Why Europe sucks

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Common currency.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126536433

http://bx.businessweek.com/european-financial-crisis/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessweek.com%2Fmagazine%2Fcontent%2F10_19%2Fb4177011719842.htm

We need to learn from our euro brothers and not repeat their obvious mistakes. I'm sure the working taxpayors in Europe won't mind ponying up more taxation to bail out failed banking. Obama seems to think Americans will, and hopefully it will cost him his Presidency. It's looking like the Conservative party will gain power in GB's parliment. Hopefully they can repair the damage done by the Labour and Lib/Dem parties.

I am so glad I don't live in Europe. I just can't imagine how anyone could stand it.

slabmaster
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Comments

"Intelligent" posts like this remind me once again why I am so GLAD I live in Europe.

Slab, I would quit while you were even mildly ahead as you haven't even the slightest clue what you are talking about.

I will say one thing for the Tory party in the UK, I don't agree with most of their policies but at least they are intelligent. Good lord!

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote meljomur:

"Intelligent" posts like this remind me once again why I am so GLAD I live in Europe.

Slab, I would quit while you were even mildly ahead as you haven't even the slightest clue what you are talking about.

I will say one thing for the Tory party in the UK, I don't agree with most of their policies but at least they are intelligent. Good lord!

Mel, I am so GLAD you live in Europe too.

The Euro is a problem. Greece is killing it. Germany is pissed. The banksters are fleecing you. It's chaos. Britain is in the toilet. How could this happen?

My wifes cousin's daughter has a dog name Tory. It's a weird dog that has an obnoxious bark. It pissed on our deck once and I advised the kid about health risks to stupid dogs associated with pissing on my new deck.

slabmaster
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Apr. 1, 2010 10:12 am

South Park - Smug Alert! Episode Recap

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Alpharius
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Apr. 20, 2010 9:28 am

If it were not so twisted this would be a hoot. Greece got Goldmann Sacked and Germany is a bit pissed about the whole thing, but Germany is also not going broke or foreclosing on its homeowners.

Because they are experiencing severe wake wash from our stupid Republican Economic Dogma and the Libertarian Economics that masquerade as "freedom," those who do not wish to admit what went wrong here want to find problems there to explain away the real issues.

Everywhere the evangelists from the Chicago Business Bible College went, disaster has followed. Could there be a connection?

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I actually admire the Greeks for not accepting having to bail out corrupt politicians, failed bankers and rich tax avoiders (the main reason they are in this mess). Why should the average Greek have to pay the price for the crooked and the rich?

Too bad Americans don't have the ability to unite and stand up for their own best interests, instead of allowing the government in conjunction with corporations to keep making decisions which harm them.

BTW, Germany's economy is doing well compared to most. And I have yet to see masses of homeless people anywhere in Europe like is so common and acceptable in the States.

I feel sorry for Americans, I really do.

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

A comparison of EU and US in tax dollars spent vs debt carried and ability to pay in order to be legitimate should include the numbers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt  

98% of gdp in debt means servicing bankers [servicing means a few things, especially in red light districts]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_European_Union

some countries have spent more, some bought US financial products, those bonds that Goldman knew were shitty, they actually trusted Americans.

History shows election success with debt. Carter cut it to 33%, voted out. Bush 1 cut Reagan's double debt, voted out. Clinton cut debt, SCOTUS voted Gore out. Bush 2 ran debt up, reelected. Obama should spend more to secure his reelection.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote slabmaster:

Hopefully they can repair the damage done by the Labour and Lib/Dem parties.

What damage is that? New Orleans? Minneapolis bridge collapse? Valdez? abu ghraib?

Oh, I forgot, those are Republican disasters.

"Red China is not a Democracy. It is a Republic."

kwikfix
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Apr. 9, 2010 12:51 pm
Quote kwikfix:
Quote slabmaster:

Hopefully they can repair the damage done by the Labour and Lib/Dem parties.

What damage is that? New Orleans? Minneapolis bridge collapse? Valdez? abu ghraib?

Oh, I forgot, those are Republican disasters.

"Red China is not a Democracy. It is a Republic."

