Tsipras waits until after Greece is in default to accept austerity terms
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is now officially a clown, and the Greek government is officially a laughingstock.
Tsipras, who breathed fire and brimstone in the days leading up to today's Greek default on its IMF loans, swearing that he would never accept the terms being offered by the nation's creditors, saying it would be a humiliation and a blow to Greek pride, sent a letter to the EU on Tuesday night accepting virtually all of the creditor demands and asking for another $32 billion in loans.
The irony is delicious. When Tsipras called for the referendum last weekend, he was urging a Greek "no" vote to show that his government would not back down. Now he is in the position of having to beg for a "yes" vote to keep his job and prevent his nation from slipping into chaos.
For the far-left nutcase, it appears that reality – finally – bites.
Alexis Tsipras — in a late-night letter sent to Greece’s main creditors — made some changes to European Union austerity demands. But he left in place most of the tough measures he had previously dismissed, including cutting pensions, raising taxes and forcing deep reforms to the way the nation’s economy is organized.
The proposal also reiterated a request made Tuesday for a new $32 billion bailout and for more relief for Greece’s crushing debts than E.U. leaders have been prepared to offer.
Hope of a deal sent European stock markets higher.
Yet there was no immediate sign from Greece’s lenders — including economic powerhouse Germany — of a breakthrough a day after the E.U. bailout funds were halted and Greece became the first development country to default on a payment to the International Monetary Fund.
Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the latest Greek letter “did not provide further clarity” in the impasse and was “no basis” to resume serious negotiations.
But Tsipras — who had refused to consider the tougher spending cuts — framed the offer as an about-face. He said that Greece was willing to accept almost all of the terms of the E.U. demands.
“Our amendments are concrete and they fully respect the robustness and credibility of the design of the overall program,” Tsipras wrote in the letter, which was dated Tuesday and addressed to the heads of the European Union’s executive arm, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
The decision was a major climbdown for Tsipras after having gone to the brink by calling a Sunday referendum that would subject the austerity demands to an up-or-down vote by the Greek people.
Greece’s creditors cut off negotiations after the surprise weekend referendum announcement.
Eurozone finance chiefs were set to discuss Greece’s newest proposals later Wednesday. But many of them said a day earlier that they were disinclined to offer any further assistance to Greece unless Tsipras called off the referendum or advised his citizens to vote “yes” to the demands, rather than “no.”
Why didn't Tsipras make these concessions a week ago when he could have saved his country from the ignominy of default? The Greek prime minister was steeped in delusional thinking, believing he held the upper hand in the negotiations. He thought that the rest of the EU would never allow Greece to default because it would almost certainly kill the euro.
But this strutting, arrogant, ignorant man so offended the rest of the leaders in the EU with his leftist posturing and antics that they allowed Greece to go into default to spite him. Tsipras blindsided the negotiators last weekend by calling for the referendum and then walking out of talks. It was the kind of political theater that the left loves to think makes a difference in the real world. They are paying for their conceits more and more each day.
For the rest of Europe, Greece may be more trouble than it is worth. If European taxpayers are going to have to continue to bail out Greece every couple of years, they will eventually revolt. Perhaps it is best now to sever the lifeline rather than continue to throw good money at the lost cause that is the Greek economy.