Greece Didn’t Deserve More Aid
Arizona Daily Sun – William F. Shugart II
Instead of extending Greece’s credit line for another four months, European officials should have cut Greece off from the financial lifeline it’s been abusing …
It would have sent the right message to other spendthrift governments, such as Italy, Portugal and Spain, and would have forced Greece to reform its economy and get its finances in order. Now all the EU gets is another promise …
In hindsight, Greece never should have been admitted to the 28-member European Union (EU) or to its 19-member common currency area, the “Eurozone.” …
Joining the Eurozone became possible in 2001 only after some creative accounting in Athens, overseen by America’s Goldman Sachs, the giant global investment banking firm …
EU officials in Brussels did their part as well, ignoring the fact that Greece didn’t meet the “convergence criteria” for membership, including such basics as maintaining sound public finances and limiting government borrowing to avoid excessive budget deficits and unsustainable national debts …
With the prospect of further belt-tightening looming, Greeks have taken to the streets again. What they’re telling the rest of Europe, in effect, is, “We like our generous public sector, and you’re not going to force us to pay for it!” …
Until now, it’s mostly been German taxpayers, not Greeks, who have shouldered the burden, a consequence of Europe’s monetary union. Extending the loan doesn’t change things. The best way to change things would have been by expelling Greece from the Eurozone.
Greece Isn’t Bust and Can Pay its Debts
The Register – Tim Worstall
Greece has been saved from default, bankruptcy, being thrown out of the euro and everything is going to be lovely for The Men Without Ties. Which is, of course, lovely, but there really wasn’t quite as much to worry about as people seemed to think.
It could, obviously, all have gone horribly wrong at some point through misunderstanding or simple stupidity.
But the basic truth is that Greece can pay off those debts – and has been able to for some time now. It’s also not austerity, or even fiscal policy, that is at the heart of the country’s problems, but rather the insanity that is the euro and the associated monstrous monetary policy that goes with it.
Humiliated Greece Eyes Byzantine Pivot
The Guardian – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Greece’s new currency designs are ready. The green 50 drachma note features Cornelius Castoriadis, the Marxisant philosopher and sworn enemy of privatisation.
The Nobel poet Odysseus Elytis – voice of Eastward-looking Hellenism – honours the 200 note. The bills rise to 10,000 drachma, a wise precaution lest there is a hyperinflationary shock as Greece breaks out of its debt-deflation trap at high velocity.
The amateur blueprints are a minor sensation in Greek artistic circles. They are only half in jest.
Greece’s Syriza radicals have signed a fragile ceasefire with the eurozone’s creditor powers. Few think this can last as escalating deadlines reach their kairotic moment in June.
Each side has agreed to a deception with equal cynicism, knowing that the interim deal evades the true nature of Greece’s crisis and cannot bridge the immense political divide.
Greece Has To Fix Its Economy
Harvard Business Review – Michael G. Jacobides
After weeks of media frenzy around the Greek election and the new government’s once-ambitious plans to renegotiate with the Eurozone over its debt crisis, the searchlights of publicity are shifting.
For all of its bravado, Greece was pushed into a corner in an eleventh-hour deal that will extend a bailout agreement for four more months. And although it has been given a temporary lifeline, little has been resolved.
Greece’s creditors have by and large insisted that prior agreements be honored, and told the government that its radical plans for state largesse (let alone debt forgiveness) are off the table. A few verbal tweaks (such as renaming the “Troika” — which consists of the EU, the IMF, and the ECB — the “Institutions”) were given as a political concession to the newly elected government, which had created high expectations with its electorate.
The tentative agreement with creditors reached this week is much less favorable to Greece than what was on the table last fall.
To be sure, the proposal set forth by the Greek finance minister is less detailed than that of his predecessor, and leaves some room for maneuvering, but this is a mixed blessing, as the EU, the IMF, and the ECB will need to sign off on specifics. Greece appears also to lose control of the €11 billion reserves of the Greek banking stability fund.
Worse still, the real issue, which is the possibility of lightening the real debt load by rescheduling payments and extending maturities (but without affecting the nominal value due to Greece’s official creditors), has been pushed away, and some in Germany would want to renege on a 2012 deal which reduced interest rates and extended payments.
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