Greeks Say No to Austerity—Again—But There Was No Good Outcome in This Referendum

Free markets weren't on the ballot.


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras

Millions of Greeks made their will known today, and by a shockingly decisive margin asked their government to reject the terms put to it by the international community.

A yes vote in the referendum could have unlocked billions of euros in aid and the promise of continued "liquidity assistance" to keep Greek banks afloat. Instead, the people of Greece again voted down the austerity measures Greece's creditors are demanding in exchange for additional funding.

Yet according to the economists I spoke with this weekend, regardless of what the Greek people had decided, the outcome will be worse than it could have been. Put simply, the types of reforms Greece really needs—the steps it would have to take to get its economy growing again—weren't even on the table in this referendum. Voters were being asked to choose between big reductions in government spending (the only source of income for many Greek retirees) or a potentially catastrophic transition from the euro to a much-less-valuable drachma.

"Both choices imply some austerity," says Costas Azariadis, a respected macroeconomist at Washington University in St. Louis. "The difference is between a bad deal and a disastrous deal."

Vote Yes for the Status Quo

A yes vote in the referendum was a vote to capitulate to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the rest of Europe, which together hold over 300 billion euros' worth of Greek debt. In the end, too few Greek voters were willing to continue down the path of spending cuts that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his far-left Syriza Party say have impoverished the country over the last five years.

Previous Greek governments had been working to lower the country's debt burden. According to the IMF, as of May 2014, Greece was on track to bring its debt load down from 175 percent of GDP in 2013 to about 117 percent of GDP by 2022. But getting there required cuts to government spending that proved highly unpopular with the Greek people. They responded by voting Tsipras into power on a platform of persuading lenders to forgive Greece's debt without forcing the nation to continue making cuts. Today they reaffirmed that stance.

Vote No for Uncharted Waters

Last week Greece became the first developed country to miss an IMF payment. By voting no in the referendum, Greeks today cast their ballots in support of the Syriza Party that made the decision to default. In so doing, voters told the international community that ending Greece's austerity program is more important to them than repaying the country's loans.

There are three conceivable outcomes of the no side's big win:

  1. Lenders could surprise everyone by reversing course and agreeing to keep the bailout money flowing—despite the fact that Greece is refusing to continue making spending cuts.
  2. The European Central Bank (ECB) could declare Greece in default and cut off all further assistance, causing the country's banks to run dry and forcing Greece's government to reintroduce the drachma.
  3. The two sides could come to some sort of uneasy compromise between those two extremes, wherein Greece offers less austerity than Germany and the others want but gets less assistance from the ECB and IMF than Greece would like.

The Better Way That Isn't on the Table

Scott Sumner, who directs the Program on Monetary Policy at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, doesn't deny that the austerity policies Greece has already put into place slowed its economy "somewhat." Azariadis too acknowledges that austerity is "partly" to blame for the country's sad state. But in separate interviews, both insist there's a much bigger culprit: Greece's failure to implement free market reforms.

"What happened in the end was that the austerity was implemented—they cut the incomes of civil servants and pensioners—but they didn't reform the economy," says Azariadis. "So the economy is not operating at full capacity."

Sumner wishes there had been a "third way" on the ballot—an alternative to simply voting yes for austerity or no for socialism.

"What they really need throughout Southern Europe is labor market reforms," Sumner says. "That would involve things like making it easier to hire and fire workers. And by the way, it is easier in Northern Europe to hire and fire at will."

He points to the "cartelization" of many industries in Greece that prevents established players from facing true competition. Everyone from cab drivers to pharmacists to lawyers is protected. "You have to have connections to get a license," he says. "And those protections are aimed at propping up the incomes of the insiders, the people who have the lucrative positions. But then the outsiders have a harder time breaking in."

Azariadis makes exactly the same point. 

"Lots of economists have thought about this issue, and they all, left and right, have come up with the same proposals," he says. "The bureaucracy is enormous. To start a hotel, you need to get licenses, and the process of licensing takes many, many years. The civil service itself and the politicians are extremely corrupt, so the cost of doing business is very high, and that has choked off investment."

The solution, he says, is opening up the markets.

Neither Austerity Nor Reform

Some of the reforms Azariadis and Sumner support would raise revenue or reduce expenditures, and therefore do qualify as austerity measures. For example, privatizing ports and railroads or laying off workers from cushy government jobs would save money in addition to freeing up labor and capital to go to productive uses. 

But not all reforms fall neatly under a program of austerity. Some, like doing away with Greece's minimum wage and ending the price controls that prevent its markets from working right, could actually be budget neutral. Even still, Tsipras has balked at the very idea of such changes—and by voting no in today's referendum, the Greek people made it clear they stand behind him.

The problem is thus a lack of political will throughout the country. Too many people are benefiting from the way things have always been done in Greece to risk changing it, even for a promise of greater long-term growth. Seen that way, it's no wonder the guy they elected to represent them has so stubbornly refused to go along with the demands of Greece's creditors.

"Lots of things need to be done, but no government—this one or the previous ones—have been willing to do them," Azariadis says. "Some of [Tspiras'] predecessors claimed to believe in reform, but when push came to shove…they promised them but they never delivered. Reform is something that no political party in Greece really wants or is willing to go through with."

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  1. Drachma before we macht ya.

    1. First again? Damn you to Hades

  2. Whatever Greece’s problem is, it’s certainly not the fault of the Greeks.

    1. Of course it’s not. BOOSH

    2. This is payback for stealing all their ideas from the Egyptians.

      1. It was the Romans who invented double sided accounting. Not the Greeks. So, in a way, it’s not their fault. They’ve never seen a balance sheet.

        1. The Greeks are idiots. Greece is basically where the dumbest ideas of the 20th century found themselves into practice. It is a war between the dumbest ideas that the left wing fantasists and the nanny-stater ideologues can produce. Or a battle between the beliefs of Bernie Sanders and those of Hilary Clinton.

          There is no winner in this war between dumb an dumber. They have ran out of other people’s money, and refuse to accept that reality because they want to have their cake and eat it too.

          1. They want to have their cakes…
            They want to eat it, too!
            They want to shove their cakes up my ass,
            They want to be better than you,
            They are really a bunch of snakes,
            They lurk low in the grass,
            They think that they’re Fu-Fu the Snu!

          2. Um, do you consider yourself personally responsible for the tens of trillions of on-balance-sheet and off-balance-sheet debts of the JUST the US Federal Government?

            What about the bond debts and underfunded pensions of your state? ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE?

            Get a clue. A bunch of leftists just fired the first and best shot heard ’round the world this century: GREECE DOESN’T HAVE A LIQUIDITY PROBLEM, IT HAS A SOLVENCY PROBLEM!!!

            Get it? Do you get it yet? Do you get it that a bunch of “lazy” Greeks in the birthplace of Democracy just reinforced your own?

            Do you get it that they just pissed in the eye of fractional reserve banking and perpetual debt servitude? DO YOU GET IT THAT THEY JUST DECLARED CREDITORS BEAR RISK????

            DO? YOU? GET? IT?

            1. Yep. I get it. This isn’t about America. This is about Greece. And they still lose. It is over for Greece. Do YOU get it?

          3. “Greece is basically where the dumbest ideas of the 20th century found themselves into practice.”

            Greece didn’t write the rules of the EU banking or the rules of fiat currency or fractional banking.

            It looks like they just figured out how to game them or at least fell into gaming it by simply going after the easy money provided by the EU with the least amount of work.

            This whole thing reminds me of the housing collapse and everyone blaming people who took home loans and the mortgage brokers and the realtors when in fact it was the Government through Fannie Mae that created the doomed house of cards to begin with.

            It also reminds me of the failed state communist apologists who always cry “If only the “right” people were in charge our perfect utopia would work”

            I mean that sounds an awful like “If only people did the “right” thing our perfect banking utopia would work.”

            1. I still blame the people who took what were clearly abysmal loans. Got sick of seeing them piss and moan on TV about their horrible foreclosures, when they were only getting what was coming.

              In that case, as in the case of the Greek voters and their debt, the government told them what they wanted to hear. “Free money, nothing to worry about!” And rather than thinking, ‘hmm, these people are demagoges who just want to get elected/bankers just trying to earn a commission, maybe I should take it with a grain of salt,” they just jumped right in.

              Of course surely not all Greeks think that way, and surely some people lost their homes even though they made reasonable loan deals because of the crash. But in large part these were people who stupidly insisted on believing anyone who told them what they were playing wasn’t a pyramid scheme.

              1. Yep, this^^^^. People always think something for nothing is an option. It never ends well yet neither side bears any pain.

                Until pain happens this shit will continue as sure as the day is long.

            2. I there some reason that ALL parties involved should not be held to blame?

  3. Like a hard core drug addict who sees no reason to stop, Greece will not see a need until they fully crash and burn.

    They should never have been in the EU in the first place. They historically printed money massively to fund government and failed to collect taxes. Getting into a monetary union where they could no longer print money, with a culture of evading taxes, could have only one result.

    1. So the EU continues to support this meth addict’s addiction. “Here have another pill, surely you can pay me back next week, or next month, or next year.” Who is stupid now?

      1. The EU has their voters to answer for too. German leaders face voters too.

        The Greeks seem to forget that.

        1. A big part of the German corporate state is profiting massively from the current Greek debacle. Weak euro, low interest rates. But not based on fundamentals. Where have I seen that before?

          1. On TV?

            1. It’s just going from one bubble to the next. And not only in the Eurozone. Look at what’s happening in Switzerland or Denmark. Central bankers run riot.

      2. The EU continues the extend and pretend because if they don’t they’ll have to accept haircuts on Greek bonds which are currently owned by various EU bailout programs. If they accept haircuts from Greece then why not Italy and Spain? If they accept the needed haircuts for everyone then they whole fucking EU is bankrupt.

        1. Shorter version:

          The entire EU concept is bankrupt but the politicians in the north refuse to acknowledge that fact.

          1. +1

            Bingo. You win the prize.

            1. Drachmas or TP? TP is worth more

          2. Even worse. The EU concept is bankrupt and the Greek communists are using the fact that nobody wants to admit it as their sole bargaining chip in order to remain in the EU.

            Almost as if they want to destroy everything from within…

            1. Hmmm, kind of like some kind of internal column of traitors eh? Sort of a Fifth column?

      3. I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

      4. Whoever loans Wimpy a buck for a cheeseburger?

    2. Boy, I miss the Ottomans.

      1. Most American homes have at least one ottoman. It’s where you put your feet when you’re watching TV while having a beer.

        1. The Knights of Malta?

          1. “GILMORE, LVL20 Blowhard|7.5.15 @ 4:07PM|#


            Wrong video


        2. Granny’s tired feet?

        3. The Germans?

          1. Zee Germans?

    3. The EU is an exercise in empire-building, without the tanks.

      1. No .These idiots couldn’t build an empire if we paid for it…try again, dipshit.

  4. 11 million voted for national pride. And, jumping off the cliff, committed suicide.

    1. Did you intend that to rhyme?

      1. Nope.

  5. Were there actually any spending cuts? Other governments that practice “austerity” never have any spending cuts.

    1. No spending cuts.

    2. Certainly! Next year, they were planning to spend 5 zillion euros more than this year’s budget, but decided to only spend an extra 4.98 zillion euros, instead.

    3. I hear that word tossed around a lot. Austerity.

      I never get any details about what that actually means so I am guessing that no, there were no spending cuts.

      1. Austerity

        You can just see the pain and sacrifice

      2. Austerity is when you stifle your economy with protectionism, and then stifle your economy with high taxes, that no one pays, for over the top social programs.

      3. What’s annoying is that people who know better play along with the “austerity” game anyway.

    4. Just the repeated use of the word “austerity” represents an intolerable micro-aggression!

    5. Oh, they’ve suffered from the slashing of government agencies, like this:

      The Kopais Lake Agency was created in 1957 to supervise the draining of the lake and building of a new road. The task was completed that same year, but the agency with full-time staff of 30 (including a driver for the president of the agency) still existed until 2010.

      1. They needed to wait in case it filled back up!

      2. Why do you hate jobs?

    6. Well, yes there were. It is estimated that pensions have been reduced by 40% since the imposition of austerity measures due to the bailouts. Total spending by the Greek government fell from nearly 40 billion euros in 2012 to less than 33 billion in the first seven months of 2013 (admitted no less by those vulgar marxists at the Wall Street Journal). That, combined with a series of tax increases, led to a modest surplus in the first half of 2013. The creditors demanded a tripling of the Greek primary surplus, from 1.5% of GDP to 4.5%, a surefire recipe for disaster even if you reject Keynesian spending multipliers.

      1. That manner of measuring “austerity” is as bullshit as the claim that Obama has ‘drastically reduced the deficit’

        (because he started with over a *trillion* $ deficit and loss of tax reciepts, cutting it in half was a matter of simply *waiting for the tax base to come back* and market rebound to yield fat graft off the markets)


        Its not “austerity” to cut spending back to…. uh, 30% less than the Boom Levels they’d been growing over the previous 7 years?

        Its the same kind of bullshit negotiation measures Unions typically use = negotiate for super-unrealitic levels of benefits that are certain to cause near-bankruptsy… then make *painful, blood-letting compromises*, where you rip your shirt and rend your hair over the fact that you will now accept a mere 2/3 of your huge unrealistic pension and health benefits, leaving you still better compensated than many working people.

        1. Would you mind giving me an example where unions negotiated super-unrealistic levels of benefits that cause near-bankruptcy for unionized firms? And don’t make it an anecdote; I want real evidence. I doubt that private-sector unions ever did such a thing on a widespread basis (at least in America), given that the so-called “union bosses” had rather warm relations with business leaders, at least after the strike waves of the 30s and 40s.

          1. The US auto industry, for one.

            And Hostess, for another

            The airline industry also goes into ‘crisis’ every few years over their fucking union agreements.

            And why am i having to explain these things in greater detail to you, the intellectually-dishonest schmuck who has tried to claim the Greeks have been doing oh-so-much serious Austerity and stuff, contra every known fact?

            The intellectually-dishonest guy insisting that everyone else do additional legwork to substantiate their points is Bo Cara-level retarded

            1. The auto industry is more of an international trade issue and less a labor one. The auto manufacturers had a shitty strategy and lost heavily to cheaper and higher-quality imports from Germany and Japan. Little, if any had to do with labor costs, which may have inflated the cost of an American automobile but only because access to health insurance is based on employment, not a universal guarantee (as it is in, surprise surprise, Germany and Japan).

              Hostess went through bankruptcy in 2004 and was subsequently restructured, coming back online in 2009. It was owned by a group of investment companies and hedge funds at the time. The dispute between labor and management was over CUTS to pensions and wages, along with ignoring its nearly $2 billion in debt. I would argue that (at the very least) the blame for Hostess going down ought to be shared between management and labor, particularly the idiots who restructured the company.


              To answer your question, it’s because you’re the intellectually-dishonest schmuck who cites Human Events as a legitimate source for information.

              1. You can niggle all you want and try and blame the US not being *progressive* enough on why unions kill companies, but none of your bullshit even remotely disproves my point.