Please stay on topic. We are talking about how screwed up Europe is, yet many think we should adopt their form of government among other screwed up things.

drc, Germany is pissed because they will foot the bill. I like Germany, they make great cars and small arms weapons.

slabmaster
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Apr. 1, 2010 10:12 am

You haven't really explained to us why, or even that, Europe sucks. You've shown us what we already know, that Greece sucks and that the rest of Europe pulled a collosal boner by allowing Greece to be a member of the EU.

So far as I know, America has no plans of joining into a common currency with any other nation, much less one like Greece.

Other countries should taken a lesson from Greece. Greeks just don't pay their taxes and the Government is rife with corruption. The lesson is that the citizens of a nation should pay for the services its Government provides. That way, you don't get an overpowering debt. Of course the Greek economy is in shambles. It's a shame that it seems to have to drag down the rest of the world with it.

What is the point that you are trying to make?

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote meljomur:

I actually admire the Greeks for not accepting having to bail out corrupt politicians, failed bankers and rich tax avoiders (the main reason they are in this mess). Why should the average Greek have to pay the price for the crooked and the rich?

Greece is awsome. We should emulate them.

Too bad Americans don't have the ability to unite and stand up for their own best interests, instead of allowing the government in conjunction with corporations to keep making decisions which harm them.
We don't worry about that anymore. We have "hope & change" and "change you can believe in". ......Oh No! http://www.bloggernews.net/124438

BTW, Germany's economy is doing well compared to most. And I have yet to see masses of homeless people anywhere in Europe like is so common and acceptable in the States.

I feel sorry for Americans, I really do.

Germany is a righteous country. Great cars, motorcycles, and beer. I have yet to see masses of homeless in the U.S. as well. Where did you see this?

slabmaster
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Apr. 1, 2010 10:12 am

Greece is to EU as any number of the 50 states are to US. Which US state is on the edge of defaulting. NY had to get bailed out years ago [city, not state]. How many states take more fed money than they pay

http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/15/news/international/greece_debt.fortune/i...

The next Greece could be Mississippi, or Louisiana, Alabama ['Bama has Mic bases..safe]

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:

You haven't really explained to us why, or even that, Europe sucks. You've shown us what we already know, that Greece sucks and that the rest of Europe pulled a collosal boner by allowing Greece to be a member of the EU.

So far as I know, America has no plans of joining into a common currency with any other nation, much less one like Greece.

Other countries should taken a lesson from Greece. Greeks just don't pay their taxes and the Government is rife with corruption. The lesson is that the citizens of a nation should pay for the services its Government provides. That way, you don't get an overpowering debt. Of course the Greek economy is in shambles. It's a shame that it seems to have to drag down the rest of the world with it.

What is the point that you are trying to make?

Why do you think Greece sucks Art? Its economy is in severe decline because of corruption, but in many ways how is it different than what is happening in the US? It just has a much smaller economy, so its more prone to severe market reaction when the foundations crack.

Its the average person in Greece who is paying the price. Pensions are going to be cut 30%, taxes are going up 30%, and for the average Greek, their overall standard of living is about to fall significantly.

The difference is Greece STILL has strong unions, which have massive collective power to strike and bring the country to its knees. How many workers have that kind of power in America any longer?

douglasslee is absolutely right, Greece is to the EU what any of the 50 States are to the US. But in America, when education is cut, health insurance premiums go up and unemployment continues to rise, everyone just is so complacent. The only real protest movement are the Tea Party people, who aren't quite bright enough to realize that they are advocating against their own best interests.

Meanwhile you have the banks (in conjunction with the government) making off with billions of tax payers money, the oil industry able to operate with little regulation (and cause great environmental damage), and most Americans just switch on their television, watch the riots in Greece and honestly believe that they are so lucky its not them???!

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Greece is to the EU what any of the 50 States are to the US.
That's really a great point. I hadn't thought of that. It begs the question. Which American state is in the most precarious position with the potential to start the dominos? I would have thought it would be California, but now, Arizona's prognosis isn't looking so hot. Still, I suspect that America's revenue-sharing may be its savior.

