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Greece Shows What Happens When The Welfare Ponzi Ends

Tyler Durden's picture


When no more money flows in, to fund outflows, then the jig is up for the pension fund ponzi. This, as evidenced by the 'punching, kicking, and tearing at clothes' that a Greek pension fund manager endured recently, is exactly what has begun in Greece. As Reuters reports, the fund manager "enraged" here audience when she asked the Greek journalists to 'double their contributions' to their social security fund, and spent the night in hospital for her efforts to keep the ponzi alive. It was a brutal sign of the fury many Greeks feel at the way the country's debt crisis has dashed hopes of a comfortable old age. As New Democracy's leader noted: "From July 2010 it was obvious that a debt restructuring would be inevitable. While foreign banks were unloading their Greek government bonds, no one moved to tell Greek pension funds to do something, that a haircut was coming." Under a law passed in 1997 and refined in 2007, pension funds have to place 77% of any surplus cash in a pool of 'common capital' which must be invested only in Greek government bonds or Treasury bills (T-bills). So the PSI saved German and French banks but crushed Greek pensioners...


Via Reuters:



For hours the leader of the Greek journalists' social security fund had been chairing a meeting about disastrous losses on retirement savings caused by the country's economic collapse. "She tried to present herself as the fund's savior and asked (members) to double contributions to 6 percent of salaries," said one of those present that night at the Titania hotel. Spanopoulou, 58, did not succeed.


When she rose to leave around midnight, enraged fund members first swore, then waded in punching, kicking and tearing at her clothes, according to witnesses. A bodyguard managed to bustle her out of the room, but another group caught her just outside the hotel and gave her a second beating. She spent the night in hospital.


It was a brutal sign of the fury many Greeks feel at the way the country's debt crisis has dashed hopes of a comfortable old age. Greece's pension funds - patchily run in the first place, say unionists and some politicians - have been savaged by austerity and the terms of the international bailout keeping the country afloat.




Many savers blame the debacle on the Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, which administers three-quarters of pension funds' surplus cash.




Prokopis Pavlopoulos, a lawmaker in the ruling coalition's conservative New Democracy party and former interior minister, said: "From July 2010 it was obvious that a debt restructuring would be inevitable. While foreign banks were unloading their Greek government bonds, no one moved to tell Greek pension funds to do something, that a haircut was coming."




The losses compound the woes of Greek pensioners, many of whom have seen their income fall; further cuts are expected as part of the latest austerity package voted through parliament in November.


The Bank of Greece rejects the criticism, arguing its room for maneuver was limited. ...


... "The government ... knew it was heading for a haircut and did nothing for these people, which I find hard to stomach."






Under a law passed in 1997 and refined in 2007, pension funds have to place 77 percent of any surplus cash in a pool of "common capital" managed by the Bank of Greece. The law requires the common capital to be invested only in Greek government bonds or Treasury bills (T-bills). The remaining 23 percent of funds can be invested in other assets, such as mutual funds, shares and real estate.


The aim of the measures, officials said, was to ensure that most of the money was safely tucked away for a steady return. In the good times, this worked. But it was to have disastrous consequences when the credit crunch that began in 2007 led to a crisis in sovereign debt.




Amid the wrangling over exactly who bought what when, one thing is clear: when the financial storm struck, the pension funds remained heavily exposed.




In the end, however, the pension funds appear to have suffered an even bigger loss.




Former Labour Minister George Koutroumanis told Reuters the losses were unavoidable. "How could we have asked to protect our own pension funds and let all the others take the blow, it could not have worked that way," said Koutroumanis, whose former department is in charge of the pension system. "The billions of euros that pension funds lost because of the PSI was a significant hit. But it has to be weighed against the need to ensure the viability of the country in the euro and the system's continued funding."




... Konstantinos Amoutzias, president of the bank's employee union. "We have asked the Bank of Greece since the summer to provide us with data on the investment of our funds and they haven't answered us yet."


A senior Bank of Greece official, who declined to be named, said: "Any fund which has asked for data on transactions and market prices has received it." He added that, for reasons of legal confidentiality, the central bank could not reveal full details, such as the names of the banks from which it had bought government bonds in the secondary market.


Vaso Voyatzoglou, secretary general of insurance at the bank employees' union OTOE, said: "Eventually all pension funds will end up suing the Bank of Greece in order to find out what exactly happened and how they lost their money."






"We should not have illusions that our pension fund will recoup what it lost from the haircut on its government bond holdings," he said. "It's very hard to get by as a pensioner the way things are going."




