The Greek financial crisis just went into overtime with a resolution due in four months, kicking the problem down the road once again. Stocks closed on Friday at record highs but it ain’t over till it’s over – it could well go the other way. Keep tuned, either way the outcome will affect the world and you and me.
You have to tip your hat to the cunning Germans, the economic pillar of rectitude of the European Union. In 2010 Angela Merkel, Germany’s “Iron” Chancellor engineered a €240 billion financial rescue plan for Greece that averted, so they say, a collapse of financial markets and the disintegration of the EU.
What this slick former East German Communist apparatchik, now champion of capitalism, accomplished was a massive bailout of Germany’s own banks, financial institutions and economy at the expense of the smallest and poorest member of the original cartel, Greece. Now she – a true opportunist - and her Finance Minister want to bankrupt Greece and then buy it on the cheap, pennies on the dollar.
Back then financial pundits, in an attempt at gallows humor, called Europe’s ailing economies “Pigs” [Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain] for their profligate financial ways. Germans claimed that Greece was the poster child for all that caused Europe’s meltdown – unchecked spending, out of control pensions, social welfare, subsidies for the poor, paid maternity leaves, a bloated bureaucracy – all true but far from right.
The Greek Government is a criminal “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization” [RICO] that had been brought to power, financed and kept in power by Germany and the EU. From the start Greece lied its way into the EU by providing false financials. Once in, Greece found itself awash with seemingly unlimited sources of money and easy credit. Greece started spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave.
Take for instance the 2004 Summer Olympics hosted by Athens that cost the Greek taxpayer at least €11 billion [$14.5 billion] some say €22 billion; today stadiums and venues are unused and abandoned. The sources of funds were high interest bearing Greek Government bonds snapped up by German banks and other European financial institutions, Greece loading up on impossible to repay debt.
Then you have the German ThyssenKrupp submarine deal, €2 billion for 4 submarines, the only one delivered floats sideways and has been in dry-dock for years or the Siemens/Hellenic Telephone scandal that resulted in a €300 million fine. Don’t forget the 900 Leopard 2A5 combat tanks manufactured by Germany’s Krauss-Maffei works and the 1,000 American Patton tanks all financed by Greek bonds now on the verge of default.
By the way England and Germany [population 145 million] have 400 tanks apiece while Greece [population 10 million] has 1,913 tanks; Germany 4 submarines are no match for Greece’s 11; Greece counts 207 jet fighters to Germany’s 105. Ever wonder why? Short answer: bribes, corruption and greed.
Greece, as noted, is a RICO criminal enterprise. The Prime Minister, the Ministers and their deputies, the Parliament as well as the Judiciary are all co-conspirators, all to some extent culpable. Transparency International finds Greece the most corrupt country in Europe, way down on its country watch list at 94 among the likes of Zambia, Moldova, Columbia and Mongolia.
Rich Greeks do not pay taxes because, as Leona Helmsey noted “only the little people pay taxes” and in Greece the little people pay very little. Tax evasion “has been described by Greek politicians as ‘a national sport’ – with up to €30 billion per year going uncollected”. In 2005 “participation in tax evasion reached an estimated 49% of the population.”
The Greece has a list of 1,991 tax evaders and bribe takers with accounts with HSBC Bank in Switzerland, the “Lagarde List” made available by Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister now Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, one of the bailout’s architects. No one has been charged or convicted except for the whistle blower who published the list.
If Greece stays with Euro and remains part of the EU, Germany wins; Greece faces decades of austerity to repay her debts, her assets sold at fire sale prices - Greece no longer Greek but a German colony. If Greece regains her sovereignty it foreshadows the demise of the European Union. Either way you and I will be financially affected, like it or not.