Banks Should Die for Their Countries, Not Countries for Their Banks
by Eric Margolis
In 1922, Greek armies trying to conquer western Anatolia were routed by Turkey’s military leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Greeks were uprooted from Ionian coastal areas.
After this debacle, Greek officers took three former prime ministers, a general and two other politicians who had led the Turkish-Greek War and shot them. Greeks cheered.
Many Greeks today must be wishing to see similar punishment inflicted on their politicians and bankers who were responsible for the nation’s bankruptcy and staggering $500 billion debt.
For decades, Greece’s conservatives and Socialist parties alike bought votes by dishing out the very cushy, do-nothing government jobs, high pensions, and benefits that brought Greece to its knees. Call it state sponsored laziness.
Politicians know that if they can put 51% of the population on the government payroll, their party is assured of permanent power.
In 2010, the second shoe of the 2008 US financial crisis hit Europe. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain came under financial attack, showing the alarming degree to which uncontrolled, run amok banks and money men had poisoned Europe’s economic waters by speculation and outright gambling.
After intense debate, Greece’s EU partners and the International Monetary Fund have just staved off Greece’s impending default on its maturing debt by a $165 billion loan. But Athens must soon make more huge payments. The EU aid package piles more debt onto Greece’s already mountainous debts – just as President Barack Obama is doing in the UUS.
The Papandreou government is praying the EU will come up with another $150 billion euros to keep Greece going for two more years. Germany and the EU’s wealthy northern members are furious at Greece and reluctant to pay for its profligacy.
But there is no way Greece can generate enough money by cost-cutting and asset sales to pay off its debts. Some form of default seems inevitable, as this column has been saying for over a year. The recent EU rescue package merely postpones default-day.