Many pensioners have to get by on less, including Yorgos Vagelakos, a 75-year-old former factory worker, and his wife, who live in Keratsini, a working-class district near Athens. "We can barely afford to buy our grandchildren anything, not even a colorful notepad. When they ask us for one, we change the subject and then we cry," Vagelakos said in the tiny yard of his house.


His pension of 650 euros a month supports himself, his wife Anna and, when possible, the family of his 42-year old-son, who is unemployed. "Thankfully my younger son and his wife have a job," he said.


Tax increases and high prices have hit hard. "We have slashed everything by 50 percent. At night we keep the light off to save on our electricity bill. We have become vegetarians from cutting back. We can't take it anymore," Vagelakos said, talking while his wife cooked cauliflower and potatoes for lunch, a meal that would also feed the family of their elder son, who has two children.




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Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:23 | 3023397 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



One night I mixed some low-fat milk and some pasteurized milk, then I dipped my cookie in and the shit blew up - Richard Pryor



Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:26 | 3023407 Enslavethechild...
EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Fiat currency is a welfare state for the elite, wealth flows from the poor to the rich.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:31 | 3023431 jekyll island
jekyll island's picture

The sheeple do not see this coming.  My in-laws have a VA pension and a state government pension.  They are concerned but seem to miss the point that the US is going to be like Greece, they are in denial.  Multiply this by 50 million and we will get....

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:42 | 3023474 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Just wait until they pass a bill in the U.S. requiring pension funds and 401k's to be "invested" in U.S. T-bills.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:46 | 3023489 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

How long ago was Greece's debt/GDP at 102%?  Where is the US now?  Just like Greece, the US has a whole slew of "off-the-books" debts, as well as upcoming liabilities in ponzie security and medicare.  How many pensions fund in the US are required to invest in US shit debt?  Promises, promises.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:54 | 3023987 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Table 7-1 you can see the gross debt, 7th colum over, internal debt, 8th over, and private debt, 9th column.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:48 | 3023499 Looney
Looney's picture

What a brutality! ONE PERSON's clothes were torn apart and a few minor scratches since the Lehman Weekend on both sides of the pond! More people lost their lives trying to unpack a roll of toilet paper since then...

When people suffer - they use pitchforks and until then... let's happily count that lady's hospital visit and a new set of clothes into Greece's GDP.

Broken fucking windows, anyone? ;-)


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:37 | 3023924 caconhma
caconhma's picture

Everybody somehow forgot G-Pap, a good Jewish-American boy, and the paradise he has promised and created in Greece and the rest of EU.

Stupid/naive common people love promises of FREE everything taken from somebody else but it only works for a while and then come the retribution. After all, Greece does not have a military to have/maintain colonies and a fiat-reserve currency to print.

As for the good old USA, almost everybody in the world is pissed off by America and its out of control printed US$ reserve currency.

Finally, Zionist Banking Mafia controlling America does not recognize yet that they just have elected a President with his own agenda and not too much brains of how to run the country. The Zionist Mafia does not thinks or behaves any different than their ideology friends in the former Soviet Union.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:51 | 3023971 economics9698
economics9698's picture

There will be a hellashias blowback when government worker pensioner figures out ZOG fucked him. Germany 1920s = Hitler 1930s.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:36 | 3024826 Cap Matifou
Cap Matifou's picture

This is already in the making, i read about it a few days ago

USA: Forced conversion of private pension funds in U.S. bonds

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 07:20 | 3026150 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

There are ZEROFACTS in your ZEROHEDGE post (or in the linked "article").

The plan has been progressing for YEARS.  The changes, however, will come in two varieties statutory and regulatory, and you can find the current state of play at the links below.  For example the September 2011 "meetings" in the Senate HELP-less committee or the September 2010 EBSA public "hearings".

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:43 | 3023477 TrumpXVI
TrumpXVI's picture

You got that totally right, jekyll.

I've tried to point this out time after time.  I'm looked at like I'm freakin' looney; or worse.  I've got one guy, a retired teacher who's response is, "There won't be any problems as long as we keep the damn Republicans out."

My sister, nephew and in-laws all think I'm just a dope on this subject.  Hey, and guess what?  Almost ALL of these folks work in the public sector!

I could fucking just puke.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:52 | 3023519 Looney
Looney's picture

. I'm looked at like I'm freakin' looney; or worse.

Hey-hey-hey! What's wrong with LOONEY?  ;-)


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:07 | 3023568 Debt-Penitent
Debt-Penitent's picture

This is my fantasy exactly! Just once, happen in the USA!

When she rose to leave around midnight, enraged fund members first swore, then waded in punching, kicking and tearing at her clothes, according to witnesses. A bodyguard managed to bustle her out of the room, but another group caught her just outside the hotel and gave her a second beating. She spent the night in hospital.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:27 | 3023643 jekyll island
jekyll island's picture

What was it Mark Twain said about advice?  "Wise men don't need it, fools wont' heed it" or something like that?  

