The demonstrations in Constitution Square and throughout Greece have been sparse and mostly peaceful compared to recent years when the euro-crisis pounded one of the Eurozone’s poorest partners. However, the absence of violent protests in Athens may be short lived as the 2018 election cycle heats up and the country’s crippled economy cools down.

Incomes decrease, taxes increase

Nine out of 10 Greeks posted incomes of less than $21,000 for 2016 and 31.8% of taxpayers paid no taxes at all, according to a report in the To Vima newspaper published Sunday.

Tax returns filed by 8,645,596 Greeks in 2016 show a total of $78.8 billion in declared income, slightly more than the 78. billion reported in 2015. However, those figures only tell half of the story since average income decreased by 1.1% as taxes increased by 3%. According to the Greek Ministry of Finance, tax revenue for 2016 was $8.7 billion versus just under $8.3 billion the year before.

Greece in violation of 2015 bailout terms

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recently violated the $92 billion 2015 bailout by pushing through a VAT suspension and a boost in pension pay. The mentioned dollar amount of bailout agreement depends on Europe’s banking exchange rates and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that funds bankrupt EU members with loans from wealthier nations.

Wealthier nations like Germany wind up paying the brunt of deficits run up by Greece and other bankrupt EU members. Meanwhile, the UK has opted out of the Eurozone altogether over a festering refugee crisis and EU bailout agreements between IMF and member states drowning in red ink.

The To Vima report shows one in seven citizens (1.263 million or 14.6 percent) had no income at all income and 32 percent (2.767 million) of Greek taxpayers declared incomes of less than $5,300.

Worse, the country's farmers reported much lower incomes during 2016 than in 2015. Specifically, 435,908 taxpayers in rural farm regions had average incomes of $2,994 compared to average incomes of $3,393 in 2015.

New Democracy gains, SYRIZA distant second

Meanwhile, a shrinking Greek middle-class is benefiting the conservative New Democracy political party; its popularity over the incumbent SYRIZA Party is rising ever higher, according to a poll conducted by University of Macedonia and sponsored by Shai television.

While the New Democracy party has led for most of the year, its lead has increased to 17.5% in the poll. The UM survey shows New Democracy with 33% while SYRIZA trails with 15.5% of the vote. Golden Dawn got 7.5% and remains third party.

Greece’s massive public debt continues to be severely unsustainable despite massive contributions by its European partners, according to IMF reports. The organization that negotiates member-state bailouts says long-term economic growth projections indicate Greece will not be able to pay its debts, which may convince more countries to exit the Eurozone.

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