European Union

A Day No PIGS Would Die

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Don't take this the wrong way, but there oughta be a putsch in Germany right now.

Or at least, German voters, who never got to voice an opinion on whether to exchange the deutschmark for the (now supposedly endangered) euro, should at least break a few windows to protest the speed with which they're being bilked into bailing out the government of Greece, a socialist coalition led by the beyond-stale political grandson Geórgios Papandréou.

Greeks can only win by cheating.

But while there's been plenty of attention on the general strike in Greece (to protest the bankrupt government's "austerity" measures), there has been no thought given to the popular reaction among French and German taxpayers. Seeking Alpha's Edward Harrison has an interesting argument that political opposition from Germany's Free Democratic Party might still block the Greek bailout. Maybe things are different in Germany, but the American experience teaches us bailouts happen regardless of what the voters want.

Why is all this happening? MarketWatch's William L. Watts explains that the "credibility" of the euro is at risk, and pads the case with the usual no-more-Mr.-Nice-Guy codswallop that preceded the passage of the TARP in the United States:

As a result, any aid package is expected to come with tough conditions designed to ensure Greece cuts its massive deficit at all costs, setting its fiscal house in order and acting as a warning to other euro members, analysts said.

You know what aid package would require Greece to get its fiscal house in order at a much lower price? No aid package! Greece has a bloated and rapidly growing public sector. It's taking a space in the EU that Turkey (a true friend of the West) should have. Greeks retire four years earlier than Germans (and Americans) and are furious at suggestions that the retirement age be raised by two years. Every piece of evidence screams against pouring any more money down this hole.

Even if you believed a Greek bailout would succeed, for the first time in the history of Earth, in making the recipient more fiscally responsible, this would still be just the first sucking sound from the PIGS countries (for Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, sometimes spelled PIIGS to include Italy). Europe is full of lazy, super-entitled bums who aren't even a threat anymore now that their penchant for violence is directed into soccer fandom rather than war. Why even suggest bailing them out? 

Finally, on the issue of the euro and its credibility: Some reckoning like this was bound to happen in the changeover to the common currency. That's why the founding documents of the EU put so much emphasis on quality public finances and curtailing support for profligate governments. A Greek default would not endanger the euro any more than a California default will endanger the dollar. It was (IIRC) President George W. Bush who warned us to beware of Grecians seeking gifts. Now is not the time to forget that lesson.

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  1. Hey, I object to that. The Greeks won plenty of battles without cheating. Shoot, the whole Trojan Horse thing was probably just made up by some alcoholic blind guy.

    1. Even before the Macedonians turned up they were kicking all kinds of Persian ass – though, contra modern comics, the Greeks were the deceitful long-haired boy-screwers. (Seriously, Frank Miller – Spartans with buzz cuts? What were you thinking?!?)

      1. He was probably basing it on current students at Mich State Univ

    2. Yeah, dude, but they were queers and shit, so those battles they won don’t count.

  2. Now is not the time to forget that lesson.

    Of course it’s the time!

    1. I don’t understand any of this.
      And it will not stop me from commenting.

  3. TC has devolved into self-parody. But it IS pretty funny, so I’m not complaining.

  4. into bailing out the government of Greece, a socialist coalition led by the beyond-stale political grandson Ge?rgios Papandr?ou.

    And just like in the USA, Papandreou inherited this mess from the previous ruling conservative government.

    Greece was ruled by the New Democracy party(the right wing party in Greece) from 2004 until June 2009.

    But hey don’t let facts get in the way of a good lefty-bashing narrative.

    1. Okay… who will bail out the Greeks when their CURRENT government fucks things up?

      For that matter, how will we clean up the mess Obama leaves us?

      Or is it your opinion that liberals are incapable of making things worse?

      1. Apparently, the current Greek government bears zero responsibility for their current status.

        Just like Obama’s crew.