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:44 | 3023697 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

we sit back and see what greece is showing us, but do any of us think it can happen soon I thought not.

normalcy bias works until the ship has sunk..suicide is painless and many will take that option.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:11 | 3023785 Zap Powerz
Zap Powerz's picture

"suicide is painless and many will take that option."

I hope you are right.  The more of them that shoot themselves the fewer there will be that I will have to shoot when they come looting for food.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:58 | 3023748 marathonman
marathonman's picture

Yep, Mom is in upper 70's is on SS and Medicare, sister is on SS disability, brother works for government contractors 'rebuilding' Iraq and Afganistan for the last 10 years, niece and husband are in the Army.  That's just my family in a relatively conservative leaning area.  Very few adding to productive society.  Most leaning on government and make-work jobs.  There are going to be a lot of hungry and pissed off people when the dollar Ponzi goes south.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:24 | 3023842 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

tell them to buy APPL

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:31 | 3023892 Helvetico
Helvetico's picture

They live in a relatively conservative leaning area? Does this mean they have a problem with big government...except for the checks they get from it. I know my folks do.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:56 | 3023534 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

I can't say I blame the pensioners for their anger or response. 


1) the pension fund manager got what she deserved for her role in the ponzi (intentions not withstanding)

2) the pensioners get what they deserve for believing the ponzi was legitimate savings (never trust the government or its servants).

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:35 | 3024818 Zaydac
Zaydac's picture

Call me old fashioned but I don't think any man should ever beat up a woman. For some things there are no excuses, and (probably) a slim chance of redemption.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:08 | 3023572 midtowng
midtowng's picture

It's interesting how everyone can read that article and their only take-away is that the pensioners were somehow at fault.

How come no one sees how the Greek government basically said, "we decided not to protect our pensioners because SOMEONE had to take a loss, and it wasn't going to be rich foreign investors"?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:32 | 3023655 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Greece found it wise not to anger the guys holding onto the iron lung plug.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:48 | 3023961 Essential Nexus
Essential Nexus's picture

Well, the pensioners probably voted for what caused the result.  Ultimately, determining which group of sheep acted badly to another group of sheep isn't going to matter.  They're all getting fleeced soon anyway.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:19 | 3023608 Doubleguns
Doubleguns's picture

Jekyll, Remember this it was here on Zero hedge. This is 2010 numbers so the debt load is much higher meaning the haircuts will be much larger than 35%. IMF working paper. Our Greece is already being discussed and prepared for.

"We find that the U.S. fiscal and generational imbalances are large under plausible parametric assumptions, and, while not much affected by the financial crisis, they have not improved much  by the passing of the Final  Healthcare Legislation. We find that, under our baseline scenario, a full elimination of the fiscal and generational imbalances would require all taxes to go up and all transfers to be cut immediately and permanently by 35 percent. A delay in the adjustment makes it more costly."


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:26 | 3023637 jekyll island
jekyll island's picture

Very nice, thanks for the link.  I will read this today.  

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:41 | 3023683 10mm
10mm's picture

I been telling co workers in state whats going on and get ready,at least mental level,and low and behold Penna Gov just laid out his plan.Fuckin dim wits think their untouchable.Now Wash gearing up for those juicy 401k's and IRA's.Like Carlin said"THEY WANT IT ALL" and they will fucking get it.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:07 | 3024021 Renewable Life
Renewable Life's picture

"If them wanting it all" is going to be a war, stealing people's 401k and pensions will be like drone warfare, easy as Sunday morning and nice and clean!! But coming for each persons gold and silver and the land they own, that gonna be like clearing the Casbah or for you younger folks, clearing Falluja! Nasty, deadly, hand to hand combat times millions of people!

I like our odds in holding physical cash and precious metals better, get the hell out of Wall Street and every time one of those nice checks come from the Gov or the like, cash that shit in, and buy PM's and hold physical cash, and start stocking the pantry!!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 19:34 | 3025416 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

That was my dad until the budget/"dog and pony show" thing last year.

I showed my dad how they were using "funds" from his mil. and civil-service pensions, by not rolling over the bonds, to keep operating.

He got religion--God, gold, guns and grub that is.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:05 | 3023560 OneTinSoldier66
OneTinSoldier66's picture

"Fiat currency is a welfare state for the elite, wealth flows from the poor to the rich."


