Tuesday, May 12

Greece and the Eurozone bailout, part 3,596,392.

One of the classic character defects of politicians in democratic countries is their habit of concocting absolutely stupid, unworkable schemes, and then pretending everything's going just fine as those schemes stagger to their utterly predictable end.

The examples are damn near endless, but for the moment let's take a look at Greece:  The country has had insanely generous public salaries and retirement pensions for decades, and when coupled with a thoroughly corrupt tax system (politically-connected people rarely pay any) and harsh regulations on businesses, the country has been an obvious financial disaster for the last decade or so.

But instead of just letting stupid or corrupt politicians suffer the consequences of their own mind-numbingly dumb policies, members of that bastion of solid thinking called the European Parliament wrung their hands in anguish and said "We simply cannot let the Greek government default, because in all likelihood they'll leave the EU--which will be a black eye for us.  So you hard-working taxpayers from solvent nations with sane economic policies simply must give them money."

Non-Greek taxpayer:  "Um, you said 'give' them money.  But of course you really mean loan the Greek government money, right?

Member of EU parliament:  "Er...yes, yes, of course.  Did we say 'give'?  Of course we meant 'loan.'  Yes, of course.

Non-Greek taxpayer:  "Wait, I see on this summary sheet that Greece has a foreign debt of 323 Billion euros, which they can't even begin to service now.  But you want us to give 'em...okay, 'loan' them another 7 Billion euros?  That's...insane.  They can't pay what they owe now, and they're even reversing the sham "austerity measures" they supposedly put in place last year--which consisted of laying of 30 cleaning ladies or some such symbolic nonsense.

Member of EU parliament:  "Ah, well, you see, you don't have any choice.  Your politicians will do what we say, because they want to get elected to the EU parliament just like us.  Which won't happen if they buck our orders.  You see, they answer to us, not to you lot.  You're just taxpayers--like cattle.  Not elites like us.

Non-Greek taxpayer:  "Ah, now we see why American voters are so big on that 'right to bear arms' stuff.  Cuz if we had firearms now you bastards would be very, very dead."

Member of parliament:  "Wait, you don't understand: the government of Greece is even now paying a whopping 750 Million euros in interest to all European lenders.  Whaddya think now, stupid rube?"

Taxpayer:  "I think you're all idiots.  They pay 750 million euros in interest because that will get you dumbshits to give 'em the last 7.2 Billion from the last brilliant deal you stupid assholes made with 'em.  And they'll still owe 323 Billion that they have no way to repay.  Yeah, you're all idiots."

MEP:  "Hey, it's not our money, so no big deal." 

And sure enough, that's exactly what happened yesterday.  Of course part of the 7.2 Billion euros came from the International Monetary Fund--as thoroughly corrupt a bunch as one can find.  And guess who gives the IMF a shitload of cash every year?

Why, the U.S. gummint, of course.  Which means your tax dollars aren't just funding the impossible schemes of lawless American pols but those of Greek politicians too.

Nice, huh.

Here are the near-term deadlines for Greek loan obligations:

    15 May: Greece has to roll over €1.4 Billion in maturing 3-month Treasury bills
    31 May: Government must find about €2.5 Billion to pay salaries and pensions
    June: €1.5 Billion interest payment due on loans from the IMF
    30 June: The €240 Billion "bailout agreement" with eurozone countries officially expires
    June and July: €6.7 Billion due to be repaid to the European Central Bank

No one is surprised that stupid politicians choose to ignore sound fiscal policies in favor of pumping up their own salaries and pensions, and those of government-employed voters.  Hell, we've got that right here in the U.S.  But what's insane is the demand by members of the Euro parliament that member nations simply must bail the dumb bastards out--which merely penalizes all the hard-working folks for the crappy decisions of the Greeks.

If not for Euro nations bailing out the Greek government, the people of Greece might well learn that socialism doesn't work, and that pols who inflate salaries and perks of government "workers" should be ignored and not elected--if not promptly strung up from the nearest lamp post.

But as long as the Euro nations bail 'em out, no such lesson is ever learned.

It's kind of like a half-dozen Democrat-ruled states and cities here in the U.S. that have spent more than their revenue for decades and will eventually whine to the emperor for federal funds.  Kinda like the $1.8 Billion "stimulus" grant Baltimore got from Obama.  Which did exactly zip.  And did that city's pols learn any lesson from this? 

Why yes: they learned the value of having friends in the White Hut.

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