Friday, 9 April 2010


Good news everyone! We now have our chance to demonstrate our solidarity with Greece by voluntarily helping the nation pay off its massive public debt.

The National Bank of Greece has set up an account for donations and you can make a deposit quite easily.

I think this is, in principle, a good thing and I urge you all to contribute generously. Putting your money in there means it can only be used to pay down debt - not pay civil servants, or quangocrats, or farm subsidies.

It's also way more cost-effective than raising new tax revenue: with the latter, the state would have to pay one person to draft the law stating how much you should pay, 300 to debate it, thousands to collect it, more thousands to manage them, and some additional hundreds in a futile attempt to make this enormously corrupt system 1% more efficient. Then of course you'd pay a notary or an accountant to make sure you're not liable for the extra tax, etc.

This, on the other hand, is a dead easy way and dirt cheap way for my compatriots to do their bit for the public finances. You don't even have to involve the Ministry of Finance or the State Treasurer. Just buy some of the billions in Government bonds that the NBG has been forced to invested in, then basically tear them up.

You may want to hurry up though. As you can see below, we have a very busy debt repayment schedule this spring:

There is just one catch which sours this plan for me - none of this is tax-deductible (unlike here) which of course it should be as it's effectively a charitable donation to the Government itself! Plus, if it were, I bet we could get tax-dodging superstar Bono - or, failing that, Dalaras - to front a little concert on this. We could even get our own Bono/Dalaras joke:

BONO: Every time I clap my hands, a chain-smoking-in-your-face unionised civil servant gets hired in Greece, with extra ASEP points for having three children, coming from a shit-hole border-town and having spent 3 years making coffee as part of a STEP programme.

DALARAS: Κάθε φορά που χτυπώ τα χέρια μου, ένας 40άρης αιώνιος φοιτητής που χαρτοπαίζει στο υπόγειο της ΑΣΟΕΕ παθαίνει θρόμβωση και σωριάζεται δίπλα στην υπο μόνιμη κατάληψη αθλητική λέσχη της σχολής.

AUDIENCE: Then stop f***ing doing it!

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