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Papandreou Roasted For Columbia Gig

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PapAlready beset by much criticism for making big money delivering lectures at Harvard on the Greek economic crisis he helped create, former Prime Minister George Papandreou is now facing more complaints that he’s doing the same at fellow Ivy League school Columbia, in New York.

The school announced last month that it was proud to have Papandreou, who will be paid $30,000 for seven speeches, come aboard and called Greece a  “living laboratory” for key global public policy challenges.

Papandreou, who led Greece from October 2009 through November 2011 when he resigned in the face of relentless protests, strikes and riots against austerity measures he imposed on the orders of international lenders, is teaching a course on the European financial crisis on Bailouts and Ballots: The New Challenges to Democracy and the Case of Europe.

FoxNews reported not everyone was happy about it and said that bringing in the man who led Greece when its economy tanked – and then went begging for bailouts — had some critics second-guessing the Manhattan school. Well before taking office, Papandreou, whose father and grandfather were also prime ministers, was also a top leader of the PASOK Socialist party whose policies of hiring hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes helped create the country’s $460 billion deficit.

“It’s good that students get to know firsthand knowledge of someone who was in the situation,” Matthew Melchiorre, an expert on European economic affairs at the Competitive Enterprise Institute told FoxNews. “But they’ve also got to take into account that his party has been responsible for the growth in government excess that has been a problem since 1981. The unsustainable promises his party made to the Greek people have now come home to roost. He’s been intimately involved in creating all of the problems that Greece now has today,’ he added.

For Columbia, Papandreou is more a trophy than a tutor, said Desmond Lachman, a resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute, who said that Papandreou is better qualified to teach what not to do. “I have no idea what he (Papandreou) is going to be teaching,” said Lachman. “But one thing he shouldn’t be teaching is how to run an economy. He might want to teach them how to run an economy into the ground.”

Papandreou’s biggest mistake, Lachman said, was failing to recognize that Greece’s mammoth debt was unsustainable. Instead of exiting the European Union and getting the nation’s fiscal house in order, Papandreou continued the same policies until Greece’s debt bomb became the entire EU’s problem, he said. At that point, Papandreou gave in to EU demands for the austerity measures that now make him extremely unpopular.

Papandreou’s defenders say he is uniquely qualified to discuss fiscal and political challenges in Greece and Europe. Vassilis Papadimitriou, an adviser to Papandreou from his Athens office, told FoxNews.com that Papandreou introduced many reforms during his two-year tenure, including combating patronage and the lack of transparency in Greece’s financial affairs.

“It is important to remember that when Mr. Papandreou became Prime Minister in 2009, he discovered that Greece had a real deficit of 15.4 percent of gross domestic product and not 6.4 percent as the previous government had claimed,” Papadimitriou wrote.

“True, the austerity measures that Papandreou was forced to introduce in order to bring down the deficit did not make him popular. Cutting salaries and pensions will never make a politician popular. Today’s coalition government in Greece, led by Mr. Samaras, is following exactly the same program as the one introduced by Papandreou.”

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  • The maverik

    Vassilis Papadimitriou, shut your mouth and stop talking nonsense…Your boss together with his party bankrupt the country and now many do not have food to eat and place to sleep…Do you know something called “Corruption”??? It was created by Pasok and its followers which drowned the country into debts and brought misery to people…

    • Savas

      TRue! Both party’s have a lot to answer to!

      • The maverik

        Yes, both parties have a lot to answer but also past and present politicians but when??? Immunity must be revoked for them to answer to the law of the land, the constitution and its people…

        • Savas

          Would be good to bring every politician in the last several admins, since the overthrow of the fascists in 1974, to account for involvement in the collective mismangaement of the state.Unfortunately, as you say immunity and the whole constitution need to be revised. The idea that Papandreou is still paid by the Greek taxpayer while making money abroad is appalling.
          Papandreou, and the rival party leadership, are not only guilty for not disclosing to the Greek people and EU of the deficit as being 15% instead of 6% but also of completey failing to recognise the financial bubble that developed over the last 30 odd years.
          It’s a complete ridicule of the Greek people to have someone in the likes of Papandreou lecturing on economics when both his party and other party’s in power were incapable of seeing or more likely ignored the financial deficit and only looked at lining their family’s pockets.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OYG7TRHWU2AIDSI4M3B2PE2BHA Paul Johnston PhD

    Papandreaou is a shallow clown and a greedy S.O.B! He is another example of a totally corrupt PASOK party politician parading around in the USA now as if he had nothing to do with destroying his own country!— And now we are inviting this immoral, gutless creep to teach and lecture at our Universtites???!– He should be run out of town & America!

    What a horrific example to show our students and Greek citizens– That CRIME PAYS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ange.kenos Ange T Kenos