Couldn't have said it any better myself. Whatever excuse that is needed by the state to keep the ponzi going will be put forth as the solution. Apparently the 'solutions' are starting to be rejected. And apprently Spanopoulou failed to realize she had been sucked into offering a solution on behalf of what has become a melding of the economy and state. Or rather, a takeover of the economy by the state.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:22 | 3023827 prains
prains's picture

Greece is the sand box / petri dish the 1% are practicing their suppression technics on before it's unleashed on the rest of us. Practice makes perfect.

If they can subdue the Greeks then Ohioan house fraus won't be problem.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:42 | 3024344 11b40
11b40's picture

Greece hardly has a military, and the masses do not own guns in large quantities.  Here, it is different.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:32 | 3023432 saturn
saturn's picture

There will likely be consequences outside of Greece, for the inhabitants of Europe will be mad at their politicians that they did not stop the Greece farce amfitheatre much, much sooner, when they were expected to do so.

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 01:05 | 3025952 Freddie
Freddie's picture

...fury many Greeks feel at the way the country's debt crisis has dashed hopes of a comfortable old age...

Loads of American baby boomers and seniors voted for the muslim twice.  LOL!

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 13:23 | 3026465 11b40
11b40's picture

If you think that's funny, how about this.  Bush the lesser was voted in for a second term!  Can you believe how stupid the American voters are?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:24 | 3023403 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

When no more money flows in, after years of the maggot billionaires and execs skimming pension fund contributions and then the pensions want their money back out, the jig is up for the usa stock market ponzi.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:27 | 3023420 Enslavethechild...
EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

oh the money will flow in all right, ever seen a Zimbabwe Dollar?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:32 | 3023430 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

the benefit of hyperinflation to a stock market is very fleeting. Prices go up at first but then everyone wants to sell and buy something real while they still can. 200% inflation coupled with a 50% rise in the stock market is still a losing proposition so everyone heads for the exits.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:42 | 3023470 youngman
youngman's picture

I have been thinking a little about this...a six pack more or Detroit needs as much cash as they will send them.....millions...but Fargo ND does not need is that going to work out......and we are talking trillions...or is it going to be a redistribution......a pure Socialist trick

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:57 | 3023541 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Well...  fargo will get the shit taxed out of it until it grows a pair...  and, even then, will probably get the shit taxed out of it.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:26 | 3023408 ShortTheUS
ShortTheUS's picture

They showed that pension fund manager what they think of austerity:

"You take away my pension, I'm taking you down Golden Dawn-style!!"

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:23 | 3023832 Zap Powerz
Zap Powerz's picture

The thin veneer of civil society will be ripped away to reveal the darker, more violent side of human nature.

I cannot say this anymore plainly than:

When shit hits the fan, there will be many people that are going to want to kill you and your family and take what they think you might have.  Perhaps you are one of the hordes that has not prepared for upcoming events and perhaps you will be one of those starving people looking for someone to kill so you can take what they have.

In the near future, all the sheep will be eaten by the wolves and then the wolves will have to eat each other to survive.

You have been warned. Plan accordingly.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:22 | 3024277 zapdude
zapdude's picture

Word.  From one Zap to another.

I'm not sure my family will last on the rough ride to the bottom, but I will not yield for lack of shooting back.  After hundred of rounds of skeet shooting and target practice over the last 2 years, I'm replenishing my cache with 00 Buckshot and hollow points.  One day there will no longer be practice, only survival.

And take Hedgeless Horseman's advice -- get in shape now!  Who knows when or how often you'll literally have to run for your life.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:27 | 3023417 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

Coming soon to Amerika. Yeap, who will throw the first punch at Nazi Pelosi?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:50 | 3023507 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

I think the news about the Treasury stopping the minting of pennies and nickels, along with replacing the DOHllar with a coin show how this is coming to Amerika.  When the $500 and $1000 bill are reintroduced, we will then have direct confirmation on how this shit ends. 

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 01:16 | 3025960 Freddie
Freddie's picture

I hope Nazi Pelosi's Nor Cal vineyards get a daily dusting of Iodine 131 from Fukashima.  F her and her Dem scum vermin pals.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:28 | 3023419 Samsonov
Samsonov's picture

If I was a banker there I'd be making plans for my getaway.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:33 | 3023437 Cursive
Cursive's picture


There's no where for these bankers to hide.  When public pensions in the U.S. are found to be basically zero (do an internet search for unfunded accrued liability), there will be a massive shit storm here.  You haven't seen angry until you've seen a bunch of teachers who just found out they've been duped.  Hell hath no fury like a governmental services union worker scorned.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:25 | 3023629 Will To Live
Will To Live's picture

Never get between a Realtor and thier commisssion, a teacher and thier pension, a government worker and thier vacation, an attorney and thier padded bill, a politician and thier hooker, a banker and thier world domination.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:21 | 3023824 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