        1. Apparently whinny buck passing and the inability to take responsibility for a situation that they “sought” rather than “inherited” is a chronic condition of the left.

          1. Something Chadcago Tomony is good at… whiny buck-passing.

            Their Boss is good at it, too.

        2. I’m just so damn tired of hearing this from every leftist. It wasn’t as if it was all sunny and the day Obama was sworn in the sky fell. He knew things were fucked up. He basically said hire me, I can fix it (you know, hope and change). But he can’t. So instead of saying, my ideas are just as worthless as the last guy, he says “I inherited it”. As if someone busted into his bedroom one night, but a hood over his head, secreted him to the Oval Office, put a teleprompter in front of him, and said now the mess is yours.

          Whatever.

          1. And it was a Diebold teleprompter! Anything Obama has said that anyone has disagreed with? Planted on the teleprompter by Karl Rove!

    2. …inherited this mess…

      Oh, how I yearn for this utterly clueless, simplistic, self-righteous, devoid of any critical consideration canard to die.

    3. Papandreou inherited this mess

      So he was just sitting at home, minding his own business, when bam! the conservative administration went toes up and willed the mess to him?

      Or did he, perhaps, put a great deal of time and effort into putting himself into the Big Chair, and only after sitting down notice that there was a big mess?

    4. Yeah, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Reserve are all creatures of the right. Why I can just remember all of those Liberals urging Congress to reign them in. Oh wait no. They were all too busy cheering on the bubble economy and voting for every housing policy under the sun.

      1. You’re bigoted against gays because I helped create the housing bubble!

        1. There’s a joke involving the word “blow” here, but I just can’t tease it out. Writer!!

    5. Just because I tell people I am a world-class athlete does not make it so. The New Democracy party operated about as ‘fiscally conservative’ as our own former so-called ‘fiscally conservative’ administration.

    6. And it was Bush’s fault, too, wasn’t it? NO BLOOD FOR IOL

      1. You bet, Warty! We’ve got our own oil. Of course, the econuts don’t want us to drill for it. Kills snail darters or something.

      2. No blood for AOL!

    7. Is a center-right party in Greece anything remotely like a conservative or libertarian in the U.S.?

    8. Beyond the labels, the Greeks have clearly pursued policies of high taxes, an ever expanding government, public sector union pandering and high deficits.

      Sounds a lot like our own current government (and its immediate predecessor).

    9. What passes for “conservative” in Europe would barely pass for “liberal” here, fiscally.

      I suggest you educate yourself about the political scenes outside your own borders before commenting.

    10. Well, I suppose from a European perspective, the Republicans under Bush were conservatives, but from an American perspective, they were just like the budget busting Democrats, only slower.

      And don’t forget that the Congress for the last two years of the Bush administration was under the control of…the Democrats. We are now in the third year of Democrat control of the Congress.

    11. ChicagoTom|2.10.10 @ 5:38PM|#
      “And just like in the USA, Papandreou inherited this mess from the previous ruling conservative government.
      Greece was ruled by the New Democracy party(the right wing party in Greece)”

      Sorry, you seem to have us confused with someone who buys your BS.
      “Karamanlis claimed that he intended New Democracy to be a more modern and progressive right-wing party than those which had ruled Greece before the 1967 military coup, […]
      The party’s ideology was defined as “radical liberalism,” a term defined by ND as “the prevalence of free market rules with the decisive intervention of the state in favour of social justice.”
      Only a dedicated lefty would claim that to be ‘right wing’.

      1. Heck, Tom, only a dedicated lefty could even say something like “the prevalence of free market rules with the decisive intervention of the state in favour of social justice” without snickering.

    12. CT, you are ridiculous. Obama voted for every damn thing that is causing us problems. I am tired of our affirmative action president whining like a baby. Pathetic. He has no one to convert his “C” work into an “A” to justify diversity like he had at Haavad.

