Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves

Over 11 million people are estimated to have died by the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust just 65 years ago.  5 to 6 million of the 11+ million were Jews and over 300,000 were Athenians during the Axis’ occupation of Greece.  It’s a fallacy to blame modern day Germans about the atrocities of the past.  Yet, just because the demons have all died, shall we forgive and forget?  Absolutely not.  The offspring and relatives of the 11+ million dead live on, and their stories will never ever be forgotten.

With a GDP of US$3.6 trillion, Germany is now the largest economy in Europe as well as the 4th largest economy in the world.  Germany also has roughly $50 billion in estimated loans to Greece, a large amount, but not an overwhelmingly debilitating amount given the size of their economy.  Saving Greece helps the Germans and the rest of the 27 EU members who in some way were all negatively affected by Germany decades ago.

GRAND STANDING AND FINGER WAGGING

Instead of taking this opportunity to save the world and make up for the atrocities of their past, Germany has decided to play politics, wagging their fingers violently at Greece for their complete, and utter mismanagement of their economy.  Make no mistake, the Greek fiasco is a crisis of politics, and not of economics, yet.

To put it simply, Greece’s budget deficit in 2009 was 12.7 per cent of GDP, and its overall debt was 113.4 per cent of GDP.  We’re talking one naughty, highly indebted country who spent way more than it earned for years and years and years.  Even debt-addicted America only has a overall debt to GDP ratio of 88%, and we tried hard to mess up our economy!

How can Greece be so foolish in their spending one might ask?  That’s easy, Greece knows their backstop is the European Union and politicians are to blame once again.  A dirty politician is the same in every country.  Politicians make promises they cannot keep, and spend more than they take in to get elected and feed their egos.  Discipline is thrown out the window when it comes to being able to gorge on other people’s money and not your own.  The empty promises are always the next politician’s problems!

When Greece gave up its Drachma currency in 2001, they did so unwillingly, but with the promises of a brighter future.  With the might of 26 other member countries, many of whom are much larger such as Spain (4X bigger), it behooves Greece to live like Gods and spend like the wind.  The problem lies in timing, and a complicated web of debt that creates knock-on effects for all countries.

THE REAL SOLUTION: GERMANY’S CHANCE OF A LIFETIME

For all those guilty German souls who feel bad their people pillaged much of Europe in the 1930s and 40s, now is the chance to improve their future legacy.  Imagine if all the citizens of Germany came together and voted for their government to be the white knight and bailout out Greece all by themselves.  Not only will the Greek be more forgiving of Germany, but so will every other European Union country perhaps.  The Germans have a phenomenal opportunity to change perceptions and negative stereotypes held by millions.

Germans are suffering needlessly because of uncontrollable past events.  If I were living in Germany, I’d vote for a Germany-lead bailout with pride. Maybe my future taxes get raised to pay for the bailout.  Or maybe not, as the German government decides to raise taxes on only the top 10% of income earners like we do here in the US.

In any case, I’d vote with vigor because I’m sick of people looking at me funny and discriminating.  Instead, politicians are playing the blame game and publicly trying to humiliate each other.  I don’t want my kids to ever, ever suffer from what someone did 100 years ago.  Chalk up $50-150 billion in German bailout money as unpaid interest of war reparations compounded over the past six decades.  The amount will never eradicate the past but at least it’ll help their future.

THE WORLD STEPS IN INSTEAD

Concerned that the fiscal damage could spread throughout the EU and the world, EU members and the IMF have pledged $1 trillion ($750 billion up front, $300 million over the next 3 years) to bail out Greece, but most notably the Euro. And since the United States is the largest contributor to the IMF budget at 17%, our share of the $1 trillion IMF package could be as high as $40 billion bucks!  That buys one heck a lot of spanikopita!

It’s safe to say that nobody knows exactly how much bailout money Greece needs, because it’s almost impossible to quantify the value of their debt to all their fellow European Union members.  What is known is that the strongest members of the European Union like Germany, can easily provides a $50+ billion bailout package and save their brother.  By not leading the charge, and letting the IMF and the US take control, Germany misses their oipportunity to make a difference.  Worse, the world will wonder why the largest economy in Europe, with much to lose if Greece goes under, didn’t do more while others did.

CONCLUSION

The US sub-prime crisis teaches us that without a concerted bailout, we all suffer.  We can blame Wall St. for creating exotic financial instruments which nobody understands.  We can also blame homeowners who bought way more house than they knowingly could afford.  But when crap hits the fan, we all get smeared, so we might as well all pitch in.  Once the rescue package arrives, we then enforce stringent regulations and make hard admonitions against guilty parties in hopes a crisis never happens again.  But rest assured, as long as humans exist, crises will happen.

