**Posted by Phineas
We all know that Greece is a mess… No, wait. Scratch that. We all know that Greece is a hot, steaming, radioactive mess that threatens to mutate into a blob that eats the EU alive.
Everyone knows that.
But it’s even worse than you think when the tax system literally is run by the Mob:
“The basic question is that a German has to increase working from 65 to 67 and that is to pay for Greeks retiring at 50. The 17th of June is the perfect opportunity to say either ‘we’ll behave’ or ‘we’ll carry on cheating,’” he said.
Harsh words, but they are confirmed by many Greeks I know. A Greek member of parliament told me recently that tax reform was “almost impossible” to achieve because “our tax system is run by the Mafia.” I laughed and said that many countries had people who thought of their tax collectors that way. “No, no,” the parliamentarian insisted. “I mean that organized crime really runs the tax agencies for their benefit, taking a cut of the reduction in taxes they give out to citizens. Every person appointed to reform the system has been pushed out. Respect for authority is nil.”
Unless Greeks suddenly show a level of maturity and moral courage they haven’t shown since, well, Salamis, I don’t see how they avoid collapse, which could well take the Euro and the EU itself with them.
PS: Want something even scarier? While it may not sport a Mafia-run tax system, Spain looks like a far worse horror show ready to get underway.
via Jim Geraghty
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)