And here's the worst aspect of all of this. The Greeks are about to get another tranche of money. That will only add to the debt. And it is hard to find a serious economist who doesn't believe that the strategy is to kick the can down the road.
Default looms. Maybe not this year, but almost certainly in 2015. For European officials the hope is that by then the banks will be more resilient to take a hit. Certainly well-respected German economists don't expect to get their money back.
But in the meantime there is a human cost. The social services organisation Klimaka runs a food kitchen that feeds 3,000 people a day - many are now from the middle classes. There are 30 calls a day to its suicide line. Some, like former Prime Minister Stefanos Manos, warn of a social explosion.
And if the Greek people simply refuse to accept further austerity then default looms.
The teargas hits us without warning, though I suppose being close to a bunch of people throwing bottles at riot police was warning enough. It explodes in mid-air, a thick cloud the colour of 1970s furniture. Those nearby run, everybody clutches their T-shirt to their face.