Volatility

May 2, 2010

Bailout War, New Theater: The Assault on Greece

 

(And I mean that word “theater” in every sense, since any Greek bailout is just more kabuki, just another scam to prop up the zombie a little longer.)
 
We’ve reached a new level of stridence in this latest this-time-we’re-serious iteration of the Greek bailout talk. Maybe they really are serious this time as Papandreou’s “socialist” government has caved in completely to the demands of the IMF-German junta that the price of a bailout, meaning German and US taxpayers lend the Greek government money to pay off existing debts to German banks, has to be the complete economic liquidation of the Greek people.
 
Who is this bailout really for? It’s for the profits of German banks, French banks, bankster speculators the world over, to appease the terroristic stock and bond markets, and to preserve Greek feudalists, land barons and banksters, in their positions, and enable them to profit from the fire sale of their people into serfdom.
 
Check out what Papandreou has agreed to, after the machetes of austerity have already been hacking into the people for many months already, going back into 2009.
 

Greek officials said Greece would slash public sector spending by 8 billion euros in the 14 months after the plan was adopted. They said Greece had also pledged to raise its value-added tax to 25 percent , to freeze civil servants’ wages and to eliminate public sector bonuses amounting to two months’ pay. The government would pass legislation increasing the monthly annual quota of workers companies can fire from two per cent to four per cent. It also intended to increase taxes on fuel, tobacco and alcohol.

 
While reasonable people can argue in isolation about whether or not the Greek public sector is bloated, we can’t look at this in isolation. What does that itinerary lay bare? How, after the rich partied and looted, the entire cost of the aftermath is to be placed on the people, and all for the sake of zombifying the debt, to enable the party to continue for a handful of looters.
 
The pro-bailout NYT piece itself, in between repeated genuflections before “jittery markets” and advising the Greek people to bend over and take it (and be “muted” about it, why don’t they), concedes that the austerity assault is unconstitutional and represents “a cultural revolution in the social contract between state and citizen.” In other words, a fascist revolution from above.
 
Like I said, maybe people can argue about the terms of that contract itself. But before we can legitimately do that, how about we first default and eradicate the gangsters. Liquidate all their rents and hoards. Once we’ve done that and restored the real economy and real markets, then we can see whether there actually are any overpaid workers. But I for one am not willing to discuss that with anyone who doesn’t agree that the first thing to be done is smash the rackets and the gangsters.
 
Speaking of gangsters, the Greek government has long collaborated in pandemic tax evasion by the rich of Greece. By conservative estimates the amount evaded is over $30 billion a year. Meanwhile this same Greek government which is so gung ho for austerity proposes to try to step up enforcement enough to collect an extra $1.6 billion per year. It’s hard to imagine a juxtaposition which more clearly highlights this government’s kleptocratic priorities. The NYT itself, directly contradicting its own lies in the other piece, says $30 billion a year gone missing has played a big role in its debt situation, and that collecting it now could be a big help going forward.
 
Everyone’s been titillated by the Economist’s cover story, “Acropolis Now”, depicting the IMF and Merkel as the Americans of the movie. This is an (unwittingly?) accurate analogy.  Apocalypse Now was a demonstration of the insanity and criminality of the US government’s war in Vietnam, and the atrocities and suffering inflicted upon the helpless people. So now the Economist itself is saying this is a criminal assault on the Greek people?
 
The big picture is how each theater of the Bailout is another, ever more desperate attempt to prop up the Tower of Babel in general. The fools are blathering about trying to restore “sustainable growth” to Greece. But there can be no sustainable growth anymore. Exponential debt was always a fraudulent basis for alleged “growth”. It was never anything more than a Ponzi scheme, accounting fraud writ large. And that’s all each and every step of the Bailout has been so far. I earlier wondered whether, in this Bailout iteration, Greece is more like Lehman or AIG. Either way, it’s the same fraud, the same robbery, and the same insanity. The whole Tower has to come down.
 
So far the Greek people have shown some signs of fighting back, but the kinds of protest so far enacted won’t be sufficient. It’s true that any way you look at it the days of guaranteed jobs and relatively fat salaries for Greek public sector workers are finished. But they still have the choice of whether they transform their economy to a more modest size while still maintaining a decent (or even improved) level of fairness, or whether they allow themselves to be violently dispossessed and stripped naked so that what wealth is left can be looted by the same criminals who already stole the rest of the country.
 
That’s the same question every Western people now faces. The same question America faces.
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14 Comments

  1. BRAVO!

    The pandemic tax evasion doesn’t exist only in Greece. Our bloated tax code that would require a fleet of 747s to haul around is just one example of endless means in the US.

    More perverse than tax evasion of individuals (of which there are endless mechanisms for the overly enabled wealthy) is the tax evasion by large corporations and yes banks. The GAO released last month details of how profound that is. It appears only 30% of large business/corporations pay any tax using off shore entities to shunt and hide profits. I would be willing to bet the national debt is representative of tax evasion only by corporations over the last 10 years.

