Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s recent column expressed the common view that most Greeks don't value "enterprise" because they've become dependent on overly generous government benefits that have ruined their economy ("America isn't Greece — at least not yet," Aug. 12). Yet I have struggled to reconcile the idea of the lavish public pensions he talks about with the images of newly homeless Greek pensioners picking through garbage for food as a result of EU-imposed austerity measures. Something seemed amiss.¿¿
The Greek government's financial problems come down to one thing: Tax evasion. James Surowiecki wrote in the New Yorker magazine that Greece's financial woes are due to the simple fact that "tax evasion is the national pastime." IMF head, Christine Lagarde said as much in a blunt May 2012 interview with The Guardian newspaper.