Friday, February 10, 2012

My big fat Greek... bailout?

Those of us who are not Greek ought to be pretty happy today, relatively speaking. Two out of three leaders of the Greek coalition government seems to have approved the German diktat requiring concentration camp style austerity, and the Parliament will either accept it or reject it on Sunday. It could be close.

A lot of people out on the streets of Athens and other Greek cities seem to think Parliament should reject it. I'm emotionally inclined to agree with the angry mobs. Honestly, I don't know what will happen to the Greek people if there is a disorderly default, but I'm pretty sure about what will happen if they do accept Auswitch austerity.

Greece will be totally fucked for many years.

Most important, it is not Greece that will be bailed out by the current plan — the plan provides for a bailout of European banks. The IMF, ECB, and European Commission will pay into an escrow fund for the new Greek bonds, which will pay the banks first. Should there happen to be anything left after the banks are sated, that remainder goes to the Greeks.

In the meanwhile, Greece is in the fifth year of what is being called a recession but really is a depression, and that depression continues to be made worse by austerity imposed from outside. The new measures require Greece to reduce its minimum wage by 22%, and all wages are likely to fall as a result. 20% of the government jobs that have driven the Greek economy in the past will be eliminated, elevating the current 20% unemployment rate. Nobody expects a drop in the prices of things like food, fuel, and rent.

Personally, I'd be inclined to go with the drachma. Greeks who still have savings in Euros, I'm sure, will get them out of the country. Those who have Euro denominated debt can default along with their country.

Screw the banks.

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