Enough with “reforms”- Reform now!

Written by Panagiotis Karkatsoulis on .


Tumult....  Suddenly the Greek state discovers itself ...  A newspaper article ("Kathimerini, 10/3)  denounced the fact that public entities  “refuse” to comply with the provisions of Law 4024/2011 for a single payroll, although they are funded directly or indirectly by the state budget. Some of them claim that they don’t belong to the "public sector" (under the current regulations), or that they are "profitable", in order to avoid painful salary reductions for their employees and board of directors. Nevertheless, it was the state in the first place that sought to offer them the legal right to participate in national or European Union funding programs and to have what they call “own revenues". What to admire first?  

Thecunningness”  (stupidity would be the right word) of the governments of the last 30 years to establish legal entities of any kind and legal form (corporations, researchcenters, associations) in all policy fields (particularly in sports, culture, educationandresearch)? The disastrous -for the state as a whole- autonomisation of areas in which employees with diversified and fragmented labour relations have created a monstrous mosaic, making it almost impossible to intervene surgically and discern employees under permanent labour regime from others that have acquainted a quasi permanent labour regime  under “ad hoc” or “one off” procedures? The absolute dominance of the “crook” logic deriving from a “state budget-strainer” under which it is not feasible to justify the amount of subsidies directed for decades in these administrative / organizational monsters, but instead lets these entities to seek their own excuses to justify subsidies granted? Or the equally destructive logic of the governments after the signing of the Memorandum when -together with the Troika- decided to register only the "core" public bodies (see the notion of the "general government entities"), in a bankrupt country in which even a reliable calculation of the deficit is unattainable, while leaving entities 'outside' general government to be registered "later"? Who forgets the incredible argument that bodies “outside” government do not cause more than 20-30% (more or less) of the public the deficit, so their mapping and monitoring can wait?

For three consecutive years, these institutions have continued to be treated not equally by the Ministry of Finance, and governments leaded by -either robust or consequential- prime ministers. Now, suddenly, issues that are of common knowledge to people involved, come onstage again so a bona fide (but not stupid) observer is placed in the same awkward situation:

What to admire first? The obsession (or perhaps stupidity?) on meaningless debate regarding perjurers and truants? The authoritarian, procrustean logic of horizontal cuts? The manipulation of public discussion relevant to redundancies and dismissals in public sector? Or even the more insidious tactics of naming hard austerity measures as “reforms”, that result in the creation of a "reform fatigue" and finally to the discontent of the society even in to real reform?

The coalition government refuses any discussion on the implementation of a comprehensive reform program that has, not only the necessary financing, but also the subjective and objective preconditions, to be implemented. Finally, their own clientele, those who nest in mazes of legal (mis-)modules, are-even today- well protected.

Are we going to watch, as if we are helpless to react, another lousy performance, during which, no implementation of measures needed will be possible despite the repeated "efforts" of the government, due to the reaction of organized "minorities"? And what are the really necessary measures? This way our government will be forced (quite soon) to proceed to her favorite sport: new cuts, and possibly layoffs will then be "inevitable". The government will have tried hard but the 'mean' Troika will ask for more blood of innocent Greeks....

And the question remains: Even now, just a few steps before the edge of the cliff, is there any political force, willing or able to present a real policy for reform? Is there any?