Report from Greece: Entitled, Lazy, Hate Americans, Blame the Immigrants

by Darwin on March 7, 2013

I was talking to a co-worker today who just got back from Greece to settle an estate.  I always find it fascinating to travel to other countries or to get first-hand accounts of what others have recently experienced when they travel abroad.  There’s plenty to criticize here in America, but I’ll tell ya, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

In the case of my co-worker, she’s of Greek descent but has lived in America most of her life.  So, she’s American. She works hard, is married to a hard working executive, does all the stuff Americans that I associate with do.  She gets it.  She says Greeks don’t.  She just had to make a quick trip over there to settle an estate from some distant relative who owned some rental properties and she was astounded by how much it has changed since she was there years ago and by just how bad it is there – how bad the people are, really.

A Few Anecdotes.

  • Entitlements – Pension from 40 for life – So, her aunt has been living off a pension of something like 3,000 Euro/Month for 27 years now.  She’s only 67.  She retired at 40.  That’s right.  What was her occupation?  Something hazardous?  Something where one can only stand 20 years of it before the state must fund your retirement?  She was an interpreter.  Talk about stress!  So, assuming she started working at 20, she’s been living off a higher pension that the maximum you can get out of Social Security if you’re a six-figure earner for life and contributed up until 65 as an American.  And she collects from 40 until whenever; let’s say 85.  Work 20 years, collect for 45.  Not a bad deal.  Well, given the recent austerity measures enacted to account for the fact that Greece blatantly lied to get into the Euro and derive the benefit of their lower interest rates, Greece has had to cut pensions country-wide. The individual in this case only saw their pension cut like 10%, so not entirely drastic, especially considering the “deal” they’ve had for decades now.  So, now they’re all ranting and raving about how their pensions have been cut.  Never mind working.  Never mind cutting back.  They’re entitled.  More on cutting back next…
  • Cut Back?  3 Trips to the “Cafe”?  No Way, Reduce My Rent! One of the things she couldn’t get her head around was if people are struggling so much with their pension cuts, why aren’t they doing something about it?  Like, you know, maybe getting a job?  Or cutting back?  She found that these retired people – in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond…what they do is go around town all day and meet different sets of friends at different cafes 2-3 times EACH day and sip coffee and bitch about the government, Americans, and immigrants (more on that later).  The simple solution would be to cut the trips around town drinking coffee every day and you’d be right back to even.  But no, they’re entitled to that lifestyle for more years than they actually contributed to society.
  • America/Turkey Conspiracy to Steal Oil from Cyprus – This one came from an educated man.  A lawyer in fact, tied to the estate settlement.  He started ranting and raving about how America has conspired with Turkey to overtake Cyprus so that they could use an oil exploration company to lay claim to a massive oil find in the region and then use a depressed Greece to supply cheap labor to extract the oil while the economy is in the doldrums.  Genius!  Aside from the fact that, well, America doesn’t have a government oil company.  We have what’s called “private industry”.  And many major oils aren’t even American – you know, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, etc.  And well, I could go on about how absurd this theory is.  But she said he was citing how prevalent this theory was and that as an American, she was either naive or should be ashamed for lying about her government’s ambitions.
  • When the Landlord Dies, all the Tenants Stop Paying Rent.  When the Heirs Want Backpay, Outrage Ensues – Her Aunt died a year ago.  And basically, the moment the various tenants in various apartments found out she had died they immediately stopped paying their rent.  Since it took a year for all the various legal proceedings, probate, etc., now that she finally got out there with a lawyer, etc. and started talking to the tenants they were angry that they were being called out for monies owed.  They really felt as though either a) nobody would coming asking or b) they shouldn’t have to pay during a time when the landlord was dead.  So they deserve a free ride?  Even better yet, many of them demanded that she reduce their monthly rent because their pensions were cut.  Amazing.  Like that’s the landlord’s fault?  Again, cut the coffee…
  • Americans Are Rich Assholes – She heard repeatedly in country what a bunch of arrogant rich assholes Americans were.  She had to remind many of them that, well, we work hard.  We work until we’re in our sixties.  And while there is a social safety net (being wildly abused these days), it’s nothing along the same lines of Greece.  And most importantly  – we produce.  Americans invent stuff.  Americans take risks and start businesses.  Americans create, manufacture, export, and lead in virtually every industry.  Greeks?  They have shipping, olive oil and tourism primarily.
  • Immigrants – We’ve seen the neo-Nazi parties winning elections in Greece which is disgusting enough, but my co-worker said a common complaint she heard consistently was about all the damned Pakistanis taking over the city.  Kind of like Americans complaining about Mexicans I suppose.  She said she only saw a couple people that looked to be possibly Pakistani the entire time there and wasn’t really sure what the big deal was.  It’s kinda like Nazi Germany blaming Jews and gypsies for everything.  Iran likes to blame the great Satan.  When your country’s screwed up and you don’t want to blame the leadership or the citizens, blame and ethnic or religious group.  Educated people usually see through that, but Germans were highly educated in 1930.  See, they had high inflation and high unemployment.  Scapegoat.  Greece is going through the same thing now.  (See Greek racist attacks)