                You’re wrong about Greece, you’re wrong about private sector unions. (which is why they’re going the way of the Dodo bird, and only exist fruitfully by parasitically attaching themselves to Government) What else do we need to learn from you? Oh, you disbelieve things if they appear on websites that say “conservative” somewhere. It must be because you’re so open-minded. You can google “how unions hurt the airline industry” and find 100 examples of the same fucking story if you’re so sensitive about the web-address you get your facts from


                1. I’m not claiming progressivity or anything. I’m just stating the facts. You, my misguided blowhard, are wrong. Wrong about Greece, wrong about private-sector unions. You’re also wrong about the root causes of decline in the labor movement; more American workers (about 58%) would like to be represented by a union. The root causes of decline in labor are more of a globalization/shift to service-sector problem, as well as the ineffectiveness of labor recruitment strategies.
                  Yes, the word “conservative” on a website makes me recoil with horror. That’s why I’d prefer more reliable sources like, I don’t know, CBS, BBC, the Independent, catch my drift? I don’t disrespect your intelligence by using “ThinkProgress” as a source for impartial evidence; maybe you should think about that before trying to masquerade as a intelligent life-form on the Internet…

                  1. more American workers (about 58%) would like to be represented by a union.

                    I assume you’re getting that from Freeman & Rogers (2006)? The statistic they claim is that actually 53 percent of workers who were not in a union would like union representation, meaning that if they got it, then 58 percent of the workforce for the year 2005 that would have been unionized. Semantics, yes, but important to consider when a survey from 2014 conducted by Google Consumer Surveys shows that almost 29 percent of workers currently in a union would leave the union if there were no risk of them losing their job or other penalty.

                    1. Would they prefer leaving the union and staying as nonunion labor or do they just want to change their union?

                    2. Clicking is *hard*

                      “”Percent of union members answering “Yes” to the question: “If it were possible to opt out of membership in a labor union without losing your job or any other penalty, would you do it?”

                      Yes 28.71%”””

                      Percent of survey respondents answering “Yes” to the question: “Should employees have the right to decide, without force or penalty, whether to join or leave a labor union?”

                      National 82.87%”

                    3. HM just fucked you where the sun don’t shine, bub, you should STFU and walk away, HM has ownage , asshat.

                      And I don’t think HM has any interest in your backside, though I will relish him outing idiots like you.

                  2. your points about ‘surveys about what people might like’ or the ineffectiveness of union-conscription methods have zero to do with the basic facts that private sector unions have and continue to have deleterious effects on American businesses. If they offered any real benefits then the changes in the role of economic sectors would be neutral and we’d see far more unionization in emergent areas of the economy. But we don’t. Instead, the only place they thrive is where they can attach themselves to government and use their entrenched power to vote themselves in crony ‘management’….

                    If you had any real case you’d have made it. So far all you’ve brought is niggling weaksauce.

                    1. You assume that the current environment is hospitable to union organizing, and not, how you say, slanted against it. That major corporations don’t use new tactics to circumvent organizing, or even that the playing field between labor and management is “level.” Especially in those pesky “Right to Work” states, where you’re actually allowed to freeload on union benefits without contributing to the union itself.

                      Deleterious to American businesses? Probably, at least in the form of channeling more of the profits towards payroll and benefits. Deleterious to American workers? Definitely not, regardless of one’s membership in a union. Deleterious to the American economy? Depends who you ask, although I’d hedge my bets with the ol’ labor movement.

                    1. hessss back, though this troll seems marginally more thoughtful than tulpa…who fucking knew.

              2. I worked for New United Motor Mfg, a joint venture between GM and Toyota. You have no clue about the auto industry. You weren’t there. So, shut the hell up.

                1. I couldn’t give two shits if you were the long-lost Prince of Saudi Arabia. Anecdotes don’t mean shit; besides, this is the Internet. For all I know, you COULD be the long-lost Prince of Persia.

                  All hail the new King Thieves!

              3. How on earth can you say it’s not about labor costs? You do understand the principle of the fungibility of money, right?

                If the US companies can’t compete in the international market, they can either cut costs (including labor costs) to become competitive, or they can go out of business. The major industrial unions resoundingly picked the latter, even if they didn’t realize it. This happens when you try to force wages above the market value: you can’t compete in the market, and those “underpaid” workers end up being unemployed. Unless of course you blow taxpayer money subsidizing and bailing out domestic industries or engaging in protectionism.

                You have to realize the inanity of trying to blame the failures of American industry on that cost instead of this cost (i.e., labor cost). It’s all just cost. Some costs are fixed by circumstance, others, like labor cost, could be reduced, were it not for union-enforced floors. A company goes under because its costs exceed its profits, and its employees tell it they cannot cut labor costs to meet the difference, then the laborers have a hand in their own dismissal, there’s no way around it.

              4. The US auto industry is more of an international trade issue (no, wrong) and less of a labor one (no, wrong). The automakers had a shitty strategy (based on what? The Toyota Production System? The 5-whys?). Little, if any blah, blah labor, blah blah.
                This is why you’re retarded. Toyota is successful and growing in the US, using an American workforce. That workforce is flexible, however. Unlike GM.

                Listen, I participated in those CBA negotiations at NUMMI. I saw the union president’s girlfriends get cushy jobs looking for unique stones to display to the community. And the bitches never built a Corolla.

                1. Well, the auto industry (especially in the US) was unprepared for the spike in oil prices in the late 2000s, having prioritized SUVs and other low fuel economy vehicles that became unpopular as gas prices rose. Foreign imports (mostly Japanese and German) were much more economical (partly because of higher gas mileage standards) and therefore became more competitive. The financial crisis also led to the infamous “credit crunch,” which tamped down on auto loans and such.

                  “Flexibility” does not always end well for the workers, given that it leads to the creation of tiered wage structures (which limit the opportunities for newer employees) and reduces potential benefits. And “flexibility” isn’t usually something that is negotiated on; workers usually have to take it or leave it, highlighting the power imbalance between workers and management.

                  Again, I don’t care about anecdotes. Feel free to use your (impressive) evidence to undermine me; just cut out the stories. I don’t bore you with tales from my union household; don’t bore me with tales of bureaucratic union incompetence (something I have personal experience with).

            2. “The US auto industry, for one.

              And Hostess, for another

              The airline industry also goes into ‘crisis’ every few years over their fucking union agreements.”

              You forgot to mention Detroit or Stanton California.

              1. The stagnant economy in both of those cities can take credit for their bankruptcies. Although in Detroit’s case, redlining and the residual (and ongoing) effects of racial and economic segregation also take some credit.

                1. Ah, racist detroit. Run by black liberal democrats since 1974.

                  1. Funny how liberals and conservatives at the state and national levels keep enforcing those racist drug laws and incarcerating young black males at a frightening rate, eh? Or how auto companies left the crowded cities for the spacious suburbs? Or how welfare reform reduced the number of recipients without reducing the need?

                    Either way I’m not a liberal, so I couldn’t give two shits about the “liberal roots” of Detroit’s decline.

                    1. “Either way I’m not a liberal”

                      Sorry, I often confuse idiots and liberals

                2. I see, so you’ve been asleep for the last 60 years. Let me fill you in: Detroit isn’t segregated anymore. But do explain to me how this hypothetical segregation has sunk Detroit’s economy? I’m curious because most new ethnic groups in NY seem to settle in neighborhoods predominately of their own ethnicity, but somehow that doesn’t sink the economy due to the ethereal effects of teh racismz. So enlighten me.

                  And of course, none of these cities have problems with massive spending deficits, overly generous city employee pension systems, the perpetual raising of tax rates to make up for the lost businesses, thereby inducing more businesses to leave… Certainly not rampant corruption, bid rigging, mismanagement by local officials. No. it wasn’t those things.

                  1. Detroit IS still segregated; the mighty walls of Jim Crow didn’t come crashing down after Congress passed a few civil rights laws. The inner cities are still rotting, in case you haven’t noticed. This segregation stems (in part) from white (and black) flight; the migration of prosperous individuals and the subsequent deindustrialization that plunged the city into extreme insolvency. And we’re talking about ethnic minorities with an established presence, not immigrants who are unfamiliar with the culture and develop homogenous communities out of a sense of ethnic solidarity and camaraderie.

                    Well, “overly-generous” is a subjective opinion of municipal pension systems, given that many municipalities deliberately underfunded their systems in violation of their own laws. In addition, most of them were thrown into chaos by the recession; after all, pensions are invested on Wall Street, and they were a well-known cash cow for anyone peddling those shitty mortgage securities. As for taxation, many cities have (desperately) tried to “entice” businesses with these newfangled “special enterprise zones,” which (according to various empirical studies) have done little to boost employment within those areas. One could argue that the money could have been better spent on clearing out vacant and derelict properties, but idk.

                    Try and keep up, MarkLastname. Despite what you’ve heard, Jim Crow ain’t dead.

                3. Tuullllpppppaa

                4. No they don’t.

          2. The United Autoworkers brought down General Motors.

      2. “Total spending by the Greek government fell from nearly 40 billion euros in 2012 to less than 33 billion in the first seven months of 2013 ”

        This kind of language can only be the work of PB’s handler, or a Clinton.


          1. Rather well, at least assuming that unemployment levels and economic growth are also at 2007 levels. But then again, that’s if you’re a technocratic lefty or a rather considerate center-righty. Of course, 2007 was when the housing bubble began to implode (after its peak in 2006), so I doubt that the spending levels of a country riding an asset bubble are appropriate for a country dealing with the messy aftermath of said asset bubble.

            1. “I doubt that the spending levels of a country riding an asset bubble are appropriate for a country dealing with the messy aftermath of said asset bubble.”


              Explain how Greece’s rapid spending growth in the 2000s was driven by the US housing-market bubble.

              1. I never claimed that the Greek spending growth came from the AMERICAN housing bubble. It was actually driven by the trade imbalance between Germany and Greece; Germany had lower labor costs and therefore exported goods to the periphery of the EU, leading to large (and unsustainable) capital flows to countries like Greece and Spain, which developed their own asset bubbles due to large capital inflows. Its kinda like what happened here in the US, where trade deficits were financed with capital inflows that fuelled an unsustainable housing bubble. The culpability of foreign investors in the housing bubble (via their capital outflows) magnified the scope of the housing bubble, making its effects resonate far beyond America’s borders.

                1. “Germany had lower labor costs and therefore exported goods to the periphery of the EU, leading to large (and unsustainable) capital flows to countries like Greece and Spain”

                  all you’re saying is that there was a trade imbalance between Greece and Germany, which isn’t particularly insightful = Germany *makes stuff*, Greeks consume stuff. This is no different than the China/US relationship. None of it provides any explanation for their fiscal mismanagement, which persisted for decades before any ‘financial crisis’.

                  “The Greek economy was one of the fastest growing in the Eurozone from 2000 to 2007: during this period it grew at an annual rate of 4.2%, as foreign capital flooded the country.[50] Despite that, the country continued to record high budget deficits each year.

                  ..large public deficits were indeed one of the features that marked the Greek social model since the restoration of democracy in 1974. After the removal of the right-wing military junta, the government wanted to bring disenfranchised left-leaning portions of the population into the economic mainstream.[56] In order to do so, successive Greek governments have, among other things, customarily run large deficits to finance enormous military expenditure, public sector jobs, pensions and other social benefits

                  Nothing to cut!

                  1. Trade imbalance is less of a “cultural” aspect than the result of macroeconomic tendencies. Capital flows into Greece led to an unsustainable bubble, which put the financial incompetence of previous governments on steroids. I do not disagree with your stances on the corruption rife within the Greek economy (a partial symptom of the nation’s volatile political history).

                    I wouldn’t actually oppose cuts in military expenditure (something that was rejected by “the Troika”), most of which is bloated in terms of corrupt arms-deals with French and German manufacturers. However, I draw the line at pensions and social benefits; Greece has already suffered enough, both economically and politically. Even the IMF agrees that the creditors’ “reforms” are unsustainable; yet they keep proposing them. Why, I ask?

                2. So, Greece needs to be off the Euro and onto the Drachma.

            2. Greek “austerity” = for private sector only

              2012 = “Of the 470,000 who have lost their jobs since 2008, not one came from the public sector. The civil service has had a 13.5% pay cut and some reductions in benefits, but no net job losses. Already low, public-sector productivity has fallen further. This has led to deep resentment of the civil service, which has mushroomed in the past three decades and now employs almost a fifth of the workforce.””

              I’m always amused by the Proggy’s Talking Point-generator, Center for American Progress, saying that Greece’s *real problem* is that they need to hire more tax collectors

              1. The hyperlink for your source doesn’t work, so I can’t see the website that supports your argument.

                But anyway, the Greeks agreed in 2013 to cut 15,000 public-sector employees by 2014, a rather large size compared to the 5 million-size labor force (that’s the equivalent of losing 450,000 jobs here in the States). Plus your quote refutes your own argument, since the public sector (or “civil service”) faced large pay cuts and benefit reductions, which is the individual worker’s equivalent of austerity.


                  As already noted in your previous example of mendaciousness = cuts that follow a decade plus of lavish spending and benefits handouts do not amount to “austerity”.

                  Austerity would require cutting the size of government down to previously more-realistic levels

                  its the same kind of idiotic relativistic perspective that defines ‘not taking’ (not taxing) as ‘subsidy’, and not-giving (no ‘free’ healthcare) as oppression

                  1. Obviously you have an impossibly high standard when it comes to the word “austerity.” If the Greeks did what you said and reduced the size of their government to “previously more-realistic levels,” their economy would contract and negate any reduction in the deficit while increasing their debt-to-GDP levels. In absolute terms, Greece has reduced its spending, although the collapse of their economy makes it seem that they have increased it.

                    1. If Greece reduced the size of its govt

                      I’d phrase that as if Greece stopped raiding the capital of the few remaining profitable private institutions. …the govt would be forced to face the endemic corruption that is destroying the economy. But that’s just me.

                    2. It’s Tuuuupa as a new sock, he’s too fucking stupid to know about capital.

                    3. “Obviously you have an impossibly high standard when it comes to the word “austerity.”

                      No, i have a bare minimum requirement that Government *shrink* for the word to be used at all. Otherwise its just so much window-dressing.

                    4. He’s basically saying that what income you have should be unrelated to your expenditures. Just sophistry.

                    5. In any case, the Greeks have shrunken their government, at least in absolute terms. Their economy keeps contracting, though, so it doesn’t look like it from a relative perspective. Tell me, what is more: 53.8% of 242, or 47.5% of 354? The first choice is the spending to GDP ratio in 2014; the second is the spending ratio in 2008.

                    6. They need to shrink it more. They cannot afford it.

                      It’s funny – you still don’t get it, do you? If Detroit shrinks it public sector, it doesn’t matter. It still has to pay for the public sector it already made commitments on. It still has government sewers and pensions incurred 10 years ago that must be serviced. So either increase the taxes of today’s people or cut services.

                      Or go bankrupt.

                    7. Actually Greece’s economy was starting to grow in 2014. They may well have pulled through if they hadn’t elected a lunatic government, perhaps out of impatience with the pace of their recovery.

