I promised to get back to the game of Finance, to some it is called 50 shades of Greece, to some it is called the work of Atë, yet I see it as the result of a cloud of Stupidity, Inactions and Desolation. Without massive changes Greece will end up without any future left.
This is not some prediction, because the nation is bankrupt, or in default or even in a bad place. You see, whatever ‘promise’ that comes from any of the banks, power players or politicians, throwing money at something that is inert and unproductive is just waisted money. The Juncker speech of three days ago (at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-15-5274_en.htm), gives us all those politically correct words, with the quote “And a deal could also have ensured that we, the Commission, could go ahead with a package for a ‘new start for jobs and growth’ package of 35 billion euro to help the Greek economy get back on track“, so that sounds nice, but that is not even close to the factual issue as I see it. If we include the overdue payments (yes, plural), we see that before the end of the year, Greece faces 2 payments of the ECB at 6.7 billion Euro. The IMF has coming 4 times 300 million Euro, plus 2 sets of 600 million Euro and 2 sets of 500 million Euro, in addition, there is the 1.5 billion Euro overdue and the 750 million Euro shifted payment, which Greece paid for using the IMF emergency funds. You all forgot about that last one did you not? Which makes for 5.65 billion, so these two players are due 12.35 billion Euro before the end of the year alone. In addition there are 10 treasury bills maturing with a total of 15.1 billion, the last one is an issue, you see if Greece is very very very lucky, those owners would be ‘willing’ to roll them over, if not, the max damage will be 27.5 billion in before the end of 2015. That is just expenses with NOTHING paid for and the interest due on the loans has not been taken into account either. The important part is, is the fact that over 50% of that debt is an unknown, because who exactly owns these Greek bonds? To whom is payment due? These are the events that Greece already has and I have mentioned them before, so why mention them again. Well, these facts are important to consider, because what Juncker calls ‘new start for jobs and growth’ is nice, but what will the politicians use is for? This fund covers 80% of the outstanding payments and ZERO towards reducing debt.
So how will the Greek economy get back on track? That is the killer question, because there is no given path. Greece has very little to export, it has relied on services for too long and there is no real resolution there. I personally will not trust rock star Varoufakis (a valid feeling as he has not propelled Greece forward in 6 months). A man of all smiles and no substance. His blog (at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/01/why-we-recommend-a-no-in-the-referendum-in-6-short-bullet-points/) gives us 6 short bullet points, yet as a professor of economy from the University of Athens, he gives us plenty of disturbing afterthoughts.
1a. refused to reduce our un-payable public debt
1b. insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren.
1a. Why? Even though previous elected officials spend it, you still get to pay for it. You accepted the responsibility of office, which include a maximised credit card.
1b. Nope! It just needed to be paid in some way, again, as a result from previous elected officials.
So point one, being 2 points can be seen as a failure because Syriza did not do the following:
- Immediately start the investigation on prosecution of previous officials (which might be a farce trial, but it would have given the proper presentation that Greece is truly making a change, his smiley smiley rock star presentation missed the mark by a lot, with the added danger that Jean-Claude Juncker might not have any sense of rhythm or blues, making the act a double miss.
- Instigate a serious overhaul of the Greek tax system, mainly taxability and tax collection. Even if it was still underway today, if started in February it would have given a clear signal to those holding onto 7 billion plus, that this elected Greek government was a Greek government that wanted to create a true future for the Greek people. The stress of the last week would never have happened.
- Instigate prosecution of tax evaders, not just a sham trial of a man named Leonidas Bobolas (which is actually a cool name to have), that 1.9 million euro bill did not last long did it? How about placing Kostas Vaxevanis in the limelight and giving the clear message that tax evasion is now a thing of the past. Greece could have started to annex these back taxes, many nations would be on the side of Greece here (France and Italy most enthusiastically), in addition, giving the tax evaders an option to pay back tax +20% within a week, or back tax +150% when accounts needed to get frozen, misreporting would come at an additional 200% of misreported outstanding taxation. At this point Syriza would become the most popular band ever. In a group of 11 million, these 2045 people do not add statistically to number of Greeks and after the culling of outstanding taxation the debt might be a smidge lower, showing again that Syriza wanted a better Greece.
NONE of these actions had been taken by Greece in any visible way. So, Ο καθηγητής Βαρουφάκης missed the boat in point one already.
I am skipping point two!
- The Euro group had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure.