I know, I know, this sounds like an anecdotal account.  But don’t take my word for it.  Here are some facts:

  • 26.4% Unemployment (source). This is an absolutely horrific number.  It’s worse than most “third world countries” and “emerging markets”, of which Greece is now one.
  • 61.7% Youth Unemployment (source). If you thought the prior bullet was bad, this is just abysmal.  Imagine almost 2/3 of recent highschool and college grads with nothing to do but protest, join anarchist protests and sit around. There are no jobs for these people and their generation is truly screwed.  How there’s not even more civil unrest with this situation is beyond me – I guess living in their parents’ basement isn’t as bad as it is here.
  • Greed, Corruption, Tax Evasion, Special Interests Make the US Look Honest (source) – this is just one example, but they basically can’t collect taxes from a good part of the population, when crime is reported or found, nothing is done to prosecute, everyone is protected and nobody cares – because it’s normal.

As screwed up as we are, I’m glad I’m not living in Greece.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin March 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

WOW! I had no idea that Greece had that type of retirement system. That is crazy!


Natalie F March 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I’ve been reading here and there about Greece’s economy and how they might get thrown out of the euro system. That retirement system they have is ridiculous. no wonder they’re doing so bad.


Darwin March 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Same could be said of the US welfare/govt assistance programs. Good thing we have high earners footing the bill!


Vicky June 4, 2013 at 8:03 am

“We’ve seen the neo-Nazi parties winning elections in Greece”

This never happened. First of all, there is ONE neo-Nazi party in Greece. More than enough, if you ask me, but still one. No such thing as “parties”. Also, that neo-Nazi party never won any elections.

You might want to get your facts straight before you actually post. I don’t know if you have any kind of training in writing for the mass media, but one of the main things they teach you at college is never to accuse someone without giving him/her the right to provide an explanation, an other view. Your story isn’t balanced or fair, and you make zero effort to present the other side of the story. Biased views like yours only create misunderstandings, and you should really be more careful about giving people the wrong information. I hope people reading this are smart enough and have learnt to think critically, so as not to take your words too seriously.


Darwin June 4, 2013 at 9:33 am

Stop lying, you know there are major Neo-Nazi movements and political winners in the arena. Party/Parties, who cares – candidates! winners! They are taking over and Greeks are obviously voting for them. TONS of neo-Nazi racists have won recent elections. This is well-documented and known throughout the world; what it isn’t being covered in the Greek press?

How do you reconcile this? Plenty of seats won and in some areas, they garner as high as 20% of the vote! Nazis! You are clueless. But I guess wikipedia and mainstream media are all liars too…


Darwin June 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Evidently, you care more about splitting hairs over party/parties than the fact that the country is a mess and a SUBSTANTIAL number of Greek citizens have voted in neo-Nazi party members of Red Dawn. While you may be a journalism major, you are diverting from the real issue and splitting hairs in an attempt to discredit me but you only make yourself appear more foolish in the process. Perhaps you should be a Greek politician yourself.