                      Curious to know how you would explain why ‘austere’ nations like Ireland and Iceland (not the beacon of anti-austerity Paul Krugman likes to believe) haven’t sunk into a black hole?

                    8. Iceland has the kroner, so they can juice up the markets with credit while downsizing. Plus Iceland has what, 300,000 people? That’s less than the entire population of Athens.

                      Ireland ain’t exactly a shining poster-boy of austerity. Yes, growth is at 4.8%, but deflation is still hurting debtors (not a plus in this debt-based economy), Plus their recovery was based on exports; might I remind you that Greece was a net IMPORTER during the bubble.

                    9. You’re essentially basing your argument on assumptions. “Growth” in 2014 was 0.7%, hardly something to boast at. And there’s little to suggest that that growth was sustainable. With 25% unemployment, I see little reason to suggest that there was a recovery in the offing.

                    10. Yup, cuz gubmint jobs create wealth and economic growth…

                2. Gee, isn’t it a little late to be whining? After all, no one forced Greece to take on all that debt. No one forced Greece to join the Euro.

                  Whay you want is a free pass – no accountability.

              2. I’m always amused by the Proggy’s Talking Point-generator, Center for American Progress, saying that Greece’s *real problem* is that they need to hire more tax collectors

                Curiously, this was also the point made by National review. It’s nice to see all the big government statists hold hands like that.

        2. 40 Billion spent in 2012

          33 Billion in the first 58% of 2013.

          Any figures on how much was spent in the remaining 42% of the year?

          I doubt it was less than 7 Billion.

  6. From a Reuters article:

    With nearly a fifth of the votes counted, official figures showed 60.4 percent of Greeks on course to reject a bailout offer from creditors that was the official issue of the ballot. The figures showed the Yes vote drew 40.1 percent.

    No wonder the Greeks are fucked. They can’t even accurately add up to 100%.

    1. I’d be willing to allow the 40% who voted yes to emigrate to the US (and Canada if you prescribe to Cytotoxic’s definition of we) and start over.

      The rest can burn in the hell they created. I honestly don’t care if they all starve to death.

      1. I hope the GREEKS starve. What better lesson in the follies of statism can be demonstrated than the demise of 11 million loud and obnoxious ticks?

        1. The problem is that none of them would be able to link their financial mess with the starvation.

          1. Now, that be a true statement!

          2. Now, that be a true statement!

          3. They’d blame the banks for forcing them to take one such unsustainable debt somehow.

    2. Zeus stuffed the ballot box.

  7. Millions of Greeks made their will known today, and by a shockingly decisive margin asked their government to reject the terms put to it by the international community.

    “We don’t want to pay back the money you foolishly lent us and we don’t want to do anything that resembles a serious effort to pay back the money that you foolishly lent us.”

    The foolish lenders were given the finger by the deadbeat nation. Even in the face of such brazen defiance by a borrower, you can bet lenders will continue their credit profligacy because the printing press is still operating at flank speed.

    1. This whole Greek–EU thing makes me wonder if they live on another planet, the one where a deadbeat borrower somehow has the power to continually reject the terms offered to him by his creditor. Who needs who in this scenario? What a fucking farce.

      1. Germany should threaten to go back to the Mark.

        “Hey, European Union: either the Greeks go. Or we go. “

      2. The old quote applies:

        If you owe the bank $100 that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 [b]illion, that’s the bank’s problem. J. Paul Getty

        1. Bank goes belly-up and closes. Problem solved.

          1. Hallelujah, sing it brother!

            What we have here is a textbook case of moral hazard. Bailout after bailout lead these idiots to believe we won’t let them starve so they refuse to modify the behavior that caused the problem.

            Let Greece burn and let the banks stupid enough to lend to them burn right alongside them.

            1. Reminds me of a Cars song: Burnin’ Down the House

              1. Um, thats the Talking Heads, it appears music isn’t your forte, but I’d agree with the result.

                1. Thanks. I was just a wee lass back in the 80’s.

              2. That would be the “Talking Heads”!

            2. If I default on my mortgage, the bank takes my house.

              Can’t those evil EU lenders start foreclosure proceedings on Greek government assets? Its real estate?

              1. Parthenon = Now Europe’s largest IMAX theater!

                1. Don’t laugh; it’s a viable option.

                  1. sovereign debt isn’t collateralized

                    “Lending to foreign governments is in many ways inherently riskier than unsecured private debt or junk bonds.” Typically, there is no collateral for sovereign debt, only “the full faith and credit”?. And as B/P point out: “Only governments that are chronically unable to finance their outlays with domestic taxes or domestic debt must keep borrowing large sums abroad.”

                    Borrower incentives are also different: private borrowers can end up in jail for misrepresentation. And bankruptcy proceedings give all creditors a chance to recover at least part of their loans. None of this applies to sovereign debt: no one person can be put in jail for misrepresentation, and there is no bankruptcy process for this sort of debt.

                    …: “Lending to states thus involves unfathomable risks that ought to be borne by specialized players who are willing to live with the consequences**?. The solution to breaking the nexus between sovereign-debt crises and banking crises is straightforward: limit banks to lending where evaluation of borrowers’ willingness and ability to repay isn’t a great leap in the dark. This means no cross-border sovereign debt (or esoteric instruments, such as collateralized debt obligations).”

                    1. Well, sovereign debt is collateralized to the extent a government can point a gun at the head of tax payers and demand money or labor. This is otherwise known as slavery.

                      The monopoly of force is collateral.

                    2. Good point!

                      but then again, that’s why at least 1/4 of Greece’s real GDP is hiding under various mattresses, and/or invested in Ouzo

                    3. According to the Economist, 25 per cent of Greeks are bailing in paying income taxes.

                      I have to give them some credit. they know their taxes are going to a corrupt enterprise that is their government and they know that the only way to get ahead is greasing certain palms.

                      I’m guessing a lot of Greeks are actually seeing what is going down and hate what their country has become. I’d guess a lot of those Greeks want freedom and I’m with them.

                      Shit stains like Tspiras are not my take on the Greek folks. This statist asshole will get his over time, this assholes 15 minutes are up.

                      If the Greek folks can ditch fuckwads like Tspiras , they will be ok and I certainly hope that happens.

      3. Well, the EU needs to get paid back, and since there is no actual, physical collateral, they don’t have anything of value they can take to mitigate these enormous loses. Especially considering that if the EU just allows Greece to repudiate, then they’ll have to deal with all the other struggling countries that would be more than happy to suddenly not owe hundreds of billions of dollars to the IMF. Although the IMF has the advantage of letting the world watch Greece’s short death spiral as a sort of message to the rest of the EU saying, “If you don’t pay us back, we cut you off and you get austerity good and hard.”

  8. Germany to Greece: If you stay, we’re leaving.

  9. I don’t know why everyone is coming down on Greece so badly. They are obviously just the victims of bad luck.

    1. No, not bad luck! It’s a system of discrimination and oppression by which white privileged males who inherited their wealth (like the Germans) oppress the poor dark skinned oppressed Greeks! /prog

    2. I don’t know why everyone is coming down on Greece so badly. They are obviously just the victims of bad luck predatory lending!


    3. Listen, credit is a two way street – borrowers and lenders. When a person or a country goes bankrupt those two parties are at fault.

      The lenders fucked up; they lent to Greece. Time for them to take a haircut.

      1. The lenders have ALREADY taken a haircut. And the Greeks still bogarted.

        What you want is a “get out of jail free” card.

        1. Yeah. 25% unemployment and consistent declines in GDP are the precise results of “bogarting” the lenders.

          /derp indeed.

          1. Since government spending doesn’t create GDP. It just steals from future GDP.

            1. That depends on the type of government spending. Let’s say the government taxed a factory owner in the 1970s and used that money to buy nukes. Then you could say that it stole from future GDP. But if the government used the tax money to invest in defense-related R&D like, say, GPS (or ARPANET), then you’d have to concede that it contributed to future GDP, as the factory owner couldn’t possibly match the productive value of developing GPS or ARPANET (unless he’s a member of a major corporation, but that’s another story). I’m not saying the government is always (or even usually) good with its ill-gotten gains, but there are a number of examples where government spending contributes to GDP (often in significant ways). And this is where you guys get beat over the head by technocratic liberals…

              1. And this is where you guys get beat over the head by technocratic liberals…

                Not really, no. First of all, the contributions to GDP from government R&D successes are far outweighed by the detraction from GDP due to most other governmental actions. For every dollar of value government R&D might generate, hundreds if not thousands are wasted (welfare) or just outright destroyed (regulation). The net effect of most government spending is negative.

                Second, there’s nothing particularly necessary about government spending on R&D to begin with. Most technological innovations throughout history were developed without any governmental involvement. Of the rest, most were developed in tandem with non-governmental efforts. And like any R&D, a lot of the efforts are fruitless. So you are left with a handful of cases where the government beat the private sector to the punch, but had to be drug kicking and screaming into allowing the technology to evolve.

                1. Technically, welfare (and other transfer payments) tend to add value to the economy by boosting the purchasing power of low-income individuals. Now, it may be offset by the diminished capacity for investment resulting from said taxation, although that is by no means a certainty. Nevertheless, the debate over the “wastefulness” of welfare is far from settled. As for regulation, that is only true if you exaggerate the costs and downplay the benefits. Some regulations have benefits, others don’t. If we assume that regulations do cost the economy $1 trillion a year, it’s almost guaranteed that we are neglecting the benefits that they (may) provide, from improved public health to increased productivity and reduced workplace accidents.

                  As for your diatribe on the “necessity” for government spending on R&D, I will agree with you. Most technological innovations weren’t achieved in a government-run lab; unfortunately, innovation and research has increasingly been centralized into universities, corporations, and government research departments. Hell, that was one of President Eisenhower’s observations in his farewell speech (you know, the one that condemned the military-industrial complex?). You could still argue that the government doesn’t NEED to spend money on R&D, but you can’t argue that based on a decentralized view of technological innovation (there aren’t that many one-man inventors left, if there were any to begin with).

                  1. Btw, it should be noted that the wastefulness of welfare extends beyond merely paying people who don’t need it. It disincentives work (there is a clear negative correlation between the amound one gets paid in unemplotyment and the time it takes to find a job); this ultimately reduces the recipient’s income (they would almost certainly be earning more at work than in welfare); their children suffer from that of course; but also, consumers lose out because the work the recipient would have done would have brought prices down, and everyone’s purchasing power would go up. And of course lastly, investors make less money due to having a smaller pool of labor for private companies; oh, and even the state suffers from loss of tax revenue.

                    Transfer payments divert potential labor out of the labor market, and the negative effects of this on the economy are far-reaching.

                  2. Technically, welfare (and other transfer payments) tend to add value to the economy by boosting the purchasing power of low-income individuals.

                    Most welfare is transfer payments. You’re not adding value when you subtract the same amount from column A that you added to column B.

                    Now, it may be offset by the diminished capacity for investment resulting from said taxation, although that is by no means a certainty.

                    What is a certainty is that the consumption of low-income individuals is subsidized by welfare, which at the very least skews consumption patterns. Moreover, it is fundamentally premised on the notion that the low-income individual knows better how to use the money than the higher-income individual it was taken from, despite the fairly obvious contradiction therein.

                    As for regulation, that is only true if you exaggerate the costs and downplay the benefits.

                    All of those “benefits” are being paid for by the consumer. The tax money spent on regulation goes towards administration and enforcement, which are all pure negatives from an economic standpoint.

                  3. You could still argue that the government doesn’t NEED to spend money on R&D, but you can’t argue that based on a decentralized view of technological innovation (there aren’t that many one-man inventors left, if there were any to begin with).

                    The incentive structure that is in place, established by the government, strongly disfavors private research. It doesn’t have to be “one-man inventors”; there are plenty of people who would work together, without any government coordination, but in most fields of study they would quickly wind up in jail. The NRC, the ATF, the DEA, the EPA, etc. are all quite keen on shutting down private research and development.

                    In one of the fields that the government has only begun to get its hands on, computers and IT, as much innovation has taken place in garages and home offices as has taken place in large corporations and universities.

                  4. I believe you stole a “plank” from Pelosi! Now, her house may collapse!

                  5. I believe you stole a “plank” from Pelosi! Now, her house may collapse!

                2. That being said, I’ve recently thought “What could we have gained spending 21 Trillion dollars on NASA and R&D instead of Great Society programs.”

                  Shit, we’d likely have moonrises, flying cars, footprints on Mars, totally realistic VR environments, space tourism.

                  Hell, looking at the charts of Great Society’s impact, we’d have had the same impact on poverty just burning the money.

                  1. Damn autocorrect, that’s moon bases not moonrises, but if that could be interpreted as moon high rises, well, we’d likely have them too.

              2. “But if the government used the tax money to invest in defense-related R&D like, say, GPS (or ARPANET), then you’d have to concede that it contributed to future GDP, as the factory owner couldn’t possibly match the productive value of developing GPS or ARPANET (unless he’s a member of a major corporation, but that’s another story).”
                This is assuming that the private sector would not have developed the internet with the capital the government took and in the meantime poached all the best minds in the field away from the private sector. Of course this is a counterfactual, but a particularly relevant one since government regulation of information technology would have made inventing the internet by the private sector illegal. Only in the 1980s I believe did they begin to really ease up on the regulation; not coincidentally, it was the privatization that was followed by the development of the internet connecting millions of machines, as opposed to the government networks connecting a few dozen.

                As it were, in the 1970s (despite being technically illegal) some private companies were already developing networks of their own outside of NSFNET and at least as successful.

                All in all, it’s not a very good example of the wonders of government investment considering that the government actively prohibited the private sector from doing exactly what the government was doing by law.

              3. Government doesn’t invest.

          2. 25% unemployment and consistent declines in GDP are most definitely the result of the same deadbeat statist mentality that causes a government to be as fiscally profligate as that of Greece in the first place. The mentality that grants primacy to government spending and consumption over production and savings, is that of the deadbeat on your couch (named John Maynard Keynes) who claims that when he eats your food he is helping you.

            1. You obviously have no sense of cause-and-effect, do you? Fiscal profligacy did not cause consistent declines in GDP or the 25% unemployment, unless of course you are arguing that the profligacy of the past requires austerity (however you define it) in the present and future. The spending cuts and tax increases of the former Greek governments are the DIRECT cause of the Greek Depression, as any intelligent bottom-feeder will tell you. Contrary to the unrealistic promoters of “expansionary austerity” (let alone the horseshit that passes for economic theory at the IMF), “structural readjustment” is terrible policy in a time of depressed consumption and production. And that deadbeat Keynes had more intellectual rigor in one finger than you have in your entire political movement.

              1. Yes, you moron, when your spending is fueled by debt, getting out of debt does require you to start spending less.

                It amazes me how progs routinely believe that massive growth to propel governments out of poverty can be achieved, but only by going more massively into debt.

                1. When you’re not in a recession, feel free to do that. But when you’re chained to a monetary union and flirting with economy depression, spending less ain’t gonna do you any good. Your best option is to either create your own currency or hope your monetary buddies aren’t conceited assholes.

