It seems like the only people left on the planet who reject the conclusion that the “austerity program” imposed on Greece to fix its economy utterly failed — are the ones in charge of administering that same policy.
So this caught my eye:
The International Monetary Fund released an internal report on Wednesday that sharply criticizes its first bailout program for Greece, the latest in a series of partial mea culpas as the fund reassesses the austerity that it has insisted on for ailing, debt-plagued economies.
The 50-page report, titled “Greece: Ex Post Evaluation of Exceptional Access Under the 2010 Stand-By Arrangement,” acknowledges major mistakes in Greece’s first bailout, which totaled about $143 billion and came into effect in 2010. The fund bent or broke three out of four of its own rules with the lending program, the report concludes. It also seriously underestimated the severity of Greece’s downturn. —NYTimes
You may peruse the details at your leisure, but I can sum it up for you: the “troika” responsible for the bailout program — the IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank — bum-fucked the Greeks. Royally.
Well, no surprise, really, when you consider that the alternatives not only wouldn’t have made the principals more money, it would have cost them. So what’s 3 years of deep depression, skyrocketing unemployment, an elevated crime rate, higher incidence of mental and physical illness, and the crumbling of an ancient civilization’s culture for generations to come compared to a few percentage points of revenue? That’s an easy one.
But get this:
The I.M.F. also expressed misgivings about the troika that financed and ran the bailout program….“None of the partners seemed to view the arrangement as ideal,” [the report] said, and they failed to establish a proper division of labor. Still, “the view of everybody involved on the inside is that given that these are three institutions that have not had a history of working in that way together, it worked surprisingly well,” Mr. Thomsen, the Greek mission chief, said.
Far from anybody getting taken off the case, or demoted, or even canned for butchering the project from start to finish, they’re clapping one another on the back for a job well done. All those photos of formerly middle-class children rummaging through dumpsters for food at recess notwithstanding, the bankers are content with their own efforts.
To paraphrase the old joke about the Greek Army motto: the Troika never left their friends’ behind.
Cue the Eat The Rich posters.