Someone Crunched the Numbers on What the Bankers Did to the Greeks, and the Results Will Blow You Away

If there's one country in the Western World that is a poster child for what austerity can do to an entire society, it's Greece. The country has been subject to strict austerity programs imposed on it by the rest of Europe, at the behest of finance kingpins who caused the financial crisis in the first place.


The blog Keep Talking Greece looks at a report put out by the Germany Institute for Macroeconomic Research that tallies up the damage from the austerity regime between 2008 and 2012. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Greek Poor Lost Almost All Of Their Income, The Rich Fared Better: Although sloganeering for austerity often invokes the need to tighten belts, not everyone in Greece had to tighten quite so much. The poor lost 86 percent of their income, but the richest Greek households lost closer to 17 to 20 percent.

  • The Poor Were Hit With A Huge Tax Hike, The Rich Only A Tiny One: The poorest Greeks were hit with a 337 percent increase in taxes, while the richest saw their taxes increase by only nine percent.

  • Public Employees Were Hit Particularly Hard: Private sector employees saw a wage and salary decrease of around 19 percent, but public employees were hit the hardest, losing about a quarter of their income. Early retirement in the private sector increased by 14 percent, while early retirement in the public sector increased by 48 percent.

These findings and others seem to show what activists have been pointing to for years: that the supposedly shared sacrifice of austerity isn't shared at all – the poor and the public servants were hurt the worst, while rich tax evaders were mostly spared.

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