Greece: Now They’re Not Even Trying Anymore

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, while visiting Japan, summarized it eloquently when he said, "The financial aspect of the crisis is over." The ECB, despite any apparently fake German reservations, has jumped with both feet on the money printing bandwagon where it happily joins the Fed, the Bank of Japan, and other central banks around the world. The endless flow of money has started in the Eurozone, and Greek politicians, it turns out, have figured this out.

Among them, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos who didn't wait long to put the need for a third bailout package on the table. And the difficult reforms are falling off the table one by one. The new priority is the general election on May 6—the flood of euros having been secured for the time being. Politicians are jostling for position to grab whatever votes they can. They're no longer paying attention to their legislative work, the tough reforms that party leaders and the government had promised the bailout Troika. Some of which would have to be completed before the elections. Promises made solely to obtain the second bailout package.

And they’re altering what little reform legislation does move forward, such as liberalizing the taxi industry, to curry favors with their supporters—to the utter frustration of their unelected technocrat Prime Minister who implored his ministers to focus on their jobs and stop the political quibbling. Apparently with little impact.

“It is the prime minister’s decision that this government should continue working right up to the last day,” spokesperson Pantelis Kapsis said lamely but admitted that much of the work would be left to the next government. So, the interim government only accomplished part of its job: the bond swap, a default that blew up over €100 billion in Greek bonds held by private sector investors. “We owed it to our children and grandchildren to rid them of the burden of this debt,” mused Evangelos Venizelos, at the time Finance Minister, after having whacked private sector investors with a 72% loss, while the drumbeat of Greece’s economic horror show continues. For that unrelenting debacle and its consequences, read.... “A harder Default To Come.”

The interim government also accomplished another part of its job: it opened the Troika money spigot and got the bailout billions flowing again. But many of the reforms that it promised to implement would remain up in the air.

With one exception. Under pressure from the bailout Troika, Parliament is moving on a bill that would set in motion the creation of an escrow account for a big portion of the bailout billions, a condition imposed by the Troika who no longer trust Greece on anything. They want to make sure the money doesn’t evaporate. It will be used to repay Greece’s foreign creditors—their backdoor bailout being the purpose of the whole scheme. The Greek people, however, will see little of it.

And Papademos, who was supposed to oversee the implemention the reforms, and who has been shunted aside, darkened his outlook for the next government.

Further wage cuts might be necessary, he said on Friday. And “joblessness will probably increase and the recession will probably continue,” through “most of 2013”—a downward revision from his assessment of only a few weeks ago when he pegged the end of the recession at mid-2013. With the bailout billions, the government would likely have enough money to fund pensions till 2015, he said, but that would be it. And his government was working on a proposal to cut another €12 billion from the budget, as promised to the Troika, he said, but the nearly impossible job of implementing those cuts: “The next government and the next parliament will decide.”

The writing is on the wall. Little will get done before the election. And after the new government takes over, it’s back to square one. More promises, more strikes, more disappointments, and the extortion racket to get more bailout billions will start all over again.

Meanwhile, across the border, deficit-plagued and inflation-infested Turkey floated a plan to get its people to turn in their huge stash of physical gold in exchange for paper “certificates,” a first step in what may become a process of gold confiscation. And this, just as the world's major central bankers met in Washington. For that load of ironies, doublespeak, and red flags, read.... Gold Confiscation, Inflation, And Suddenly Virtuous Central Bankers.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Zero Govt's picture

"And the difficult reforms are falling off the table one by one."

What a shocker, that most spineless and slippery of professions, politicians, taking the easiest route


coltek's picture

Apparently some 450 banksters have left the sinking ship since September......

Zero Govt's picture

compared 850 bankrupt European banks taking hand-outs and assuming an average 10 crones per Board (8,500 directors) the 450 bankers resignations makes a total of 5% 

El Gordo's picture

If you'll let me off this time I promise I'll never do that again....

JOYFUL's picture

Meanwhile, across the border, deficit-plagued and inflation-infested Turkey floated a plan to get its people to turn in their huge stash of physical gold in exchange for paper “certificates,” a first step in what may become a process of gold confiscationsaid the journalist Wolf Ritcher

....When I was in Turkey in 1997, pocket money was a wad of Turkish lira that included 1,000,000-lira notes.

You were in Turkey 15 years ago. You write as if you know something, anything about the place now. Deficit plagued, inflation infested Turkey, with one of the best GDP growth rates in the world, and a real inflation rate below 10%, unlike the fake numbers y''all use back in never neverland. You wouldn't even recognize the place....but we can recognize you!

You a cracker Wolf! How you say that in German>???? I'm not even a fan of the government here, but you'd bring out the patriot in a corpse!!! After your hit job on Greece you end with a jab at the neighbors????