                  Try to look at the big picture instead of the crack in the wall, you dumbass reactionary.

                  1. psst the new reactionaries are the statist leftoids who are desperate to keep their bankrupt collectivist schemes going in the 21st century.

                    And it is fascinating that you could lecture me about cause and effect, arguing from the premise that consumption causes production…which comes first and makes the other possible, again? I want you to say it, so you have to face the retarded unreality of your economic premises in their clearest, most abject formulation (instead of hiding behind snide pretentiousness like you leftoids always do).

                  2. “When you’re not in a recession, feel free to do that.”
                    Politically impossible, almost always. Just look at Greece: even in the good years they were running a deficit. No politician wants to shit on the parade that is an economic boom (or very few do at least). Look at our own president. If he were a ‘true Keynesian,’ wouldn’t he want countercyclical fiscal policy? Shouldn’e we be cutting spending now that the recession is over to shore up money (or at least the possibility of credit?) for future slumps? No, of course not; our deficit is projected to increase enormously in the next few years. So much for countercyclical spending.

                    Spending has to be cut sometime; you say “not now, there’s a recession!” Well, why not now? No one’s going to cut it when there isn’t one. And btw, other than Greece, the countries which went against the macro-Keynesian advice and did cut spending are growing now. Even Greece was beginning to look up in 2014. The millennial effects of austerity predicted by your school of thought tend not to pan out. Even here in the US, I distinctly recall that Sequester that everyone at the NYT was saying would bring upon the end of the world… was followed but economic growth (admittedly, that was mainly probably due to the declining energy prices; though funny enough, some people still actually like to attributed it to Obama’s stimulus from way back).

                  3. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it is immoral for the German taxpayers to pay for Greece non-taxpayers.

              2. Call me crazy, but I personally find it immoral that the German taxpayers subsidize the Greek non-taxpayers.

                I guess you’re okay with one statist regime supporting some other statist regime.
                However, I find it repugnant and amoral.

                Did the German people get a vote? If the Greek’s get a “referendum” on whether to accept bail-out terms, I say it is only fitting that the German people get a vote on whether they get stuck holding the bill. In fact, i think all of the EU should get to vote on it.

                1. Frankly, the Germans are stewing in their own mess. They lent money to Greece with bothering to enforce their Maastricht limits on deficits or verifying the integrity of Greek budgets. That’s liking offering credit without checking the credit score. If they didn’t want to bail out the Greeks, they shouldn’t have created a regional trade system that favored their exporters over those of Greece, Spain, and other periphery economies. Or they could have still done that but kept out Greece, Spain, and other “inefficient” economies.

                  Either way, I agree. German taxpayers should have a vote. That’s why I say give the EU some teeth and make it a fiscal as well as a monetary union. That way the Greeks and the Germans can fight it out, Parliament style. Plus there’d be the added bonus of not having this whole “internal devaluation” mess to begin with.

              3. Actually, you don’t have a sense of cause and effect.

                Government borrowing feels good and somehow, you’ve confused it with GDP. However, just like using credit cards to boost your own income, it is an illusion. You’re not better off with all that debt and you’ve certainly not increased your GDP.

                1. I beg to differ.

                  Government borrowing is just government borrowing; it lacks any moral dimension whatsoever. I don’t even support the social contract-model of governments, to be honest; they’re hopeless idealistic and one-dimensional, lacking any understanding of inter-societal tensions.

                  Nevertheless, I reject your conflation of macro with micro; they are NOT two sides of the same coin. What works on an individual level doesn’t work on the scale of an entire economy. But of course, you can’t see beyond the perspective of an individual, can you? So I’ll flatter you with more statist bullshit and see where it takes me…

              4. Actually, you don’t have a sense of cause and effect.

                Government borrowing feels good and somehow, you’ve confused it with GDP. However, just like using credit cards to boost your own income, it is an illusion. You’re not better off with all that debt and you’ve certainly not increased your GDP.

        2. No. Wrong. The private lenders took a haircut, but the debt that was transferred from bank to EU (public debt) was not written down.

          1. So they took a haircut.

      2. At this point I think the hair is already being cut. Now the only question whether to give Greece even more money as a way of thanking them for telling the rest of the EU to go fuck itself.

        Now if you excuse me, I need to go track down the guy who robbed my house last night so I can give him my credit card and social security number for teaching me the valuable lesson not to leave my doors unlocked.

      3. I don’t remember Greece being FORCED into the Euro. I also don’t remember Greece being FORCED to take on debt. But maybe that’s the evil genius of bankers – they have guns pointed at your head, forcing you into debt you never wanted in the first place and then force you to pay them back.

      4. The lenders should foreclose of Greek government assets.

    4. “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded ? here and there, now and then ? are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

      This is known as “bad luck.”

      I was referencing that Heinlein quote particularly with regard to the Greeks refusal to implement free market reforms. It has been posted so many times by so many commenters that I didn’t think I had to. It is also not uncommon for a society that ‘slips back into abject poverty’ to very soon after slip into war.

      1. It is also not uncommon for a society that ‘slips back into abject poverty’ to very soon after slip into war.

        Given the history of independent Greece, this would hardly be surprising. The question is, will the war be contained to Greece (i.e. a military coup), or will it involves other countries in the Balkans? Are they dumb enough to go after Turkey?

  10. Welcome to your front row seats of the inevitable outcome of a “free shit” society.

    Tony, this is the future you plead for.

    1. Tony saw Venezuela just like the rest of us. He didn’t learn from that, he won’t learn from this.

      Assuming of course that his motives and concerns are what he professes them to be.

    2. Does a “free shit” society have an average work-year that’s 50% larger than those hard-working Krauts?

      Tony has his flaws, but the humanitarian crisis in Greece is the future that YOU plead for.

      1. Which is more important – working longer or working smarter?

        1. That’s irrelevant; we’re arguing over deadbeats and “free shit,” not productivity.

          1. we’re arguing over deadbeats and “free shit,” not productivity

            Uh, did you say that with a straight face?

            1. It be Tulpy poo, so no.

              1. Possible. Yet why is he shilling so strongly for lefty causes? Did he just get bored or was he always a barely reformed Democrat under the surface?

      2. Funny, I don’t see the Krauts asking for money to keep their welfare state afloat.

        1. And they went through East German reunification 20 years ago. East Germany – an economic basket case.

          And yet, the Germans came through it. Stronger.

        2. Funny, I don’t see the Greeks getting money to keep their welfare state afloat. Try and keep up with the news instead of trotting out condescending pep-talks.

          1. Errrrh – yes, they are. They have nationalized healthcare and haven’t paid the providers . . . No drugs for Zorba

            1. Healthcare was already nationalized before the crisis, you dumb woodchippin’ shit.
              And the vast majority of the money that Greece gets from the “troika” goes back to the troika or to Greek banks, since the money goes to pay the interest on their (increasing) debt.

              1. And the vast majority of the money that Greece gets from the “troika” goes back to the troika or to Greek banks, since the money goes to pay the interest on their (increasing) debt.

                Avoiding bankruptcy ain’t cheap.

                Healthcare was already nationalized before the crisis

                So? All of the effects were brief and immediate?

                It is also possible (in fact, quite probable) that, due to various and sundry factors, the aggregate cost of national healthcare in Greece has gone up. Since all of the money comes from the government, any increase in cost has to be matched with more tax revenue or bonds.

                1. *Avoiding bankruptcy ain’t cheap.

                  No, it most certainly isn’t.

                  *So? All of the effects were brief and immediate?
                  It is also possible (in fact, quite probable) that, due to various and sundry factors, the aggregate cost of national healthcare in Greece has gone up. Since all of the money comes from the government, any increase in cost has to be matched with more tax revenue or bonds.

                  No, although I see little if any abnormalities in the amount of GDP spent on healthcare. Greece is at the middle of the pack in terms of OECD aggregate healthcare costs, although costs have increased by about 1.8% of GDP since 2000 9.8%, still keeping Greece in the middle of the OECD group. Plus public spending is at 70%, so public expenditures are only around 6.9% of GDP. However, this pales to America’s exorbitant 17.1%, with public spending accounting for nearly half (or roughly 8.1%).

                  1. However, this pales to America’s exorbitant 17.1%, with public spending accounting for nearly half (or roughly 8.1%).

                    And our debt-to-GDP continues to climb, as well…

              2. Right. Economics is funny – ain’t it? Pretty soon you’ll see American interest on the debt greater than the amount to pay social security and medicare.

                If you can’t afford to pay your interest, what makes you think you’re wealthy enough to pay for your health care costs?

          2. Their debt-to-GDP ratio is 175%, did they spend all that money on olives and feta?

            1. The debt-to-GDP ratio has increased by over 55% from 2008 to 2013, mainly because their GDP has contracted by 46%. So most of that debt was caused by basic arithmetic: a (roughly stable) numerator divided by an ever-shrinking denominator. In absolute terms, the Greek national debt has increased by about 80 billion euros, or about 25%.

              So most of their (recent) debt was caused by a contracting economy, while the rest was caused by persistent deficits that no bearable amount of austerity could eliminate.

              1. So, in other words, they took on debt to keep their spending levels at unsustainable levels.

                Which is exactly what you claimed wasn’t true.

                If their GDP contracted by 46%, then presumably the government’s revenue contracted by a similar proportion, and so spending should have contracted by a similar proportion.

                This isn’t rocket science. If you make less money but spend the same then the debt you incur is subsidizing your spending choices.

                1. *If their GDP contracted by 46%, then presumably the government’s revenue contracted by a similar proportion, and so spending should have contracted by a similar proportion.

                  You fail to see that their GDP contracted BECAUSE of the spending cuts. So more spending cuts will lead to more contraction, which will necessitate MORE spending cuts, and so on. It’s a perpetual cycle of austerity (or pseudo-austerity, if that will make you feel better) and economic contraction, one that produces no meaningful deficit reduction but exacts a tremendously brutal price from the Greek people.

                  *This isn’t rocket science. If you make less money but spend the same then the debt you incur is subsidizing your spending choices.

                  It isn’t rocket science for an individual. They have a miniscule influence on the economy as a whole. So they can (painfully) balance their budgets in tough times. Governments, on the other hand, have a significant impact on the economy via tax and spending policy. When the government cuts its budget, the economy usually contracts as a result (or suffers a decrease in growth) unless the government prints money to offset the painful symptoms of deficit reduction. So the rules for governments are somewhat different when it comes to fiscal policy.

                  1. “You fail to see that their GDP contracted BECAUSE of the spending cuts. “

                    No, you’re just insist that spending should never be cut because for you somehow its by definition good when Government spends money.

                    In a sane fiscal world, every dollar Greece spends would come from the Greek economy. So every dollar Greece doesn’t tax and spend would be money remaining in the real economy. And concurrent reduction in Government spending would open up labor for productive sectors, and create opportunity for private business to serve whatever demand that State Service had formerly provided (*assuming it was needed in the first place – which often it is not – the amount of mere corrupt handouts is significant)

                    Reducing the footprint of government spending in an economy does not create some permanent vacuum. It allows real money flow to go where its needed rather than to bureaucrats and cronies.

                  2. Fuck off Tulpa,,,lying sack of shit , economic illiterate , yup, shows his idiocy, yup.

                    Tulpa in all his glory, well done dipshit.

                  3. You fail to see that their GDP contracted BECAUSE of the spending cuts.

                    Government spending accounts for about 50% of Greece’s GDP. In order for the 46% decline in GDP to come from government spending cuts alone, the government would have had to cut its spending by 92%. That did not happen. Although I can’t find clear numbers, it looks like government spending in Greece declined by about 25% nominally (it has not gone down in inflation-adjusted numbers, however).

                    Given a 46% decline in GDP and a 25% decline in government spending, then the non-government portions of GDP (i.e. what taxes are paid with) must have declined by 67%. So the government cut spending by a fraction of the loss in revenue. The difference was made up with debt.

                    Voila, you have been disproven.

                    1. I will concede that spending cuts were not the sole cause of the contraction in GDP (although your assumption is predicated on the nonexistence of a spending multiplier, which belies modern economic thought). Odds are that a significant part of the declines in growth are due declining capital inflows from net exporters like Germany (i.e. the bubble having burst).

                      Nevertheless, you haven’t disproven my main point, which is that Greek spending cuts lead to declines in non-government GDP. Which requires more spending cuts, more declines in non-public GDP, and so on and so forth. You’ve just illustrated the chain of events (without explaining the reason behind the massive decline in GDP), which I argue will continue unless the austerity (or “structural adjustment) ends and the Greek debt is restructured, something that the IMF itself conceded awhile back…

                    2. although your assumption is predicated on the nonexistence of a spending multiplier, which belies modern economic thought

                      My assumption is predicated on actual measurables, not fairy tales.

                      Nevertheless, you haven’t disproven my main point, which is that Greek spending cuts lead to declines in non-government GDP.

                      GDP and accordingly revenue started declining before government spending was cut. That is how they accrued all this debt in the first place. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt in understanding the concepts at play here.

                    3. Lest you continue in this quixotic crusade to claim debt accrued to maintain high spending levels is anything but, here are some of Greece’s financials over the past few years according to the IMF (in billions of euros):

                      Year / Nominal GDP / Govt Revenue / Govt Spending
                      2006 / 218 / 84 / 98
                      2007 / 233 / 93 / 109
                      2008 / 242 / 98 / 122
                      2009 / 237 / 92 / 128
                      2010 / 226 / 93 / 117
                      2011 / 208 / 91 / 112
                      2012 / 194 / 87 / 99
                      2013 / 182 / 82 / 87

                      Note how the government spending increased in 2009 but GDP and revenue decreased? That is what we call an “inconvenient truth” to your argument.

                  4. You really don’t get it, do you? You borrow on your credit card to supplement your income and you may feel really, really wealthy. In fact, you couldn’t afford to buy all of those clothes and that new car if you didn’t use consumer credit.

                    So your wealth is an illusion. Just like Greek’s GDP – an illusion.

              2. Gee. Too fucking bad. They fucked up and now they will never get out. Ever.

                What’s that splendid German word again . . . schadenfreude. Yep, schadenfreude.

                I love me some schadenfreude.

                1. Gee, I’d hate to be hanging off the cliff with you as my only savior…

                  1. I guess you should avoid falling off a cliff then. See how incentives work?

                  2. You’d wouldn’t be hanging off the cliff for long. I’d even videotape your descend and post it on YouTube.

          3. What? They’ve been getting money for years. Are you retarded?

      3. Doesn’t Greece have very low productivity? They might have long hours but how much work do they actually do?

        1. You actually think productivity should determine how much workers get paid?!! You reactionary dumbass. I bet you read Human Events.

      4. They asked for it and they are going to get. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

      5. I imagine that it would, since such societies hate the sort of labor-saving elements–like trade and technological innovation–that make free-market economies wealthy enough to allow people to enjoy increased amounts of leisure time.

        1. And take a vacation to Greece, maybe . . . .

      6. Of course they have a longer work week, they’re on average less skilled workers.

        And are you familiar with their retirement age? Their pensions? The sheer number of arbitrary jobs provided by the government in that country? Free shit indeed. If I pay someone to dig holes in my backyard, sure they’re working for it, but it’s still free in the sense that I’m not getting anything for the ditch-digging; the ‘work’ is just to keep up appearances; the pay may as well be charity.

