Saturday, January 14, 2012

Greece (Again) and (Again) ... Many Many Challenges Remain (Wolf Richter and Naked Capitalism)

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Wolf Richter: Greece – Disagreement Everywhere, Rift in the Troika

By Wolf Richter, San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Cross posted from Testosterone Pit.
Austerity measures are taking their daily toll on Greece. Suicides and attempted suicides havejumped by 22.5% since 2009. The unemployment rate rose to 18.2%. RTL, the largest radio network in Europe, lost 50% of its advertising revenues in Greece since the start of the crisis—and decided to leave. And now pharmacies are having difficulties obtaining medications.
The pharmacy problem is an unintended consequence of the austerity measures that the bailout Troika (EU, IMF, and ECB) is imposing on Greece. To cut its healthcare budget, the government has reduced the prices that the industry can charge state-owned insurers. So wholesalers are selling their limited supply outside Greece. And state-owned insurers, whose budgets are squeezed as well, delay payments to pharmacies, which then can’t pay their wholesalers for the medications they do get. Thus, wholesalers are even less likely to sell to pharmacies—and the system breaks down. A microcosm of the current state of the Greek economy.
Yet more cuts are coming. To impose them, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos even threatened private sector unions (and everyone else) with the nuclear option—disorderly default. For that whole debacle, read…. Greece’s Extortion Racket Maxed Out.

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