • Greece’s biggest union approved the second mass strike this month and tax collectors began a 48-hour walkout, showing that Prime Minister George Papandreou’s parliamentary majority may not be enough to implement his plan to cut the European Union’s largest deficit.
  • GSEE, which represents about 2 million workers in the private sector, voted at a meeting in Athens today to walk out Feb. 24. The main public-employee union plans a Feb. 10 strike to protest spending cuts as Papandreou steps up budget cuts to persuade investors Greece won’t need a bailout.
  • The tax collectors struck to protest cuts in bonuses to the public sector.
  • Also striking for 48 hours are customs workers and Finance Ministry employees, who blocked entry to the economy and finance ministries in central Athens today, the state-run Athens News Agency reported.  (you know you are screwed when people inside the finance ministry, responsible for the new "austerity" are striking - hahaha)

Now of course the difference between much of western Europe and the US is the unions in the private sector have mostly been dismantled domestically.  But they are thriving in our public sector.  [Jan 24, 2010: For the First Time, More Union Workers Work in Government versus Private Sector]  Thus, when push eventually comes to shove in the US - it won't be the "people" v the "government" (government is the people ironically) as it is in Greece.  It will be the private sector vs the public sector employee - a theme we've been proposing for the past few years - we're just early.  And by the time we get to that point in the States, the private worker - enjoying another 5-10 years of "dog eat dog capitalism corporate socialism" - as opposed to the protections workers receive in European socialism, is going to be in a quite foul mood.   Something to look forward to!

  • It is still the beginning,” Stathis Anestis, the GSEE spokesman, said on the telephone today. The slogan for the strike is “people come first, markets and profit second,” he said. Anestis reiterated the union’s view that Papandreou’s government “succumbed” to the markets.
  • Greece’s plan to narrow the budget gap won European Commission backing yesterday after the government announced more measures to reduce the shortfall. Papandreou promised to increase fuel taxes and raise the retirement age, while retreating on a promise to raise wages faster than inflation, a pledge that helped him win elections in October.
  • Papandreou, 57, has appealed twice this week for Greeks to accept “painful” measures, saying the country can’t afford strikes and blockades. The previous government of Kostas Karamanlis was plagued by labor protests after he tried to tighten pension rules and raise taxes to shore up the government’s finances.

I wonder where the Greeks think money from "government" comes from?  (psssst...your fellow citizen.  Pass it on.)  I assume they think they have money trees like we grow in the US.  It's a shame that these trees only grow here....the soil is so fertile in the D.C. area you almost trip over the saplings.  It is good to be the chosen people....we play by our own rules.

  • “Greece and the rest of the fiscally challenged periphery is still in for a bumpy ride, not least because the social and political opposition to austerity programs of this kind is likely to build from here,” said Russell Jones, head of global fixed-income strategy at RBC Capital Markets in London.  
[genus Magnolia Greenanke shown above, related to genus Juniperus Bernankespan; this variety grows like a weed in D.C.]

The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

 

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