    3. Frankie, you misunderstand the issue. There’s just wasn’t enough free shit. If there were more free shit, there wouldn’t be a problem.

      See? It’s actually quite simple.

  11. Instead of voting for limited austerity and continued borrowing, the Greeks effectively voted for going full austerity and no borrowing, since it is likely that the consequence of this vote is that Greece will be in default, won’t be able to borrow anymore, and will hence have to stop spending altogether.

    1. The response of the Greeks to this is going to be one of the most epic cases of cognitive dissonance in the history of logic:

      Before: it’s the lenders’ fault for making stupid loans to us that they knew we wouldn’t be able to pay off, they deserve to take the loss.

      Now: the lenders are cruel and inhuman for refusing to give us loans and ‘forcing’ this austerity on us.

  12. German money we want, German money we want, ooh-ooh-ooh!

  13. Huh. Democracy *is* a suicide pact after all.

  14. They just need a few more years to work out the kinks in using democracy to solve issues.

    1. EU Banker: “You ‘re saying you won’t pay? This is madness!”

      1. THIS! IS! FREE SHIT!

        1. We want it free and we want it now.

    2. Next I here they’re going to hold a referendum on whether on whether their debt exists, or is not just a figment of the Germans’ imagination.

      After that they are going to hold a referendum on whether human shit is in fact chocolate fudge. If yeses win, Greek democracy will have effectively solved the problem of world hunger!

      1. Soylent Brown.

  15. Greek Yutes voted 2 to 1 for no.

  16. Greek economy: into the woodchipper it goes.

    1. Racist !

  17. So what do the anti-austerians want? Keynesian “stimulus”, nationalization of industries or full communism?

      1. That was the PM’s game plan all along

        1. Haha, I think I you give Tsipras too much credit for thinking he’s capable of coming up with a game plan.

          1. I believe Paul Krugman is the evil puppeteer pulling the PM’s strings.

    1. The Greeks, being good socialists, thought they were voting against Austrians. Paul Krugman told them so; Austrian economics was BAD and to vote against more Austrians.

      So, they did.

      1. So instead they voted for Kenyans, because Kenyans are good, they always win the Olympics.

        1. You be clever 🙂

    2. Higher taxes to support existing social and welfare programs, to be paid by magical leprechauns since the average Greek voter sure as shit isn’t going to stop evading them.

      1. to be paid by magical leprechauns since the average Greek voter sure as shit isn’t going to stop evading them

        If only cognitive dissonance could be used to generate electricity!

  18. I blame global warming..

  19. So is the EU fucked? Whatever happens now their credibility is wrecked. Interestingly enough the British Euroskeptics are rather pro-Greece in this affair.

    1. Any thing to poke the EU in the eye, I guess.

  20. The comments here are fucking retarded.

    1. The comments here are fucking witty and insightful.

      1. Not on this subject. They. are. fucking. retarded.

        1. Fuck you then, retard. Fuck you hard.

          1. What a witty and insightful comment.

            1. Fuck you Greek style.

              Better? Better!

        2. What specifically do you take issue with?

          Greece and the banks that lent to them should BOTH burn for their stupidity. What is your issue?

          1. There’s a very basic ignorance about how the debt came to be created, who benefits from that debt, where that debt now lives, and how to deal with an over indebted country/people/community.

            The Greeks are, not doubt, irresponsible assholes, but so is the entire EU. The Europeans are willing to burn Greece to the ground rather than come to terms with their own fuck ups.

            The Greek ‘no’ vote victory was the right vote. The extend and pretend status quo prevents any solution.

            1. Oh, the solution is blindingly obvious. Bankruptcy is the solution in a normal world. Creditors who would take a haircut, debt would be re-structured, and the Greeks would lose access to credit markets for awhile would pay very high rates. The Europeans are preventing that process.

              1. Don’t the Greeks want another bailout though?

                1. Don’t the Greeks want another bailout though?

                  The Greeks want a true debt restructuring. Their Minister of Finance, Varoufakis, has repeatedly stated this desire.

                  A true restructuring would require the bonds owned by EU institutions take haircuts in value. The EU won’t allow this under any circumstance because of the possible knock on effect of other overly indebted countries like Spain and Italy requesting the same treatment.

                  1. And if the EU says “no”, what then? More whining?

                  2. Which is another way to say they want debt forgiveness… and then another bailout.

                    Let’s not kid ourselves; any debt ‘restructuring’, to the Greek government, is just a means to open a new credit line and get even more borrowed money with which to ‘stimulate’ the economy.

                    The unavoidable fact is that there is not point in giving the Greeks another cent unless they massively cut spending and raise revenue. Even during the ‘good years’ during the debt-financed boom before the financial crisis,Greece was still running a deficit, so without massive reforms (you know, like the ones the Greeks just categorically rejected), there is no reason to believe that even in a properly ‘stimulated’ economy, Greece as it is now would still not be able to keep a handle on its debt.

                    What should have happened, imo: the EU never should have bailed out the private banks that owed Greece money, nor should they have offered Greece a penny; they should have (or should still) amend the EU’s rules to allow Greece to leave the Eurozone without leaving the EU so they can get their own currency and inflate their way out of their debt, which I guess is somewhat preferable to just defaulting on all of it.

              2. Agreed.

                There is another way of looking at the situation which completely changes the dynamic.

                It is that the loans to Greece were bribes of welfare, for that country to join the Euro union, made by bureaucrats and politicians with a bad case of deal fever. Everyone at the time knew that Greece was a fiscal basket case with no reason to join the Euro – on either side of the deal – beyond the vision of Bruselcrats pushing it. Pretending that they had got their act together and then immediately offering them favorable terms on bonds – that were clearly going to be used to fund welfare and corruption; was delusional hubris.

                1. While the banks should have suffered themselves (the governments shouldn’t have bailed them out), that ship has sailed; this does not, however, mean that the Greeks themselves do not deserve to suffer still.

                  I meant hey voted for these fucking governments, they tolerated the corruption and the profligacy for decades. Ergo they are entitled to absolutely nothing, not from the EU or from anyone.

              3. Bankruptcy, like vomiting is always delayed and avoided. But once one throws up, one feels ever sooooo much better.

            2. Oh, I think the Germans will happily throw Greece overboard than ask their own taxpayers for more money to support Greece.

              Politicians are self-serving. And Greece will be cut off as a warning to others.

              1. Don’t count on it. the Germans want to keep the Euro together because it functionally devalues their currency and subsidizes their export industries.

                Where the Euro to collapse are greatly shrink, the value of the German Mark (or a Germany dominated Euro) would rise dramatically.

                They may well see a few tens of billions of QE to bail out Greece, as an acceptable price to pay to keep Greece in and the Euro going.

                1. German taxpayers have had it with Greek non-taxpayers.

                  What German politician is going to fall on their sword for ungrateful whiners? Name names.

                2. Greece leaving the Eurozone wouldn’t cause it to fall apart; if anything Greece staying in the Eurozone and collecting a nice bailout could eventually cause it to fall apart, as the Italians, Spanish, Irish, and Portuguese would never again want to accept austerity as a condition for a bailout, knowing that all they have to do is bitch and moan and make threats like the Greeks did in order to get their debt largely forgiven. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, and the Greeks here are the eggs.

                  1. You nailed it.

            3. I have no problem with the entire EU collapsing over this either.

              If I must endure some short term pain to reaffirm the notion that socialism ALWAYS leads to destitution and collapse, so be it. Fuck everyone associated with it. My only pity is for those who were advocating fiscal responsibility and free markets, but were outvoted by the two wolves.

    2. ID815451 1m ago

      The whole point about this crisis is that the EU austerity measures always hit the poorest members in Greek society who did nothing to produce the debt the country owes to the EU. As ever, the elite groups who caused the problem have got their money safely out of the country already, and won’t be hit by austerity. This is why we stand together with the people of Greece – in the UK we don’t need the EU to impose austerity on the poorest members of society, we’ve got Osborne to do it for them. In cutting benefits, including in-work benefits for hard working families, the Conservatives are attacking the living standards of the poorest while ensuring that the richest get tax cuts. The class that caused our debt crisis are getting off scott-free just like their Greek equivalents.

      This commenter seems to have a pretty keen grasp of the situation..

      1. This is so ridiculously stupid that I scarcely know where to begin.

        First of all, if it weren’t for all of these fat cat elites paying taxes, then the gravy train would have come to a stop a long fucking time ago. The thanks people get for forking over millions of dollars/euros of their own money to help their fellow men (that’s what the government does, right?) is to be vilified and likely stolen from even more.

        Second, what has the government been spending money on? Tax cuts are not spending. I mean, sure, there’s bound to be graft (and lots of it), but all this “free healthcare” and “free education” and “in-work benefits” and whatever else costs money. The debt wasn’t accrued by magic; it took years of deficits to get where it is now. If all that just ended up in the pockets of a handful of people, what the fuck is wrong with 50%+1 of the voters that they didn’t do something about it?

        Finally, if you just look at individuals, the most over-leveraged are the poor. Their lifestyles for the past several decades have been funded in ever larger parts by the very system these individuals are castigating. It seems once again that “liberals” can’t help themselves but look down and sneer on the poor, who apparently can’t be trusted to make the right decisions.

      2. “the poorest members in Greek society who did nothing to produce the debt the country owes to the EU”

        I’m calling BS on that, unless poor people in Greece don’t get nationalized healthcare, pensions, easy loans, etc. And they’ve granted power to the elites that put the country in debt.

        The impoverished class lean left and do not believe in fiscal discipline, whether it’s their government or their own homes. That’s one of the reasons that keeps them poor. That, and Greece teeny little economy that ran by socialists.

  21. I’m teh disappoint I haven’t seen Richman or Dalibor Rohac write an article on Greece.

  22. Let’s play a game. It’s called Replace the Word ‘Banker’ with ‘Jew’, featuring Huffington Post comments


    DO NOT allow the banks Jews to disqualify your government. NOW the ECB International Jewry will reveal its cruelty by punishing the Greek people for not creating a pathway to a more BANK ZIONIST Friendly leadership. This is soooooo educational for us here in the States whose leaders just capitulated to the Banks Jews and enforced disastrous austerity measures that made poor people more poor and gave the poor people monies and futures to the wealthy Jews who have suffered instead the greatest gains for the wealthy Jews in history while calling for austerity from poor nations that were sold into bad loans they weren’t qualified for……sound familiar?


    Worldwide banks International Jewry are a scourge to the planet. Unfortunately they have control of media and other things so they keep us all distracted while they continue their plunder.


    Totally siding with Greece. Let’s say NO to the dictatorship of the Banks Jews and YES to a new Europe Deutschland uniting its peoples.

    Isn’t it something how anti-capitalist garbage is indistinguishable from Nazi propaganda?

    1. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

      The banks don’t even own Greek debt anymore. The “banks” have no say in how this situations evolves.

      EU banks don’t own Greek debt. They don’t own Italian, Spanish or Portuguese debt either. Those bonds were “purchased” at full value by various EU institutions to shore up the health of these banks. They now exist as collateral on the EU balance sheets.

      1. Define: “various EU institutions”

        1. Private investors own about 12% of Greek debt. The ECB (European Central Bank) owns about 10%. The EFSF (European Financial Stability Fund) and the IMF owns about 70%. The rest is owned internally by the Greek government.

          The EFSF was created by fiat when the GFC began in Europe. It owns the bonds of all the over indebted countries. The EFSF is funded by the issuing bonds by the supporting countries which are all the countries of the EU. So, over indebted countries issued new bonds to purchase old bonds. Yeah, that’s so fucked up it’s beyond understanding.

          1. Gracias, LD.

    2. Isn’t it something how anti-capitalist garbage is indistinguishable from Nazi propaganda?

      Well Nazi propaganda did spew anti-capitalist garbage….

      1. Which progressive wrote:

        “Money has made slaves of us.” “Money is the curse of mankind. It smothers the seed of everything great and good. Every penny is sticky with sweat and blood.”


        “The worker in a capitalist state?and that is his deepest misfortune?is no longer a living human being, a creator, a maker. He has become a machine. A number, a cog in the machine without sense or understanding. He is alienated from what he produces.”

    3. Well, they were socialists.

    4. The Greece-sympathizers, if you take their attitude to its logical conclusion, basically want to outlaw ‘usury.’

      There is no convincing them that when two parties agree on the terms of a loan that one party is taking out form the other, that both parties are responsible for what happens thereafter. If the borrower fucks up (and Greece has fucked up beyond words), they are not being exploited by the lender in any way.

      The lenders should have taken a big loss too but that doesn’t change the fact that Greece’s woes are of their own making, Any Greek who is innocent in all this should aim their ire at their own government.

      1. Well if one were to believe this one might as well believe that student loan debt forgiveness is not a good thing!

        1. Why would any (much less “student”) debt ‘forgiveness*’ be a good thing?

          *i don’t like the term. When governments do it, they’re absolving debtors, but the creditors still need to be made whole. In the end they’re paid back with *someone else’s money* who wasn’t party to the deal in the first place. if creditors are not made whole, the effect is to quickly raise the costs of capital because now there is a massive risk premium. No one can be more than ‘sorta’ sure their return will even be in the expected ballpark. Capital then flies somewhere else where the risk-premium is better matched to potential return.

          The low rates of student loans are only possible because they tend to be guaranteed by the state/or 3rd parties. If the government changes its role from passive guarantor to actively paying for student education with taxpayer funds, the question would then be why there’s any pretense of a ‘market’ for these loans in the first place. At that point they should just nationalize universities and fund them directly. Which frankly is where a lot of lefties always want things to end up.

          1. I was being flippant. Obviously ‘forgiving’ student loans is a bad idea.

            I probably shouldn’t say ‘obviously’ since half my FB people think it’s a good idea. But here I take it as a given that agreements should be honored.

  23. I’ve seen plenty of comments in the Granudian about how Obama’s stimulus “succeeded” so austerity is bad.

  24. Greek voters get to decide whether they’ll accept austerity measures, but European voters get no say in whether they want to offer Greece another round of bailouts.

    1. Maybe they should.

    2. “Greek voters get to decide whether they’ll accept austerity measures,”

      True enough.
      I’m sure the result will be called “poverty” rather than “austerity”, but it’ll still be the Germans’ fault.

      1. You know what else was the Germans’ fault?

          1. Good Lord, that looks terrifying.

          2. That’s actually more horrifying than the Dosenfleisch which was one of the first foods I was subjected to when I lived there. Well done.

        1. The Volkswagen Jetta?

        2. Prince Albert in a can?

        3. Karsdorf?

        4. Martin Luther?

        5. Not bad beer. German lager is sublime. No one better criticize the beer.

          1. I’m not much of a beer guy but I luv Spaten lager. And pretty much every German beer.

            1. Bier!!!! And schnitzel. Yum.

              1. Germany is basically paradise for mean & potato lovers.

                1. Also, meat.

                  1. “Also, meat.”
                    As someone who searches for good beef, can’t say it was ‘one of the best’, but I can say it was very, very good.
                    A steak in the Marriot (I think) in Sindelfingen.