And 'americans' and wealth to steal.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:36 | 3023916 prains
prains's picture

And AnAnlogous and his Anus

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:55 | 3024406 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

And Chinese citizenism hypocritizen AnAnonymous and a dog he is planning to wok.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:29 | 3023424 WesternFront
WesternFront's picture

Look around your neighborhood.  Are they the type that can sustain a prolonged scenario such as this?  If not, shouldn't you be moving?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:31 | 3023427 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

A preview of what's coming for US 401s after they are forced into T- paper.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:32 | 3023435 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

Sheeples still beleive in 401K's. As long as the inbreeding continues 401K's will survive.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:33 | 3023436 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

OK, I owe you a Coke.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:36 | 3023448 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture


But the US sheeple will be led to slaughter trusting Uncle Sam to the last breath.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:37 | 3023450 Cursive
Cursive's picture


I think long only 401k's are going to feel it, but not like the pensioners.  The pensions will be the first to go.  How many SEIU and state teacher union memebers are relying on that pension?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:58 | 3023543 forwardho
forwardho's picture

Bastiat, T-paper, may I assume the pun was intended? Somehow I think the actual roll will have more value.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:32 | 3023433 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Under a law passed in 1997 and refined in 2007, pension funds have to place 77% of any surplus cash in a pool of 'common capital' which must be invested only in Greek government bonds or Treasury bills (T-bills)


Coming soon, to a 401k near you!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:44 | 3023479 youngman
youngman's picture

And I bet Goldman sold them to a good commission too

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:47 | 3023494 astoriajoe
astoriajoe's picture

correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't 100% of social security "funds" go into treasuries of one duration or another?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:51 | 3023513 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

Flight to safety, no?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH.........burp.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:35 | 3023446 wagthetails
wagthetails's picture

and these were pacifist elitist acemedic journalists....just imagine when they tell the cops the same thing. 

This is when our country will finally be woken up....those pensions aren't there. 

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:02 | 3023549 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

Bingo!! Bingissimo!!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:43 | 3023467 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

It's going to get real interesting as this debt monster works it's way up the food chain. Nationalization of your 401k's and IRA's are coming up.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:43 | 3023475 ghengis86
ghengis86's picture

Wake me up when the bankers are getting beat to shit and spending nights in hospitals. The people's rage is good, just need to work on their trajectory a little bit.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:46 | 3023486 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

I am going to home school my kids. When the public leeches find out their pensions are just a mirage , they will probably hold the children for ransoms. Or maybe just have sex with them. Either way it ain't going to be pretty.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:40 | 3023680 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Well, they wanted sex education in schools...Why complain?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:47 | 3023488 toomanyfakecons...
toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

Greece should loosen up their gun laws and start manufacturing firearms... instant cashflow.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:23 | 3023835 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Some other 'american' nations have such an oversupply of that stuff, it wont work.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:24 | 3023490 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Something sickly poetic about the teardown of society starting in Greece

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:48 | 3023502 adr
adr's picture

You mean people getting paid back more than they put in isn't sustainable? There is a problem with paying people who no longer work?

My uncle is getting $70k a year plus benefits from his pension after retiring as a teacher last year. I asked him if he thought the district could continue to pay for him and all the other retired teachers and still pay actual working teachers. I didn't get a very nice answer. The worst part is many teachers are retiring with their pensions and still working as substitutes, effectively double dipping.

Many young teachers are lucky to get paid $30k, if they can even get hired. Most school districts have resorted to full time substitutes. One retired teacher's pension can pay for two full time teachers. When you add the medical expenses of the retired, the picture even gets worse.

40% of my town's revenue goes to pay for the pensions and benefits of retired public workers. THAT IS INSANE. A problem set to only get worse as a large percentage of cops and teachers are set to retire over the next few years. Soon over half of my local tax dollars will be going to pay people who no longer work, meaning real services will not be paid for. It isn't any different with my state and federal taxes either.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:13 | 3023584 Dapper Dan
Dapper Dan's picture

Add this to the mix and we have a real problem houston,

US births dip to lowest ever recorded

The birth rate in the United States dipped to a record low in 2011, led by a steep fall in children born to immigrant women, says a new report from the Pew Research Center in Washington, released on Thursday.

The report uses preliminary figures for 2011 from the National Center for Health Statistics that show the overall birth rate in the US was 63.2 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age.

According to Pew, that rate is the lowest since at least 1920, the earliest year with reliable records.

Foreign-Born Women Showing Biggest Fall In Birth Rate

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:21 | 3023615 dolph9
dolph9's picture

Back when I was a med student in 2005 the Hispanic ladies in Texas were pumping out kids like there was no tomorrow.

