Dan Rattiner's Stories

Saving Greece 2: Twinkie Solution Won’t Work – How About Greek Yogurt?

I do some of my best thinking over breakfast. The other day, while looking at the wrapper of a Twinkie, which I have with my morning fruit every day, I came up with this idea that the bailout of Hostess, which makes Twinkies, could, if applied to Greece, save Greece. I looked into this (after breakfast) but found, on further investigation, that the bankruptcy and re-birth of Hostess would not help the Greek people. With Hostess—and I’d been suffering without my morning Twinkie for over a year—the new owners shut down all the factories, sold all the delivery trucks, farmed out much of the work and reduced the employment rolls at the company from approximately 18,000 to 3,000. That wouldn’t work for Greece. You couldn’t just ask 85% of the Greeks to pick up and go somewhere else.

This morning I came up with another idea. After my fruit and Twinkie, I have a dish of yogurt and a cup of coffee. Now I was looking at the side of a container that said Fage Greek Strained Yogurt. But this yogurt was made in Johnstown in upstate New York. How could that be?

Looking further (on the side of the container), I found that the thing that makes it Greek is the special Greek culture of live bacteria that everybody loves. It gives whoever eats this a healthy and long life. They even listed the name of the bacterium (probably because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that all food eaten in America has to have its ingredients listed.) And so there were the names—S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Bulgaricus and L. Casei. Every one of these bacterium are named after an ancient Greek who, at one time or another, was a member of the Greek Senate at either Sparta or Athens. And the Greeks are giving it away.

The makers of Coca-Cola don’t give out the secret formula for their drink. They require that you license it from them, follow their rules to become a “Coca Cola Bottling Company” and give a portion of your profits to the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta.

It’s time that for makers of Greek yogurt around the world to pay up. The Greek government should set a date. Before that date, say 30 days from now, it’s free. After that date, it’s 10 cents a container. Want a long, healthy life? Who wouldn’t pay 10 cents a container for that?

At the present time, the government of Greece is negotiating with all these bankers—the World Bank, I think it is—to find a way for the Greeks to modify their behavior so they can pay back what they owe.

Here they won’t have to modify anything. No pay cuts. No inflation. No joblessness. No misery. Just watch the money roll in. Greece can go on being Greece. And the rest of the world population gets to help them out by each paying this modest fee for Greek yogurt. Everybody loves the Greek people. And now the world can save the day by giving them what they deserve. This solution has been right in front of our noses staring us in the face all the time.

Excuse me while I make a few phone calls.

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