                2. When I visited my relatives in northern Germany a few years ago they took me to this small tavern which served delicious beer and great food. They had one dish I still remember as one of the most satisfying ever. It was an oblong bowl, lined with boiled potatoes on top of which was deposited all sort of meats – wursts of every kind, bacon, sausages, offal cuts. Then it was topped with lard and baked in the oven to temp. I met God on that day. The God of meat.

        6. The Christmas Tree

  25. Greece hasn’t been a country long enough to have learned how to handle this kind of thing. Give them a chance.

    1. How many times has Greece *not* been in a crisis since 1821?

      1. Never. There’s a reason why Greek drama and Greek tragedy are in our lexicon.

        And queue the Greek chorus . . .

  26. The Greek polity did the right thing with this vote, even if they are too stupid to realize it.

    The only chance that market reforms have of happening is via a major meltdown of the Greek economy that basically forces the government to do so.

    The status quo of a no vote would not have led to that outcome. Not that it’s guaranteed now either, odds are that Germany and Brussels prefer that status quo to Greece leaving the Euro and being forced to reforming.

    1. Are they legally able to leave the Euro without leaving the EU? I’ve head that they are not. Optimally someone in Brussels will just cross out that rule so they can just leave the Euro, but that hope relies on the notion of a Eurocrat actually doing something practical.

      1. I’m not sure what the currency treaty allows, but, obviously, some countries like the UK and Sweden are members of the EU but not in the Euro, and the Europeans break their own treaties all the time. Why not allow the Greeks their own currency but let them remain as members?

        1. “Sound as a pound” still actually means something, How would the EU even begin to put a value on the reemerging Drachma.. And which organizations would consider it a viable tender in inner European trade?

          1. Not at first

        2. Lady Dalrymple|7.5.15 @ 5:04PM|#
          “I’m not sure what the currency treaty allows, but, obviously, some countries like the UK and Sweden are members of the EU but not in the Euro, and the Europeans break their own treaties all the time. Why not allow the Greeks their own currency but let them remain as members?”

          The Greeks are claiming they not only desire to remain in the EU (and the Euro), but state that the EU cannot expel them, since the treaties have no provision for doing so.
          So they are betting that the treaties *as they exist* cannot be changed, which is a bad bet on their part, since (as you mention) the EU ignores parts of the treaties at its convenience. And then I can see no reason the other members (by far the majority) cannot modify the treaties. So, aside from the Greeks not liking it, I can’t see any legal reason they can’t.
          But it seems the Greeks are at least ‘unrealistic’ and for quite a while, the Drachma is likely to trade at Cuban Peso values. I’m not sure whether the EU (and Euro members) want to deal with a 3rd-world currency and its volatility as Tsipras throws his tantrums.

        3. Yes, but it may be that once one enters into the Euro, there’s no getting out. Which may explain why the British are hesitant to join that club.

          And I guess I can see some sort of reasoning: one wouldn’t want countries just coming and going into the currency as they please. But I did read somewhere that this was part of the issue, being one of the bigger political implication of going back to their own currency.

  27. As a culture they have not had the time to acclimate to what democracy is and how to work with it.

  28. Some additional details:
    1) Tsipras pissed off his negotiating counterparts more than a week ago, seemingly by pulling Bo-quality sophistry out of his hat, to the extent that one negotiator said she would not return until the Greeks sent adults.
    2) After the talks collapsed, the Greeks entered default by missing a huge payment and by the terms of the various agreements, that seems to void the lot.
    3) Tsipras then organized the ego-sop vote, presuming it would trigger the fear of a contagation within the Euro partners, and the market responded: The DAX (presumably the most at-risk) closed Friday down a laughable 1/3 of one percent; either Tsipras then knew he had no leverage and continued anyhow, or hoped no one would notice and kept up anyhow.
    4) Tsipras *promised* that a “no” vote would mean a new bail-out agreement in 24 hours; I guess he’s hoping the janitors in Brussels can act in the stead of the individual countries that the Greeks now have to persuade to help; there are no existing or contemplated agreements, except in his imagination.

    1. Cont’d
      5) Despite headlines that the Eurocrats are ‘scrambling’ to do something, Merkel is planning a dinner meeting with Hollande for Monday to discuss mutual response to the Greek vote, some time *after* Tsipras claims he will have a new agreement in hand. I’ll bet the conversation holds more concern with the quality of the wine than concerns about Tsipras promises.
      5) What seem to be Greek commenters on various boards are strutting about claiming a huge “WIN” which will “force the banksters” back to the bargaining table, I presume under the threat the if they don’t, the Greeks will hold their breath. I’d hope this was the lunatic fringe, but 60% of the Greeks voted for this nonsense.
      6) The Greek banks have been cut off from any additional funds by the ECB since the default voids other agreements; They have been handing out meager amounts and reports are now suggesting there ain’t no more. I’m sure the Greeks have rat-holed money, since a good bit of the economy is off the books, but can that be used to, say import fuel?

      1. Wow. You are the smartest guy I have ever read.

        I’d say “kudos to you, sir” but I am boycotting Greek words until the baklava arrives.

        1. (scraping ground with toe of shoe)
          Aw, shucks, Twern’t nothin’…

        2. Baklava is Turkish though.

          1. Nope. Lebanese. Baklawa, however (no “v” in Arabic)

      2. BTW:
        “Greece Considers IOU Currency after NO to EU Demands: Reports”
        “The decision will take place tonight, at an emergency meeting the finance minister is holding with the private banks and the governor of the Greek central bank, Yannis Stournaras.
        The cash reserves of Greece’s four big banks are lasting only until tomorrow, according to Louka Katseli, head of the Hellenic Bank Association, who said ATM machines will run out of money within hours after the vote.”…..5lBzA.dpuf

        So the Greeks are going to have to being the goat so the landlord can figure how much they slice off for the rent.
        Smart folks, those Greeks, telling it to the “banksters” like that!

        1. I’ve come across the IOU currency proposition. Basically it would be a new currency. in which case they may as well just go on their own currency and abandon the formalities.

          If we give the Greeks the benefit of the doubt, we could speculate that the 60% who voted no aren’t a bunch of lunatics who actually think the EU is going to just give in after all this, and that they actually view a ‘no’ vote as implicitly a vote to leave the Eurozone once the EU rejects any further negotiations and the government makes the necessary arrangements. But somehow, I don’t think the average Greek voter has that much foresight. If they did they wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.

    2. “”the ego-sop vote””


      You have to admit, the ‘ad-hoc referendum’ is a pretty cute political cover for “failing to actually do your job” as an already-elected official.

      If a majority vote wasn’t sufficient to solve the country’s fiscal mess when they elected the socialist govt, then another majority vote isn’t going to accomplish anything

      all it does is give the politicians the claim that their failure to negotiate was the ‘people’s will’. Any future blame for resultant mess can be passed onto the people rather than these buffoons who are supposed to be navigating a path away from disaster.

      1. “You have to admit, the ‘ad-hoc referendum’ is a pretty cute political cover for “failing to actually do your job” as an already-elected official.”

        If I were Greek, I’d be insulted at the transparent attempt to direct attention away from the failures of that lefty twit.
        I make the comparison to Bo above for good reason; they are both insulting in the presumptions that others are dumb enough not to notice that sleight-of-hand.

    3. Bo-quality? Methinks he far surpassed that standard and well into Tony-quality drivel.

  29. Carlos Danger is eating my hair!!

    1. Weiner Weiner Follicle Dinner?

      1. My tom cat is named Carlos Danger

  30. The Euro never made any sense at all. You can’t have a viable monetary union without a fiscal union. If some governments sharing the same currency are free-spending while others are frugal, you will inevitably end up exactly where Greece and the Eurozone are now.

    1. “The Euro never made any sense at all.”

      the great irony of the 20th century was that the Germans were constantly trying to conquer the rest of the continent, only to have it handed to them as soon as they didn’t want it anymore.

      1. +1 epic post spot on

      2. Not so sure they “didn’t want it anymore”.

        A fair case can be made that this was simply their third attempt at European hegemony, except that this time, the French were on their side, the value of an Italian alliance proving inconclusive.

        If WW1 was a bar fight

    2. Oh, those smart bureaucrats from Brussels . . .

  31. Well, I dissent. What is being called an “EU Bailout of Greece” is just EU taxpayer money being handed over to EU banks who own the Greek debt, with maybe some of the top brass of the Greek kleptocracy taking their cut.

    I don’t see how a libertarian supports the YES side of this situation. There should be no such facility that can tap taxpayer money and shove it at whatever debt situations it chooses to interfere with. Inevitably regulatory capture happens quickly and these facilities serve the aristocracy of pull. The Greeks have a moral hazard issue here, but it is nothing compared to the moral hazard issue with BB banks who can collect potentially unlimited taxpayer money under the guise of “interest paid on Greek obligations” that are in fact paid for through an ECB/IMF bailout. The banks have no interest in seeing that stop, it is a gold mine.

    Maybe the “no” vote is a childish vote for free stuff. It’s also the vote of choice for anyone who sees this as a total scam that redistributes wealth from taxpayers to the European equivalent of the Wall Street-Washington axis, and thinks Greece and EU taxpayers alike would be better off if it all just stopped.

    1. Uh, MPG, check Lady Dalrymple post above.

      1. Ah. Well I haven’t been keeping up then, this did not used to be the case. I do appear to be completely right about the taxpayer exposure however.

    2. The article was clear that a “real solution” was never on the table

      it wasn’t endorsing “yes” other than to point out that it was more likely to lead to some kind of structural reform… maybe.

      1. I wasn’t really dissenting from the article. Just the commentariat suggesting that this all came about because Greeks are lazy and greedy. Maybe they are. But I see the moral hazard as mostly emanating from elsewhere.

        1. Moral hazard? Nope. The Greeks still demand Euro membership but refuse to honor Euro rules.

          Unhinged selfishness is what it is.

        2. Except that Greeks are lazy and greedy.

    3. You are misguided if you think “no” was a vote for choice. It was a two-year old’s meltdown in front of Toys-Are-Us.

      A vote for choice is knowing the consequences and accepting them.

      The Greeks don’t like the Euros terms but still demand Euro membership. That isn’t choice – that’s being a brat.

  32. Who said it?

    “We have just witnessed Greece stand up to a truly vile campaign of bullying and intimidation, an attempt to scare the Greek public, not just into accepting creditor demands, but into getting rid of their government. It was a shameful moment in modern European history, and would have set a truly ugly precedent if it had succeeded.”

    1. Ron Paul? Paul Craig Roberts? Ambrose Evans Pritchard?

    2. A bully thinks he is being bullied by you when you refuse to give him your lunch money.

    3. Ah, It’s Paul Krugman.

      1. Wow, I thought you were kidding. I was sure it was Tsipras or the Greek fiannce minister. Never thought Krugman was that maniacal. He sounds like a bona fide socialist revolutionary (and a Greek nationalist to boot).

        I am genuinely surprised. To think Krugman used to be half sane a long time. Then again, maybe his wife writes his blog for him and this is just her opinion.

  33. But There Was No Good Outcome in This Referendum

    Looks pretty accurate. Yes=Status Quo of bailouts to protect the EU from their idiocy. No=More Free Shit! with the possibility of more bailouts or Greece having free market reforms in a few decades.

  34. The people who write for that Rational Wiki website are the smuggest pseudointellectuals on the planet.

    Regarding smoking:

    “Unsurprisingly, users see smoking as a relaxing and deliciously addictive pastime. Most nicotine addicts claim to be aware of the health risks posed by smoking, but aren’t really worried until they approach 50, or until they get cancer[16] – whichever comes first. Other favored arguments by proponents are personal freedom (of the tobacco industry to make money) or the “Ah, but X is worse” fallacy.

    Logic doesn’t work here. Either they’re addicted and know the dangers, they’re addicted and in denial or they’re in the business and want to keep the money rolling in.”

    Or, like me, they smoke cigars at bachelor parties and maybe have 2 cigarettes a month and are not addicted in any sense of the term. I also like that they say smokers ‘claim’ to be aware of the health risks and that bizarre whine about how tobacco companies make money therefore FREEDOM IS EVIL.

    I get the sense that no one who writes for Rational Wiki has many friends.

    1. What is “Theoretical Bi” referring too?

      1. A conversation we had about polygamy the other day. Can’t find the link right now.

      2. I believe he’s thinking about purchasing a new bumper sticker.

        I kid because I love. 😉

    2. Oh man, their article on authoritarianism is even more comically self-serving:

      “On a site such as this, which is run as a mobocracy – that is, pretty much an anarcho-syndicalist arrangement – the authoritarian finds themselves lost, as we care more about the spirit of our “rules” than strict adherence to them.”

      Look at us! We’re so rebellious and anti-authoritarian!

      “At least in the United States and Canada, authoritarianism correlates clearly with party affiliation, with wingnut politicians and their followers tending to be more authoritarian.[6]”

      Yes, only right-wingers are authoritarian. Leftists are totally opposed to overwhelming government control.

      Notably, there is no actual cite proving right-wingers are more authoritarian – their “citation” links to another page of their own website about social conservatism which also contains no citations proving this claim. Because that’s how pro-science skeptics operate – make wild claims without bothering to provide evidence.

      1. Didn’t Derptologist do an entire series on RationalWiki last summer?

        It was a bottomless pit of lefty smug



          “James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr. was the 39th President of the United States. A moderate Democrat who accomplished some now-ignored reforms, Carter’s presidency was plagued by events largely outside of his control. He remains the Republicans’ strawman of the “failed left,” and is used in hostile comparisons to Barack Obama.”

          “Thanks to major war debts left by Richard Nixon and the growing effects of the formation of OPEC (mostly, their oil embargo leading to a sharp uptick in prices), the Carter presidency was marked by an economic downturn. For this reason he was not reelected in 1980 ? although the Iran hostage crisis may have contributed hugely. Carter gave a famous speech in July 1979 about a “crisis of confidence” during the height of the 1979 energy crisis and “stagflation” (inflation combined with lagging economic growth), which became known as his “malaise” speech (even though he never used the word). This appeal to pessimism may also have contributed to his defeat. Though he is often accused today of having high deficits, in reality he had a much better record on the debt than his successor.[3]”

          I like that the war debts were Nixon’s fault, rather than LBJ WHO ACTUALLY STARTED THE WAR.

          1. Compare with Reagan:


            “If you want to know how the United States transformed into an international laughingstock in the course of 30 years, here’s a pretty good place to start.”

            “He saw it perfectly acceptable to support a plethora of bloodthirsty, murdering dictators and terrorists, so long as they were fighting his childish vendetta against those evil commies.[22] This involved playing pals with Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Saddam Hussein in Iraq (against Iran… the irony, it burns), Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Jonas Savimbi in Angola, Efra?n R?os Montt in Guatemala, and the junta in El Salvador.[23] And he also authorized billions in cash and weapons in Afghanistan which got picked up by a fellow known to be the son of a man named Laden.
            His bloodlust led to the budget cutting of non-military programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, federal education programs, and the EPA. While he protected entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, his administration attempted to purge many people with disabilities from the Social Security disability rolls, which is effectively a cut as well.

