Greece’s fiscal problems did not start with adoption of the Euro in 2001. They started 30 years earlier with the Socialist government of Andreas Papandreou who began building an unsustainable civil service, with benefits that liberals in America can only dream of.
This required borrowing back then as well. Papandreou kept winning elections by putting more and more Greeks on the payroll and abused power for personal benefit (he and his cabinet made lots of money manipulating Greek banks). He changed the culture for a new generation of entitled young Greeks, leading by example that it is OK to not work hard, retire at 50, leave the wife and hang out with the mistress in public. When the right-wing finally took over, (Konstantinos Mitsotakis and later Kostas Karamanlis), they played the same game — spend, spend — and did not collect taxes.
In fact, the very few that actually get audited for income taxes in Greece are civil servants. The reason: the government does not go after Greeks who evade paying their income taxes, which is a surprisingly large number of Greeks. If the Greek government actually collected what was due, they would triple their tax revenues. As for the tough measures, remember, it is only civil servants and pensioners that are affected and demonstrating. The majority of Greeks are not in the streets and they have a standard of living that the average American would be jealous of. Most Greeks families own their own home, free and clear of any mortgage.
And finally, the violence on the street is exaggerated. Greeks like to complain and demonstrate (strike). The three people who died in the rioting were victims of a fire, not intentional killings.