That the most important man in Europe is actually a woman is now understood by everyone. Yet behind even Merkel, sits another man: German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who is truly the devious mastermind behind the European endspiel, in charge of playing it in a way that benefits Germany uber alles. Which is why what Schäuble says, unlike anything uttered by Europe's "beggar" states, is actually important. Today, he speaks with Spiegel magazine and discusses, among many other things, the topic that is the most sensitive for the rest of Europe, and which must be overcome if a united Europe is to work: the abdication of national sovereignty, and implicitly the accession of Germany to the head of the European pyramid. That this will never happen is precisely why the European experiment is ultimately doomed, but of course they can keep trying, and in the process transfer as much wealth as possible to the only beneficiary from an imploding EUR. Wild guess who that is... Because at the end of the day, it appears that Schäuble is just as wily as America's own Rahm Emanuel: "SPIEGEL: With all due respect to your vision, is there truly more willingness today among EU member states to give up sovereignty than there was in the 1990s? Schäuble: The recognition that this is necessary, and the willingness to do so, has certainly grown due to the crisis, and not just in Germany. I would much prefer that we not have so many crises, and particularly not such severe ones. But every crisis also includes the opportunity to recognize what is necessary [regarding European sovereignty]. That's what led to the fiscal pact, in which 25 EU countries pledged to improve their fiscal discipline. And that's also how the new Europe will come about." Is it finally becoming clear to even the most inept financial journalists what the German endgame is?
Nearly two weeks ago we penned "These Three Spanish Banks Will Be Downgraded Tomorrow" which showed which banks had a rating higher than the sovereign following Moody's long overdue Spanish downgrade, and thus were about to be downgraded by many notches. Today, after a ridiculously long delay whose only purpose was to buy time, Moody's is about to junk virtually the entire Spanish banking sector, as was widely expected.The downgrade is expected to happen within hours.
Last week, Europe was the source of transitory euphoria on some inexplicable assumption that just because the continent has run out of assets, and the ECB has no choice but to expand "eligible" collateral to include, well, everything, things are fixed and it is safe to buy. Today, it is the opposite. Go figure. Call it pre-eurosummit burnout, call it profit taking on hope and prayer, call it Brian Sack packing up his trading desk (just 5 more days to go), and handing over proper capital markets functioning to a B-grade economist, or best just call it deja vu all over again.
Remember those promises about an unconditional Spanish bailout?
- JUNCKER SAYS CONDITIONS OF AID FOR SPAIN WILL INCLUDE RESTRUCTURING PLANS
Cue #RajoyCobarde all over again, as Spain is now officially a vassal state of the EU, which in turn is an indentured slave of Germany.
- Merkel Backs Debt Sharing in Germany Amid Closer EU Push (Bloomberg)
- With a ruling as early as today, here are four health care questions the Supreme Court is asking (CBS)
- George Soros - Germany’s Reticence to Agree Threatens European Stability (FT)
- China Stocks Drop to Five-Month Low (Bloomberg)
- The New Republic of Porn (Bloomberg)
- That's a costly detached retina: Greek Lenders Postpone Mission to Athens (FT)
- Spain Asks for Aid as EU Fights Debt Crisis (FT)
- Wolfgang Münchau - Why Mario Monti Needs to Speak Truth to Power (FT)
- U.S. Banks Aren’t Nearly Ready for Coming European Crisis (Bloomberg)
- MPC Member Wants £50bn Easing (FT)
- India Boosts Foreign Debt Ceiling by $5 Billion to Defend Rupee (Bloomberg)
Goldman recaps the past tumultuous week, and looks at events in the next 7 days, of which the key feature will be the next "latest and greatest" and most disappointing European summit on Thursday and Friday, where not even Greece is going any longer, and which not even the most resolute Europhiles expect to resolve anything: "The key event of next week is the EU summit. The latest European Economics Analyst details our expectations. In brief we expect to see finalization of the much-anticipated growth compact, involving financing for infrastructure investment and a restatement of the agenda for structural reform. We also expect announcement of a plan for ‘banking union’ in the Euro area, even if, owing to unresolved political differences, details are likely to remain sketchy on key issues—notably on how the implicit cost of providing fiscal backing for the Euro area banking system will be shared across countries."