What is in dispute within the wikipedia link? Has Red Dawn not been winning elections? Are they not a racist organization? Do immigrants feel safe in Greece? Can recent college graduates even find a job in Greece? The country is in complete shambles and there is no improvement in sight.

I’m not sure what your agenda is but I feel my portrayal of the situation in Greece is rather accurate. Whether or not it’s party or parties is completely irrelevant.


Vicky June 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source for anything since it can be edited by anyone. Please, you must at least know that much… I live in Greece, I am very politically active and I am pretty sure I know what Golden Dawn is. My point was, there are no other neo-Nazi parties, which is what you said. You’re the liar here, not me. If I’m wrong, please do correct me. Name at least one other neo-Nazi party. Just one, out of the many “movements” you claim exist. And they won recent elections, where? In Greece? When? Give me an example, cause I must be really ignorant not knowing what’s going on where I live.

It’s not bad admitting when you’re wrong and I’m not here to judge you. Just saying you willingly mislead your audience by offering a biased view. You can’t deny you lied about “neo-Nazi partIES”, who even supposedly “won elections”. You either lied on purpose or you just have very poor research skills and zero critical thinking. In any case, no need to get so annoyed. I only corrected your mistakes, just accept it. And it’s not “who cares” – it’s important how you don’t even care about presenting the true situation, and your audience should be aware of it. It’s too bad you can’t even take responsibility for your poor research.

Just a friendly note from someone who actually did study journalism 🙂


Pericles June 29, 2013 at 1:00 am

Your story is half-true half false.
Obviously you (or your co-worker) does not know well greek reality.
– the 40 years old pensioners who get 1000-5000 €/month pensions are a reality
-the taxi drivers who get a “blindness pension”
-“working” people in public corporations taking extraordinary salaries
-that all of these people go to protest and rally because they got a 10% cut in their privileges
-the 26% unemployment. In fact this is a lie, since it does not include many entrepreneures working in break-even. Unemployment must be around 30-35%
-Antiamericanism. It exists, but during the recent years it has been reduced significantly. I think it is because Greeks like Obama.

-All of the above inequalities are supported by leftist parties like SYRIZA who resist necessary reforms. People are infuriated towards them, but they want to make Greek citizents illigal immigrants just to take their vote. This is why many unemployed and hard working people support Golden Dawn
-Laziness: If you are employed in the private sector you work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, you get a two weeks leave a year, for 500 € salary just to cater the 5000 € pensioners in the cafes.
-Tax evasion: Public institutions like hospitals, police, schools, electricity company etc. are crowded with party members who get high salaries just to play computer games in an office.
Public hospitals even lack gauses or antiseptics! In order to get a decent care you must go to a private hospital, a private school for education etc. PLUS you have to pay enormous taxes to support the crappy public sector.
This is why Greeks tax evade: Just to survive!

Source: Living in Greece and dealing with Greeks for 38 years, from the time of my birth.


Poli Dimakos October 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm

This article hits a few key points on what is going on in Greece, but there is a great misunderstanding. I am a Greek Portuguese American who lives in the US and has lived in Greece. Although much of what you are saying is correct, what you are missing is sub back story. Why is Greece the way it is? What has created these conspiracy theories? Well, from the time Greece won its independence they were given a Bavarian king, In the history of modern Greece they have experienced two world wars, the Balkan Wars, the Turkish-Greek wars, a dozen military coups, government corruption, the list goes on. The last 100 years in Greece has devastated the economy a few times over. This is not the first time they have been on the verge of default.

Greece is currently in a depression. One that is possibly worse than that of the Great Depression, considering youth unemployment is at 65%, which was only 30% at the start of the crisis, which is still double that of the US youth unemployment rate. The national unemployment rate is up to almost 30% now.

