Athens plans billions in aid for the poor

Athens expects to achieve a primary surplus of 2.2 percent of GDP this year. The target surplus negotiated with its creditors was 1.75 percent. The Greek government wants to distribute the surplus to all those who "have been hardest hit in the years of financial crisis". Commentators see the plan as populistic and argue that the money should go towards promoting the economy and lowering taxes so that everyone benefits.

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Proto Thema (GR) /

Unfair and inept populism

The publisher of Proto Thema, Tasos Karamitsos, criticises the measure as populistic and unjust:

“The distribution of the budget surplus should be effected through the return of tax money to society - and therefore to the economy as a whole. The government should select large social groups with a medium income that were heavily taxed this year and give them something back to indicate a correct and sensible policy. This is what the vast majority (65 percent) want, according to a recent survey by our newspaper. I don't know how politically effective it can be for the government to distribute money that was accumulated by overtaxing all Greeks to its clientele. Moreover, this is unfair and absurd.” (GR) /

Better to create jobs

The state would be better off using the surplus to promote innovation and growth, Protagon advises:

“Former prime minister Antonis Samaras gave the surplus to the army, Tsipras gave it to the pensioners [last year]. Each to his own clientele. ... This money should be invested in economic development, in projects and measures that create jobs and raise tax revenues. Tsipras can go ahead and present himself to the TV cameras with a silk stole and a halo over his head. Why shouldn't he? But he should also promote innovation, research and start-ups.”