News & Politics

Sandersian Future? Greek Farmers Fight Riot Police in Pension Protest

Sandersian Future? Greek Farmers Fight Riot Police in Pension Protest
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)


Greek farmers wielding shepherd’s staffs and throwing rocks clashed with riot police in Athens on Friday as thousands headed to the capital for a two-day protest against government plans to impose new tax hikes and overhaul the pension system.

Ten police officers suffered slight injuries and were being treated in a nearby hospital, police said.

Separate clashes broke out on the highways leading into the Greek capital. On its western highway, riot police fired tear gas to disperse farmers demanding to be allowed into the city with agricultural vehicles despite a government ban.

Isn’t this fun? Why, you may ask, all the anger? This is why:

Bailout lenders are demanding that Greece scrap tax breaks for farmers and impose pension reforms that will lead to higher monthly contributions from the self-employed and salaried employees.

That sentence really could have been clipped after “Bailout lenders” and you would pretty much have all the information you needed to connect the dots for the rest of this story. Greece tried to make all of its people happy all of the time (see: any Bernie Sanders rally) and now the grownups have had to intervene to save them from themselves. As we have seen time and again across the pond, the inevitable belt-tightening in these welfare state scenarios is never pretty.

This would be a very useful lesson for voters here to take to heart. The Democratic electorate, however, isn’t much on learning from history.