Beware of Greek Canaries Bearing Gifts in Coal Mines

I was mildly amused hearing on the news a Greek woman in Athens after the Greeks had rejected on compromising with their debt creditors. She said something along the line of “We have voted ‘No’ to their demands. Now they will listen to our demands!”

The Greeks seem to be saying, “How dare they ask for repayment, Don’t they know how special we are?”

You can’t get much more arrogant or economically illiterate than that. Sadly, there are many more like her across the planet, including plenty of Americans. Perhaps even a majority, looking at King Barry’s vote totals.

I’m aware of the old saw about how in reality heavy debtors really are in control of the debt debate. It’s along the same line that masochists are really in charge in BDSM. And there is some truth in that.

However, it looks like the Europeans, actually the Germans, are prepping for the worst, a Greek collapse, and therefore do not plan to compromise. Sometimes you have to cut the alcoholic off. The Greeks will have to pay the piper (or at least not kick him in lieu of payment and claim the piper should have been honored to play for them).

Some people have tried to get the Germans out of their Scrooge McDuck mentality by claiming that half of Germany’s debt after World War II was forgiven.

Apparently these people think there was a world war recently and Greece was bombed to smithereens and those members of its previous government responsible are in prison or planted six feet under.

Why do people make such absurd arguments for not paying one’s debts?

No one forced the Greeks to max out their national credit card and ask for an increase in its limit, year after year. No one forced Greece to overregulate the economy, overpay an overstaffed civil bureaucracy, overpromise retirees and instigate socialist policies for decades. Greece has been run for decades as liberals would have the United States run. It is the Democratic economic platform writ small — high taxes, powerful government unions, increasing government control over everything, regulated and inflexible labor and commerce markets, etc. In a sense — making everyone dependent upon the government for daily survival; an open discouragement of old-fashioned independence and self-sufficiency.

(Nota bene — the Republicans are not wholly innocent in this.)

Except, in the long run, it doesn’t work. Greece just got there earlier because it is smaller and less flexible; and it can’t print the world’s currency franca.

Dear Leader and his supporters freely talk about “forgiving” the tens of billions (or is it hundreds of billions?) in rapidly mounting student debt (while also encouraging more such spending on student ‘loans’ or even making them unaccountable ‘grants’). It’s nice of them to forgive that which is not theirs to forgive. And that’s exactly their angle — grab the political glory and enduring fealty of youth while sticking the bill to those of us who scrimped, saved and paid our taxes. Remember, these very same people pushed out most of the private student loan lending a couple of years ago because the private lenders actually expected to be paid back. But in King Barry’s eyes, along with the smug graduates, education is an “investment” that you just can’t put a value on… How convenient (and expensive).

We saw a very similar pattern with the “housing bubble.” The federal government aggressively pushed banks to make loans to the uncreditworthy so they could “share the American dream.” Banks that balked at such nonsense found the government’s boot on their neck. So the banks ultimately went along, some eagerly looking for a silver lining. Attempts to reform this bottle of nitro glycerine that was being juggled were choked off by (mostly) Democrats, often under the accusation of racism. Paging Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, et al.

When the uncreditworthy lived up to their name and reputation, the bubble burst (aided amply by house flipping dominoes and collateralized debt obligation shenanigans). In an instant, the federal government performed the most perfect 180-degree pirouette in history and laid the whole blame on the banking industry. It then used reeling markets as an excuse to semi-nationalize parts of the banking industry (‘too big to fail’) and to formulate regulations that left other parts enthralled to Washington. Dumbfounded bankers didn’t know what to say as they were rounded up for the cattle cars, figuratively.

It helped that a surprisingly large number bankers, especially at the largest banks, are major donors to the Democratic Party — and don’t mind working hand in glove with the government. Some saw this as an opportunity. It can be easier to placate a few bureaucrats and politicians than shareholders and consumers.

(One of the left’s and the media’s greatest crimes has been to convince so many people that all businessmen, especially bankers, are top-hatted Republican bully-boys.)

And it was wash, rinse, repeat with “The Stimulus.” Admittedly, that inane Keynesian wet dream was conceived in the last days of the Bush administration but The One’s flying monkeys larded it up with even more nonsensical “green” projects and turned loans into “grants” so the pretense of ever paying back the original money no longer weighed on anyone’s mind (as if it ever did). Many of the projects were helmed by Democratic Party contributors while other chunks of money went to party stalwarts such as public employee union members. Eight hundred billion dollars down the drain, never to be seen again, and so many politicians shrug their shoulders, and some demand even more spending (we can fill that rat hole if we stuff enough taxpayer dollars down it!).

I don’t want to sound like a gold bug but the age of fiat currencies may be coming to an end. When money loses its value it will be a Hobbesian world.

There are far too many people who seem to think they are entitled to spend other people’s money and then demand more. To top it off, the original loaners will be cast as the villain if they don’t hand over more money. That’s rich. Sadly, that’s the way many who should know better see it. I’m pretty sure Paul Krugman, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the New York Times, etc., see it that way.


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