Sorry about the C&P.
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NEW YORK — The fifth labour of the mythological Greek hero Hercules was cleaning 30 years of accumulated manure from the Augean stables. He did so by diverting two rivers, then went on to found the Olympics.
Today, Greece’s finances are another Augean stable. They risk igniting a financial crisis almost as dangerous as Lehman Brothers’ collapse in 2008.
Greece’s new socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou, will need Hercules’ strength and wits to restore Greece’s economy and prevent its crisis from infecting other members of the European Union.
Greece is rich by people, but poor by government. Greeks are a very smart, tough, fiercely hard-working people. When Greeks settle abroad, they excel.
But at home, in the cradle of democracy, Greeks have long been cursed by corrupt governments, political tribal warfare, mutual suspicion and disreputable finances. The same holds for some Balkan nations and, until recently, Ireland.
Many Europeans felt Greece should never have been admitted to the EU or, later, the euro zone. Bulgaria, Romania and the Greek portion of Cyprus were similarly unready. It turns out that Greece met the EU’s financial admission standards by falsifying its books.
Greece’s alternating conservative and socialist governments were both responsible for its third-world finances. A third of Greek workers are employed by government. Truculent public sector unions threaten paralyzing strikes and riots if they...