    I myself looked up banking in the Bahamas, it is so easy to open an account for an individual even a one person ‘trust’ or other organizational entity.

    But back to Greece and some pondering. The police and eventually military are involved in quelling protesters. If we extend the logical conclusion, they too will be grossly affected by ‘austerity’ measures. I wonder if they will continue to act for the government or join forces with the population? I also read yesterday that a survey Friday of people living in Greece, 50% would take to the streets should this continue.

    These robbers have become so smug in their worlds wrapped in billions, apparently Harvard doesn’t teach history very accurately. Obviously Phil Gramm cut that class.

    Comment by NS — May 2, 2010 @ 7:09 am

    • Yup. And it’s the same here as there – Obama wants to take the austerity crowbar to the people’s skulls while doing all he can to not only lessen the tax share of the rich and corporations but loot the Treasury on their behalf.

      The Bailout is the same everywhere. It’s vicious economic war by corrupt governments on their own people. It’s history’s worst economic crime. This war and how it turns out is the overwhelming event of the end of the modern age.

      Comment by Russ — May 2, 2010 @ 8:33 am

      • Perhaps. We’re teetering, thus far the diversions are great upon the masses. I expect that to increase using exaggerated real and imaginary threats to scare us into submission.

        However, I can’t see a way out. As “W” famously said, “this puppy is going down”. :full doom on: (apologies)

        Now the question is, will we enter a new Dark Age or a new age of Enlightenment as a result that focuses in true human progress vs that of expansionism and growth while ignoring the fundamentals at the cost of billions of people, not just dollars?

        We shall see if the people of Main Streets around the world don’t count and have been effectively separated from the markets and our wealthy over-lords.

        We are cursed by: “May you live in interesting times”.

        Thank you very much for indulging me. It helps to vent.

        Comment by NS — May 2, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  2. Great blog, Russ. This really breaks it down into the stark choices we are facing.

    And I really like your comment above, “Yup. And it’s the same here as there – Obama wants to take the austerity crowbar to the people’s skulls while doing all he can to not only lessen the tax share of the rich and corporations but loot the Treasury on their behalf.

    The Bailout is the same everywhere. It’s vicious economic war by corrupt governments on their own people. It’s history’s worst economic crime. This war and how it turns out is the overwhelming event of the end of the modern age.”

    Wow. Hey Nail. Meet Hammer!

    Comment by Bloodgroove — May 2, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  3. Yeah. And so far everyone’s still willing to be the nail.

    Comment by Russ — May 2, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  4. Greece is unprotected because its corrupted politicians so its an easy target.

    Comment by σχολη χορου — May 2, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

    • It’s textbook neoliberalism – the globalization cabal acts in concert with local thugs to loot a country.

      But by now that’s coming home to all Western countries.

      Comment by Russ — May 2, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

  5. This restructuring which would require “sacrifices” to be made by the Greek people and not by the financial institutions . I wonder if Germany,France and other EU members really bailed out Greece or they bailed out their own financial sectors which had a significant Greek exposure. Guess who will be the main winners/losers of this bailout script. As usual Winners – Financial Institutions , Losers – Common people . Note there is a separate package to rescue Greek banks as well but not much of a package for the Greek people for whose ostensible benefit this package is designed to be.

    Comment by Abhishek — May 2, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    • According to the NYT’s own diagram (linked in the piece) much of the odious debt is to French and German banks and similar predators.

      So it’s just the global cabal running up more debt on the backs of the Greek people to shore up their own balance sheets. (And, via “austerity”, seizing the opportunity for some straight disaster capitalist looting in the process.)

      Comment by Russ — May 2, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

  6. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601068&sid=a8HUEHgew3dY

    So…EU honors greek bonds no matter their rating. This is about the French and German banks keeping their skin intact, right? Does that make the French and Germans JUNKies? 😉

    Doom loop?

    Comment by NS — May 3, 2010 @ 8:10 am

    • Shooting the same junk on all their balance sheets. 🙂

      Comment by Russ — May 3, 2010 @ 8:58 am

  7. Russ, my sister was visiting this weekend, and what do you think she brought along for me to read? A NY Times piece by our favorite economic court jester, Paul Krugman. Needless to say that, as per my reckoning, The Krug did not fare well.

    Comment by Edwardo — May 3, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

  8. The piece was, of course, concerned with the woes of the EU.

    Comment by Edwardo — May 3, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

    • It really cracked me up the way he backpedalled on all his dogmas.

      He’s said all along things like, “The euro is now a force of nature, not a political choice, and you can never turn back the clock on it.” He said if people let doubt creep in on this score, it could trigger bank runs.

      Now suddenly it occurs to him that if bank runs commence on their own, without first consulting elite globalization mandarins like himself, then it could render the issue moot. In that case maybe the EU could unravel after all.

      I don’t know, K. It sounds like you’re going wobbly, losing “confidence.” Not good for someone in your position.

      Comment by Russ — May 4, 2010 @ 2:29 am


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