Austin Bay

Syriza's leaders see these fissures and wager that angry, resentful Greeks will reward them with a working majority in a new election. Another round of parliamentary elections will occur June 17. The electoral mulligan is a done deal.

The second mulligan, The Big Greek Mulligan, is another matter entirely. What Greece really wants is a complete eurozone do-over -- a restart, from scratch, with all debts forgiven. Syriza-ista fantasists may actually believe this dream mulligan is possible. New Democracy and PASOK political realists know it won't happen but miracles -- miracles do happen, don't they? Don't they!?!

Miracle enthusiasts will have to answer this question: Where is scratch? When the eurozone officially formed in 2001, Greece claimed it had a gross domestic product deficit of 1.5 percent. According to former Greek budget minister Peter Doukas (BBC News, Feb. 2, 2012) the correct figure was 8.3 percent of GDP. From euro-scratch the Greek government lied -- told a Big Lie and told it often -- about its deficits. The 1992 Maastricht Treaty (the treaty that created the EU) stipulated that member budget deficits must be 3 percent of GDP or less. Greece signed the treaty and claimed it met the 3 percent commitment. Today, skeptics doubt that claim.

A 1992 mulligan? Why, that might suggest the entire European Union project is a suspect venture.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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