€urosclerosis: The Greeks are revolting

From CNN:


Greeks set election date amid possibility of bank panic


From Antonia Mortensen and Matthew Chance, CNN | May 16, 2012 — Updated 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)

Athens, Greece (CNN) — Greece will hold new elections on June 17, state media reported Wednesday, after Greeks pulled hundreds of millions of euros out the banking system amid fears that the country will not be able to stay in the European Union’s single currency.

Setting the date for a new vote comes 10 days after a national election where voters punished the major parties for harsh budget cuts, leaving no party able to form a government.

A caretaker administration led by a senior judge will run the country until the new vote.

The interim prime minister, Panagiotis Pikrammenos, will go to the office of President Karolos Papoulias to receive his official instructions Wednesday, Greek state television reported.

More at the link. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany stated that she regretted the suffering through which the Greek people must go, but the austerity measures, though harsh and unpopular, were nevertheless necessary.

We at THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL have frequently quoted Margaret Thatcher’s famous dictum that “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”1 That is what has happened to Greece, and that is what has happened to Italy. Chancellor Merkel tried to save the Greeks, because she knew that a Greek default would have continent-wide repercussions, and that Germans would be hurt by the damage done to the euro, the common currency. Her own people have suffered a bit — though certainly not as much as the Greeks — due to the Chancellor’s attempts to save the Greeks from the consequences of the folly of socialism; now it is starting to look as though all the German sacrifice was simply to delay the inevitable. the German voters may have lost patience with the Chancellor:


German state election deals blow to Angela Merkel’s party


Voters in North Rhine-Westphalia give opposition parties enough support to form a governing coalition. The chancellor’s Christian Democrats receive about 26%.
May 14, 2012 | By Aaron Wiener, Los Angeles Times

DUESSELDORF, Germany — Voters in Germany’s most populous state dealt a decisive blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union on Sunday, preliminary results show, a potentially ominous preview of things to come for the chancellor in next year’s federal elections.

Merkel’s party mustered about 26% of the vote in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, a drop from 35% in 2010 and 45% in 2005, the year she took office, the results show. The opposition Social Democrats and Greens, at about 39% and more than 11%, respectively, secured the majority of seats they needed to form a governing coalition.

The upstart Pirate Party, a group primarily devoted to Internet freedom, rode its recent surge in popularity to a nearly 8% vote share and won entry into its fourth consecutive state parliament. Merkel’s national coalition partner, the Free Democrats, managed a better-than-expected 8%, above the 5% threshold needed for representation, while the far-left Left Party was kicked out of the statehouse with less than 3% of the vote. Other parties with low shares accounted for the remaining votes.

Election results in North Rhine-Westphalia have been harbingers of change in the past. It was a loss in this state in 2005 that brought down the chancellorship of Merkel’s predecessor, Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder. Now, the state that allowed Merkel to assume power in the first place could undermine her quest for a third term.

More at the link.

The French replaced President Nicolas Sarkozy with a Socialist, François Hollande, because they, too, were not pleased with austerity movements; former President Sarkozy also failed to reduce the traditionally high French unemployment rate, which is above 10%. But, in the end, though the will of the voters will be done in democracies, there are no options to reducing high deficits and living within their means: the French and the Germans, though still with strong economies, will eventually run out of other people’s money.

Your Editor has repeated this, time and time again: you cannot live beyond the means justified by your production forever. The Greeks and the Italians and the Spaniards and the Portuguese have already hit the wall, and run out of other people’s money, and the other European nations aren’t all that far behind. Austerity is, as the Chancellor noted, “very bitter,” but when the choices are between the bitter and all-out collapse, the choice becomes, if not easy, at least rational.

