Greece

20 Signs That The Next Great Economic Depression Has Already Started In Europe

The next Great Depression is already happening - it just hasn't reached the United States yet.  Things in Europe just continue to get worse and worse, and yet most people in the United States still don't get it.  We have been warning that the next major wave of the ongoing economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening.  In fact, both Greece and Spain already have levels of unemployment that are greater than anything the U.S. experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Pay close attention to what is happening over there, because it is coming here too.  A full-blown economic depression is raging across southern Europe and it is rapidly spreading into northern Europe.  Eventually it will spread to the rest of the globe as well. The U.S. economy has become a miserable junkie that is completely and totally addicted to reckless money printing and gigantic mountains of debt. If we stop printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished. If we continue printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished. Either way, this is all going to end very, very badly.

Guest Post: How To Make Austerity Work

The Baltic States are unique in Europe in that they went through an austerity crash program a while ago already (beginning right after the 2008 crisis) and have in the meantime recovered strongly. Der Spiegel has an interesting interview with Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, in which she explains her views on the topic. It can obviously be done successfully. And while we are aware that every case is unique - the problems are not the same in every country, and due to cultural norms and traditions, it may be easier to enact reform in certain countries than others; it seems that no matter how many times Paul Krugman insists that no Baltic nation can possibly be held up as an example, the fact remains that they have imposed fiscal austerity and implemented wide-ranging reform measures and have succeeded.

As It Gets Its Latest European Lifeline, Life In Greece Is About To Get Even Harder

A few hours ago, Greek lawmakers approved a reform law to unlock about €8.8 billion of rescue loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The law, which was a condition for further aid installments, passed easily with the solid backing of the three parties comprising Greece's ruling coalition, by 168 to 123 votes. Next, euro zone officials will meet on Monday to approve overdue payment of 2.8 billion euros ($3.65 billion) in rescue loans, finance minister Yannis Stournaras said. Euro zone finmins will then meet on May 13 to release a further 6 billion euro installment, he added. The use of proceeds? To have enough cash to pay salaries and pensions, and of course to pay Mario Draghi for a bond that matures on May 20. The fact that Europe has gotten the green sign to hand over some pocket change to Greece, so Greece can pay for the maturity on Greek bonds by the ECB was the good news (for someone, unclear exactly who). The bad news, for Greece, starts now. As BBC reports, some 15,000 state workers will lose their jobs by the end of next year. Naturally, in light of the recent epic backlash against austerity (or fauxterity as penned previously) whose corpse has already promptly been trampled in Spain, and now in Italy, Greece would like to get back on the gravy train as well. Yet they are being denied, and the result is indignation at what the people rightfully see as B-class European citizen treatment.

Of Monetary Cranks, Bureaucratic Meddlers, And The Reinhart-Rogoff Faux Pas

In what has been a banner weak for the many serial inflationists and fans of Big Government out there, equity markets have largely reversed the declines of the previous period on the hope for – what else? – yet more pump priming. On the fiscal front, much heart has been taken at EU Commission President Barroso’s assertion that the time has come to move beyond an exclusive reliance on ‘austerity’ and to begin to focus on encouraging growth. Needless to say [Barroso's actual words, were] far less radical than anything whipped up by the journalists. In the circumstances, however, the wilful desire to over interpret (if not actively misinterpret) the message was far too powerful to resist, especially in the wake of the academic catfight going on over the state of Reinhardt and Rogoff’s Excel skills. For those who have real lives to lead, the briefest of synopses of this spat will suffice and, indeed, it is only introduced here to illustrate the heedless Flucht nach Vorne mentality of the Krugmanites, ever eager as they are to peddle the line that the only reason stimulus has ‘failed’ is because there has been nowhere near enough of it. But other than this war of the scholastics, the whole debt issue surely misses the crucial point that debt only swells in a polity where not only is government over large to begin with, but where it is serially profligate – i.e,. where the political class persists in spending more than it dares ask its electors to contribute to their whims.

Germany's Perspective: "How Europe's Crisis Countries Hide their Wealth"

After reading the Spiegel article below, which reveals so much about German thinking, it becomes very clear that not only is Cyprus the "benchmark", but that the second some other PIIG country runs into trouble again, and its soaring non-performing loans inevitably demand a liability "resolution" a la Cyprus, it will be Germany once again at the helm, demanding more of the same equity, unsecured debt and ultimately depositor impairment. As the following punchline from Spiegel summarizes, "It would be more sensible -- and fairer -- for the crisis-ridden countries to exercise their own power to reduce their debts, namely by reaching for the assets of their citizens more than they have so far. As the most recent ECB study shows, there is certainly enough money available to do this." And that is the crux of the wealth-disparity demand of the European Disunion.

