From the WSJ, an article on how politicians who tried to point out the unsustainability of Greek finances years ago where not only ignored, but villified and marginalized. Sort of like in places like California and Illinois.
In the past quarter century, Greece has had a handful of reformist politicians who foresaw the problems that are now threatening the nation with bankruptcy.
Their reform proposals were fought by their colleagues in parliament and savaged by the media and labor unions. They invariably found themselves sidelined....
Tassos Giannitsis is no stranger to this kind of war: His tenure as labor minister was more short lived, and the battles against him even more visceral. Mr. Giannitsis in 2001, again in the Pasok government led by Mr. Simitis, put forward a comprehensive proposal to reform the pension system.
Trade unions, opposition parties and Pasok itself unleashed menace on Mr. Giannitsis.
“Giannitsis was annihilated after his pension-reform proposals. There are few precedents for this kind of universal attack on a politician,” said Loukas Tsoukalis, a prominent economics professor here.
Mr. Giannitsis’s proposals, which would have reduced the pension levels Greeks receive and made the system overall more sustainable given the country’s demographic and labor-force trends, were never taken to parliament.
“From the fridge to the bin!” said the front page of newspaper To Vima on April 28, 2001, as the frozen pension-reform plan was scrapped for good.
“When I told my colleagues in the cabinet about the reforms I was proposing—which mind you were not the toughest available—the attitude I got was that I was spoiling the party,” Mr. Giannitsis said in an interview.
“They were, like, ‘everything is going great right now, why are you bothering us with a problem that may implode in a decade?’”
There are many other examples.