Former U.S. senator, governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis may not be actively involved in U.S. politics anymore, but he has never stopped following developments in Greece.
In a rare interview with Greek news site Epikaira, Dukakis, the son of Greek immigrants, said Greece should follow an economic policy similar to the one the Obama administration adopted, rather than the harsh austerity measures the country put in place as part of a bailout deal with international creditors last summer.
“Austerity is the last thing that a country needs in order to get out of a big recession,” Dukakis told Epikaira. “Take a look at how different Europe's current situation is to that of the U.S. Thankfully, we elected a Democrat as president and a Democratic Congress in 2008, and their economic policies helped to reverse course.”
Dukakis, who lost the 1988 presidential election to George H.W. Bush, is now teaching political science at UCLA. He has been a harsh critic in the past of the Republican administrations of both Bush senior and George W. Bush. He also doesn’t hide his disdain toward the policy proposals of the Republican candidates currently running for president.
“What I find shocking is that all Republican presidential candidates not only want to restore the Bush administration foreign policy but also its devastating economic policy, which caused the biggest economic recession in the U.S. since the 1930s and contributed to this happening on a global scale,” Dukakis said.
He argued that while Greece currently doesn’t need an aid initiative on the scale of the Marshall Plan, several programs supported by the White House and Greek Americans have contributed positively to development in Greece.
“Many of us who belong to the Greek American community are collaborating with the White House in the context of such a program and will continue to do so,” Dukakis said. “This doesn't mean that Greece will not have to do a lot in order to confront its own problems. It's important to create a serious and effective taxation mechanism and to realize big economic reforms; however, I don't think it's reasonable for Greece to implement a ridiculous and wrong, in my opinion, policy of economic austerity. Despite the need to put things in order, Greece does not need austerity but motives.”
In 2010, Dukakis was at the forefront of an activist initiative called “This year visit Greece,” which aimed to boost tourism in the country by encouraging Americans to visit.
This story originally appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated into English.
Also on HuffPost: