May 15th, 2012
02:09 PM ET

Overheard on Readers debate Greece's financial savvy, role in Eurozone

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The office of President Karolos Papoulias said Tuesday that debt-wracked Greece will hold new elections. The country is in a political stalemate, and some might now call it the "sick man in Europe." Readers are debating what would happen if the country left the Eurozone, and if Greece is doing enough to help itself out.

Greece to hold new elections after stalemate

Some readers said they believe the Greek people are making too much of austerity measures.

URSilly: "Let the Greeks suffer in their own stupidity. They will find out what real austerity is when their government has NO money to pay pensions and the like. Good luck with the drachma and its spiraling devaluation."

Does the situation compare to the U.S.?

turtle995: "The U.S. is the biggest debtor nation in the history of the world. The only difference between us and them is that we have the world's reserve currency and can print at will. This privilege will end soon because the Fed is abusing it. What is happening to Greece will be coming to the U.S. soon."

In responding to this comment, readers talked about Greece's sacrifices, and whether enough are being made.

DomeUnit: "Greece is in much worse shape. Their citizens don't want to make any sacrifices, keep their work weeks at 30 hours and have a retirement age of 50. They're getting what they deserve at this point."

marystaint: "I think you will find the Greek citizens are making sacrifices much greater than other EU members. The point is you can't get blood out of beets, live beets or deadbeats. Greece is no longer willing to be a test case for other countries."

Vassilis Komninos: "Open your eyes man and don't believe what they serve you, without a little bit of search, at least when you make comments in public! You exploit yourself, mate! First, because Greeks are working a minimum of 40 hours/week! Second, because Greeks are not retiring earlier than 35 years of full work! So in a sense you are right, they do retire on the age of 50, but only a few (like military personnel)! The rest are working till 68 minimum (on average)! Third, because Greeks in TOTAL have made sacrifices by accepting their salaries down to 500 euros/month! Would you SURVIVE with those money? So please, do a search prior your comments!"

Several readers discussed Greece's role in Europe, as well as Germany and its requirement of austerity measures in exchange for bailout money.

Greece: Why not let it sink?

This apparently Greek reader had some theories about European attitudes.

kangelos: "Greece will not leave the Eurozone because it helps as a buffer zone for all economic vultures to prey upon. It acts as a designated target so that other 'more European economies,' don't suffer these attacks. We do have to clear up our house indeed, but it is not like the 'European Friends' have not benefited financially from our troubles ..."

This person said they hope for that outcome.

Europhobia: "Letting Greece slide out of the euro is not a bad thing - they can then devalue the drachma and begin to start making a comeback, albeit a low one. And if Greece exits the euro, that will pave the way for others to also exit gracefully -– starting with Spain; then Portugal; next Italy. And then France. After France, the Eurozone will officially be DOA and we can all go back to the way it was for thousands of years."

This commenter said they are not worried.

NorCalMojo: "Greece will be fine. Beaches, history, and sunshine. If they can avoid chaos and civil war, they'll be able to rebuild their reputation. The banks are exaggerating their importance. The Euro has been relatively stable through all this. If the doomsayers were right, it would have been on a slow decline until this crisis had passed. That hasn't happened. If they go back to the Drachma, they'll be fine."

This reader blamed the concept of the euro currency, and had an interesting solution to the problem.

Chandra: "Having a single European currency without one single country is the cause of problem. Each country has a different work culture. Germany is the strongest country economically and industrially, so if they really want to solve the problem, let the entire euro zone become part of Germany with each country becoming a state similar to U.S. Otherwise it is very hard road for next 20 to 30 years for everyone. Any solutions such as austerity measures or aid packages is just a temporary bandage over a permanent wound."

Some compared the situation to the United States.

M.G.: "The E.U. is a classic example of social tribalism in decline! These people are ready to kill each other at the drop of a hat, but somehow they're supposed to share a common currency without disdain for each other. ... We arrogant americans think that we know something that the rest of the world didn't when it comes to this perverted form of government. Obama has already added more to our national debt than the last three presidents combined! ... Our successes are apparently running parallel to theirs!"

How complicated are things?

kolg kange: "Greece's problem is complicated and is not just an easy & quick fix as some commentators may think. First you see Greece, a country despite so much injections through bail out money from ECB & IMF over the last 2 years is hardly showing any signs of progress. Second, austerity measures pushed down by EU are neither working and distress signs continue to persist. I wonder if going back to the drachma and devaluing it would work. As it's situated today, Greece needs a stimulus package to drive confidence of the markets, to put some lubricants to keep wheels turning in spending and keep it moving. Spending is key thing here. Greece does not need austerity measures. In the medium to long term, how can Greece meet its debt obligations if it is unable to collect funds because there is no economic activity. Those who claim to be Greece's friends, please let's give the people of Greece some hope and confidence and stop spreading pessimism."

