In brief, the more implausible austerity becomes as an economic remedy, the more unchallengeable it seems to become as a political mantra. Its most consistent advocate, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, is up for re-election this September. She is unlikely to change her tune — which is popular among German taxpayers — before that. Nor is she likely to change it if she wins another term. Other lenders like the International Monetary Fund seem more troubled by evidence that austerity has done real damage to the Greek economy. But that realization has, so far, brought no change in policy and no relief to suffering Greeks.
Experts say there is little chance that further sacrifices will revive Greece’s economy or make its debt burden more sustainable. Yet that is just what the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund have again insisted on.