            Murder ? it has many faces, and is most ugly when its face is power.”

            I can’t stop laughing. Any budget cuts to the EPA stem from ‘bloodlust.’ Okay.

            1. BATTLE OF THE PEDIAS

              “RationalWiki is a wiki created in response to Conservapedia. It is based on MediaWiki, like Metapedia.

              Since liberals already control the contents of Wikipedia there is little need for RationalWiki to restate the liberal arguments since they are already stated in Wikipedia. Instead, RationalWiki is characterized by attempted sarcasm against opponents (in particular against Conservapedia) and liberal community building.

              The site portrays itself as being “rational” and opposed to “pseudoscience” and “denialism” yet it often promotes exactly this such as by promoting irrational genetics denialism and race denialism…

              The site is anti-Christian and has many articles dedicated to criticizing Christianity. There are also some criticisms against Islam. However, there are almost no criticisms against Judaism. Instead, the article on the Talmud warns against criticisms. This is part of a more general pattern of a strong pro-Jewish bias. …Any form of criticism against Jews or Jewish influence is generally dismissed as anti-rational antisemitism and conspiracy theories. This bias may in part be caused by Jewish hasbara editors. “

              Metapedia = when you need a racist spin instead of just conserative and liberal glosses on facts.

              1. So, my guess is people, literally, go to these sites to jerk off, right? I can’t imagine any reason to go to a ‘pedia’ other than to unzip and wank it while reading an article that sucks the metaphorical penis of your worst preconceptions until you get a nice big ideological rage boner. I would, in all serious, categorize these as a form of porn.

                Sheesh, kids these days. I mean, I’ll admit, I’ll to a wiki to find something out. Like if i want to know who some new character on Game of Thrones is, I’ll look it up on game of thrones wikia, sure. But this stuff? Call me old fashioned, but if I wanna jerk off, I prefer to just watch some tried and true Brazilian fart porn.

    3. Well that site exists for the sole purpose of giving psychological handjobs to leftist totalitarians so hardly surprising.

      It’s amusing that they don’t even put personal freedom in scare quotes or anything. In and of itself bothersome. they are genuinely and unabashedly anti-individual freedom.

      1. “Che Guevara makes a convenient folk hero for those who have not looked very closely into his actual philosophy, which was repressive and authoritarian. Like his friend Fidel Castro, he was a right-winger disguised as a communist.”Roger Ebert

        Because communisn was NEVER repressive and authoritarian…(stomps foot)

  35. Foolish mammals, now hurry up and top off my Presidente. And then commence the scale polishing. AND ADJUST MY DAMN BEACH UMBRELLA!

    1. Keep a civil tongue, fly-breath!

  36. Aside from the excellent “working longer is not necessarily working smarter or high quality work” and “efficiency results in more leisure time” points, the Greeks retire at age 61 and the Germans at age 67,…..s_pensions , a difference of 6 years.

    Keep in mind also that worked hours has little to do with value of products created: the world loves to buy Mercedes and BMW luxury cars, but I don’t think anyone outside of Greece can name a Greek luxury car brand, if one exists. You can put in 40 hours towards building a Mercedes or 60 hours towards a Greek brand–which is worth more?

    1. That is a serious problem in all of Southern Europe – they really don’t produce much of value. The fact that Greece’s economy is 16% tourism is a great example of what’s wrong with the country.

      1. After tourism, one of the next-largest sectors is Tobacco/Alcohol

        Basically, a large segment of the country sits around drinking and smoking and occasionally selling crap to tourists. When they feel like it.

        My first impression of Mediterranean countries was when i asked someone in Italy why a store was closed at 10AM despite the posted hours saying it was supposed to be open (I needed film for my camera).

        He looked at me like i was crazy. he yelled at someone across the street who was drinking in a cafe. they yelled back. then he said i should try back in an hour or two. I eventually bought some film from the drinker around 3pm. he said mornings weren’t the best time to do stuff. As though it was an inappropriate tourist imposition, like wearing your hat in church.

        1. Tourism and alcohol. You’d be surprised how much of the Scottish economy that is.

          And to think MRI and ultrasound were invented here.

          1. Ultrasonic energy was first applied to the human body for medical purposes by Dr George Ludwig at the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland in the late 1940s. English-born physicist John Wild first used ultrasound to assess the thickness of bowel tissue as early as 1949; he has been described as the “father of medical ultrasound”. Subsequent advances in the field took place concurrently in several countries.

            Paul Christian Lauterbur (May 6, 1929 ? March 27, 2007) was an American chemist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2003 with Peter Mansfield for his work which made the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) possible

            Lauterbur was a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1963 until 1985 where he conducted his research for the development of the MRI.

            During the 1970s a team led by Scottish professor John Mallard built the first full body MRI scanner at the University of Aberdeen.

            1. IIRC, first MRI image for medical diagnosis was Mansfield in Aberdeen, first ultrasound image for medical diagnosis was Ian Donald at Glasgow university.

              Obviously all these inventions involve many people and centres, not to mention NMR and noninvasive imaging research before these events.

    2. Often, number of hours worked correlates negatively with how skilled the workers are. I’m sure plenty of factory workers work longer hours than the average computer scientist, but the latter produces more; in fact, their ability to produce goods/services of greater value is largely why they get more free time.

  37. Also aren’t we ignoring the fact that the referendum was for a deal that isn’t even on the table and that Greeks probably don’t understand?

  38. Yeah, if you think about it, the Greek tourism industry can basically be summed up as: “We manufactured ONE ‘The Acropolis of Athens’ over 2000 years ago, and we’ve been milking it ever since.” They really have got to get their export sector working if they ever hope to rise again; tourism isn’t enough.

  39. No government has ever reduced any expensive program unless forced to. If Greece is lucky the EU may be able to provide gentle force but usually it takes pitchforks. This is proving the remarks of deToqueville. “A democracy can only last until the people can vote themselves benefits”. You would have thought that the birthplace of democracy would have learned something in the last couple thousand years.

    Apparently politicians generally are not capable of learning from either experience or education. We, the producers, must teach them.

  40. “Free markets weren’t on the ballot”

    Markets don’t need a ballot. Go ask Gorbachev if markets need a ballot.

    Markets are what’s punishing the Greeks for the poor choices of their politicians.

    We should just look at more than just the market for Euro denominated bonds or Greek debt, too.

    The Greeks are begging other countries for money because the markets–in their remarkable wisdom–would never lend the Greeks the amount of money they’re asking for at an interest rate the Greeks can pay.

    When the Greek people realize that neither other governments nor the markets can save them from the consequences of their own poor choices, then they’ll take the necessary steps to right their ship again. That should be encouraging to free market libertarians. Eventually, the United States will take the necessary steps to right its budget, too. The only question is whether we do it now, when we can make some choices about what to cut, or wait until our backs are against the wall like the Greeks–and have no choice.

  41. Greece’s economy has been horribly mismanaged since the military junta fell in the 1970s, and likely well before then. When the 2009 global recession hit, its only sources of economic activity were tourism and shipping. Is it any surprise it completely collapsed and hasn’t been able to recover? Ireland, Portugal and Italy had more diversified economies.

    The EU’s mandates I don’t believe have been in good faith. The EU’s economic leaders don’t give a crap about the health of Greece’s economy — since the EU is not a political nor fiscal union — and it was in their economic self-interest to put Greece into a depression. As long as Greece was economically weak, that would drag down the euro (even if just by a little), making German/French products more competitive internationally and allowing them to recover more quickly from their own recessions.

    1. I don’t remember Greece being forced into the Euro.

    2. ‘EU mandates weren’t negotiated in “good faith”.’

      Sure they were. The Greeks have mistakenly swallowed their Socialist leaders poison.

      Calling Germans “Nazis” and Europeans “terrorists” does not endear you to your negotiating partners. It is childish emoting. It is suicide, Jim Jones-style.

    3. Why should the EU leaders care about Greece’s economy? 11 million people – stupid, cry-babies, all.

      If the Greeks get no respect, it’s because they don’t deserve respect.

    4. Boo hooo hooo. My name is Greece and no one cares about me. Boo hoo hoo.

  42. They’re going to have to minimize the size of their government. Cut all non-essential services. Lay off all non-essential government workers.

    They’re going to have to start relying on entrepreneurs to supply medical services and education.

    They’re going to have to get rid of all kinds of red tape and regulation, not just to attract businesses to hire all those unemployed people–but also because they’re not going to be able to afford to pay government employees to regulate all that stuff anymore.

    That’s what they’re trying to avoid having to do.

    I feel sorry for people on pensions who have been robbed to finance a system that wasn’t there when they needed it, but the solution to a ponzi scam after it has burst is not to keep the ponzi scam up and running–and taking in new suckers.

    If they had made the decisions they should have made back when this stuff blew up seven years ago, they might be seeing daylight by now. Right now, they may not have even really gotten their noses into the tunnel.

    1. What do you think the chances are that any of that will happen? Look at Venezuela. They have run out of freakin’ water and they still won’t do what needs to be done.

      I used to feed the squirrels pecans at my mother’s house. When they figured out I was showing up around the same time every day they would be there waiting for me. If I showed up at an odd time, they recognized my jeep and would come running before I could park. After a while they lost all fear of me and would eat out of my hands. Then I noticed that they would follow me nearly into the house when I would go in for the pecans. When they started climbing on the door and walking into the house when I would open it I thought maybe I should dial things back a bit. Scaling back caused them to become very aggressive towards me. I quit putting out pecans for them when one jumped on me. I had to take measures then to reestablish their fear of me.

      The situations in Greece and Venezuela will get worse before it gets better.

      1. The choices are over for Greece.

        It was like that when the USSR blew up. Old people don’t get their checks anymore. The cops don’t get paid.

        No choices to make anymore.

        It’ll be that way when our debt blows up big, and we can’t afford the interest bond buyers demand.

        The reason to cut our budget now is so we can avoid all the suffering. You want to cut this or you want to cut that?

        That’s the kind of luxury we have now.

        When we can’t afford to pay the market interest anymore? There won’t be any such choices to make.

        Good thing Venezuela’s got all that oil–or it’s too bad. Depends on whether you’re talking about the short run or the long run.

        It’s sad when people ignore the law of gravity…and they go splat. Once you jump off that cliff, though, there aren’t any more choices to make.

        Hey we voted to defy gravity!

        That’s great. Somebody get a mop.

        1. Well we have the luxury of having our own currency, so we can always inflate our way out of it. And then we can all save a trip to the store and use out paychecks as toilet paper.

    2. you’re asking people to abandon all they have ever known. Think about that. Most people have a difficult enough time taking a different route to the office and changing a brand of cereal. Change is not something that humans do well, not at a societal level.

  43. Check out this chart titled:

    “Change in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in constant prices, 1991-2007[10]” #Economy

    Pay particular attention to the Turnaround Year.

    Greece , time wise, at seven years later, is lagging some of the worst of the post-communist Soviet Bloc states.

    Why is that?

    I suspect it’s because the bailouts have had the effect of making it easier for Greece to put off making the corrections that need to be made. The former Soviet states didn’t have the “benefit” of bailouts, and it’s probably a good thing for them that they didn’t.

    1. East Germany.

      1. What do you mean?

        East Germany may have had another country to bond onto, and that certainly helped–but look at all the former Soviet Republics on that chart I linked.

        Seven years after the break up of the Soviet Union, almost all of the former Soviet Republics were to positive GDP growth.

        Seven years after Greece first cratered, their GDP is still dropping.


        Is it because their economies were more poorly centrally planned than the former Soviet Republics?

        I don’t think so.

        I think a big contributing factor is the bailouts. The bailouts have let Greece keep on its former course for longer than it could have otherwise. Without the bailouts, I suspect they would have made the hard changes and would be back on the road to recovery already.

        They’re gonna have to make the hard changes anyway! It’s just delaying the inevitable.

        1. “Is it because [Greece’s economy was] more poorly centrally planned than the former Soviet Republics?”


          But you probably already knew that.

          1. I think the story of the former soviet republics is that they’ve already tried *corrupt socialism*, and know how much that sucks. Many Greeks think its still a great idea, and just needs better Top Men

        2. I am agreeing with you, Ken. Ich bin ein Berliner”

          1. It’s incredibly ironic that by refusing more bailouts, they’re effectively saying “Fuck you, cut spending!”

            …which isn’t what they mean to say at all.

            Refusing funding because it’s attached to austerity doesn’t necessarily get you less austerity than you would have without any bailouts.

            It looks like they did the right thing–for all the wrong reasons. If they knew what they were doing, they’d be dangerous.

      2. East Germany wasn’t “bailed out”, it was absorbed into West Germany, and if you just take the territory of former East Germany, it is still doing poorly today.

        That’s not even an option for Greece because they speak a unique language and have a unique culture. Even if Germany or Turkey wanted to absorb Greece, that would be impossible.

        1. it is still doing poorly today

          Even the Wessis have some Ostalgie because they’re sick of throwing money at the Ossis. The Wiedervereinigung is certainly taking longer than anyone expected.

          1. I think you guys are comparing East Germany to West Germany.

            Yeah, East Germany is still lagging West Germany in some ways.

            But that isn’t the comparison I’m making. I’m making the comparison between the way the East German economy was in 1991 to how the East German economy was in 1998 and in 2015.

            East Germany is way better off than it was before the wall came down–and it’s been way better off than it would have been reunification.

            It’s not even debatable.

            Meanwhile, if the former Soviet Republics can outperform Greece on the transition time, then what does that say about how screwed up Greece is?

            Is it because Greece was more centrally planned than the former Soviet Republics.

            The correct answer is no.

            Then the question is why.

            The answer is shock therapy! The former Soviet Republics had it (compared to Greece), and in Greece’s case, the EU is giving them bailout to avoid shock therapy.

   economics) #Post-Soviet_states

            1. I think you guys are comparing East Germany to West Germany.

              No. I’m pointing out that, no matter what economic point you’re trying to make, using East Germany as an example is bullshit. East Germany is a special case in many ways.

              1. Someone else brought up East Germany as if it demonstrated that the former Soviet bloc countries didn’t bounce back from the end of communism quickly–or quicker than Greece has bounced back from their debacle, anyway.

                I don’t understand why this is confusing to people, especially my fellow libertarians.

                The idea that the end of central planning was a good thing for the former Soviet Republics’ economies shouldn’t be controversial here. There may still be some crony capitalism going on, but all those countries that abandoned central planning officially are way better off than they were–and the transition to economic growth happened quickly.

                Greece should be better off than those former Soviet republics were, and Greece’s recovery should be faster than the former Soviet republics were. If it isn’t, then there’s something to learn from that.

                What we’re talking about is creative destruction, and the whole purpose of these bailouts has been to delay that creative destruction. Unfortunately for them, creative destruction also happens to the be the real solution to their problems. A little bit of capitalism goes a long way, and it works fast.

                I didn’t bring it up, but, yeah, East Germany is an example of that, too.

