Greece

40% Of Germans 40-49 Just Say "Nein" To Euro

In news that is hardly welcome to Chancellor Merkel and her September reelection hopes, German Focus magazine revealed that a substantial 26% of all Germans would back a party that wants to quit the euro. Even more disturbing is that a whopping 40% of all Germans in the prime 40-49 age group are tired of supporting a failed monetary regime and will just say "nein" to the European globalist experiment at preserving the status quo if just given the opportunity. The Italian virus is spreading: the question is which "clown" will show up on the cover of the Economist in six short months, when at least one person will appear on the political scene to take advantage of the populist protest at endless German-backed bail outs, and what as Dylan Grice so eloquently explained earlier, is merely a reaction to central banker central planning manifesting itself in ongoing social breakdown.

Key Macro Events And Issues In The Week Ahead

In the upcoming week the key focus on the data side will be the US February retail sales figures on Wednesday, which should provide clearer evidence on how the tax increases that took place on January 1 have affected the consumer. In Europe, industrial production and inflation data will be the releases to watch. On the policy side, the focus will be on the BoJ appointments in an otherwise relatively quiet week for G7 central banks. Italy’s newly elected lawmakers convene for the first time on Friday 15 March and the expectation remains that President Napolitano will formally invite Mr Bersani to try and form a new government. He may also opt for a technocrat government. Although clearly preferred by markets, winning political backing may prove challenging.

"What Looks Like A Rally May Just Be The Elites Passing Money Among Themselves"

Why are citizens of the developed world looking a gift horse in the mouth? The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied beyond 14,300 points this week, passing the highs it reached in 2007 just as the world economy was starting to wobble. And yet, this week, investors and pundits warned us not to read too much into it. They have a point. In the half-decade since the western financial system almost collapsed, the relationship between stock markets and the “real” economy has seemed more tenuous. Part of the reason people get less giddy about the Dow than they did five years ago is because they have learnt a bit about inequality. What looks like a recovery, a rally or an increase in consumer confidence may just be the effect of elites passing money among themselves.  The US Federal Reserve has added more than $2tn to its balance sheet since 2007. In general, that tide of liquidity ought to lift all boats in the harbour. But when the harbour is an equity market, you won’t find your yacht lifted unless you own one.

Guest Post: Europe Is Drowning Under Too Much Government

The political balance has changed substantially over the last year, from the cosy days when Merkel met Sarkozy and Monti kept the Italians in order. Germany faces full elections in September this year, and it will be difficult for Chancellor Merkel to win, given that her party, the Christian Democrats, did badly in the local German elections in January. The German voter has generally been more concerned with Germany’s relative economic success, bringing low unemployment, than the intractable problem of supporting other Eurozone nations. Given Merkel’s political difficulties, she is likely to be slow to subscribe Germany’s full commitment and can use the excuse that she can only be expected to match the other large contributors who are by the way, France, Italy, and Spain. It is likely to be a political virtue for her to take a tougher line. It would therefore be a mistake to think that Germany is going to continue to fund profligate governments. Since the ECB has already created the precedent (quote from Mr Draghi: “Whatever it takes”), the ECB will have to end up creating the money required.

Greek Finance Ministry To "Troll" Through All Depositor Accounts In Hunt For Suspected Tax Evaders

As Greece's painfully desperate fight to collect tax revenue, any tax revenue, using traditional methods meets failure after grotesque failure, driven by such unconventional stumbling blocks as running out of ink with which to print tax forms, striking tax collectors, and repossessed (or stolen) tax department computer equipment, the necessity to prove to Europe that Greece is doing something to fill the income side of its reformist ledger has forced it to turn to the glaringly illegal. "Greece’s General Secretariat for Information Systems has completed an application that will allow the state’s monitoring and collection mechanism to access the country’s banking system via an online connection and let the government have access to depositor bank accounts. The application, which will let the Finance Ministry troll through the accounts of all depositors suspected of tax evasion means online inspectors can scour through records of deposits, loans, credit card use and other data without permission from the account holder." What is troubling is that while this happens in the US on a daily basis, at least the NSA has to dig through data illegally, and can't use what it finds against citizens in court. In Greece, however, any trace of personal privacy in the insolvent state is now gone, and in a way that is made very public and clear to all citizens. The result will be an even greater hit to all forms of electronic spending (remember that all bulk cash transactions are prohibited), and a collapse in all economic transactions, leading to an even more acute depression, and an even greater need to yet another "bailout" from Europe (this one will be the last surely, as it will be after this it will be different).

A Disparate Place

The world is a disparate place these days. It is dislocated. Central bank money buoying all of the markets; equities, debt, commodities while the underlying economies languish or dissipate. Month after month the division widens while even a slight whisper that the monetary creation might cease or falter hits the markets hard and then the leaders of the central banks assure everyone that it will go on ad infinitum and the markets all bounce back and begin to breathe again. The markets might be characterized as “Pucker and Sigh.” “Over the Rainbow” plays on non-stop in the media and those of us with a more skeptical eye are long past “If” and on to the “When.”

