Greece seeks bailout from IMF, European Union

"ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Hobbled by exorbitant borrowing costs, Greece triggered an emergency aid plan Friday to draw cash from the International Monetary Fund and countries that use the euro — the first test of whether the EU is prepared to bail out one of its members.

The package has enough money to keep Greece from defaulting on its massive debts anytime soon. But Athens still faces years of painful cutbacks and questions about its long-term finances, raising worries that its troubles will affect other indebted members of the European Union and further harm the euro currency.

The three-year plan adopted in Brussels recently and hailed as a sign that Europe can cope with the crisis will provide Greece with loans: Euro-zone members will contribute $40 billion (euro30 billion) at interest rates of about 5 percent, while the IMF will chip in about $13.4 billion (euro10 billion) this year. Exact figures for the following years have not yet been made public.

European governments made the financial assistance available to fend off a Greek default, which would deal a serious blow to the euro currency, shake market confidence and inflict losses on banks that invested in Greek bonds. It also aims to keep Greece’s troubles from spreading to other financially weak euro-zone governments, such as Portugal and Spain."

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“Greek trade unions reacted with dismay and vowed to step up strike action.”

Unions are simply brilliant. There is no money. Does reality even matter to a unionist?

If Dickens were alive he could write a story based on Ebenezer Scrooge (America) being magically transported to see the Ghost of Christmas Future (Greece). The logical response from Ebenezer should again be, “Are these things that WILL be or MAY be?” But guess what, Ebenezer this time around just DOESN’T CARE.

If Greeks refuse to give concessions, Greece should be allowed to slip into the Aegean. American unions are doing the same thing. (I am a union member too.) The Continental Divide will determine which ocean we slip into when our time comes at this rate.

Obviously the problem is not the sole fault of unions. It is much more complex than that. But Greeks (and Americans) will have to expect and demand less from government. This will be harder for some of us than for others.

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