Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Slovakia blocked the Greece bailout fund?

Everybody knows now that Greece will sooner or later default on its debt. But there is a difference between “sooner” and “later”. If Greece defaults later, banks and financial institutions which are icons of dumb financial decisions can offload as much debt as they can to the shoulders of taxpayers. If Greece defaults sooner, they have to bear the cost of their own dumb financial decisions. And of course they are too connected to fail. Free market forces are naturally forcing Greece to bankrupt so that everyone who did wrong would be punished, loser banks go down the drain; resources are released for more productive financial firms. But West is managed like a bunch of banana republics for the last few decades and in banana republic’s well connected rules, not the free market. And in banana republic’s when democratic forces work against the well connected, the press starts to complain about “politics”.

Today, Slovakia blocked the Euro Rescue Fund and in several places I have seen the same text again: “Politics games”, “fell victim to internal politics”. Why Slovaks blocked the Greece bailout fund? Here is the answer, historically poor but frugal people are fed up with bailing out rich and spenddrift:

"When I was in Slovakia, the burning issue was whether their government should kick in to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), a €440 billion entity that would buy bonds, make guarantees, and engage in other transactions to reduce the stress on debt issued by the beleaguered PIIGS. The Slovaks were historically a poor but frugal people, and many of them resented bailing out the Greeks who were spendthrifts yet had a higher standard of living. (For those who don't like stereotypes, don't send me angry emails: I'm just repeating what the Slovaks told me.)

The average Slovak was in the same unfortunate position as the average American back in the fall of 2008: each was told that they had to pay higher taxes in order to bail out rich people who had made dumb financial decisions. When Americans were told they had to pay for the $700 billion TARP, Treasury secretary Paulson and others warned that failure to do so would lead to a collapse of the banking system. In a similar vein, Europeans today are warned that they need to rescue the PIIGS governments lest the euro itself collapse, taking down the banks with it."

Fiat Money and Euro Crisis

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