In the United States, we face the same choices. As much as our good friends on the left insist that there is a better choice, further stimulus, they are wrong: not only did the last intentional stimulus plan fail, but we have been, in effect, stimulating the economy for thirty five years, ever since we went from a trade surplus to a trade deficit, and have been borrowing and borrowing and borrowing to support a lifestyle more luxurious than what we have earned. We can still borrow more, due to the advantages the American economy has, but if we choose to go that route, we will eventually reach the point the Greeks have reached: collapse.
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  1. According to snopes.com, Mrs Thatcher’s quote, though accurate in meaning, has been mangled through reuse. The direct quote is, “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”

22 Comments

  1. Notice to extremist Republicans from McConnell and Boehner: If Greece defaults and sends world markets into a tizzy, blame President Obama! If Greece does not default, do not allow the debt ceiling to raised, so that the USA can be the nation which defaults, and blame that on President Obama.

    Anything to gain power, correct?

  2. Actually, Greece fits very nicely into End Times Prophecy, which was written 2,000 years ago. The multi-headed dragon will have one of its heads, a smaller one, apparently die, only to return and be the major power (while still remaining one of the smaller heads), usurping the power of the other heads. I would go into further detail, but Perry is the swine the Bible warned us not to give our pearls to. Fact.

  3. “Everything’s about partisan politics to you, isn’t it, Perry?”

    I think your comment goes more to your colleagues on here, Eric. Problem is, you folks all march in lockstep, and never, never, ever dare to criticize or critique one another, with the only occasional exception being our Editor. But that’s the way it is. if you were honest, you would agree. That says more about your side than it does about me.

  4. Even worse, Eric, control freak Hitchcock is verily afraid to allow me to comment on his topics. What do you conclude from that? Now be perfectly honest in your answer.

    It says that you’re a duplicitous liar, hypocrite and Internet threatening coward who deserves nothing less than what Hitchcock has limited you too. But like the whining, mewling Occupy-minded sloth that you are, you believe you’re entitled to do whatever you wish to do. And when you’re thwarted, you instantly become a spoiled child. Do you act like this around your wife, SINP? Whine and cry and scream when she doesn’t bring you your water bottle?

  5. WW wrote:

    Even worse, Eric, control freak Hitchcock is verily afraid to allow me to comment on his topics. What do you conclude from that? Now be perfectly honest in your answer.

    Well, my answer is that Mr Hitchcock and you so completely despise each other that that is a good thing. Some people really can’t get along with each other.

  6. WW wrote:

    Notice to extremist Republicans from McConnell and Boehner: If Greece defaults and sends world markets into a tizzy, blame President Obama! If Greece does not default, do not allow the debt ceiling to raised, so that the USA can be the nation which defaults, and blame that on President Obama.

    Haven’t you noticed: politics is a rough, rough game, and Barack Hussein Obama has played it as ruthlessly as anyone else. Remember how State Senator Barack Obama got the Chicago Tribune to do his bidding and get the divorce records of Jack and Jeri Ryan unsealed, to drive the former Governor from the race? remember how Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was blaming President Bush for everything, even after the Democrats took control of Congress, and tried to tie President Bush’s record to John McCain, his actual opponent? Remember Mr Obama blaming Republicans for high gasoline prices?

    So, when I hear people say that we aren’t being fair to poor, mistreated Barack, I think it falls into the category of karmic justice. He ran for the highest office in the land, really the most powerful office in the world, and told us that he was the man to fix all of our problems and lead us to the promised land. A majority of the voters took him at his word, and he was fairly elected. Now it’s become obvious that he isn’t up to the job.

  7. “Haven’t you noticed: politics is a rough, rough game, and Barack Hussein Obama has played it as ruthlessly as anyone else. Remember how State Senator Barack Obama got the Chicago Tribune to do his bidding and get the divorce records of Jack and Jeri Ryan unsealed, to drive the former Governor from the race? remember how Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was blaming President Bush for everything, even after the Democrats took control of Congress, and tried to tie President Bush’s record to John McCain, his actual opponent? Remember Mr Obama blaming Republicans for high gasoline prices?”