Why do you think Greece sucks Art?
The point I was trying to make was that the Greek Government does not collect enough taxes to cover its expenses . I haven't read anywhere else that the same is true in any of the other European countries. Greece has a pretty low GINI index (distribution of wealth). Not as good as Germany, but comparable to France. So in that respect, Greece has the right idea.

Greek debt/GDP was teensy as of 2006, about equal to Canada. This article compares how the two countries took different approaches during the global credit crunch. The main difference was that Canada chose to finance its own debt, cutting spending and raising taxes. (I couldn't find any evidence that Canada's social programs suffered. As we know, their health care system works quite well). Greece chose to finance its debt by borrowing, much like America's road-to-ruin, borrowing from China and Japan to pay for its exciting adventure in Iraq.

Like America, Greece spends an inordinate percentage of its budget on its military.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

What a wonderful place. I love rioting. It's so...so...progressive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTCPj6G7044&feature=related

slabmaster
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Apr. 1, 2010 10:12 am

Greece also hosted the Olympics, and were sold on the windfall revenue it would bring with it. Cost? No worries, leverage is the key, look at America, we don't pay for anything, and who is rich, huh, huh? Debt doesn't matter, we have salesmen that could sell ice to the Inuits [ they have to buy it now that we incinerated their homes, but that's beside the point], our top sales force, Goldman Sachs, have you heard of them? We're trying to utilize entrepeneurs, too, have you heard of Madoff?.... You guys needn't worry, this ain't Plato's Republic anymore.

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douglaslee
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What a wonderful place. I love rioting.
Whatever floats your boat, Slab.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

DRC, I am not sure how you think that we have a Libertarian Economic system when the money creation is done by a Central Bank.

I think you should read or listen to Ron Paul, he is about as close to a Libertarian as you are going to get in mainstream politics, and he predicted the housing collapse and all the resulting problems with it back in 2003. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRek-0vjMtA

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tmoney13
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May. 1, 2010 1:20 pm

I was looking for a cute analogy to Plato's cave scenario with shadow profit, did you see profit or did you see the word profit, no I saw the shadow of the word profit,...Olympic debt, American accounting, yada yada. But, to be authentic in a representation of fake, I sought the Greek word for profit,

http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?4693-Meaning-of-profit-%28J...

according to the Bible, if you do not make a profit you are vile and useless. Really resores your faith in humanity, no?

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Lots of people predicted the housing collapse. You didn't have to be a Libertarian to do that. Paul Krugman saw it coming back in 2002. This guy lists three progressive economists among his five favorite who predicted the collapse. Apparently, Alan Greenspan was asleep at the switch. According to him, "Mr. Greenspan said that he sat through innumerable meetings at the Fed with crack economists, and not one of them warned of the problems that were to come."

This is an area where Progressives and Libertarians were prescient, while Republicans were in full denial.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Slab wrote on Greece:

What a wonderful place. I love rioting. It's so...so...progressive.

----------

Nah. The Greek gov.t swallowed neo -libral hogwash...combined with a twisted excerpt from Marx, and a smattering of social democratic functioning with no way to finance it.

They thought money was wealth. They bought the bait like Iceland, the Baltic States and Argentina did...and another country whose name I won't bother to mention.

If they had a progressive government, the Greek police wouldn't be swimming in a pool of rioters, they'd be at a local pool swimming in water.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Here is in an article which highlights Goldman Sachs' role in helping to hide Greece's debt. The average Greek had no idea how bad the situation was in their own country (sound familiar).

My understanding is the very wealthy avoided paying tax (again nothing new there, happens in most countries) but eventually this was bound to create a scenario where you were spending far more than you were taking in.

Like I said, I feel sorry for the average Greek as they were not the people responsible for the mess their nation is in. But unfortunately they are the one's who will have to make the big sacrifices and clean up the mess. They are pissed off, and can you blame them?!

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

I was looking for a cute analogy to Plato's cave scenario with shadow profit, did you see profit or did you see the word profit, no I saw the shadow of the word profit,...Olympic debt, American accounting, yada yada. But, to be authentic in a representation of fake, I sought the Greek word for profit,

http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?4693-Meaning-of-profit-%28J...

according to the Bible, if you do not make a profit you are vile and useless. Really resores your faith in humanity, no?