According to a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2008, right before the crisis hit, the average German worker put in 1,429 hours on the job and the Dutch worker only 1,389 hours on the job. Yet the average Greek worker put in 2,120 hours. In Spain it was 1,647 hours and in Italy, 1,802. So it’s not a matter of laziness as it is a matter of efficiency. It is a problem with the system.

Now, in regards to Greece’s debt, a big part of the Greek budget comes from military spending. The EU does nothing to help protect the borders of Greece. Why is the issue of immigrants an issue in Greece? They cannot control their borders. They do not have jobs for all of these immigrants pouring in. The reason they go to Greece, right now amid a depression it is a black market stepping stone into EU nations like France, Germany, Holland, ect. It is not the same as it is with the Mexicans here, there they have no jobs. Those who try are reduced to slave labor. This is something the government is attempting to crack down on, but in the middle of austerity measures and a depression, who do you do anything more when you can’t handle what you have on your plate. 9 out of 10 illegal immigrants in the European Union come through Greece. 90% of illegal immigrants cross a devastated economic zone, a nation in a depression. This has been a trend that has increased gradually since the 90’s. In the past illegal immigrants were not treated in the same manor they are today. The problem is the numbers are far greater than before, and many of the Greek people are in poverty. So why has the European Union done nothing to help alleviate the stresses of border control? Or deeper, Greece has air and water space violations from the Turkish Navy and Air Force a few times a day. This is why Greece spends so much on military, a provocative neighbor. How does the EU handle it? Here, buy some more weapons. Greece spends more on their military than any other country in the EU. It’s position on the map makes it more vulnerable than others. Should the EU help alleviate the need for this spending if it is part of their borders? Would air and water space violations continue if there were joint effort from other nations in patrolling the waters?

Greeks with jobs are working some weeks without pay, or huge pay slashes, and their taxes have shot through the roof. Was there tax evasion? Yes, across the board. Why? If the government is going to be as corrupt as it had been, why would the people not follow suit? Most of the bribes involve government jobs or in relation to government systems or programs. My friend’s father has not been given a commission check from his job in over a year, and has gone as many as 2 months without pay, over the last 3 years his job has robbed him of 3 months pay. It’s better than not having a job right?

Political corruption is the main source of the problem. Years of politicians on the take. Who are they on the take from? The civil side of the government from the Greek people, who are given no choice. You want a drivers license? Envelope. You want a surgery (gov health care)? Envelope. Who are the politicians on the take from? American, French and Germany big businesses. What are they taking bribes for? Cooperator loop holes, purchase of weapons, ect. Who helped the Greek government lie to the EU about their numbers? Goldman Sachs. What happened when the prime minister offered a referendum? Greece in return was handed two un-elected prime minsters that were EU approved the following two years. Talk about taxation without representation.


Maxh November 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Look everything this article says sound unbelievable and the title really is catchy…
But please people get your facts straight!!

1) Pension. I won’t disagree that there propably are people who got pension at a young age. But they are not the rule.. They are the exception! Most people would retire at 55 or 60 and now at 65 or 67. I know these numbers may sound strange to Americans, but the rest of Europe used to have these as well. We follow the european standards (with some latency yes, but the whole europe used to be more for the people than it is now)
I would double check if this aunt you are talking about is somehow connected to any politicians and anything anethical

2)The cafes. Try a bit to get in an unemployed mans shoes. You can’t find a job, you have nothing to do all day long, your city really, really sucks cause there are no parks anywhere or any public facility and if you don’t want to cut your wrists you must get out of the house… So you go to a cafe… You pay 2 euros for a coffee and stay there for 4 hours, bacause time is all you got.. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t applaud this, but it has some sort of sense in it.. I would much rather all those people to go protest and actually do something to improve their futures.. And please.. You said yourself that unemployment is around 30%. You understand that accusing those people for “not trying to get a job” is a bit off..

I have nothing to say about conspiracy theories and it is very weird what you say about rent (i’ve never heard of anything like this)

As for hatred, if Greeks hate someone right now (except their politicians) it is the Germans so you can sleep again at night… It is kind of funny that your goverment actually shut down because someone wanted to provide for the less fortunate, but still we do not hate you.. Most people actually like you!

