Students at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government pay around $40,000 a year or so to get the best education that money can buy and learn from the best and brightest teachers of public policy, public administration, and international development, some big names indeed, and the likes of TV Right-Wing Ranter Bill O’Reilly.
This year they will have the special treat of having the world’s best instructor as their professor for the Failed Government 101 course: former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who, except for few peers such as former President Richard Nixon, knows more about it than anyone else.
His resume is impressive, especially from 2009-11 when he first lied that Greece had plenty of money so that he could get elected, then lied again when he said he discovered there wasn’t any and that he would have to humbly ask the International Monetary Fund to bail his ass out of trouble although just before that he said he wouldn’t. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly couldn’t teach you to tap dance like that.
Then he lied when he said he wouldn’t impose austerity measures on Greek workers, pensioners and the poor but did, pushing Greece to the bottom of the cheap wine barrel of European Union countries, driving the standard of living down to Soviet-era Romanian and Bulgarian standards for a lot of Greeks: tax cheats and politicians exempted, of course.
Papandreou can teach them how in only two short years he was run out of office after ceaseless protests, strikes and riots against the austerity measures he imposed on orders of the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB,) which puts him ahead of even incompetent bank CEO’s who got rich with bonuses awarded for failure, an honor usually reserved for politicians.
There’s no word yet on whether he’ll keep knocking down his $10,000 a month or so salary as an empty seat in Parliament, a no-show job given former Greek Prime Ministers, while he’s teaching at Harvard. You’d think a former leader would probably not want to sit in Parliament and do nothing, although another failed Greek Premier, New Democracy Conservative Costas Karamanlis is an MP too but nobody’s seen him since he lied about the Greek economy and went home to hide, but can you imagine Barack Obama going back to the Senate if Mitt Hairdo Romney wins the U.S. Presidency?
These are the real-life, practical experiences that students at Harvard usually don’t get because they are taught the theory of goverment, which is about as valuable as taking an economics course, which teaches aspiring politicians how to cook the books but not how to balance a budget, or a checkbook for that matter.
As the son of the late former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, who co-founded the PASOK Socialist movement that his son dismantled, and the President of Socialist International – whose principles he betrayed while pushing Greek workers and pensioners toward impoverishment while letting tax evaders roam free – Little George (Georgakis in Greece) knows not just political pragmatism, but evasiveness.
He recently admitted that if Greece just collected the $70 billion that tax evaders owe – a bill that grows $15 billion a year – that it wouldn’t have needed two bailouts of $325 billion from international lenders. But, just to show you how slick he is, he blamed the European Union for not collecting Greece’s taxes. You won’t see that taught at the University of Athens, or even at Yale.
Papandreou’s course list is impressive so students had better sign up quick because seats in his classroom will go faster than tickets to watch the Dalai Lama box Ban ki-Moon for the World Lightweight championship. You can pick from:
- How to Lie With a Straight Face
- How to Hire Your Friends
- Taxing the Poor
- Maladministration and Malfeasance (known as the M & M course)
- A Confederacy of Dunces
- Political Prevarication
- Ducking Tough Questions
- Getting Rich on a Politician’s Salary
- Greek Illogic
- Dancing With Bankers
Students won’t get just the dry facts, but the inspiring rhetoric of a man who critics unfairly say is so dull you could sandpaper rust with him. Sure, to some people he may be as exciting as watching paint dry and it’s true that his speeches are used on Youtube to help insomniacs, but that’s because they don’t see the inner fire that’s hidden so deep that no one does.
Some people continue to insist he has no fire-and-brimstone and he’s so unexciting that you wouldn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and find him on top of you, or, as Groucho Marx said in Horsefeathers: “I thought my razor was dull until I heard his speech.”
And if he’s not politics equivalent to Martin Luther King, why did the Harry Walker Agency, which rents showcase speakers such as the likes of former U.S. President Al Bore and former United Nations Secretary Koffi Annan, author of the failed peace plans that bear his name in Cyprus, and the ongoing slaughter in Syria, put Papandreou’s name at the top of its list?
The agency says that he will speak – for an appropriate fee somewhere in the range of tax evader money – on exciting topics such as Greece: In the Eye of the Storm – International Crisis and Why it is a Global Imperative for Greece to be a Success Story, which would make anyone run for the door. Harry Walker (not former Major League baseball player Harry “The Hat” Walker) said your money will let you hear this: “Prime Minister Papandreou presents an in-depth look into the causes behind the Greek crisis,” although you can bet he won’t attribute any of them to his disastrous reign, but that’s what Harvard students need to hear as they prepare themselves to be advisors to Prime Ministers.
Those interested must fill in a communication form and provide a “budget range” when requesting his availability, although it could be limited if he’s shutting between Harvard and Athens. His biography on the agency’s website sells him big-time though so if you’re looking for a motivational speaker who’s better than Billy Graham or that old guy with the pierced ear on the Home Shopping Network who makes you want to buy knives that don’t cut and juicers that don’t work, remember to hire George Papandreou because he’s proved that old politicians never die, they just go to Harvard to teach nothing.