July 09, 2019
Greece’s economy has recovered modestly from the depths it hit at the peak of its crisis in 2014 and 2015, but with an unemployment rate that is still close to 19 percent, there hardly seems like great cause for celebration. The overall economic picture in Greece still looks horrible even compared with disasters like the Great Depression in the United States.
Employment is still down by almost 20 percent from its pre-crisis peak in 2008, the equivalent of 30 million people losing work in the United States. (Part of the story here is large-scale emigration to other countries.) Per capita income is roughly the same as it was in 2001.
While that sounds pretty terrible, Roger Cohen tells us that Greece is the “good news” story in Europe. The punch line is near the end of the piece:
“The Obama administration won Tsipras over and so dragged him toward the center. Joe Biden, as vice president, told the then-prime minister not to take rash decisions — such as leaving the euro — that would be irreversible. A breakup of the eurozone, with other countries possibly following Greece, was avoided.”
Right, so we are supposed to be happy because the euro, a system managed by a bunch of economic know-nothings in expensive suits and strong business ties, has managed to survive. While Greece is the biggest victim of euro-idiocy, the people of Italy, Spain, France, and other countries are also suffering due to needless austerity.
But at least Roger Cohen is happy.