Costas Meghir argues that an important element of the Greek malaise is the credibility of Greek politicians and their long history of abusing their power by borrowing vast amounts and spending them to satisfy specific interests and a client-based political system. Their behavior is not a surprise to the student of political economy: politicians, like everyone else, act in their best interest. Constitutions and laws are there to align their interests as far as possible with those of the people they serve. Given the existential crisis of the Greek economy it is now an opportunity to reform the constitution to improve the credibility and incentives of the politicians. Meghir proposes a constitutionally mandated cap on the deficit of 3% and on the debt to gdp ratio of 60%, following a suitable period of adjustment and the necessary restructuring of the debt. He also proposes the abolition of all immunity from prosecution of all government ministers and all members of parliament.
The article appeared in Kathimerini newspaper on Sunday 11 December 2011.