Yeah, Ron Paul has a serious issue with history. He is against central bank and for state run banking istuttions. State Run Institutions were part of the reason why the southern economy collapsed prior to the civil war. State Run Banks are just as bad as too big to fail because one single state can intentionally devalue its currency in order to buy itself out of debt, which in turn forces any sort of national currency/product to become devalued.

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KevinConner
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

You should probably make the distinction between a state run bank that can issue currency...and one that can't. They are worlds apart.

States are users of a currency, not issuers of it. The same situation Geece is in. There is a major difference....no nation issues the Euro...the Greek currency.

While the U.S. government can bail states without plunging them into debt....there is no government agency in Europe that can bail the states of Europe without debt attached to it.

The Euro has introduced an entirely new system of money creation. It seems to have really bad flaw attached to it. Not much different than when Argentina made a foreign currency, the dollar, legal tender.It lost control of domestic monetary policy...and plunged into debt to other countries.

The U.S. can always monetize its foreign debt with a printing press. Greece can't do that. It doesn't have one. It has to pay its debt with what is in effect a foreign currency. Not much different than if the U.S. had to pay its debt in Chinese currency and people had to pay for their purchases at Walmart with Chnese Yuan.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Well poly the EU does have the European Central Bank, which is like the Fed in the US.

Personally, I don't see how the situation in Greece is much different than what is happening in California. You have people losing pensions, schools closing, budget cuts across the board for state universities, and infrastructure. The US isn't going to let California's economy collapse, anymore than I suspect the rest of Europe wants Greece's economy to collapse. However, the Greek government has very little control over these severe austerity measures which are being implemented by the IMF and the rest of the EU, which is why it might be feasible that they leave the euro and reinstate their old currency. I suspect this is highly controversial in Greece.

Greece currently has a socialist government. The conservative government (which helped create this mess) was voted out last October. The present government are in the unfortunate predicament of having to clean up the mess left by their predecessor and left to take the blame for the cuts which are being made.

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

. . . and to think. Greece managed to get itsef into this predicament without a Fannie Mae, a Freddie Mac, or a Community Reinvestment Act.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote meljomur:

Well poly the EU does have the European Central Bank, which is like the Fed in the US.

Personally, I don't see how the situation in Greece is much different than what is happening in California. You have people losing pensions, schools closing, budget cuts across the board for state universities, and infrastructure. The US isn't going to let California's economy collapse, anymore than I suspect the rest of Europe wants Greece's economy to collapse. predicament of having to clean up the mess left by their predecessor and left to take the blame for the cuts which are being made.

And the difference is, the Fed has the policies of one nation behind it. The EU Central Bank doesn't. Calif. doesn't have to borrow from other states to bail itself. The Fed can simply print the money and bail it. The EU Central Bank can't do that. Other members of the EU have to loan the money to Greece...and it has to be repaid. That requires austerity programs, a reduction in imports, a reducion in exports by the rest of the EU community to Greece.

An economic slowdown for the entire EU community.

The Euro is a flawed currency. That wasn't obvious until the current meltdown. The resemblance of the EU Central Bank to the Fed is just that....a resemblance. It doesn't have the same functions as the bank of a central government.

If Germany has to borrow to bail Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain...who is going to bail Germany? The EU Central Bank doesn't have the authority or means to bail any of its member states. The Fed, acting on behalf of a central government, does.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Isn't all the Fed doing is just printing more money? I actually believe its a good thing that the ECB doesn't just implement quantitative easing.

The big problem in European countries is that they have VERY strong social safety nets, which aren't cheap, and when people have to start giving them up, its tough. But I read recently (I think it was a British paper) that Spain could afford a 20% reduction in living standard better than the US could tolerate a 10% reduction, because the US just doesn't have the safety net for its population.

Who is helping all those homeless, jobless people in California? I suppose its a shame the Federal government doesn't feel the need to bail these people out.

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote meljomur:

BTW, Germany's economy is doing well compared to most. And I have yet to see masses of homeless people anywhere in Europe like is so common and acceptable in the States.