      1. I am tired of people who cry “affirmative action” whenever they want to complain about Obama.

        1. Honestly. Like it or not, people actually did vote for the guy. Just like every other president.

          1. I’m not a big fan of that rhetoric myself. However, given that he was elected, in part, less due to his qualifications and more in order to help us atone for our sad history…

        2. Yeah, it’s like tattooing a sign on your forehead that says “I’m a racist.” The worst is that cynical bastards on the left then take it and claim that anyone making similar arguments is also a racist.

      2. He has no one to convert his “C” work into an “A” to justify diversity like he had at Haavad.

        Grading at Harvard Law is anonymous. Say what you will about his leadership and ideology (and I’ve got plenty to say), but he earned his grades.

    13. There is a word to describe people who are never to blame for anything that happens around them:

      Useless.

      If nothing is ever your fault, then what good are you to anyone?

      1. Too fucking true! If you never fail, it means you never tried anything that was hard.

    14. the “conservatives” were/are leftys.

  5. Don’t be surprised if Germany gets tired of carrying the rest of Europe. Or, rather, decides that the European Union isn’t the most effizienteste Weg to unify Europa.

    1. … anybody…?

      1. Germany has tried to reunify with Europe more than once, you know.

        1. Our intentions in Poland/France/Belgium/etc are purely peaceful

    2. Time for a Sitzkrieg. Sit back and let others sort out their own mess.

  6. If there’s one thing Germany has good experiences with, it surely is having a putsch triggered by having to pay money to foreign governments.

    And calling Turkey a true friend to the west is hillarious.

    1. ..almost..

      1. Why? I was clearly referencing Arminius rebellion to Roman taxation at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

        1. Ah, Teutoburg Forest. It’s a time I remember oh so well.

      2. People who lurk on Internet message boards waiting to cite Godwin are worse than the Khmer Rouge.

        1. citation?

          1. Well played.

      3. The Godwin happened when Tim advocated for German citizens to throw some bricks through some windows.

  7. Europe is full of lazy, super-entitled bums who aren’t even a threat anymore now that their penchant for violence is directed into soccer fandom rather than war. Why even suggest bailing them out?

    So that they don’t go back to directing their penchant for violence into war?

    Just kidding! Only the Germans would do that.

    1. Look, it’s not that war isn’t tragic and all…

      But at least we’d be rid of soccer.

  8. Tim, you really shouldn’t ask us.

  9. The doom. It is coming.

    1. Silly rabbit, the doom is here. It’s just lying in the tall grass, twitching it’s tail.

    2. No doom today. Doom tomorrow. There’s always a Doom tomorrow. Doom, sooner or later. DOOM!

  10. Hahahahahaha, did someone say that Turkey should be in the EU? Only if you want the EU to dissolve in about 5 days.

    1. Now I’m even more in favor of it.

      1. Much agreed

        From a British perspective, Turkish membership will prop up the UK/ex soviet block and act as a counterbalance to the Western European statists

        On the PIGS things, to my knowledge I thought it stood for Italy, It was a joke made up by the Economist staff about the socialist(hence Orwell Animal farm Pigs etc) nature of Southern European states. Ireland’s usually classed as one of the “evil Anglo-Saxon Free Marketeers”

        1. yeah, I was also surprised by this, given that Ireland is one of Europe’s richest countries and has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the world.

    2. we want, we want!

  11. The Greeks don’t want no freaks.

    1. You must die, Don Henley!

  12. The greeks have offered the world nothing since olive oil and anal sex. Now that I think of it, one could have been borne of necessity due to the other.

    1. How do they separate the men from the boys in the Greek navy?

      With a special EU crowbar loan.

      1. Why did the Greek youth stay home?

        He didn’t want to leave his brothers behind.

      2. Is that a metric crowbar?

        1. If you had read Articles 3,129 through 3,267 of the EU Constitution, you wouldn’t be asking such a ridiculous question.

          1. Are they listed next to the metric hammers?

    2. I don’t get it. I’ve used olive oil for years and never have needed to bugger anyone.

      Stella! Get the olive oil!