Your journalism is a pathetic bunch of make up stuff that wouldn't even get a byline in the National Enquirer...I love conspiracy theories, but son, yu not even tryin anymore!///TESTOSTERONE PIT - WHERE THE TRUTH COMES HOME TO ROOST///boy, yu the FOGHORN LEGHORN OF THE BLOGOSPHERE!!!!!!!! Put that in yur drainpipe n smoke it!

mailll's picture

The game goes like this: The more bailout money that is given Greece, the bigger the crash when they decide to pull the plug.  The powers that be want a MAJOR crash.  It's in the cards.

A good example is here in the US when they wanted to cause a MAJOR economic crash.  They made the impact much, much worse than it should have been by providing easy credit to all.  If they didn't provide all this easy credit, which helped our economy to grow immensely, the impact, once the plug was pulled on easy credit, would have been just another recession, not the MAJOR crash that they were looking for.  They know how to play the game, they know how to make things happen as to fit their agenda.

Controlling the world monetary system in complete secrecy is the name of the game.  If these secrets were revealed, we would know what their game plan is. And we would not like it.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

hey, greece ask Iceland how it's done..simple very simple. but too many mouths on the tit makes for weak babies.

Yen Cross's picture

I normally don't take he time. Your #'s were intriguing?  Why hide the facts?````


   Loss of wealth or Family? Credibility?

Rick64's picture

 The ultimate hypocrisy is that Germany and France forced Greece to buy weapons from them while imposing austerity measures on the people.

The current EU-IMF bailout remains conditional on further austerity measures, including reducing pensions, the minimum-wage and civil service jobs. However, one area of the Greek budget doesn't seem to have received much scrutiny: its huge military spending. The fact that Greece, a relatively small and democratic country with not much in the way of global ambitions, should spend as much on its military as it does is perplexing. In 2006, as the financial crisis was looming, Greece was the third biggest arms importer after China and India. If Greece is in need of structural reform, then its oversized military would seem the most logical place to start. In fact, if it had only spent the EU average of 1.7% over the last 20 years, it would have saved a total of 52% of its GDP – In the five years up to 2010, Greece purchased more of Germany's arms exports than any other country, buying 15% of its weapons

 Over the same period, Greece was the third-largest customer for France's military exports and its top buyer in Europe. Significantly, when the first bail-out package was being negotiated in 2010, Greece spent 7.1bn euros (£5.9bn) on its military, up from 6.24bn euros in 2007. A total of £1bn was spent on French and German weapons, plunging the country even further into debt in the same year that social spending was cut by 1.8bn euros. It has claimed by some that this was no coincidence, and that the EU bail-out was explicitly tied to burgeoning arms deals

 I didn't realize that Greece was so threatened.

Ghordius's picture

you are perfectly right except for some little details: the typical-ever-recurring-worldwide-quid-pro-quo deal "we bail you out and you make some major shopping for our industry to sweeten the pill" was originally not planned to be an arms deal. It was supposed to be an infrastructure deal. Ideally some industrial plants.

The preference for arms comes from the Greek side, and yes, it is mostly because the sleaze/corruption on arms deals is more profitable for politicians, politically it feeds the military circles and because they are indeed feeling threatened. They are also on the way of becoming a Russian ally - a preference of political/religious/military alignment that goes back to the Crimea War.

Rick64's picture

The Greek budget cuts and austerity measures are part of conditions for bailout loans yet the military budget is left intact. I would assume that Greece isn't in a position to make demands, and the ones that benefit the most as well as making the conditions for the loans would be Germany and France. I am not excusing the Greek politicians by any means, they are dirty selfserving scum as most are, but they are not the ones laying out conditions for bailout loans. They just go along with it because of the big payoffs involved.

toadold's picture

So der Bundesbank is no longer accepting der bonds of Portuagal, Greece, und Ireland for der collateral to secure das loans......Hans warm up der tanks I tink we are going to visit France again!

Peter Pan's picture

Das Greek bonds have been replaced with das Greek bondage. Much more effective and do not require Greek law, just German boot hard up against das throat.

Germany very happy to date. Their factories have a greater number of orders and Greek and other European savings seeking refuge in Germany have knocked down German interest rates.

Germany has already lost two world wars and she will eventually lose this financial war as well.

Yen Cross's picture

 Yes, I can relate. Would you like for me to translate?  Great post.

 ( Up det/der tanks) Spain' works for me.

Yen Cross's picture

 Effin Pathetic Testerone! Watch the ( English Law) part of the default on April 3'rd.  ( BEEN DELAYED) Twice!

 Disorderly Defaults/ ECB bond priority.   I call it ZERO


alonedriver's picture

Dear friends all over the world...

The situation here in Greece is horrible... Our government is a dictatorship enforced to us by European Union, IMF and ECB to entitle only the debt swap from private sector to official sector...

They don't care for structural reforms, that greece is only what is need...