European Commission's Advice To Staffers Visiting Greece: "Invent A Fake Life Story"

The European Commission is a little embarrassed over a leaked email that warns EC staffers of the threats of traveling in Europe (and most specifically Greece). As The WSJ reports, the note, among other things; encourages staffers to invent a fake life story; warns them not to stand near windows during a protest so as not to provoke “an aggressive reaction” from demonstrators: admonishes officials to avoid bringing sensitive documents to bars or restaurants; and observes that “even the mildest reaction can be misinterpreted by protestors.” The email, published on the To Vima website, has led to an uproar, with some in the Greek press accusing the Commission of scare-mongering and insulting Greek citizens. Seemingly taking a page out of a James Bond novel, the rage against the Troika appears very real as officials warn: people you meet "don't have to know that you work for the [troika], when asked, talk about your previous profession or the one of your best friend." Troika, shaken but not stirred.

12 Things That Just Happened That Show The Next Wave Of The Economic Collapse Is Almost Here

Are we running out of time?  For the last several years, we have been living in a false bubble of hope that has been fueled by massive amounts of debt and bailout money.  This illusion of economic stability has convinced most people that the great economic crisis of 2008 was just an "aberration" and that now things are back to normal.  Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.  The truth is that the financial crash of 2008 was just the first wave of our economic troubles.  We have not even come close to recovering from that wave, and the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching.  Our economy is like a giant sand castle that has been built on a foundation of debt and toilet paper currency.  As each wave of the crisis hits us, the solutions that our leaders will present to us will involve even more debt and even more money printing.  And each time, those "solutions" will only make our problems even worse.  Right now, events are unfolding in Europe and in the United States that are pushing us toward the next major crisis moment.  I sincerely hope that we have some more time before the next crisis overwhelms us, but as you will see, time is rapidly running out. The following are 12 things that just happened that show the next wave of the economic collapse is almost here...

Frontrunning: March 4

  • Must defend against Chinese colonial expansion and get the Nigerian oil: U. S. Boosts War Role in Africa (WSJ)
  • BOJ nominee Kuroda sets out aggressive policy ideas (Reuters)
  • China becomes world’s top oil importer (FT)
  • Baby Cured of HIV for the First Time, Researchers Say (WSJ)
  • Obama to nominate Walmart's Burwell as White House budget chief (Reuters)
  • Wal-Mart Anxious to Combat Amazon’s Lead in Web Vendors (BBG)
  • Nasdaq executing trades at a loss (FT)
  • Spending cut debate casts pall over Obama's second-term agenda (Reuters)
  • Russell Indexes to Reclassify Greece as Emerging Market (BBG)
  • Bond Bears Collide With Swaps Showing Low Rates (BBG)
  • Buffett Deputies Leaving Billionaire in the Dust Get More Funds (BBG)
  • Brazil's leftist president fights to win back business (Reuters)
  • U.S. Special Forces train Syrian Rebels in Jordan (Le Figaro)
  • Carlos Slim Risks Losing World’s Richest Person Title as Troubles Mount (BBG)
Monetary Metals's picture

Nathan Lewis proposes a "gold standard" which is not based on gold. He argues that since gold's only job is to regulate the quantity of paper, we can just tweak the policy of the Fed. Instead of buying bonds to control the rate of interest, they can buy bonds to control the gold price. This is like trying to steer a car by opening and closing the windows.

Send In The Economists

The gravy train that poses as the Electoral College in the States is rigged to make it near impossible for anyone other than the Democrat or GOP nominee to get into the White House.... In Europe it is very different. We can vote for the Monster Raving Looney Party – yes there truly is such a thing – the Beer party and one day soon the Blessed Nigel of Farage. To get on the list of candidates over here you have to stump up £500, be a UK, Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland (how did that happen?) citizen, be seconded by 10 voters in the constituency and not be a police officer, in the military or a member of the House of Lords or bankrupt or bonkers. UKIP may well have won the Eastleigh by-election had Farage stood as a candidate – along with 13 others - but as it was Diane James took votes off the Tories and Liberal Democrats in equal measure. This may have been spun as an inconsequential protest vote the happenings in Italy earlier in the week is beginning to cause the establishment some angst.

Europe's Scariest Chart Update: Italy Now Worse Than Portugal

For the first time in two years, Italy's youth unemployment rate is now higher than Portugal's at a staggering 38.7% (which is where Greece was just two years ago). Apart from Germany (which fell from 8.0% to 7.9%), every other nation saw youth unemployment rates rise with a record 24.2% of European youth unemployed. Greece (59.4%) and Spain (55.5%) remain the most concerning as we noted in the past, austerity sounds straightforward as a policy, until the consequences bite in terms of social unrest.

Guest Post: All Of This Whining About The Sequester Shows Why America Is Doomed

If we can't even cut federal spending by 2.4 percent without much of the country throwing an absolute hissy fit, then what hope does America have?  All of this whining and crying about the sequester is absolutely disgraceful.  The truth is that even if the sequester goes into effect, the U.S. government will still take in more money than ever before in 2013 and it will still spend more money than ever before in 2013.  So it is a bit disingenuous to call what is about to happen "a spending cut", but for the sake of argument let's concede that point. If this is how bad things are now, how bad will they be when a day of reckoning for our economy arrives? And a day of reckoning is coming. Our politicians can try to keep kicking the can down the road for as long as they can, but eventually time will run out.  We can borrow our way to prosperity for a while, but in the end there is always a very bitter price to pay for doing so. I would love to tell you that there is a chance that all of this will be turned around, but the truth is that all of this whining and crying about the sequester shows that America is doomed.