  13. These Greeks apparently pledged Gimme Moola Sucka.

  14. Oh, how I yearn for this utterly clueless, simplistic, self-righteous, devoid of any critical consideration canard to die.

    You expect to inherit something from it?

    1. Quack! Quack quack!

  15. I ought to start paying closer attention; there may be some parallels to our own bailout of that large state to the west and south of here.

    1. Haaaated it!

  16. Germany should get its act together and start taking over countries. first they should reunited with austria, then take part of the czech republic. then sign a treaty with russia and take over poland. after that take the low countries and most of france. then break peace with russia and invade them.

  17. “this would still be just the first sucking sound from the PIGS countries”

    Not so ! Ireland has passed a very tough budget with effective pay reductions for most civil servants, pensions changes etc. They’ve really bitten the bullet.

    The trouble is our old friend moral hazard. If the Greeks get bailed out and don’t reform their finances (i.e. only spend as much as they take in tax) Ireland will look like mugs for doing things the hard but righteous way. Not only that but Spain will be next up for a bailout.

    1. Laban, you need to read more.
      http://www.independent.ie/nati…..52155.html

      1. A pittance the way the Euro is headed.

        1. Their righteous way:

          http://www.independent.ie/busi…..52046.html

  18. Turkey in the EU? That’ll go over like a fart in an elevator.

  19. Germany is a republic, not a direct democracy. I though libertarians disapproved of democracy as immoral and unworkable, so why should the people of Germany get a vote?

    1. It doesn’t really matter what you though[t]. What matters is what is.

      1. You haven’t answered my question.

        1. Neither have I.

          1. But you don’t see me complaining!

  20. While I agree with the general thrust of the article, I’d be wary of making jokes about Germans breaking windows, as Kristalnacht was a pretty significant day in German history…

    1. You can’t make German jokes without breaking a few windows.

  21. Don’t mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.

    1. That’s what you think

  22. Hey, y’all are pretty funny, how come I’ve never heard of you guys before?

  23. I guess the Greeks are at the point described by Margaret Thatcher, “The problem is eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend.”

    The question, and it should be put directly to German tax payers, is do you want to fund Greek social services?

    I’m sure the idea of asking the tax payers horrifies the elites in Europe.

    Katherine

    1. Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why…

  24. I used to live in Greece. My impression is that the Greeks do not value work very highly. They stay out until 2 drinking ouzo. they get up late, hungover and drag themselves to work in the morning. they go home for a two hour siesta, come back late afternoon. they don’t do much all day. they love to sit in coffee shops and complain about things. they eat late, drink late. They have a Third World work mentality that makes even the pampered socialists of Northern Europe look like Japanese salarymen. No wonder they’re broke. And no wonder they blame it on everyone but themselves. That is their national sport.

  25. Wow, never really thought about it that way. I mean really like wow.

    Jess
    http://www.online-anonymity.cz.tc

  26. Please turn in your PIN code. Security will escort you out.

    1. BOWL (bent over with laughter)

  27. Word on the Grecians (now see, “Grecians” is funny and endearing in a way “corpse-man” never could be) and the rest of Europe’s leisure class (ie. its civil “servants”). Makes Britain look extra smart for hanging on to her pound. Got my bags all packed and ready to go as soon as the Euro hits bottom.

    1. Where do you live now, and where would you move to? Just out of curiosity.

  28. >>Greek default would not endanger the euro any more than a California default will endanger the dollar.

    Well, California doesn’t share in the creation rights over its currency via part ownership of the central bank. Greece does. California doesn’t have the residual sovereign right to issue its own substitute new currency (its IOU’s skating the legal line notwithstanding). Greece does.

    Much of the Euro’s credibility was and is predicated on it being the currency of such a large population. Losing Greece would be no big deal on that front, but losing Spain (or Italy) would be a large chunk of credibility-lending population. The Euro would be reduced to the credibility of the 1990’s “greater Mark area” of the EMS.