A lot of readers said Greece can't not have its cake and eat it too.

dongszkie: "If Greece is left to sink then another one is sure to follow, then another one, then another one, until each one to his own. One wonders if not the whole of eurozone will get sucked up then. Is the world near its end?"

j. von hettlingen: "Greeks don't want to leave the Eurozone and they reject the austerity measures as well."

What about the outstretching of so-called "carrots?"

Lord Wilson: "The trouble with the German package for Greece is that it is all stick and no carrot. In a Democracy, we have become accustomed to being offered a carrot. Berlin feels a carrot is not within the confines of its fiscal discipline programme. But turkeys don't vote for Christmas and voters in a Democracy cannot be expected to vote for mass economic suicide."

Come on, Frau Merkel: "Harvard economists destroyed the Soviet economy; Frankfurt economists destroyed the East German economy; let's not completely destroy the Greek economy as I have a summer house there. Offer them a carrot for goodness sake, we're living in a Democracy, not the Fourth Reich."

Mr M: "Oh, well, so it is all about Merkel, and the fourth Reich, say 'hi' to 'Godwin’s law,' lol. Carrot is fine, if other all European countries contribute relatively equally to that type of carrot help ... I think the UK should pay their fair appropriate share."

Neko: "The carrot is that you keep living in a semi-normal democratic country. Tighten the belt for a while and in a few years, reap your rewards. Or, destroy yourselves from within."

Would a so-called "domino theory" apply here?

dongszkie: "If Greece is left to sink, then who would be next?"

Mr M: "Well, this might just be the wrong 'domino' hypothesis ... We all remember that a similar idea concerning the spread of communism in Asia was the main reason for the U.S. to intervene in Vietnam ... but these domino effects did not really occur after the US left Vietnam and this weird hypothesis was simply falsified. So perhaps Greece will simply sink ... and that's it ... I believe that other countries such as Italy or Spain have a better potential and are more promising, they might not sink ... it's an empirical question, so let's see ... but that's a story some people would not like to hear ..."

Paul: "The Cambodians might disagree with your assessment of the domino theory ..."

"10. Spain
9. Portugal
8. Italy
7. Denmark
6. Belgium
5. Luxemburg
4. France KABOOM no more eurozone"

This reader was quite afraid.

JAL: "There is severe disillusionment in Greece and in the Eurozone. Just giving them jobs will not fix. We are past that. This is bad."

What's your opinion? What can be done, and what lessons can be learned from Greece? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Economy • Greece • Overheard on • World
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Person

    It is obvious that there is a "power" implementing a plan for Europe in order to be forced on the basis of a centralized economy, moving towards the US/ FED model of governance. Greeks are resisting – as always in their democratic history. It is not necessary to understand them, at least respect them!

    May 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Olivia

      Respect Greece, why? This is not noble Greeks resisting a sinister power grab. This is lazy Greeks with a poor mediterranean work ethic who vote for the leftist that promises the most largesse – handouts. The milk cow has run dry, but the voters elect the next leftist who promises to keep the milk cow flowing.

      hamsta is correct. Socialism is evil. It panders to the lowest human instincts, sloth and greed. Be lazy, and I'll make someone else carry your dead weight. Alot like American dem o crats.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hamsta

    @ person democracy was invented by plato and socrates. both of them have been dead for more than 1000 years. socialism has since taken over in greece. socialism is the parasite that murders democracy and capitalism, the driving force of democracy. they will not be taken seriousl or respected until they get rid of the socialist leaches.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Person

      I think that democracy is not about right or left. It's about justice & freedom: values totally absent from modern governance.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      with a hundred and fifty million people here in the USA on some form of public assistance we are heading in the same direction folks! Laziness here is now rewarded with handouts from the govt in order to secure votes. Sounds exactly like what is happening in Greece to me...

      May 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PHD (Plain Highschool Deploma) MIKED

    Years ago I thought creating the Euro was a bad idea and it seems as if my prophecies are coming to fruition. I certainly understand the concept of sharing a common currency for the betterment of a single cause, but that hardly seems applicable to this situation. I would never share bank accounts with my neighbors just because they live next to me. We have different work ethics and spending criteria. I invest and have a substantial amount of savings while they go on vacations and live pay check to paycheck. I am not judging their lifestyles but I certainly don’t want to pay for it either. If you asked them if we should join bank account I am sure they would be more than happy to do so. I would be surprised Deutsche Marks aren’t back in circulation soon.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hamsta

    @Jj i have been trying to tell these people that for 6 months solid.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      hamsta they don't want to listen. As long as the free food and free medical are provided they have no interest in hearing the facts. It's like the one Percent sales tax they always throwing into the ballets here in Az: easy to get passed but extremely difficult to get rid of. People are accustomed to money being thrown at them and then when we are in a deficit so deep it's the big bad republicans fault when they try to fix it. Flipping asinine!

      May 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hamsta

    @ Jj notice silence out of that whole socialist welfare state crowd. thats because they lost the argument. they cant blame capitalism or republicans, those animals dont exist in greece. socialism does and thats what socialism does every time for said reasons.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |