Monday, November 21, 2011

I've Solved The Greece Problem

Even after the short-term solution of short-sighted loans made by French and Germans banks to the Greeks is solved, the long-term issue of insufficient revenue for the Greek government will persist. Will their economy grow by 20% with no growth in government? No. Will the citizens magically decide to start paying taxes? No. So, how can this be fixed? We know that vague threats of future negative events do not prevent stupid behavior in the near term*. What we need is a way to reward the Greek population for actually PAYING their taxes. And I have discovered that reward: the Elgin marbles.

The Greeks have been moaning about the return of the marbles ever since they were pried off the Parthenon and loaded onto a ship bound for London -- with some justification. But due to my stroke of brilliance, now the 17 pieces can be returned to their rightful home. An independent Swiss** firm will audit the annual tax receipts for Greece and if they are at the expected level for the residents' estimated income, the British Museum will ship a piece to Greece. Each year that the Greeks pay their taxes, they get a piece back. Tax revenues short? No piece that year!

Of course, it's not a perfect plan. There are only 17 pieces, and training a new generation of Greeks to pay their taxes will likely require 20 years or more****. But it's a start, and a damn fine one. So, Papademos, Merkel, Sarkozy, Cameron -- get your people on the details. You can do this! Just let me know when to start writing my Nobel acceptance speech.

* See: smoking, shady bankers doing shady things, the continued movie career of Mel Gibson -- the list goes on.
** The Swiss are experts in shady art deals. See: 1938-present.
*** Since the average Greek starts work at 28 and retires at 48****.
**** As always, all jtingermany numbers have been fact-checked by Fox News.

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