    As someone who is active in local government in Victoria with the RSL, in politics, and in Hellenic community matters, I tend to travel a lot and meet with a diverse range of people. One common theme for the past year has been for the ignorant, – even within our own community – to automatically and readily bag “Greeks in Greece”.
    Yet, for those with any measured level of knowledge and understanding, the problems faced in the Hellenic Republic are complex and historical.
    Do not forget that freedom from oppression only came about less than 200 years ago for a large part of the nation and for others – Thessaloniki gained freedom in 1912, Epirus in 1913 and some of our islands many years later. Thrace still has Turkish occupation over half the land.
    In the meantime the Turks plundered, looted and stole anything of value without any interference by the so called superpowers of Europe – Germany, France, Italy and Britain.
    And yet these same superpowers interfered in Hellenic national politics, government, trade and enterprise for many decades and controlled whatever they felt added to their own wealth or which threatened them economically.
    My maternal grandfather and my mother were both born in the same house, but in two different countries. Churchill and his superpower ‘mates’ took a large part of north west Hellas (Greece for those who do not know better) to create the artificial state of Albania. That regime then stole everything of value owned by the Hellenic population and subjugated the people for decades.
    They banned the language and tortured people who spoke Greek or who wanted to pray Orthodox.
    Then came WW2 and I could easily list all of the many quotes from Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill and even from Hitler himself, who stated that it was the amazing strength of character and bravery of the Hellenic people that stopped Germany in its tracks.
    Thanks to peasants, villagers, farmers and people of all ages, Hitler’s advance on Russia was slowed down until winter came and his march onto Britain halted while the British were able to prepare an adequate defence, including massive support from Aussies.
    The Greek people destroyed Hitler’s paratroops and fought the best equipped and best trained military machine then on the planet.
    In retaliation, whole villages were wiped out by the German invaders. 14 per cent of the population is known to have been killed, although the lack of records in many poorer rural areas could make that number considerably higher. Many more were seriously injured.
    Infrastructure was totally destroyed – factories blown up, roads decimated, hospitals and schools wiped off the map, banks emptied of their money and the nation left effectively with nothing.
    After the war few countries gave the Greek nation any real help to rebuild. But worse, in many ways, international legal tribunals ordered Germany to pay reparations for their destruction and thefts. Germany paid every country and added Spain and Portugal for which there was no requirement to repay.
    And yet they have to this day ignored their legal and moral obligation to repay Hellas. A sum now reported by some to be well over one trillion euros.
    Quite likely, the Germans are still angry with how the amazing people of the small Hellenic nation stopped them from conquering the world.
    Since that time a host of other factors have come into play to damage the Hellenic national economy.
    Wealthy Greeks refused to pay their fair share of taxes and so many of the wealthiest moved overseas. Do not forget that the major shipping companies in the world are all owned by those who still claim to be Greek, but who do little if anything for the nation and certainly who do a Kerry Packer and a Twiggy Forrest, and go out of their way to avoid paying one cent of fair taxation.
    But a large part of the general population have copied them, while remaining in the nation (or many others living abroad as in Australia and owning rental properties in Ellada) – refusing to pay taxes and yet expecting, nay demanding all sorts of public benefits, pensions and the like.
    Taxation avoidance has become something of an art form. Have you seen the countless buildings uncompleted and yet with people living or working inside? That is because once they are finished the government must receive building completion taxes.
    Have you heard about those claiming pensions for relatives long since deceased?
    There is a long list of such “activities” but none that are not being enacted in Australia and other nations.
    And where many Australians complain about being over governed, why are there communities across the nation with populations equivalent to ones in Australia and yet with three times as many local government councillors? Why are there more politicians per head of population than in most other democratic nations?
    And being paid while their municipal staff and teachers are not?
    Why is their public service the largest employer in the nation? Vast numbers are paid to sit on their rear ends reading books or talking on mobile phones to friends across the room of a small museum instead of guiding and advising the tourists whose very dollars are crucial to economic prosperity.
    In Australia the Leader of the Opposition Mr Abbott complains about 6000 illegal migrants coming in by boats. Yet the Hellenic nation is receiving 94 per cent of all refugees entering Europe, according to United nations figures. Receiving more illegal ‘entrants’ in a week than Australia sees in a year.
    Now amounting to over 10 per cent of the population.
    These people are bringing an upsurge in a long list of crimes plus demands on the poverty stricken Hellenic nation to care, feed and clothe them while Europe seeks to avoid helping with this overwhelming catastrophe.

    • Savas

      ‘One common theme for the past year has been for the ignorant, – even within our own community – to automatically and readily bag “Greeks in Greece”.’

      Wake up Ange, you said it all in the first paragraph. Blaming history just doesn’t cut it anymore. Rather than look to the Germans and even Turks to pay repatriations, which is no remedy for the current Greek crisis by the way, we need to face up to the inherent fiscal mismanagement brought on by subsequent Greek administrations.

      We are in this financial situation because the Greek political system is and has been broken since its inception. The constitution needs to be overhauled for starters, it is still based on outdated early 19th century nation-state building foundations. For example, remove immunity for suspected corrupt Politicians and public servants, change the whole judicial system, separate religion from state, etc.

      The whole Greek politcal system needs to be vertically rebuilt, the nation’s social fabric improved, and the introduction finally of a body to implement transparent national institutions where checks and balances are the norm. Thus far we’ve had no changes.

      You made many points above of the behavioural traits and financial underhanded manner that Greek people function. So coming back to your first paagraph, bagging out the Greeks for making their own bed is not that bad. Illegal immigration is catastrophic for us in the islands as much as it is on the mainland but we need to manage. Had the wars in Afganistan, Iraq, etc. not taken place who knows what global immigration would look like today!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OYG7TRHWU2AIDSI4M3B2PE2BHA Paul Johnston PhD

    I am a journalist in Greece and I “KNOW” and met George Papandreaou— He is a shallow man and insensitive and extremely greedy! He is another example of a totally corrupt PASOK party politician parading around in the USA now as if he had nothing to do with destroying his own country!— And now we are inviting this immoral, gutless creep to teach and lecture at our Universtites??? Whoever hired him should step down!–
    Gerorge should be run out of town & America!

    What a horrific example to show our students and Greek citizens– That CRIME PAYS!