Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,
Listening to Rehn, Van Rompuy, Juncker and their cohorts is rather like listening to the cheerleaders at the football game and their advice on financial matters is probably right in-line with the knowledge of the cheerleaders; but then I don’t want to insult the cheerleaders. Everything is always “good, fine, hailed, welcomed” and the sunrise is always moments away which is fine except that we are approaching midnight and unless you happen to be in Finland the sun won’t be arriving anytime soon. These people are either smoking something, I swear, or they are off-worlders peering through rose colored glasses where the streets of Athens are regarded as the poppy fields of Oz. Everytime I read a comment from one of these people I shake my head and I wonder just which mood elevating drugs they are imbibing and how long they have been taking them. They are out in some field past “money for nothing and chicks for free” where money not only grows in the trees but it is spent by the squirrels, hoarded by the antelopes and kumquats are the currency of exchange, for the moment, because money is hopelessly out of style this week; just ask Monsieur Hollande in Paris. As a matter of fact I have observed that there is a remarkable resemblance between Van Rompuy and one of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. The only difference that I can discern, in fact, is the extra can of hairspray that he uses.
Do you own any Greek bonds; ah, you are in for an exciting time ahead. Please consult with your doctor immediately and inquire about any drug that might be useful for lowering your blood pressure. I make no specific recommendations here but just suggest the inquiry. There is now talk and serious talk about a second round of “Private Sector Involvement” where Greece will offer you a few cents above the current market price for your bonds and if you don’t want to sell well; there will be a new retroactive collective action clause passed by the Greek government. If you think I am joking or pulling your leg I assure you that I am not. I told you, the banner slung across the Continent, “It Will Never Happen Again” had all of the truth of the proverbial, “the check is in the mail” and I will not continue with the other phrases appended to that statement. There are now discussions underway in Athens and Brussels to set all of this in motion as I remark that if it can happen in Greece it could take place in Madrid, Lisbon or some other capital in Europe. Standby, the newest round of continental merrymaking is about to begin.
The economy is now so bad in Spain that if you buy a toaster they give you a bank.
Of course, if you are a masochist, this is a perfect situation for you. Sell all of your American bonds and anything denominated in Dollars and make yourself feel good. Whips, chains, self-flagellation; this is your moment! Load up on European bonds, Spanish bonds, Greek bonds and especially the debt of Athens. By the way, I think Britain has it all wrong. I am absolutely in favor of an increased budget for the European Union. I think vast sums should be spent on fancy breakfasts, grand lunches, high teas with crumpets, especially crumpets, and sumptuous dinners. I am sure these people have some civility and, since it is not polite to speak with your mouth is full; we would all be much better off. Of course, this might not work, it appears that the people in Brussels share a common belief about safe relations; just lock the car door.
Europe officially entered into a recession it was just announced this morning. The economy in Europe is so bad now that a picture is only worth two hundred words. The Europeans blame everything on the ratings agencies lately. There is some wisdom to this. “Moody” is how they are feeling and “Standard & Poor” is what they will be feeling soon. Recently in Spain it was reported that a teacher asked one of her students what his father did for a living. The little boy said his father did a striptease in one of the clubs in Madrid. The teacher was shocked and asked if this was true. The young fellow said, “No, he is the head of corporate credit for Bankia but I am too embarrassed to tell anyone.” Finally I can report that the European recession is causing a lot of confusion. Recently one of the television stations in Greece asked a man in Athens if he knew what city was the capitol of the country. He said, “Of course; about 70 Euros.”