To: President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate

Obama: Respect Anti-Mass Unemployment Will of Greek Electorate

President Obama and Members of Congress should use their influence on European institutions, including through the Treasury Department and the International Monetary Fund, to press European leaders to respect and compromise with the anti-mass unemployment will of the Greek electorate as expressed in the January 25th election.

Why is this important?

Syriza’s victory in Greece’s elections marks a historic turning point for countries attempting to emerge from sluggish economic growth and high unemployment. [1] Syriza has promised to enact alternatives to austerity policies European authorities have imposed on Greece, which have left Greece with extremely high unemployment similar to the U.S. Great Depression, currently at 25.5%, with youth unemployment at 49.6%. [2] The IMF projects Greek unemployment will still be at nearly 16% in 2018, and almost all of their projections since 2010 have been over-optimistic.

Greek voters have rejected prolonged mass unemployment and elected a government with a mandate to negotiate a better deal. A government willing to stand up to the European authorities can help Europe move away from economic policies that have been a miserable failure.

Syriza has vowed to enact a stimulus, including through boosting public investment; to seek renegotiation of Greece’s debt; to clamp down on tax evasion; and to take advantage of the new quantitative easing program announced by the European Central Bank last week. The party has opposed plans to cut salaries and pensions of public employees even further. [3.] The amounts of money needed to guarantee a robust Greek recovery are extremely small for the European authorities, especially given the size of the ECB’s announced 60 billion euro per month QE. [4.]

U.S. officials will have significant influence on European leaders as they formulate their response to the election, both directly and indirectly through U.S. leadership of the IMF. Urge U.S. officials to press European leaders to respect and compromise with the anti-austerity will of the Greek electorate by signing our petition.

References:
1. “Syriza Victory in Greece Could Be a ‘Historic Turning Point’ for Eurozone Economic Policy, CEPR Co-Director Says,” Center for Economic and Policy Research,
January 25, 2015, http://www.cepr.net/index.php/press-releases/press-releases/syriza-victory-in-greece-could-be-a-historic-turning-point-for-eurozone-economic-policy-cepr-co-director-says
2. “The Greek Economy: Which Way Forward?” Mark Weisbrot, David Rosnick and Stephan Lefebvre, Center for Economic and Policy Research, January 2015, http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/the-greek-economy-which-way-forward
3. “End austerity before fear kills Greek democracy,” Alexis Tsipras, Financial Times,
January 20, 2015, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/da236d24-9ff9-11e4-9a74-00144feab7de.html
4. “The Greek Economy: Which Way Forward?” Mark Weisbrot, David Rosnick and Stephan Lefebvre, Center for Economic and Policy Research, January 2015, http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/the-greek-economy-which-way-forward

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