I feel sorry for Americans, I really do.

From what I could find, the European Union has a similar rate of homelessness as the United States. There are some difficulties in measuring because there is no standard definition for homelessness in varying countries. More info in the FAQ available here.

According to this, Germany has been doing pretty well, reducing the number of homeless by ~50% since 1998. (Although they still have a serious problem with poverty.)

The other question is how many resources are allocated to help the homeless and how effective various programs are. I didn't look up data on that.

But I think we can cautiously agree that Germany at least has been doing a decent job of addressing homelessness.

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reed9
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Apr. 8, 2010 10:26 am
Quote polycarp2:

And the difference is, the Fed has the policies of one nation behind it. The EU Central Bank doesn't. Calif. doesn't have to borrow from other states to bail itself. The Fed can simply print the money and bail it. The EU Central Bank can't do that. Other members of the EU have to loan the money to Greece...and it has to be repaid. That requires austerity programs, a reduction in imports, a reducion in exports by the rest of the EU community to Greece.

An economic slowdown for the entire EU community.

The Euro is a flawed currency. That wasn't obvious until the current meltdown. The resemblance of the EU Central Bank to the Fed is just that....a resemblance. It doesn't have the same functions as the bank of a central government.

If Germany has to borrow to bail Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain...who is going to bail Germany? The EU Central Bank doesn't have the authority or means to bail any of its member states. The Fed, acting on behalf of a central government, does.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Dang Poly,

you get the gist of the original post. I see the euro concept as a problem as things unravel in Euroland. I wonder about Germany being the sugar daddy to the idiot spendthrift children it ends up supporting. It is interesting to learn about the economic structures as I don't study them as some of you all do. Even with a bit of an attention getting thread starter, it can lead to examining the differences and pros/cons of different countries currencies and issues.

slabmaster
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Apr. 1, 2010 10:12 am

As noted in my above post, Slab. The Euro is a flawed currency...not obviious until the Greek crises. However, the currency serves international banking interests very well. That too has become obvious. The Greek nation will be bled dry.

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:

As noted in my above post, Slab. The Euro is a flawed currency...not obviious until the Greek crises. However, the currency serves international banking interests very well. That too has become obvious. The Greek nation will be bled dry.

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

I can't see the Europeon community letting Greece die. Obama likes to spend money he doesn't have. Maybe he'll be their savior.

slabmaster
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Apr. 1, 2010 10:12 am

Art just showed his true intellect by suggesting the worldiwide financial turmoil was a result of FREDDIE, FANNIE, and the Community Reinvestment Act. He gets a failing grade for really understanding what how we came to this point.

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ethanpintard
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Apr. 15, 2010 10:47 am
Quote slabmaster:
Quote kwikfix:
Quote slabmaster:

Hopefully they can repair the damage done by the Labour and Lib/Dem parties.

What damage is that? New Orleans? Minneapolis bridge collapse? Valdez? abu ghraib?

Oh, I forgot, those are Republican disasters.

"Red China is not a Democracy. It is a Republic."

Please stay on topic. We are talking about how screwed up Europe is

Every time I beat slabmaster in a debate he collapses in a puddle of tears and shakes his little Barney Fife fist and orders me to stay on topic. He thinks he's Thom Hartmann's hall monitor. I don't take orders from girly-men, slab, so shut your pie hole.

"Cuba Is Not A Democracy. It is a Republic."

kwikfix
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Apr. 9, 2010 12:51 pm
Quote kwikfix:
Quote slabmaster:
Quote kwikfix:
Quote slabmaster:

Hopefully they can repair the damage done by the Labour and Lib/Dem parties.

What damage is that? New Orleans? Minneapolis bridge collapse? Valdez? abu ghraib?

Oh, I forgot, those are Republican disasters.

"Red China is not a Democracy. It is a Republic."

Please stay on topic. We are talking about how screwed up Europe is

Every time I beat slabmaster in a debate he collapses in a puddle of tears and shakes his little Barney Fife fist and orders me to stay on topic. He thinks he's Thom Hartmann's hall monitor. I don't take orders from girly-men, slab, so shut your pie hole.

