Bailouts, Bailins, and the Greeks’ Trojan Horse

While Americans are eagerly signing petitions to ban the American flag on the heels of Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam leader call to ban the Stars and Stripes "due to its links to racism" or are busily banning anything attached in any way to the Confederate flag and our history, the United States and the world are in serious financial trouble driven by out-of-control debt, particularly the most visible nation of all, Greece.

Healthcare for illegals, homosexual marriage, and other non-stop crises occupy the American overwhelmed minds, while the Trojan Horse of huge national debt and loss of sovereignty to the globalist Transpacific Partnership (TPP) mystery "committee" are ignored.

Greece is bringing to the forefront the issue of debt, what happens when it spends 60 percent of GDP, lives from borrowed billions, and refuses to curtail spending on entitlements, expecting more bailouts from the EU, essentially Germany.

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Banks and the stock exchange are closed for the week, issuing a 60 euros limit per withdrawal. Not unexpectedly, the euro fell against the dollar and the British pound. Sky News reported Prime Minister Tsipras as blaming the European partners and the European Central Bank for the debacle because creditors "have refused a request to extend Greece's international bailout beyond Tuesday, until after the referendum." The move risks a Greek default on 1.5 billion euros payment to the International Monetary Fund.

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Tsipras claims that the bank deposits of the Greek people are fully secure and the payments of wages and pensions are guaranteed. I am not so sure that is the case since Greece is carrying a government debt load of over 175 percent of its GDP. Countries cannot service such level of debt without printing money.

The European Central Bank will maintain its "emergency cash lifeline to Greece's banks" without an increase. The Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) on which Greek banks depend, if lowered, may force the country out of the Eurozone.

There were many economists, of course, who questioned the wisdom of accepting Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain into the EU because their monetary policies were plagued by high inflation. Others believe that a return to the drachma may not be such a bad idea.

Expecting the worse after banks announced closings, Greeks stood in long lines to withdraw cash from ATMs and many horded gasoline and food. After five years of various bailouts, demonstrations, protests, refusals to adopt more austerity measures, negotiations between the leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Brussels creditors have broken down. For months, economists have predicted Greece's pull out from the Eurozone.

In preparation for the national referendum on July 5, police patrols are more visible especially around ATMs. Tsipras asked voters for a "yes" or "no" vote on the bailout proposal considered by his government as confiscatory. The plan would "raise taxes and hurt pensioners," forcing Greeks to "an endless cycle of austerity." But the Greeks have been told few details of the deal – nobody really knows the implications of a "yes" vote or a "no" vote and everyone fears they "would become Venezuela."

But the well-off Greeks, fearing the election of the leftist Syriza, have already moved money out of Greece or took cash out and stored it elsewhere.

The Tsipras government favors a "no" response to the referendum because the bailouts terms are "humiliating" and would deepen Greece's economic recession. But without bailouts, "most Greek banks would have totally collapsed by now."

It has been reported that withdrawals of 500-600 million euros have emptied more than 2,000 ATMs. When the austerity referendum was announced, people started withdrawing money. When the Greek banks reopen, would they need bail-ins like the Cypriot banks? Would the depositors be forced to accept worthless I.O.U.s for their cash?

The European Union has required its member countries to enact bail-in legislation. Bail-ins force creditors and shareholders to rescue troubled banks. Cyprus citizens holding private bank accounts had to take "haircuts," a form of wealth confiscation. Private pension funds were raided in Poland.

Bailouts forced taxpayers to financially rescue big banks that had engaged in risky financial activity, using the infamous "too big to fail" excuse.

How much longer can Germany sustain the very shaky European Union? Should they bring back their own currency, the Deutsche Mark? As more large deposits and capital leave Greece when banks reopen, corporate asset controls may emerge. The Greek market may be shocked and defaults of various debt instruments may emerge.

A Romanian friend, Florina, explained the Greek crisis in terms that most people can understand. "I loaned money to a family in a time of financial crisis so that they can survive, and the family did not curtail their spending, they blew the money on unnecessary stuff; now the family is holding a meeting to vote if they are going to pay me back or not. That's Greece now."

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