    I am not familiar with the Ryan, but your other two examples are taken out of context. You know as well as I that the Bush Great Recession cannot be ended abruptly, yet you yourself criticize President Obama as if he could end it abruptly.

    If our Great Depression is any guidline, and it is, these severe downturns take years to recover. In fact, the Great Recession did not end until there was a huge government infusion, otherwise known as a stimulus, which ended it promptly. And if it had not been for the fact that the economies of Europe and Asia were in no shape to compete, in fact, it took another 30-40 years before they could, therefore our post WWII recovery was facilitated by a lack of competition.

    In terms of recovery now, I actually think it is tougher than the Great Depression, considering not only what I just said, but also that our President has an opposition party whose quest for power is so overwhelming that, instead of cooperating with the President to assist recovery, have opposed him and the Dems at every opportunity, while insisting on the Ryan austerity plan which is demonstrably unworkable based on the example of today’s Europe. But simple facts don’t matter to you extremists, and you, Mr Editor, is just as extreme as the worst actors of your party. You people would just as soon sell this nation down the river, as you would to agree to work together for our nation.

    “… and told us that he was the man to fix all of our problems and lead us to the promised land.”

    And that, Mr Editor, is a bold faced lie! Perhaps in kindness and in respect, I ought to just say that you are mistaken, so that is what I’ll now say.

    Moreover, I note that you were not able to respond when I pointed out to you that a year ago you were promoting austerity, saying that it would work. It has not worked in Europe, so why do you cling to the same Ryan Plan, when we are proving to ourselves, courtesy of the Dems, that the bailouts and stimulus were the correct emergency measures. But that doesn’t budge you people; the only thing that will would be to throw our President out.

    FACT: A year ago, you made a confident prediction based on his economic understanding.
    FACT: a year later, your prediction turned out not only to be wrong, but the complete opposite of what actually happened.
    CONCLUSION: Your economic understanding is essentially worthless, at least when it comes to macroeconomics.”

    Thus, “you claim that there is no alternative to harsh austerity. You were wrong,” Mr Editor! Yet you continue to whistle the same tune.

    Look here:

    And I’ll pass on to you my latest book recommendation, as recommended to me by a friend: End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman.

    “The depression we’re in is essentially gratuitous: we don’t need to be suffering so much pain and destroying so many lives. We could end it both more easily and more quickly than anyone imagines—anyone, that is, except those who have actually studied the economics of depressed economies and the historical evidence on how policies work in such economies.

    The truth is that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve: all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending. Never mind all the talk of how we have a long-run problem that can’t have a short-run solution—this may sound sophisticated, but it isn’t. With a boost in spending, we could be back to more or less full employment faster than anyone imagines.”

  8. Paulie Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning fraud (so says a Harvard department head) who is very loose with his numbers, getting himself into trouble (so says a former NYT ombudsman). Paulie Krugman should only be listened to when you want to laugh at a fool, and not when you want quality information. Because Paulie Krugman is a fool who never imparts quality information.

  9. In terms of recovery now, I actually think it is tougher than the Great Depression

    The only problem with the above is that SINP wrote “I think.”

  10. Ending the recession wouldn’t be easy, but it can be done, first it would require removing Barack Obama from office, next we would need to reduce taxes, eliminate unnecessary government regulation, and make substantial cuts in spending, while at the same time ending waste, duplication, and as much corruption as possible.

    It would also help speed things along if most Democrats could be booted out of office as well. They’d only try to gum-up the works, and their annoying whining is distracting.

  11. but also that our President has an opposition party whose quest for power is so overwhelming that, instead of cooperating with the President to assist recovery, have opposed him and the Dems at every opportunity

    Yeah, it’s especially tough when he has united opposition from his own party, too!

    Keep it up, SINP — I’ve needed the good laughs!

  12. You know as well as I that the Bush Great Recession cannot be ended abruptly

    There was no “Bush great recession”, but rather a financial crisis that was halted (according to the experts) by the TARP bailout.