Greece is to Bear Sterns what Spain is to Lehman.  Greece should consider itself lucky it’s relatively small, and first to announce it has a debt problem.  You know they will get bailed out, because The EU and the IMF can’t risk contagion.  The problem is, once Greece gets bailed out, many of our Spanish friends might do a little more binge spending and say, “Nosotros tambien! Si, como no?“  One by one, the fear is that every single EU country with a little bit of debt takes advantage of moral hazard and stop paying.  You thought The Moral Hazard of America was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Das Eisen schmieden, solange es heiß ist!

Readers, do you think Germany should lead the charge in bailing out Greece?  If so, will it help change perceptions about their role in World War II?

Can we blame Greece for behaving badly?  After all, they don’t have the Drachma to worry about anymore.

How big do you think this European debt crisis will become?

Keigu,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Folllow on Twitter @FinancialSamurai and subscribe to our RSS feed.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. snowy says

    Make up for atrocities of the past? Perceptions about WWII? I know you fancy yourself as all about dreaming up “controversial” posts to stimulate tons of comments, and there is much to say about Greece, but this is kind of repellant.

    • Lendal says

      Guess you either must be 1) German, or 2) someone who believes Germany didn’t do anything wrong in WWII to make that kind of statement!

      So easy to smoke out evil. I bet you didn’t even read the entire post.

      • snowy says

        I’m Irish, not German (ie I’m one of the people paying for the bailout) and I’m not going to dignify your number 2 comment with a response.

        I did read the entire post.

      • snowy says

        I’ll try again – there is no connection *whatsoever* between this bailout and what the Nazis/Germany did in WWII, any notional link has not even been hinted at in European coverage of this crisis, and I find that to bring it up as colour/to spark controversy for a blog post is in incredibly poor taste. If Ireland were to be bailed out, would it be the UK “making up for” centuries of occupation? The whole idea is ridiculous.

        • Lendal says

          What’s poor taste is you not even being able to recognize what Germany did in WWII, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in Greece, and the fact that Germany is now in a position to do good because they are the largest economy in the EU, but are squandering their chance.

          You thinking the idea of one country wanting to help another, to help themselves, and not recognize the difficulties many Germans go through shows that you are insensitive and naive. In fact, maybe you are overly sensitive and can’t stand facts. In which case, you can see why you are alone.

    • says

      I don’t fancy myself about dreaming up anything. The EU debt crisis is hands down the #1 financial problem in the world right now.

      If you click on the links to the Holocaust, and the 300,000+ Greek who died due to the Nazis, perhaps you might not think it’s a bad idea.

      Unless you’re German, which you say you are not, it’s hard to understand the embarrassment and shame many feel through no fault of their own.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  2. says

    I do think Germany should step in because they are in the best economic position to do so. But to make up for their past atrocities? That I’m not so sure of. Yes, their country was responsible for WWII, yet what does that have to do with bailing out Greece?

    What I find most interesting about the Greek economic meltdown is the irony of it all. They were one of the very first countries in the world to create currency and here they are thousands of years later completely mismanaging it! I wonder what that says for the future of mankind? Are we continually destined for failure?

  3. Myrkos says

    It absolutely is a golden opportunity lost by the German government. Germany and Italy massacred Greece and all its famous landmarks and treasures. What’s the value of ancient artifacts? They are priceless?

    Estimates are the Germans and Italians lead to 500,000 Greek deaths during their occupation.

    Germany blew it. The IMF took their thunder, and now I think bad blood boils again, b/c the world will now realize they blew it, and look up all the sh*t they did in WWII and vomit with horror.

    Hope the Greek boycott German goods forever.

    • says

      Myrkos, I’m assuming you are Greek by your name? Guess you are the only one to agree with my proposition that Germany could do a lot to change their image to the world. Now, all we read about is the IMF, the EU, and even the US bailing Greece out. Nowhere do we hear the Germans.

      I’m interested in knowing how deep the negative feelings are for Germany’s past among the Eurozone. I guess you won’t be buying a BMW anytime soon.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  4. says

    Gosh, I really didn’t think there was still so much animosity against the Germans. Of course, it’s just my perception that there really isn’t, but I could be entirely wrong. I’m one of these knobheads who travels a lot and enjoys asking sensitive questions—not to be a jerk, but because I’m curious. Animosity towards Germans is something I’ve asked about since 1998, but the Europeans I’ve asked in England, France, Belgium and Holland didn’t appear to hold animosity, and they looked at me a bit strangely for asking.
    Ask Koreans and the Chinese how they feel about Japan (I’ve done that too) and you get an entirely different ball game.
    Ask Singaporeans how they feel about the Japanese, and only the oldest seem to still hold resentment.
    Greece is an odd case. Last month I sailed for a week with the Greek ambassador’s daughter in Vietnam’s Halong Bay. She was a nice gal, but she laughed when I mentioned Greece’s woes. “People just recently found out about the mess that we’ve had for years and years,” is what she told me.
    As painful as it might be short term, Greece and Europe would be stronger, long term, if Greece sorted out its own mess. That’s what she said, anyway. And I tend to agree with her.
    .-= Andrew Hallam´s last blog ..Building Your Wealth Instead of Driving It Into the Ground =-.