I haven't been through the maternity wards recently so I can't say if this has changed or not, but it's possible.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:25 | 3023630 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Can't speak for the illegals producing anchor youth, but most maternity wards are facing a pretty sizeable slowdown.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:24 | 3023626 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Which is actually good news--not for pensioners, but for the world.  We cannot have an ever-increasing birth rate on this planet.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:23 | 3023618 aerojet
aerojet's picture

You're right it is insane.  It is all vote-buying gone bad later.  The real problem right now is that it is about to get orders of magnitude worse--we're still at the forefront of the massive retirement tsunami that is about to hit full force.  There is absolutely no possible way that any town, city, county, state, or federal entity can continue to operate and meet their pension obligations.  Well, there's probably a few exceptions to what I just said--any city or county that already defaulted.  But my point is that all of these end up in the PBGC or whatever that federal agency is called--but they're just the final domino, kind of like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who absorbed all the bad mortgages so the banks could pretend to be solvent for a couple more years.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:48 | 3023503 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

" Under a law passed in 1997 and refined in 2007, pension funds have to place 77% of any surplus cash in a pool of 'common capital' which must be invested only in Greek government bonds or Treasury bills (T-bills)"

Honest question here..  Why hasn't the author/authors of this legislation not been hunted down, bled out and dragged through the streets of Athens yet ? Sorry but Greeks are pussies.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:51 | 3023717 three chord sloth
three chord sloth's picture

The authors of this legislation are still seen as the good guys. They are the ones who promised long, prosperous retirements, bought at a discount, and guaranteed by the state. And that is what the average Greek (or American or Brit or German or Jap) wants.

Turning on the original authors means abandoning the dream of an easy, guaranteed retirement paid for by magic. The average person cannot accept that they've been fooled so easily, so deeply, so profoundly. They want only one thing... those old promises to come back, and that is the one thing they can never have. So they will continue to act as if something real was stolen from them today, rather than accept that is was all a pretty lie from the beginning.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:50 | 3023511 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

I will take whatever it is that comes. As long as I get to see the faces of every thug in a costume with a badge, when they are told its all gone.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:51 | 3023514 forwardho
forwardho's picture

My Grand-pa told me, when i was but a lad, that in this world there aint no such thing as getting something for nothing. I have found this to be true. To think you can work for 20-25 years and then expect to get paid for another 40 is naught but a collective fantasy. Math is math, and a promise is in no way a guaranty.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:53 | 3023523 Cone of Uncertainty
Cone of Uncertainty's picture

Greeks are still at the anger phase of Kubler Ross.

Why anyone would try and reason with anyone from the populace at this point is beyond me, its like entering a lions cage wrapped in a meat jacket.

She's lucky to still be alive.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:04 | 3023557 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Americans are still in Stage One = Denial

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:54 | 3023986 Essential Nexus
Essential Nexus's picture

I wonder how many make it to acceptance.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:54 | 3023527 aerojet
aerojet's picture

"See, their morals, their "code"... it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these uh, these "civilized people," they'll eat each other."

There's no honor between thieves, never was...

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:56 | 3023535 batz
batz's picture




As soon as these people isolate their creditors into an identifiable group, it's going to get ugly.

The point of having convoluted securities is to spread the risk around the system so that no single group can be revolted against. The question becomes, with whom does the buck stop? If these people cannot isolate their creditors, then they will isolate the enforcers. The danger that Golden Dawn poses is that they are distributing food, which decouples it from the encumbered legitimate economy in which the creditors exist. People can become more free by joining the black market. The only thing worth fighting for in Greece right now is control of that black market.

There is a real threat that the Greeks could turn around and stick it to Europe and offer food and stability to anyone willing to defend it from its creditors. It can pay for food imports by licensing blackmarket activities through its ports, via drugs and weapons. The alternative is a blockade by the rest of Europe.



Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:25 | 3023852 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Best. Why Hollywood moves are not that quality?

Best fantasy is to be found when 'americans' mean to be serious.

Misallocation of resources?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:57 | 3023536 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

I think that now alot of the public leeches have started to hit their 25 year mark or whatever number they colluded to make it, the Pension Ponzi is now been exposed and its a mad rush to the exits which only speeds up the collapse. Every leech for themselves !

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:57 | 3023537 surf0766
surf0766's picture

Not in Amerika. We welcome and expand the welfare ponzi at every crisis.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:57 | 3023540 skipjack
skipjack's picture

Greece gets what it deserves by foisting democracy onto us.  The definition of democracy - 2 wolves and 1 sheep deciding what's for dinner.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:03 | 3023556 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Their "democracy" was city-state based and only for Freemen not Slaves. It was Americans who had the weird notion that : -

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

and decided their version of "democracy" was more valid....... after all Greece was a Muslim Colony for most of its history until 1821 and a so-called democracy only from 1974

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:29 | 3023876 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Nah. The dimension added by 'americanism' was duplicity.

