Monday, March 15, 2010

Greece "solves" Government debt crisis with Tax Hikes

When governments institute "austerity measures" it always mean "citizens suffer."

A wave of new tax hikes hit Greece on Monday, raising the cost of consumer goods despite recession and high unemployment, as European Union finance ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss the country's debt crisis.

The centre-left government has increased the main sales tax from 19 to 21 per cent, as part of a €16-billion ($22-billion) austerity package intended to cut the budget deficit by almost a third this year.

The tax hike raised the cost of fuel and most consumer goods and services, although many retailers have said they will try to minimize the effect on shelf prices.

Central Athens green grocer Vangelis Tangalos said the sales tax increase would further damage weak sales.

“We're already 30 to 40 per cent down,” he said. “Now with the increase there will be even more of an effect.”