Humiliating Viral YouTube Interview To Cost Job Of Argentina's Economy Minister

Two days ago we first posted a Youtube clip in which a Greek reporter asked Argentina's Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino a simple question: "what is inflation in Argentina" - a sensitive topic to a country with price and capital controls, and where inflation ranges between 0 and 20% depending on whether one uses official, or unofficial but based on reality, data. The result was a why we dubbed the clip "Thursday humor" as after several minutes of meandering gibberish, Lorenzino concluded by telling his aided that "he wants to leave", which in turn promptly became a twitter hashtag meme #mequieroir, in which the minister's response to a simple request for the truth was promptly lampooned around the world. However, that may have been just the beginning of Hernan's problems. As Bloomberg reports, citing Clarin, Argentina's president CFK, was also quite taken aback by the bumbling economist that she met with him subsequent to the interview going viral, and told him he has lost credibility and the most likely next step is his resignation.

What Is Killing Europe

A bank in some European country such as Spain lends money but the collateral, Real Estate or commercial loans, are going bad. The bank then securitizes a large pool of this collateral and pledges it at the ECB to receive cash. In many cases to take the pool the country has to guarantee the debt. So Spain, in my example, guarantees the loan package which is then pledged at the ECB and is a contingent liability and which is not reported in the debt to GDP ratio of the country but nowhere else that you will find either. “Hidden” would be the appropriate word.  Then as time passes the loans get even worse so that the ECB demands cash or more collateral because they will not be taking the hit; thank you very much. The bank cannot afford to post more collateral so that the country, Spain, must post the collateral and add an additional guarantee for the new loan or they must post cash which is oftentimes the case.  Consequently as time passes and more cash has been spent the country, Spain, begins to run out of capital and the 10.6% deficit figure, that Spain announced recently, is not anywhere close to the actual reality so that they will get forced to officially borrow more money from the ESM as the sovereign guarantee of bank debt becomes unsustainable.

Guest Post: It's A Bit Early To Declare A Winner In The Economic Debate

We are a long way from really resolving the argument between the Keynesian and Austrian economic theories, despite some so-called experts proclaiming Krugman's victory this week. The discovery of the calculation error in the Reinhart/Rogoff study does little to change the overall premise that excessive debt levels impede economic growth and have, historically, led to the fall of economic empires.  All one really has to do is pick up a history book and read of the Greeks, Romans, British, French, Russians and many others. Does fiscal responsibility lead to short term economic pain?  Absolutely.  Why would anyone ever imagine that cutting spending and reducing budgets would be pain free?  However, what we do know is that the path of fiscal irresponsibility has long term negative consequences for the economy. In the meantime we can continue to ignore the long term conseqences in exchange for short term bliss.

Child Hunger Is Exploding In Greece – And 14 Signs That It Is Starting To Happen In America Too

The world is heading into a horrific economic nightmare, and an inordinate amount of the suffering is going to fall on innocent children.  If you want to get an idea of what America is going to look like in the not too distant future, just check out what is happening in Greece.  At this point, Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression. And as you will read about below, child hunger is absolutely exploding in Greece right now.  Some families are literally trying to survive on pasta and ketchup.  But don't think for a moment that it can't happen here.Sadly, the truth is that child hunger is already rising very rapidly in our poverty-stricken citiesNever before have we had so many Americans unable to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, more poor families slip through the cracks with each passing day, and these are supposedly times in which we are experiencing an "economic recovery".  So what are things going to look like when the next major economic downturn strikes?

Spanish Unemployment Tops Record, Rising At Fastest Rate In A Year

In yet another worse-than-expected macro data point, Spain has just breached the 27% unemployment level - the highest since at least 1976, when data began following dictator Francisco Franco's death. At 27.2% this is already higher than the IMF's year-end estimate of 27% suggesting growth estimates are already overly optimistic. What is more concerning is the rate of increase in the joblessness is rising once again. The 1.1 percentage point rise is the largest in a year and 177,700 more households now have no actively employed members than a year ago. The greatest fear though, for European leaders and the Spanish people themselves, is the surge in youth unemployment. As we have noted a number of times in the past, the possibility of social unrest is exaggerated significantly by this number and at an incredulous 57.2% of under-25s out of work, Spain is closing in on Greece, according to official data, for the worst youth unemployment situation in Europe.

Ron Paul On Bitcoin: "If I Can't Put It In My Pocket, I Have Reservations"

"You will not see economic growth until you liquidate the debt and liquidate the malinvestment out there," is the hard truth that former Congressman Ron Paul lays on Bloomberg TV in this wide-ranging interview. Paul is concerned at "the erraticness of the dollar... and its devaluation," explaining that, "people think the gold price up and down is a reflection of something wrong with gold; no, I say it is something wrong with the dollar." The topic gravitates to inflation, which Paul explains is far from missing as, "Bond prices go up. Stocks are going up. Housing prices are starting to go back up again. Education costs are going up," adding that, "CPI is not reliable." Paul is buying gold, believes "we are in as much trouble as Greece," and while fascinated by the free market nature of Bitcoin, he notes that while he doesn't fully understand it, "if I can't put it in my pocket, I have some reservations about that."