Greece is a very rich country...

Greece economic sectors that can outperform in the near future WITH A NEW GOVERNMENT are:

1. Tourism

2. Energy especially from sun wind etc.. (greece can be energy exporter)...

3. Shipping

4. Agricultural products from mediterrenean

etc.. etc...

Also greek people are at most high educated and can improve improve greek economy through INNOVATION...

So why are we in that mess?


Because all the greek govs from 1981 to now was telling LIES to greek people... we have our responsibilities but the main responsibility was at our govs...

There was a full organized PLAN to debt the country so much that we cannot repay our debt NEVER, and then enslave us...

If the European Union was care about us,

WHY DONT THEY GUARANTEE OUR BORDERS, the borders of EU, so we dont have to spent 7% of GDP to high tech defence systems?

7% of GDP...

We need global help from all of you so we can ger rid of our POLITICIANS... They are responsible for our mess... They are corrupted and they blaim greek people that try to live day by day with 400 euros/month!!!

Yes my friends... 400 euros / month is the salary for us...

We NEED your HELP...

sessinpo's picture

Each reply is right (Nage42, Peter Pan) and why I don't bother with Greece anymore. I feel sorry for them but they have yet to realize that their protest and scattered ocassional rioting is NOTHING. Most don't even know who their enemy is. And Greeks get angry when you tell them how in other nations, citizens are giving up their lives with thousands killed to win their freedom. I do feel sorry for them but I won't give money directly to a money pit to be wasted and I certainly won't take up arms for people that won't do it for themselves.

Fred C Dobbs's picture

"There was a full organized PLAN to debt the country so much that we cannot repay our debt NEVER, and then enslave us..."

alonedriver you are correct.  That is the plan for everyone including the US.  The first thing to do is to get everyone to wake up.  Start here or  Pass it on to everyone.  

Nage42's picture

The fact that you state that you _need_ outside help is the symptom of the problem.  No one in the status quo will help you mate... your citizenry needs to help itself!

Equador, Iceland, Venezuela... add yourself to the list of countries that reject odious debt, where the people stood up and said: "hell no!  not going to pay for these back-room deals by pork-bellied politicos saddling our children with destitution."

Posting for "help" isn't going to help.

You need to be reading, you need to be talking, you, you need to be organizing -- and getting your citizenry to become activated.


It's the only path out of slavery, to simply say that you will not carry the chains on your back.


Peter Pan's picture

My dear dear friend you are right in what you write, but you must begin by breaking a few legs of politicians rather than just throwing youghurt and making rude hand signals at them.

On March 25th 1943 in the middle of the fascist occupation of Greece almost 300,000 Greeks paraded in Athens for their National Day. They were beaten, shot at and jailed but they did it. And that was at a time when the population of Athens was much smaller and much much hungrier.

Where are your 300,000 today? Why do you instead bow down to your 300 scumbag politicians and wait for the rest of the world to liberate you.

Liberation begins inside you....... so get started.

As the Spartans use to say....."with your shield or upon it". Either win or die trying.

Ultros88's picture

The fractional reserve practice of private banks leads in effect to the creation of private bank notes, as distinguished from physical Federal Reserve Note, 'dollars', although ostensibly similarly denominated. All ledger entry 'credit' creations are cleared either internally or within a cartel clearing house, and thus are functionally separate from the legal tender of FRNs even though physical notes may be 'withdrawn' from a bank. If the reserve ratio equals 10% and a bank has $10,000 of deposits they can lend out up to $90,000; but the books must (at least in the past) remain balanced. The deposits are liabilities of the bank and they must hold some percentage of cash, as evidenced in the reserve requirement, in order to make good on their liabilities as cash is demanded. Supposing a bank to exist from the beginning as receiving all its funds from external depositors, the bank is then entire composed, book-wise, of liabilities. In order to balance its books, the bank must secure assets. The bank does this through making so-called 'loans'. Going back to a 10% reserve requirement and total deposits of $10,000, our ficitional bank may 'loan' out $90,000. It is not lending out of the $10k of liabilities that it must cover. A loan application is a PROMISSORY NOTE, a negotiable instrument, or an asset with value, through which the bank makes itself whole and profits. The $90k in value that the bank lends out is created soley by the 'loan' applicants promises to pay.... Whatever, too late.

The only way this shit storm might work out okay is if people with ill gotten gains cannot make purchases of any good no matter their offer as also with those who would attend upon those will ill gotten gains as intermediaries. The GREED TRAIN will not end until the people give up greed. Upon distillation greed is seen to be the very opposite of productivity as it ends as wanting all things in exchange for nothing! Producers must issue REAL BILLS backed by goods and labor to replace the parasitic banks' worthless book entries. STOP USING the FUCKING EUROS! Institute LOCAL CURRENCIES as extensions to REAL BILLS, with very harsh punishments for counterfeiting. Set a time decay for the local currency to encourage circulation. If you are from Greece then you know how the economy is structured and the environment. You're probably gonna be screwed as far as fossil fuels are concerned. These might be of some help:  (Just make sure you don't burn everything up!)