  29. The English population, as opposed to the British government, do not want Turkey in the EU. That would mean another 70 million probable immigrants on top of the 70 million population we are already heading for, thanks to Labour’s open doors policy. As for propping up Greece, which should never have been allowed into the Euro in the first place – but of course the more the merrier, otherwise it would not look good – it is not only France and Germany who will be asked to find the money to prop them up; there is a good chance that everyone in that benighted organisation, the EU, will be forced to fork out, even those who can least afford it themselves.
    Why are so many people in Europe suffering financially – not least the UK? Could it have something to do with the large amounts of money it costs to belong to it and support its fraudulent and profligate bureaucracy?

    1. Think of it as re-establishing the Empire, within the Isles!

  30. The Greeks need to get religion,
    from the “Gideon’s Band” Bible;
    Set up a Special Economic Zone
    for the Band, and let them use
    their economic/political clout
    to reform the country.

  31. And just like in the USA, Papandreou inherited this mess from the previous ruling conservative government.

    If you look at deficits under GW Bush you will notice that after that trouble in the WTC deficits went steadily down until, 2007 included. It was only in 2008, that is the first budget voted by a Democratic Congress. Also that Obama has managed in a single year to dig a deficit several times larger than the cumulated eight years deficit of President Bush (including that one with a Democratic Congress)

  32. As long as it doesn’t interfere with my supply of Grecian Formula, I don’t give a shit.

  33. By the way, it’s getting almost no attention yet in our worthless state-controlled liberal American media, but the United Kingdom is in just about as much trouble as the “PIGS”.

    1. Could not agree more. Gordon Brown is in denial, still promising money to everyone who might vote for him. We cannot afford to bale out ourselves, let alone anyone else.
      Being in the EU costs billions, not only in direct taxes but in unnecessary and often deliberately anti-British legislation. This is a frightening, repressive regime which uses political correctness to stifle dissent.

      1. I have always considered myself an Anglophile, and it makes me sad to read about the situation there. The degree to which the country is overleveraged is downright shocking, especially if you consider public and private debt together.

        Of course, we here in the States aren’t much better off. The west generally is now beginning to enter a period which is unknown, and a little scary.

        What do you think the prospects are for replacing Brown with someone more sensible?

  34. For an interesting analysis of this situation, checkout Stratfor. http://www.stratfor.com/weekly…..8b3ed01f16

  35. Well, if you don’t bail out Greece you basically get September 2008, only this time the banks are whole countries and the shareholders are citizens. And there is no lender of last resort. If you think the US is somehow protected from the carnage that would follow, just compare the American federal deficit to Greece’s (hint: they’re about the same).

  36. But Obama said that TARP and the Stimulus would be the last time, and that the people receiving money should know they will not get more. Isn’t that how it works? When you reward people who make mistakes, you teach them a valuable lesson that they better not make mistake because next time no one will help them.

  37. Turkey (a true friend of the West) should have. LOL you are funny. 😀

  38. When does Germany get to stop paying reparations for WWII?

  39. Here’s my solution.

    Greece has 2000 islands in addition to the Greek mainland. Give those islands to the European nations that bail out Greece. Let’s face it, the weather in all those European countries with decent finances really sucks. If Norwegians, Swedes and Germans could vacation and retire to some nice warm Mediterranean islands that are also Norwegian, Swedish or German territory, that would probably be worth a few billion Euros.

    The question of what to do with the indigenous population comes up but I suppose that they can work something out. The thing is that Greek public employees on those islands would be out of work and government jobs there would be a sought after reward for northern European civil servants.

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  42. My, what an insightful analysis. Is Tim Cavanaugh attempting to channel Stephen Colbert (that is, the fictional character) in this piece? I’m sure Joe the Plumber (Reason magazine’s new, post-Obama, target group) would lap it all up.

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