While the world has known for over two weeks that the Spanish banking system is insolvent and locked out of global liquidity, the country was reticent about formally bowing down to Germany and announcing in proper protocol that it was broke. Until a few hours ago, when Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos Monday sent a letter to Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker, as expected, formally requesting aid to assist with the recapitalization of Spanish banks that need it, the ministry said in a statement. Sadly, at this point we can all just sit back and await for the next Spanish bailout letter demanding more cash, because, as we have explained on several occasions, the ultimate funding need of Spanish banks will be well over €100 billion, as further confirmed overnight by another analysis from Open Europe, which notes the patenly obvious: "Up to mid-2015 Spain faces funding needs of €547.5bn, over half its GDP and a large majority of its debt."
The European Union will hold yet another do-or-die summit this week. On this occasion, “growth” is the plat du jour; the allegedly missing recipe in the “plan” to save the euro. In addition, some suggest that this time is also “different” because Greece, France, Italy and Spain may now be ready to corner Germany to relax its sacrosanct fixation with austerity. This summit truly promises to be quite a gathering of beggars at a feast, no less.
Today, we are in the midst of a financial debacle which is more truly global than any world war. There are no lines of trenches, no shattered towns and cities, no casualty lists in the papers and no “we regret to inform you” telegrams being delivered. The carnage is real but it is invisible. No lives have been lost. All that has happened is that the living of life has become more difficult and the ability to rely on the fruits of past efforts for future comfort and “security” has been all but extinguished. The vast majority of the people are cannon fodder in this financial debacle. Like the real thing in the trenches of the Western Front, they have long since realised the futility of the efforts of their “generals”. They know that the “recession” is not over. They are starting to realise that it will never be over as long as the same methods which produced it are being used to get out from under it. But most see no escape, having become used to looking to those same “generals” to tell them what to do.
Wolfgang Schäuble: Ask Not What Germany Can Do For You, Ask How Many Government Workers You Can FireSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/24/2012 - 18:12
And it seemed like the most innocent case of detached retina ever. On Friday, newly elected Greek PM Samaras had to be rushed to the hospital due to the rather peculiar ocular complication, only to be followed promptly by the new Finance Minister Vassilis Rapanos fainting and also being given urgent medical care. Both are procedures that require a few hours of inpatient treatment. Yet judging by the implications these two freak occurrences have had, one would image that both patients are comatose and on the same ventilator that kept former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak half alive, half dead a week ago. The punchline, however, is that this may be the only case of detached retina in modern history that costs a country €5 billion.... Tying it all together, however, and making sure that Samaras' cabinet is doomed before the ink of its formation documents is even dry, is everyone's favorite Schrodinger finance minister: Germany's Wolfgang Schauble who just told Greece for the final time: no mas.
They may not be doing much of anything else lately (except for now proudly accepting Spiderman towels are collateral of course), but the European Central Bank sure is a fan of football, and the fact that three of the four teams in the Semi-finals come from countries officially funded by the ECB. We do have the feeling that letting Germany slip into the congratulatory tweet below was a mistake that will cost someone their taxpayer funded job.
Congratulations to Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy #euro2012
— Eur. Central Bank (@ecb_europa_eu) June 24, 2012
And so it will continue; as society evolves and progresses, the free market — so long as there is a free market — will naturally reallocate resources and labour based on society’s preferences. Without a free market — and since 2008 when the banks were bailed out and markets became junkiefied intervention-loving zombies, it is highly dubious that there is such a thing as a free market in the West — planners will just end up guessing at how to allocate resources, labour and capital, and producing monstrous misallocations of capital. The political nature of such reallocation is irrelevant; whether the centralists call themselves communists or socialists or environmentalists, their modus operandi is always the same: ignore society’s true economic preferences, and reallocate resources based on their own ideological imperatives (often for their own enrichment). The command economies of the 20th Century — particularly Maoist China and Soviet Russia — produced much greater pollution than the free markets. Under a free market, polluters who damage citizens or their property can be held to account in the market place, and through the court system.There is no such mechanism through the kind of command of economy that the centralists seem to wish to implement.
The answer is not central planning and government control. The answer is the free market.