"Cuba Is Not A Democracy. It is a Republic."

So personal. Always aimed at attacking the poster. Why do you resort to such behavior kwikfix? Please try to stay on topic and catch up. I can allow for your obvious condition, but you are derailing this riveting topic with your attacks.

Pie hole.....hmmmm.......

I'm thinkin Marion berry sounds good right now. I have to run to Seattle to pickup some SOSS hinges for a little project and will now have to detour to find good pie. Damn, I'm gonna get stuck in traffic coming back because of you.

slabmaster
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Apr. 1, 2010 10:12 am
Art just showed his true intellect by suggesting the worldiwide financial turmoil was a result of FREDDIE, FANNIE, and the Community Reinvestment Act. He gets a failing grade for really understanding what how we came to this point.
Sure is awkward dealing with people who don't recognize sarcasm when they see it.

If you'll refer to my participation in this discussion about Fannie, Freddy and the CRA, you'll get a pretty good idea of where I stand on that issue. It begins a little more than half-way down the page. Just look for the picture of me dancing with my puppy.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote slabmaster:
Quote polycarp2:

As noted in my above post, Slab. The Euro is a flawed currency...not obviious until the Greek crises. However, the currency serves international banking interests very well. That too has become obvious. The Greek nation will be bled dry.

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

I can't see the Europeon community letting Greece die. Obama likes to spend money he doesn't have. Maybe he'll be their savior.

Greece won't die...it will be bled dry. Banksters get the pension funds, education money, health -care Euros..

Propping up the Euro with a trillion bucks was announced today...and then the Fed loans unlimited amounts to the banksters...interest free.... so they can bring down Portugal, Ireland, Spain.

Bail enough nations from the bankster derivative plays and bond shorting.... and who will bail the U.S. from their clutches?. The more nations they collapse, the more power they get. They started small..., Africa, Central America, then on to Latin America and the Argentina collapse, then iceland and the Baltic States with one quick swoop...now it's on to Western Europe.

The handwriting is on the wall for those caring to see it. Thom brought up the topic today on his program. Good on him.

Every nation functions on bond credit...even China. Take away that ability, and they get bled dry. When a nation uses a currency beyond their own control (Greece)...they are much easier targets. The entire Euro zone is at risk for speculative collapse..

When nations allow domestic debt to be issued in a foreign currency (Baltic States/Argentina/Iceland) ...they become ripe for the picking.

The financial oligarchy is going to make the housing collapse look like child's play compared to sovereign debt collapse.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Look at whose ass is beeing saved by the bailout, and you see who caused it

What few people realize is that the banks holding a substantial portion of Greece's $430 billion of government debt are not being asked to take a single dollar haircut to their investment. This is highly unusual for restructurings that involve the IMF. Typically, to receive IMF funding, a country must engage in not only budgetary and fiscal tightening, but also haircuts to the banks and other debt investors. The idea that companies and countries can restructure without debt investors losing a penny is a relatively new phenomenon. Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke pretty much invented it when they bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Morgan Guaranty and AIG and assured that all of their creditors were paid off at 100 cents on the dollar. And the Greek government debt works out to almost $170,000 per household, which, by definition, is unsustainable and needs restructuring.

People may think that the beneficiaries of this EU largess are the poorer countries of Europe and their people, who have suffered through high unemployment and domestic economies weakened by the crisis. But if the banks lending to countries such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy are going to be repaid in full from the proceeds of these EU and IMF programs, then maybe we need to rethink who actually is benefiting from these programs. This is not lost on the people of Greece, 100,000 of whom took to the streets last week to protest cuts in their government's budget, which was part of the Greek bailout plan. Nor is it lost on Wall Street: on Monday, European bank stocks shot up an average of 20 percent -- a sign that traders are well aware of who the primary beneficiaries of the bailout plan will be.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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The world we're leaving for today's teens...

Without immediate global action on climate change, today's teenagers will be forced to live with the consequences of our inaction. The World Bank has issued their third report of climate change, and it says that global temperatures could rise by as much as 4 degrees Celsius by the time today's teens hit their 80th birthday.

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