          2. “The Wiedervereinigung is certainly taking longer than anyone expected.”

            And costing ‘way more.
            Fucking commies never clean up after themselves and leave expensive rot behind.
            If the cost of turning former commie countries into functioning economies were added into the overall cost of communism, every sleaze bag who professes to support them should be required to pay half his income for the rest of his life.

        2. East Germany isn’t doing poorly. Berlin is booming!

          And the former Soviet Republics aren’t doing poorly either.

          They’re much better off today than they were under communism.

          And the chart proves it!

          Look at the chart:

          “Change in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in constant prices, 1991-2007”

          Seven years after the wall came down, almost all the former Soviet Republics’ economies were growing again. That’s what the Turnaround Year is all about in the chart.


          If Greece is underperforming the former Soviet Republics, then there’s a reason for that.

          It’s partially because, unlike the former Soviet Republics, Greece has access to bailouts that prevent it from making the drastic changes necessary to set things right again. They’re just delaying the inevitable, and that just makes it worse.

          It’s like that stupid housing bailout. All those homes ended up being foreclosed on anyway. All those banks ended up eating the losses anyway. All those dozens of smaller banks ended up failing anyway. All it did was make it happen in slow motion. The world is in a better place when these things happen quickly.

          It’s like believing in paper losses. No such thing! Next time your broker hits you with a margin call, tell him you don’t have to meet it because it’s only a paper loss and see what he says. Somebody should mention that to Greece. They think it’s only a paper loss!

  44. Fiat currency and fractional banking is mutilated if not mortally wounded.

    That is a good outcome.

  45. 2) Greek votes no, gets booted out of the Euro, defaults on debt.

    Government debt default is a good thing, IMO.

    Those who bought the bonds against the future bondage of captive citizens lose their shirts, and governments find it harder to sell their citizens into bondage in the future.

    Win Win.

    But 3) is the most likely.

    Eurocrats sell out the rest of the citizens of Europe with yet another Greek bailout, to preserve their power over Greece and avoid the precedent of a country moving out of the Euro and doing ok.

  46. “Greece was on track to bring its debt load down from 175 percent of GDP in 2013 to about 117 percent of GDP by 2022”

    Anyone that lax with their property taxes, or taxes in general will have their property taken from them at gunpoint, and if they resisted a worse fate than that would result.

    This is the result of fantasy land economics. If the people had to face the consequences for their actions, they wouldn’t be advocating theft, and so on. Imagine if the government said, all of your property will be mortgaged, with the Greek citizen held responsible for paying the bill to raise the money to pay back the loans. They would probably riot in the streets and go after the politicians and bankers.


    But they are all so ready to sacrifice the property of others so they can be bailed out……and on top of that continue to live beyond their means on other people’s money!!!!

  47. Interesting libertarian dilemma: hating socialism and rooting against the Greek government versus hating the Euro currency and its elitist statism.

    I suppose the Greek government wins all my hate points. If they weren’t avowed socialists,.I might have a little more compassion for their plight.

    1. If they weren’t avowed socialists, they probably wouldn’t be in the position they are.

      1. True

    2. There’s another issue; It’s simply the moral imperative of taking responsibility.
      The Greeks (though their government) borrowed and committed to repay. Then they simply refused to take the actions required to complete their side of the agreement.
      I can hate a loan-shark, but if you choose to do business with one, don’t whine that you get to bail on your commitment since he’s a slimy character.

  48. “Shockingly decisive margin,” who the fuck was shocked?

    1. Time magazine

      “ @TIME
      ‘No’ campaign likely to win tight referendum vote in Greece “

      1. “It wasn’t as tight as we’d thought it would be.” Well maybe you just have a needle dick. 😉

        Vulgarest joke of the thread ftw.

  49. So.

    IOU on a napkin is the next step?

    1. That’s what California did and not so long ago.

      1. And the Greeks are using that as a justification. See:…..5lBzA.dpuf
        Lefty false-equivalence.

  50. Scott Sumner, who directs the Program on Monetary Policy at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, doesn’t deny that the austerity policies Greece has already put into place slowed its economy “somewhat.”

    No it didn’t, it brought Greece’s economy into line with what it can actually afford.

    Consider for a moment, a tale of… Paul.

    Paul lives on credit cards. Paul lives well. Paul eats well. Paul always has a new car. Paul has UHD TVs in every room, Paul vacations at the finest resorts and stays in the best hotels.

    Paul’s personal economy looks excellent. He lives well, he eats well, and has everything he wants.

    At some point though, the credit cards get canceled and Paul gets put on a budget. Paul is forced to sell his new cars and buy a crappy used Stanza, Paul no longer travels to the finest resorts and stays in the best hotels. Paul’s food choices are starkly narrowed down to “affordable”, Paul has to sell all his UHD tvs and go with a smaller 720p model, Paul has to cancel HBO, Showtime and Cinemax. Paul’s personal economy has “slowed down considerably”.

    But what’s obvious to anyone with an active, working braincell, is Paul’s economy is now in line with what he can afford, and how he’s going to be able to service his crushing debt.

    1. It may have slowed it down for a quarter or two, but that’s necessary change.

      If we fired half of all the useless bureaucrats out there tomorrow, our GDP would take a hit for a couple of quarters, too, but over the long term, that’s a recession we need to have.

      Not all GDP growth is created equal.

  51. I was going to say all of the smart Greek immigrated to America. Then, I remembered – Ariana Huffington. The bitch is American.

    1. But smart enough to make herself a multi-millionaire.

      1. She was a trophy wife.

        She married a billionaire.

        He turned out to be gay.

        She didn’t make herself a multi-millionaire.

        She divorced a billionaire.

        1. Yes.




          She ‘made herself a millionaire’ like the Donald did, and has similar hair

  52. “We’re Greece: We Invented the Pyrrhic Victory!”

  53. Greece should just sell some islands. They have plenty. I’m sure Germany and Turkey would want a few. Apple and Google could buy a few for corporate retreats. The Koch brothers and Peter Thiel could buy one and start Libertopia!

    Think outside the box, people!

    1. #sellgreekislands

    2. Why would you buy islands in a country subject to the kind of draconian and idiotic government that Greece has?

      1. I mean buy it, entirely, so it wouldn’t be Greek any more.

        1. Unfortunately, sovereign nations don’t work that way. It doesn’t matter what you own, an arbitrary group of people who inherited their group membership get to decide what you can do with your property.

        2. Let’s all chip in and buy one, form our own country and call it Libertarian Island.

          THE Libertarian Island.

          Hmmmm . .

    3. “Think outside the box, people!”

      If you visit any of the (largely Euro) sites where the Greeks are posting, it is immediately obvious that the Greeks posting there have no interest in selling anything or earning money.
      This is not about earning a living, this is about PRIDE and getting free shit, and sticking it to the banksters and the Germans as the Nazis and……..
      Any suggestion the Greeks (at least the ones posting) should have to offer something in trade is presumed to be a statement by a representative of the the filthy Troika!
      I have to admit to a morbid fascination; we seem to have an entire country of UC Berkeley sophomores demanding that the world had better start delivering the good life to them, or the world will suffer the consequences of them holding their breath!
      I’d like to say it’s unbelievable, but there it is right in front of you on the screen.

      1. In my experience Greek chicks often are extremely well built when they are young but most don’t age well. I love their food but the best “Greek” restaurants are usually owned by Arabs. Seems like a great country to live in if you can afford a boat and can keep your money offshore in another currency.I admire their tax resitance. Lotta cool history too, obviously. And probably the coolest military rifle any country ever adopted. Right at the top of my bolt action milsurp bucket list. “

        1. ” Greek chicks often are extremely well built when they are young but most don’t age well”

          I believe this is a Mediterranean thing

          Same in spain, italy, Morocco. Girls are smoking in their 20s…then seem to jump straight to looking like 50yr olds. Its either chica bonita or grandma. I think it might be cigarettes, sun, and less female athletic culture. Who knows.

        2. Meh…give me a K-31 any day of the week…

      2. This is what I hate most about Democracy. You can vote for a politician that will help bankrupt the country and then have the price be paid equally by those who expressly voted against the politician or policy. Probably not possible, but it would be a fun idea to go through the voting history of each voter and determine the share of the burden to be paid based on voting patterns. You voted for a pol whose policies clearly were empirical failures, you pay more. Your voting history shows you opposed such policies, you go on your way.

      3. Links please.

      4. Sounds a lot like Germany in 1932. Except I doubt Greece could take over Malta if it wanted to let alone the rest of Europe.

        It’s funny because almost the only they could have going for them is good will. This is a country of 10 million people. Germany has states bigger than that. There are over 500 million people in the EU and over 330 million in the Eurozone. And Greece’s 10 million (less than 3%) aren’t even among the more productive citizens; economically, it’s probably more a liability than an asset. And in either case, Greece is a drop in the bucket. Ironically, the rest of Europe seems to be slow in realizing that themselves. If anything would motivate them to work with Greece, it would be sympathy for their misery and a sense of fraternity. But what to the Greeks do? Basically shout ‘fuck you’ repeatedly at the top of their lungs to the rest of the continent and make demands as though they had any leverage at all.

        At this point, if I were Merkel or Hollande, I would be tempted to let Greece sink even if it were a good investment just to teach them a lesson in etiquette.

    4. They are thinking more like a libertarian than 90% of the commenters here. I’m not at all surprised either.

      A bit over 50% of Greeks own their own homes free and clear of mortgage. The 25% or so that took on mortgages (50-70% LTV there unlike here) are gonna get screwed – but not as much as Americans who have mortgages when the same shit happens here.

      Many Greeks actually understand how a FREE market works – unlike most poseurs here. Over there it’s called ‘tax evasion’ (roughly 50% of fiscal deficit) and ‘black market’ (roughly 25% of GDP) – and they have the guts to take those risks. You clowns seem to think that the solution is more state-cronyism and state crackdown.

      Those who work for government and other teat-sucking jobs are also gonna get screwed but at least they are now doing that with eyes open rather than continue to be enslaved by some banker and their debt-money extortion. You tell me when Rand Paul actually cuts government spending by 40% – and then talks about slashing Social Security and Medicare and eliminating the FDIC/government subsidy for bankers. That’s where Greece is NOW.

      Most Greek government debt is a consequence of Ponzi loans to ‘bailout’ bondholders – and Greek government ‘bailouts’ of their banking system – a la TARP. Not their social welfare system or ‘regular’ deficits. American libertarians are completely worthless. Nothing but ignorant Ayn Rand spouting tools.

      1. “American libertarians are completely worthless. Nothing but ignorant Ayn Rand spouting tools.”

        JFree, fuckwad of the day, here to tell us how wonderful Greece is.
        If it weren’t as stupid as it is, it might be amusing.

      2. Thinking like libertarians addicted to their government’s ever expanding “largesse.”

        You do understand that this is a crisis brought on by overborrowing and overspending?

        They are about as libertarian as the free-pouring bartender. Sure it brings him great tips, and he’s a winner so long as he’s not the one paying the liquor invoices.

      3. “enslaved by some banker”. . . . Break those chains! Nationalize all the banks. Default on the current debt.

        Go full commie. I double-dog dare you.

      4. You’re not welcome either. You could afford the admittance fee.

        Enjoy your ObamaCare, Medicare and all the other govt shit.

        1. You couldn’t afford it. You don’t bathe daily.

  54. This will happen in this country too, if it runs out of money. The left will utterly ignore facts and blame all sorts of factors OTHER than spending for the bankrupt state. It wasn’t spending, it was the big banks, the white establishment, racism, etc.

    I bet the “No” crowd are a bunch of nationalists who didn’t want to kowtow to the hated Germans and succumb to bunch of demands by rival states who might want to kick them out of the EU. They made a defiant stand in a meaningless pissing match. They never really cared about making tough decisions for the sake of their country.

    During the IMF crisis in the 90’s the Koreans blamed their economic crash on the foreign western devils and MASSIVELY boycotted their products. The schools made my cousins to write down a bunch of American made stuff in their house and turn them in as homework. Economic illiterates act and think the same.

  55. Stephanie,

    This article is missing plaintive warnings about U.S. Debt burdens and how the calamity of Greece is right around the corner if we don’t do things like “reform” Social Security.

    I like the comments in response that are hoping that Greeks will start starving because of this vote. That’s classy. The problem with Greece is that they just don’t have enough politicians willing to cut off old people’s benefit checks so they can make more room for entrepreneurs by “freeing up” labor markets. If Greece had more brave politicians that were willing to cut benefit checks in the name of austerity they might get invited to more cocktail parties with European technocrats. I mean, austerity has worked wonders so far–why not give it a proper chance. Maybe those poor mooches will self-deport or die quickly. One can dream, I guess.

    1. “I mean, austerity has worked wonders so far.”
      Yeah, it has; just look at the northern European countries that tried it and are growing again. Even the other Mediterranean countries are back on track. Even the Greek economy was beginning to grow in 2014 before they elected a lunatic socialist into office to begin sabotaging what progress had been made.

      And if you seriously think everyone over the age of 61 (and government employees often far younger) automatically deserve a pension of a full salary at the expense of taxpayers so they can never work again, well, I think it’s pretty clear which of us has an unsustainable vision of the world.

    2. american socialist|7.6.15 @ 3:05AM|#
      “[…]I like the comments in response that are hoping that Greeks will start starving because of this vote. That’s classy.[…]’

      Ignorant shitbag finds truth to be ‘unclassy’, but as a lefty, that is not surprising at all.
      Are you glad your lefty paradises always turn out to be havens of starvation and murder? That’s real classy!

    3. The problem with Greece is that they just don’t have enough politicians willing to cut off old people’s benefit checks

      There is plenty of room to cut Greek pensions, just to bring them into line with Germany, let alone achieving true austerity:…..010-4?op=1

      In addition, many Greek retirees are perfectly capable of working. Just like in the US, where you may have to go back to work if you squander your retirement funds, the Greeks can do the same thing.

      I mean, austerity has worked wonders so far

      Greece hasn’t tried austerity; they’re just back to 2005 spending levels, after a massive peak in 2010. Greek government today spending is near the middle of the OECD, not exactly “austerity” levels, and it was near the top around 2010.


      Germany did implement massive cuts in welfare and public spending, and is actually spending down its debt. And they are doing economically well (or as well as anybody in Europe).

    4. “Willing to cut off old people’s benefit checks” . ‘. ‘ Get rid of government mandated pensions. Save for your retirement yourself. No govt force, no taxes. FTFY

  56. Here’s an idea, Greeces’ government should buy up all the bitcoin it should get it its hands on as quickly and secretly as possible until their plan is uncovered at which time bitcoin should go up a few thousand percent with all the interest generated. Greece goes from bankrupt to the richest country in Europe essentially overnight. 10 years later they’re broke again lol.

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    This is wha- I do…… ??????

    1. Again? Tom Tom, the one-note-wonder. He ain’t welcome on our new place

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  59. As a result all previous debt forgiveness should be rescinded and let the Greeks and their government resolve the problem by repaying their debts in full.

  60. It appears that Sovereignty is more valued by the Greeks than is Communitarianism.

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