Greece promises new boss is not the same as the old boss

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23 February 2015

Three stooges

Greek fiscal policy is made offshore by the "Troika."

ATHENS, Greece -- The summit between Greece and its lenders has produced a masterpiece of wordsmithing and hairsplitting that will leave Europe impatient to wait four months for it to happen all over again.

The summit produced an "extension" rather than any dangerously new term such as "sell-out." Lenders agreed not to use hateful terms such as "throwing good money after bad," and in exchange were spared euphemisms such as "haircuts," which in the past have not just trimmed sideburns but snagged random gonads.

Greece pledged to "reform," such as reforming taxes so that people actually pay them, reforming borders to keep money from leaving the country, reforming work so that someone actually does some, and reforming the civil service to be just as huge but suddenly less corrupt. Parliament will square these reforms with the promises the Syriza party has already made, such as for workers to be paid more than they are worth and for non-workers to get free electricity. The hated "Troika" was even reformed; they will now be called the "Three Amigos."

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras praised the Greek citizenry: "Greeks who stood by us were our most powerful negotiating weapon," as their solidarity let him achieve the exact opposite of what he ran on. Tsipras hailed the end of "austerity," meaning the austere government budgets Greece never wrote and is not writing now, and the end of foreign humiliation of Greece, as it will not be humiliating next week to submit the final wording on bended knee to — the Troika. The new dollop of foreign loot should tide Greece over until economic times become better, or until it is time to do it again.

Approval was not unanimous, as veteran Manolis Glezos said, "I apologize for taking part in this illusion." But a spokesman said that Glezos "may not be well informed on the tough negotiation." The spokesman stressed that tough negotiations are no illusion, nor were the prime rib and ouzo between sessions. All sides avoided moves more ambitious than delicate new names, which might push the Syriza Party out of office, push other basket-case nations out of the Euro, and push Germany to repurchase bayonets if it wants to push other nations around. Stock futures suggest that investors in the United States were soothed by the four-month "extension" of reforms that, if they were any good, would have worked by now.

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