My view? It could have been a fair point if Greece would have shown any economic evolution as mentioned in the three points (by me earlier), restructuring is pointless if the machine is not getting the overhaul it requires. I have stated before and now that in all this previous administrations have been key in the failure of the Greek economy. Not just because the Greek economy collapsed, but what was done to repair it all? What concrete actions were made between 2010 and 2015 to restart the economy? This is a much harder question to pose, because it intersects on what could have done and what should have done. Which is directly coupled to Junckers 35 billion Euro carrot, you see, dumping money somewhere, but how and where will the economy be revived? You see, no money and no plan is destitution, a plan and no money is a future, money without a plan is a spending spree and a plan with money is a solution. It is actually THAT simple. Greece has had enough spending sprees, it is in a state of destitution, so it needs to get a future and move towards a solution. This is a simple path, but 3 Greek administrations have not pulled that one off, so they are in the state they are in.
I am not proclaiming to have the solution, yet no one else have any either. With the Greying European community retirement villages are an option. How many does Greece have? Consider that the nations with a retired population over 16% is Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria. All nations where the life style has been good. Now add to this the people who will start their retirement in the next 5 years. Thousands of people in relatively expensive cold places, they can in some cases sub-rent their property and retire in warm, sunny Greece. The food is good, the people nice and they move from a life with 4 months of summer to a life of 7 months of summer and the removal of cold winters (compared to their home turf that is). It is not a solution, but it is a start. Greece needs to become innovative and change the game all together. It is extremely likely that these solutions have been looked at, yet, how deep. Too many people look at solutions to fill their pockets, how many looked at it with the intent to fill the treasury coffers? Greece has a second option, is to use the church. Instead of making a short sale of places that came for sale, how about ‘nationalising’ them as tourist accommodation, managed through the church? Move hotels from foreign investors to local hands! Just an idea to start growing the foundation of taxable income.
In all this, the ideas by me should be regarded as laughable. Yet, how many options have been inspected? You see the problem does not go away by throwing a few billion at it, buying all the fish leaves you with a double debt, learning how to fish and get the pond to yourself will leave you with a future. Greece has limited products to work with, so it either adds products or it adds services, services is a first, products is often longer term, unless it is the service that becomes the product.
In all this I still have to address one part I talked about earlier. I stated “they have left, what should be regarded as criminal activities open to reactivation“, there is some of it (at http://www.globalresearch.ca/goldman-sachs-doesnt-have-clean-hands-in-greece-crisis/5459498), more in the annals of history. the article gives us: “According to investigative reports that appeared in Der Spiegel, the New York Times, BBC, and Bloomberg News from 2010 through 2012, Blankfein, now Goldman Sachs CEO, Cohn, now President and COO, and Loudiadis, a Managing Director, all played a role in structuring complex derivative deals with Greece which accomplished two things: they allowed Greece to hide the true extent of its debt and they ended up almost doubling the amount of debt Greece owed under the dubious derivative deals“, no matter where all this is going, consider the Greek bonds. I massively objected in the past against Greece being allowed anywhere near the bond market in April 2014. Consider the total value of Greek bonds out there, are they covered? Consider that Greece is completely bust, the fact that from multiple sources that Greek cannot repay its debt (amongst them the Finance Minister of Greece). Consider that Yanis Varoufakis stated on March 10th 2015 “Varoufakis Says Greece Was Never Going To Repay Its Debts” (source Forbes). So how come that at THAT point certain steps were not made to use the reserve funds Greece had at that time to settle the bonds. When you consider my opposition to bonds in April 2014 comes into view with the consideration ‘The terms on which a government can sell bonds depend on how creditworthy the market considers it to be‘, so as some power players had (as I see it) inflated the Greek credit rating, the question becomes, is the Greek bond market a continuation of the ‘Greekman Sachs’ protocols as played to hide debt, as such, should there be a more serious level of criminal investigation? Moreover, who are the involved parties and why are other parties not truly digging here?
In the end, let’s be clear, there is absolutely no indication that any laws have been broken regarding the bonds, is that not the interesting part? The one part that could have limited the issues now playing (like adjusting laws) is the one action 10 years of government had not adjusted. That seems to have worked out very well for Addy Loudiadis, Chief Executive and Director, Rothesay Life Limited and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and a few others (Addy was just the most visible one), in all this we see that Greece needs changes, the law most likely first.
So can the Greeks dance? Unless their parliament wakes up, it is only one of many skills a Greek will need to add to his/her skill set to get by after the ATM’s stop working.