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Smoking out the firebrands

Published by The Economist on Thu, 12 Feb 2015


ALEXIS TSIPRAS and his radical left Syriza party worked for more than a year while in opposition to prepare their policy platform. Over 80 committees were charged with producing specific proposals for overhauling different sectors of the Greek economy. Planning for power is one thing; exercising it quite another, especially when a country is in a hole as deep as Greece's.Syriza's programme, if fully implemented, will result in a sharp fall in revenues and a large increase in social spending. Yet many Greeks stopped paying taxes before last month's elections, anticipating cuts and forbearance. Government revenues fell by more than 20% in January on an annual basis; the 2015 budget is now likely to be derailed by the end of March, says a former finance minister.None of which plays well with Greece's creditors, whose '245 billion ($277 billion) bail-out envisages austerity and reform, not splurges and backtracking. Wolfgang Schuble, Germany's finance minister, said on February 10th that if Greece did not seek an extension of its bail-out, which expires on February 28th, 'Then it's over.' A meeting on February 11th, at which...Continue reading
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