The violent scenes we saw yesterday at foreclosed property auctions did not come out of nowhere. They are the result of the sterile, allegedly revolutionary rhetoric that was systematically cultivated in the past by members of the current ruling party.
Before coming to power, the prime minister himself, his cabinet members, and MPs had raised the “Won’t pay” banner at every opportunity, with the aim, as it turned out, of deceiving citizens and occupying high offices.
We all remember the revolutionary exercises with protesters waving drivers through national highway toll booths, the statement by Mr. Tsipras himself that he would not pay his ENFIA real estate tax, and the erstwhile anti-establishment slogans, such as “No home in the hands of a banker”.
Unfortunately, along with the self-delusions of today’s government, the illusions of those who entrusted them are also over.
The full adjustment to intractable realities, and the complete alignment with the demands of creditors so as to close the bailout programme evaluation, forces the government to confront a segment of society, as well as their former comrades, who remind them of the contradiction between all that they had pledged and everything that is happening today.
As non-performing loans threaten the solvency of banks, the delay game has necessarily come to an end.
Along with those who don’t pay their debts even though they are financially able to do so, thus implementing the “Won’t pay” strategy, the many citizens who simply cannot meet their loan obligations will pay the piper.
With over-taxation having hit the ceiling, with thousands of bank accounts being seized every day by the tax bureau, even those who truly want to pay off their loans are not able to. The exemption of debtors’ primary residences from foreclosure ends at the end of the year.
No one has offered assurances that it will be maintained.
The result is that thousands of citizens will find themselves trapped between auctions and investment funds, which will buy packages of loans from banks that must urgently rationalise their portfolios.
Those who when seeking power indiscriminately offered a host of promises, today are washing their hands as latter day Pontius Pilates. And the MPs who once upon a time peddled slogans without impunity, today remain silent.