Greeks did not deny that they were slavers.

But 'americans' oversaw the potential of hijacking humanity on the pretense of their natural theory.

Ancient Greeks: slavers who did not deny they were slavers.

'Americans': slavers who denied they were slavers, and invented their natural theory stuff to legitimate all the massive stealth, all the invasions they were about to make.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:39 | 3023674 OneTinSoldier66
OneTinSoldier66's picture

Not sure what you're talking about. As soon as I realized what democracy is(which I actually realized for most of my life), no more democracy was to be found in me. Greece had nothing to do with it. It all came from being able to think for myself, regardless of what anyone else was trying to foist around.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:53 | 3023721 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

the US is not a democracy, it is a republic - democracies fit your analogy of woves plus sheep.

the US is turning into a welfare based mobocracy, because it has turned its back on its constitution.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 10:59 | 3023544 semperfi
semperfi's picture

"So the PSI saved German and French banks but crushed Greek pensioners..."

Greeks are well known for taking it in the ass.

Soon, Americans will be too.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:05 | 3023565 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

The game is whatever money you have THEY will take under whatever pretext THEY need. Call it Taxes, call it Pensions, call it Interest, call it Rent - THEY will take it and you will not see it again until THEY come back for more

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:15 | 3023596 dolph9
dolph9's picture

If this is how laid back Mediterranean Greeks respond, how do you think the ghetto dwellers of America are going to take it?

Not well, I suspect.

But then again, it's possible Americans are forever dedicated to keep on giving and giving to prevent the riots.

So keep on punching that alarm clock and paying those taxes, bitchez!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:47 | 3023704 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

i think the scheme is equiavlent to a 401k that was compelled to hold us treasuries...rather like the lifestyle choice funds owned by the large fund managers like Fidelity in the US. not much difference in the umbrella's, but i think the greeks who had invested were amongst the top 20% of the country, not the bottom 20% in chicago, NY and LA (who dont save at all and whpo the government only has to issue treasuries for - and then write down to zero - come the time of their need for pension money in retirement.)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:54 | 3023727 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

why blame the greek people for what the 1% reptile elite planned and created..might as well blame some hard working us tax unit for open borders and off shoring our follow the power and money and it leads to the real criminals..but it is so easy for those who think they are above and safe from whats coming to blame the victims of this NWO cabal.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:27 | 3023602 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

According to the website (as reported by Reuters) the government has postponed the results - already delayed from 31 October and then the end of November - to 21 December. This is pending the banks' recapitalisation by the European Union and the IMF, which can only happen on completeion of a buyback of Greek government bonds due by 13 December.

Via Reuters / Guardian

Someone's having a lot of fun loading the 21st with significance, from Mayan mythology to Tarot, to debt deals over the fiscal cliffs to EU crises.

Still, don't worry. The I-Ching reply to "What happens on 21st December 2012" is:

Cast Hexagram:
30 - Thirty

Li / Igniting

Fire sparks more Flames:
The Superior Person holds an inner Fire that ignites passion in every heart it touches, until all the world is enlightened and aflame.

With so searing a flame, success will not be denied you.
Take care to be as peaceful and nurturing as the cow in the meadow; you are strong enough to be gentle.


A Promethean flame is delivering light and heat to the situation at hand.
This radiance will cause such an alchemical transformation of circumstances that the changes will seem magical, miraculous.
Yet they are only shifts of perspective and attitude that bring clarity.
The passions kindled by this fire must be harnessed and used judiciously, or they threaten to consume your hopes and dreams.

Changing Lines:
There is One Changing Line.

Hexagram Thirty/Line Two:

Glowing yellow warmth as if from the sun.
Supreme good fortune.

Transformed Hexagram:

Ta Yu / Great Treasures:
14 - Fourteen
The Fire of clarity illuminates the Heavens to those below:
The Superior Person possesses great inner treasures -- compassion, economy, and modesty.
These treasures allow the benevolent will of Heaven to flow through him outward to curb evil and further good.
Supreme success.


You have become an instrument of Heaven's will, offering a balance in the world around you.
It is not swashbuckling prowess or uncanny talent that qualifies you for this office, but your simplest gifts -- your modesty, your compassion, your economy.
Because you can see clearly who most needs a miracle, Heaven's bounty is being put at your disposal.


