According to CIA, right now Greece has GDP of $405.7bln, and debt of $552.8bln (136%) - not even counting debt hidden thanks to Goldman Sachs shenanigans. It got into massive debt by spending too much and taxing too little. But everyone seems to forget what it spent so much money on. Here's the real reason:
Greece spends far higher percentage of GDP on military than any EU country; higher than US, Russia, and any even remotely sane country in the world.
Greece spends completely insane 4.3% of its GDP on military - that not even counting forced unpaid labour system - if every soldier was actually paid the number would be even higher - and it definitely severely damages economy by taking people at their most productive age away from useful activities like studying or working.
And what's their track record?
- They obviously lost during the Second World War, but so did everyone else, and then they proceeded to...
- Have a Civil War 1944-1949! The first major success of Greek military was murdering fellow Greeks, with British and American assistance.
- The Civil War being won, the army still felt like shooting some people but didn't have balls enough to face another real army, so not soon later, in 1967, they overthrew the government to kill even more Greeks (they especially loved killing students). With CIA involvement of course, like most Cold War right wing military coups.
- What did the military junta do after they ran out of people to kill in Greece? By sponsoring a military coup attempt in Cyprus with annexation of it into Greece as the ultimate goal. That failed spectacularly, as Turkey would have none of it, and moved its army to annex Northern Cyprus. The fiasco caused collapse of Greek military regime.
- So what did Greeks do after that? Dissolve or at least drastically reduce the army whose only occupation was shooting at their compatriots and unsuccessfully trying to occupy other countries? Of course not - they kept spending insane amount of money and forced unpaid labour on it!
- Greece - 4.3% - way too fucking high, never won a war, killed fuckloads of Greeks
- USA - 4.06% - while being involved in countless genuine wars
- Russian - 3.9% - you're clearly spending far too much if even Russia is saner than you
- South Korea - 2.7% - and they're next to a nuclear-armed madmen just waiting for the best time to hit them
- France - 2.6% - second highest in EU, manage to have built third largest nuclear arsenal for that
- UK - 2.4% - and that includes nuclear arsenal and they even manage to win a war every now and then without American support
- Taiwan - 2.2% - they clearly don't care about Chinese
- EU average - only 1.69%
- People's Republic of China - 1.7% - they're clearly all hippie peaceniks!
- Japan - 0.8% - being in reach of North Koreans nukes? We just love our animes and do not care about such things!
Imagine that instead of insane 4.3% of GDP Greece spent only 1.7% of GDP in it, like a typical EU country. Over the last 20 years (before that there was Cold War, which was seriously overrated but let's excuse that), it would save them 52% of GDP - moving them from the list of bankrupt countries to the list of fairly average countries struggling with the recession. But there's more! All that 52% of GDP incurred compound interest. Average long term interest rates are about 6%/year nominal, so 1bln drachmas spent in 1990 grew all the way up to 3.2bln drachmas now (or however many euros that is). Even worse - countries which are deeper in debt have to pay much higher interest rates.
Now exact calculations would require far too much data gathering, so I won't bother at the moment, but one thing is clear even from this:
The only reason Greece is in such crisis now is because they have ridiculously oversized army. The main requirement of any bailout package should be massive reduction in size and cost of their armed forces.