Our boots-on-the-ground coverage from the Greek 'frontline': what do normal Greek citizens think of all this mess?
The preposterous Gong Show in Brussels over the weekend was the financial “Ben Tre” moment for the Euro and ECB. That is, it was the moment when the Germans - imitating the American military on that ghastly morning in February 1968 - set fire to the Eurozone in order to save it. In short, Greece will become an outright debtors’ colony and its government will function as page-boy legislators for the Troika occupiers. Needless to say, political and social upheaval will erupt when the full extent of the Tsipras surrender becomes evident, and the resulting political contagion will spread throughout the length and breadth of Europe as Greece implodes. In due course, the euro will collapse and the baleful Keynesian money printers’ regime in Frankfurt will be repudiated and dismantled. But not before European democracy has a brush with death, and European prosperity is extinguished for a generation.
In her euro-hegemonic role Germany failed to properly handle the Greek Crisis. What economics have been whispering among themselves after the scandalous Brussels Agreement of July 13th is now on the public discussion. One of IMF’s former European bailouts official, Ashoka Mody made it very clear in his article on Bloomberg on Friday morning: It’s Germany not Greece that has to leave the eurozone.
- Back Greek talks or face chaos, Merkel tells German lawmakers (Reuters)
- Fear of the Unknown Binds a Greek Deal With Few Believers (WSJ)
- Grexit Still on the Table Even With EU’s Latest Band-Aid (BBG)
- Donald Tusk warns of extremist political contagion (FT)
- Germany, Not Greece, Should Exit the Euro (BBG)
- Sabine Files Bankruptcy in New York as Oil Prices Fall (BBG)
- Markets Bow to Central Bankers as Bonds Rise, Pound Strengthens (BBG)
Hyperinflation in the U.S. is coming sometime in the next 20 years or so, and this isn't a cry from a Chicken Little, but a conclusion that the analysis strongly suggests. It is possible hyperinflation could happen during the next few years, but that seems unlikely since it would require a series of major crises and political blunders – events unprecedented in the history of the United States. If this led to a corruption of Constitutional rights in the midst of an exaltation of the Executive Branch that resulted in loss of the rule of law, hyperinflation might result. It is much more probable that hyperinflation will be preceded by a long slow decline that will include a protracted period of high inflation, and that the crash of the dollar and hyperinflation will be the final tumble off a looming, steep cliff.
"The European Central Bank has introduced secret credit lines to Bulgaria and Romania as part of a broader effort to convince foreign regulators not to pull the plug on the local subsidiaries of Greek banks," FT reports.
Piling on more debt is the worst possible way to correct structural trade and productivity imbalances, yet that is the Eurozone's "solution" to Greece's debt/ trade/ productivity/ corruption crisis.
Last Sunday, Eurozone countries submitted yet another ultimatum to Greece: implement a whole round of reforms, from eliminating early retirement over scrapping exemptions from sales tax to opening shops on Sunday, and we’ll start negotiations on providing a new bailout of possibly €86bn from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the Eurozone’s bailout scheme, which will carry yet another series of strings attached. As Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini said this week about the idea of a third Greek bailout round: “the Finnish public can’t understand that this is allowed to continue”. Can anyone else?
"We will now see in the negotiations whether there is even a way to get to a new programme taking into account (Greece's) financing needs, which have risen incredibly. [Grexit] would perhaps be the better way for Greece."
And so the 2015 season of the Greek drama is coming to a close following last night's vote in Greek parliament to vote the country into even more austerity than was the case before Syriza was voted into power with promises of removing all austerity, even with Europe - which formally admits Greece is unsustainable in its current debt configuration - now terminally split on how to proceed, with Germany's finmin still calling for a "temporary Grexit", the IMF demanding massive debt haircuts, while the rest of Europe (and not so happy if one is Finnish or Dutch) just happy to kick the can for the third time.
The Euro Summit statement (or Terms of Greece’s Surrender – as it will go down in history) was just annotated by Yanis Varoufakis as it pertains to ordinary Greek citizens. As the former finance minister writes "The original text is untouched with my notes confined to square brackets (and in red). Read and weep…"
With Small Business Optimism cratering to 15 month lows and CFO's skepticism at 2 year lows, it is no surprise that 'average joe' is also feeling a little less confident (despite the exuberance in equity markets). Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index registered at -11 this week, which marked an eight-month low for the index. While current conditions are weak, more worryingly, the economic outlook has tumbled to its lowest since October with 56% of Americans saying "the economy is getting worse."
The EU Commission has submitted a formal request to tap the mothballed EFSM for a bridge loan to Greece. The UK may look to block the proposal, but fortunately, Europe has a creative "soultion".