Basically just start building shit and working and farming and fishing as you always have. Just don't take euros as soon as you have an alternative. Don't pay your debts, the banks induced them through fraudulent conveyance: they lent you your own assets! Make a nice big list, with names and pictures, of all the fat cats and poiliticians who've benefited from the scam and DON'T SELL THEM ANYTHING AT ANY PRICE, and if someone passes food or whatever along to them, THEN DON"T SELL TO THAT PERSON EITHER and so on ad infinitum......

Clowns on Acid's picture

"Basically just start building shit and working and farming and fishing as you always have.

Dude - they will tax and regulate you for fishing and farming. Subsistnce maybew for a statistical few, but it is not the answer. The answer to every left winf facsist take over is Gov't based decisions. 



Ultros88's picture

So don't pay and ignore regulations. Apparently the Greek people are already good at the first part, probably the second as well. BUT... they apparently like the idea of government and all the kick-back programs like education, cutbacks in which seem to generally have been the primary instigating factor in most European demonstrations with a physical 'bent'. So for ALL peoples: first get rid of your insistence on remaining 'as if' children, and take responsibility. Not for debts incurred under false pretenses, but rather responsibilty for taking care of those things that life demands.

I don't suggest that the Greek, or any other people revert to subsistence, but any reinvigoration of their economy must occur within THEIR economy with as little reference to external producers as possible. My suggest is merely that the Greeks use either existing industrial representative bodies, OR FORM NEW ONES, in order to institute a system of REAL BILLS and bypass the Euro as much as possible.

Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

"...the flood of euros having been secured for the time being. Politicians are jostling for position to grab whatever votes they can."


I suspect the politicans are "jostling" for the Free Money from the IMF (aka taxpayers of the IMF member nations). After all, why should the Bankers get all the Booty?

Fedaykinx's picture

my ouzo and coconut oil investments just keep looking better and better.

mademesmile's picture

New poster here. I'm wondering why no "stimulus" checks have been printed yet. Remember that $600 check, back in '07 I think? Are they Waiting till he election is closer before giving out gas "rebate" cards just to remind people who to vote for?

Bam_Man's picture

It was determined that the 2007 stimulus checks "didn't work". So from then on all bailouts only go to banks, corporations and the oligarchs that run them. Your stimulus will have to "trickle down" from them.

williambanzai7's picture

I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a gyro today.

StychoKiller's picture

"I'll gladly 'promise to' pay you Tuesday for a gyro today.

Fixed it for ya!

justsayin2u's picture

Once your willing to print, nothing else matters - its all bs.

GCT's picture

They ought to hang the fricking politicians in the capitol square.  While the Greek politicians, bankers,  and their corrupt unions ride out the wave, the Greek people will in the end pay the price one way or the other.  But I figured a long time ago this was going to happen.  The other countries will do the same thing.  The politicians and bankers already know this and just want to continue to game and get the stupid money to invest in Europe and when the right time comes everyone will be left holding the bag.  Once Europe is done lookout either Japan or the good ole USA is next.

If the EU can keep this charade going past our elections this country may fall before Europe once the truth can no longer be hidden and starts coming out or Obama is re-elected and he finishes the job that he started.  Hope you have some physical assets for all of this mess.

FeralSerf's picture

Why should they try? Their debt is unpayable.  They're debt slaves and they know it.  Slaves know there's no way they're ever going to get any rewards from trying.   The only ones that get rewarded are their owners, the bankers and politicians.  So fuckem.  Pour some more of the ouzo and metaxa.  Drink it up before the milkshake asshole gets there to take it away.

non_anon's picture

yep, I agree, I gave up after the 2008 King Paulson bailout under GWBush & Co.

screw em'

Buck Johnson's picture

Just a matter of time before the whole house of cards come down.

CitizenZeus's picture

Why not endless money drops for bureaucracies and welfare states?  They are printing endless money for banks.  Everyone needs to get in on the action.  So when will it get around to cash dropping from helicopters, in a financial twist on the Hunger Games?  Then we can fight each other for the scraps and pay the debts for the bad decisions of others with more debt and devalued currency for our children!  Man, I can't wait for this a-clown calvalcade  to skid off the runway and into a mire of quicksand.  

navy62802's picture

Italians are immitation Greek people. Hahaha!


StychoKiller's picture

[qoute] The writing is on the wall. Little will get done before the election.  And after the new government takes over, it’s back to square one.  More promises, more strikes, more disappointments, and the extortion racket to get more bailout billions will start all over again. [/quote]

Same as it ever was!