  13. I think your comment goes more to your colleagues on here, Eric. Problem is, you folks all march in lockstep, and never, never, ever dare to criticize or critique one another, with the only occasional exception being our Editor. But that’s the way it is. if you were honest, you would agree. That says more about your side than it does about me.

    Quit trying to blame others for your own behavior. I notice you didn’t deny that everything is about partisan politics to you. Dana posted on the Greek crisis, and your first reaction was to blame Republicans.

  14. “There was no “Bush great recession”, but rather a financial crisis that was halted (according to the experts) by the TARP bailout.”

    Eric, you have not been following the news, in terms of how many of your fellow Americans have been suffering ever since the Bush Great Recession hit.

    “Quit trying to blame others for your own behavior. I notice you didn’t deny that everything is about partisan politics to you. Dana posted on the Greek crisis, and your first reaction was to blame Republicans.”

    No, it’s not about partisan politics, Eric, but it is about common sense and compassion. Regarding my blaming Republicans, I recommend that you go back and read that post, because you missed the point.

  15. “Ending the recession wouldn’t be easy, but it can be done, first it would require removing Barack Obama from office, next we would need to reduce taxes, eliminate unnecessary government regulation, and make substantial cuts in spending, while at the same time ending waste, duplication, and as much corruption as possible.”

    In other words, ropelight is for austerity for everyone but the upper 1%, who would benefit the most and suffer the least if we followed these recommendations. Moreover, I guess ropelight is in the upper 1%; or if not, he is in favor of administering a self-inflicted wound.

    “It would also help speed things along if most Democrats could be booted out of office as well. They’d only try to gum-up the works, and their annoying whining is distracting.”

    Funny, I had to reread this, because I thought you were describing Republicans, since it fits their behavior so well.

  16. “There was no “Bush great recession”, but rather a financial crisis that was halted (according to the experts) by the TARP bailout.”

    Eric, you have not been following the news, in terms of how many of your fellow Americans have been suffering ever since the Bush Great Recession hit.

    The “Bush great recession” is YOUR partisan term. In contrast, I told the truth about the financial crisis, which Bush bailed out with TARP, in accordance with the experts at the time who said it was necessary.

  17. Paulie Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning fraud (so says a Harvard department head) who is very loose with his numbers, getting himself into trouble (so says a former NYT ombudsman). Paulie Krugman should only be listened to when you want to laugh at a fool, and not when you want quality information. Because Paulie Krugman is a fool who never imparts quality information.

    Pery keeps ducking the fact that Krugman (should be “Pigman”) used the Tucson shooting to blame Republicans.

  18. And Perry continues on with his extraordinarily blatant violation of the Tenth Commandment and demands that everyone else violate same, despite the fact that the vast majority of people who comment here actually obey the Tenth Commandment and refuse to violate it.

    That makes Perry insane, by definition (which allusion can be easily seen).

  19. Eric wrote:

    Paulie Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning fraud (so says a Harvard department head) who is very loose with his numbers, getting himself into trouble (so says a former NYT ombudsman). Paulie Krugman should only be listened to when you want to laugh at a fool, and not when you want quality information. Because Paulie Krugman is a fool who never imparts quality information.

    Pery keeps ducking the fact that Krugman (should be “Pigman”) used the Tucson shooting to blame Republicans.

    The esteemed Dr Krugman thinks that our economic problems would be just easy to solve, easy and quick. But, of course, he’s just a columnist, and actually responsible for nothing. The people who are responsible for things in Europe don’t seem to agree, but, then again, they’ve already reached the end of the rope: they’ve run out of other people’s money, so they can’t take Dr krugman’s advice.

    We haven’[t run out of other people’s money just yet, even though we are getting close, and the Peter Principled Community Organizer in the White House thinks that we can keep on borrowing and spending, even though that’s what has gotten us into this mess in the first place.

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