The immigrant issue is something you got right. The thing is that as the crisis deepens so will racial hate..

Anyway. The thing is you are talking about a subject you have no personal experience on, and you are generalizing based on some isolated events. And I really believe you meant well, but this is not what Greece is.. And you are hurting Greece even more with the ideas you push with your article

I don’t say we are perfect. We had some things coming.. But if it was us that were rotten Italy and Spain would not have a crisis now.. This is bigger than Greece. This crisis affects us all.. Greece was more vulnerable to it because it’s political system was so corrupted that all those years it was feeding people money to stay in power and now it tries to protect German (German hate, see?) and european interests before the interests of its own peoples’
There are kinds in Greece that go without food for days, that faint at schools. People jumping from rooftops. People going homeless. This may not be a big thing for Americans, but here these things never happened..


They lie like one November 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Let`s not forget the cheap labor force-the emigrants.Let`s not forget the 105 different diseases,money for marriage,money for free oil for heating even in south Greece,the money for the students.Let`s not forget the emigrants in the agriculture who work for as little as 8 euro a day and without contracts,the emigrants in the cleaning sector and the house keeping/take care of old parent who work without contracts(there are many firms who take foreign women to work without contract and insurance and the government don`t care for the contracts and the taxes and pretend that the problems don`t exist at all.Because they have to keep their renome.
Golden Dawn in Greece are neo nazis?Where have you seen gipsies and arabs to be neo nazis?Try to imagine that!Because the real Greeks are not white,the white ones are not greeks (they won`t accept it because of the forceful assimilation before years with the help of the west countries of course,but everyone can see it in Internet and with his own eyes,they are much like the americans-english speaking mixed population for the most part.To be “greek” is more cultural than biological with exception of the “old greeks” who are more in the islands and especially in Cyprus).
So much for the neo nazi-imitation to suppress the real nationalism against the mass emigration of non white and give rights to the non white emigrants.So some “greeks” are good-the white ones.I know that this is racist,but this is the truth.And guess what-the black ones help each other also and are tolerant with the black emigrants.
Try work and live with the real ones and you will see good human rights when you need job,services,health care…
The pensions,the government jobs,all the social help for “diseases”,the high unemployment-well i personally know at least 2 people who take money for unemployment and work illegally,but the greeks will NEVER talk bad for one another in front of the foreigners.They will say that they have real crysis and will play the victimisation card.When you see who they look like and who govern them,the banksters who have given them so much money and still give them it`s not a surprise.
If you want to see real communism go to Israel and Greece.
Not ancient history,not the first democracy but a sure slave like emigrants with no rights at all.Let`s not forget the fear of the government-there are no minorities except for a little Muslimans in West Thrace and if you`re a minority in Greece-forget it for any rights at all,they have not signed the papers because “Greece” will disapear as a teritory as it is.
You`ve got screwed up with the hospitals and the medicare-there are institutions,but if you are a foregner forget about your rights.
Hard working greeks-yes,there are i have just not seen them so far.
The christianity is like everything else-two faced people.Don`t believe people who pretend to be too religious-the history had shown us that the most religious are exactly the opposite and i`m talking for the religious people around the world as a whole so not exception at all.The only god-the money,the profit.
If you don`t have much money,you`re not a greek (greek passport is good enough for them it seems) or have relatives with money forget about live in the country as a normal person.
They`ll keep lying the outside world and will never ever talk how much free money they have received,still receive and will receive,about the human rights of the minorities which existance they don`t accept and the MSM will never talk about them.Because of the special relatives which own the MSM,IMF and so on.It looks like conspiracy but ask foreigners who have been living in Greece and not as a tourists-they will tell you the truth which they try to keep hidden.
I am not talking as black or arab or asian emigrant who have come for easy life in Greece,i talk as white,normal,educated man.
The EU will disapear because of the parasites and the mass emigration.


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