The Greek spending cuts in U.S. terms

Protesters run away from tear gas during clashes between protesters and riot police near the Greek parliament in Athens on February 12, 2012. Despite the protests, a new round of austerity measures was agreed upon over the weekend.

Jeremy Hobson: It was another tense weekend in Greece. Protestors lit buildings on fire in Athens, as lawmakers did what they had to do to get more bailout money -- they passed major spending cuts and reforms.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: The measures are exceedingly unpopular among the Greeks. Think about this: if it were happening in the U.S. Greece's minimum wage will be cut to $728 a month; in the U.S., the federal minimum is almost twice as much. 150,000 Greek public sector posts will go; if the equivalent cut occurred in the U.S., 600,000 would be losing their jobs.

Student Anna Marie Piscapani says the extra austerity has deepened the gloom in Greece.

Anna Marie Piscapani: We're in constant fear. We cannot depend on anything; we cannot plan anything because we do not know what's coming. We don't see hope.

There's even uncertainty over whether the latest measures will win Greece a second bailout. The eurozone finance ministers are demanding some further cuts, and will meet on Wednesday to consider whether Greece has done enough.

At the European desk in London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the London Bureau Chief, providing daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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