That all sounds fairly positive. Not that traders are open to such mystical superstitions.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:55 | 3023734 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Meanwhile, the Alchemists at the Federal Reserve are feverishly working to turn tungsten into gold.

Just in case things get rough.


Because ya gotta work with what you got.

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 15:34 | 3026623 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

what version of the ching are you using?   like the commentaries.

on a tangent, thought you'd appreciate this review.

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 16:37 | 3026727 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

In the spirit of the endeavour, I allowed Google to choose me an online version. Pretty sure it was this one.

So, presumably, there's two parts of a conundrum: does an online I-Ching tap the subconscious of the physical world or the binary one? And, what's the chances the man behind the curtain can game it?


“Can anyone alter fate? All of us combined... or one great figure... or someone strategically placed, who happens to be in the right spot. Chance. Accident. And our lives, our world, hanging on it.”

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:26 | 3023634 Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath's picture

This is what you get, when you don't pay attention to your politicians and just say to yourself everything will be ok... when they are not....

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:26 | 3023636 hustler etiquette
hustler etiquette's picture

Shank a banker.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:38 | 3023669 zilverreiger
zilverreiger's picture

This incident happened in June

"In the heat of a June night, Eleni Spanopoulou found her audience at an Athens hotel turning ugly."

we're 5 bailouts further now

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:46 | 3023700 SanOvaBeach
SanOvaBeach's picture

Fuck the Geeks(whoops) Greeks!  They did it to themselves.  You made the bed, now sleep in it!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:55 | 3023733 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

if the greeks made it, the troika was the maid and goldmans was strauss kahn

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:50 | 3023701 epwpixieq-1
epwpixieq-1's picture

"So the PSI saved German and French banks but crushed Greek pensioners..."

Wrong, the Greek ( present and potential) pensioners have consumed their pensions a long way in the future. This is what happens, when one consumes more than one's income and borrows heavily to sustain the lifestyle. ( Of course this can not happen in the dream land US of A )

The EMU banks just helped on the way, supplying the drug the drug addict needed.

Of course it would be nice for Greece to print its way out of the problem ( as US of A does ) they have gotten in, if only, someone was willing to accept their monetary paper wealth.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:50 | 3023714 Gimp
Gimp's picture

Got out of the 401K racket years ago.  Notice the new ad on TV now trying to explain to the masses -  your retirement balance will go UP and DOWN...That's normal.

What happens when it is just DOWN and GONE....LOL


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:05 | 3023766 Rustysilver
Rustysilver's picture

I am in Connecticut. Last year we had the largest increase in taxes ever, even on clothes. This year we are $300 Million in a hole; next year projections are for $1B deficit. This is what you get for increasing taxes without cutting back on spending. How many other states are like that.

Where are the feds going to get "their" money.

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 01:21 | 3025966 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Connecticut state pension plans for their gilded union govt "worker" pension plans are at least $80 billion in the hole.  This is in a state with about 4 million people.  CT is slightly more sane than IL and CA but you can see how screwed taxpayers are for supporting millionaire unionized govt workers pensions.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:17 | 3023809 nowhereman
nowhereman's picture

Having read the comments here I'm guessing that most commenters have secured their retirement and will not rely on a pension or other mandated saving device.

Or, that they believe that somehow, they will be left unscathed in the future.

You may have invested wisely and have a stash, mybe even gold and silver, but one thing is true, if they are allowed to continue in this manner they will take it all away from you.

Either by direct theft, or through inflation, we're all doomed.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:31 | 3023895 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Might be a large number of 'americans' who "served", that is kick started their life by living off blood money, securing entitlements from the government state for the murders job.

They might think that if the State renegates on their entitlements, a mighty army of veterans will march on Capitol Hill.

'American' once...

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:36 | 3023917 Chump
Chump's picture

And if apple are orange, can wrongly be called apple?  Or is fruit of the earth classificied by living of tree?  All is as americanism does, as is 'eternal' and "american."

Seriously, bring back the Anonymii from a couple days ago.  At least he was coherent.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:38 | 3023931 Chump
Chump's picture

Oddly enough, you just pointed out that only people relying on future promises are doomed.  I would venture to say that most people here know about the pain that's coming, so they're attempting to hedge as best they can.

If you want to give up, fine.  Leave me out of it.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 12:48 | 3023962 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

The USA is different than Greece in two important respects.

1.  We can print our money.

2.  We have a large military that can either loot or be liquidated.

So I don't expect a "Greek-style" outcome.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:21 | 3024075 Mario55
Mario55's picture

The Greek PSI saved nobody. French and German banks are being saved by French and German taxpayers.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 19:38 | 3025428 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

What do you call an assault rifle?

Tax relief.

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