We are between Vespa rallies, so I have a week to relax and catch up on pontification!
Was interesting having a dozen Yanks in the group that was here the past two weeks. Gave a chance to compare how the US and Greece are addressing their financial woes. Between reading the International Herald Tribune and talking with my US Vespa compadres, it seems that you folks back there are making serious cuts in education and health care programs, amongst other services. Here, the government has explicitly said that education and health care are vital services for today and the country's future, and will be preserved. While there is a focus on eliminating waste, there is no cut and dry massive budget cuts as seen in the US.
In the past few days, both the Minister of Health and the president of the Physicians Union independently issued statements calling upon the national health care (NHC) workers to rise to the occasion and continue to deliver top rate services to the people, even if the workers have seen their "13th" and "14th" month bonuses reduced. This is a very important call to action, as many Greeks have elected to use NHC over private providers during the past year to save on medical expenses.
Equally important has been the commitment to education, to include the universities. The state universities remain free, without a reduction in student admissions, which are on a competitive basis. There's a woman joining our Vespa group in Italy next week. Her school major urban system doesn't know exactly how many people will be laid off this Fall, so everyone was told to take all their personal belongs home so that those who are laid off won't have to come back to pick their things up. Any personal belongings left on school property on 1 July will be trashed.
In short, two very essential national services will not be hamstrung to balance the budget. As the ruling party put it, "We cannot totally undermine our future simply because of mistakes in the past."