    • says

      The animosity is real, but latent. I have several German friends who feel very uncomfortable about what Nazi Germany did, and have mentioned to me the suspicion and discrimination they’ve felt growing up and traveling around Europe, especially from the French and English.

      Good point about how the Koreans and Chinese feel about Japan. I definitely plan to write about the Nanjing Massacre at a later point.

      That’s fascinating insight regarding the Greek ambassador’s daughter. She’s probably right! At least they recognize! How’s your lungs doing btw? Are the rich kids of SAS sneaking out to the new casinos and partying it up now that they’re are open?
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

      • says

        Thanks for asking about the lungs Sam. I’m recovering nicely and entered a 5.6km race this week. I won it last year (The JP Morgan Corporate Challenge in Singapore) and managed to finish 43rd this year, minus a few ribs. I’m definitely alive and kicking!

        I’m not sure whether the rich kids are gambling or not–probably!

        Congrats on an awesome blogsite! If I can get my webmaster friend to help me join the Yakezie challenge, I’m going to do it. You’re reading the words of a guy who’s so tech illiterate, he can’t even operate a cell phone. But it looks like you have an amazing team on the go and I’d like to jump on board.

        Cheers,
        Andrew
        .-= Andrew Hallam´s last blog ..Building Your Wealth Instead of Driving It Into the Ground =-.

  5. Powell says

    I’m not sure if a German-lead, sincere bailout would change the negative perception against Germans, but it wouldn’t hurt, and may help.

    Let’s face it. When we hear the word Germany, or Germans…. We think: beer, luxury cars, and Hitler. We may not say our stereo types in public, but we certainly think them. Hitler, Nazis, and bad people are bad things to be associated with, especially if you had nothing to do with it!

    Opportunity lost indeed. Greece messed up their economy and deserves austerity measures, but Germany really missed a chance to help improve their own image for the next generation.

  6. says

    I have a Greek client who told me some of the ridiculous things, that goes on there. If you work for the gov’t you get a full week’s bonus for Christmas, 1/2 week bonus for Easter and 1/2 week bonus for taking your paid vacation time! Additionally, you can retire there and live off their equivilent of Social Security at 50 if you have a hazard job; oh yeah a hairdresser canbe considered Hazardous!

    http://www.macedoniantruth.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2962goto=newpost

    I should mention I am of Greek descent and have gotten my share of ripping by friends this past weekend lol.

    All that being said, I have to disagree with FS. It doesn’t matter if Germany threw a billion or a trillion at this problem, the holocaust would never be forgotten in terms of Germany’s past.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Most People that Tell You They Don’t Want to be Wealthy are Lying =-.

    • says

      Man, sounds like living and working in Greece is a pretty damn good life! Sign me up!

      I’m not saying that we’ll forget the Holocaust if German lead an inspiring bailout. What I’m saying is that Germany could add a very POSITIVE chapter to their history for future generations, to help make up for the very negative multiple chapters of WWII.

      From paragraph 1: “It’s a fallacy to blame modern day Germans about the atrocities of the past. Yet, just because the demons have all died, shall we forgive and forget? Absolutely not. The offspring and relatives of the 11+ million dead live on, and their stories will never ever be forgotten.”
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  7. says

    Sam, I have to disagree with you here…

    Sorry, I’m not german, but I don’t think we should attack the entire german country…

    I don’t think a entire country of people should be defined by the actions of an evil dictator (who many say was half jewish). I’m betting that the North Korean people aren’t really bad, nor the Iranians, Africans (genicide, or ethnic cleansing of other tribes), French (Napolean), U.S (look what happened to the Native Americans), Australians (look what happened to the indigeonous people of Australia), Ireland (terrorism), Japanese (chinese atrosities), Chinese (to themselves and others), Russians, and the list goes on and on… In fact, I will go as far as to say, practically every country has skeletons that are in their closet.

    I think the overall the German people are kind, clever people, just like you and me (actually there a lot of people of German decent in the United States)… I’ve always heard great things about modern Germany (mainly from Army buddies).

    People are people, and dictators are dictators (or the word that sounds like the first 3 characters and last letter of the name dictators)…

    As an American, I know I live in a glass house and I’m not going to throw stones… I personally think I’m a great guy and helpful to old ladies crossing streets, but I don’t want to be judged by any ancestors (who were great people too, really), whether they were good or less than good.

    Perhaps the Germans know something we don’t about the Greece economy.

    I know people are going to disagree with me, but if you get a crazy dictator like Hitler in any country given the same circumstances, power and technology know-how of Germany… the world is going to have a problem.

    Maybe I’m just wearing my rose-colored glasses today :)
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..Can An Individual Make A Difference At Work =-.

    • says

      Don, you just agreed with me. In my second line, I write: “It’s a fallacy to blame modern day Germans about the atrocities of the past.”

      What people don’t realize is that many Germans are discriminated against due to what the Nazis did 65 years ago, through no fault of their own. This crisis is a fantastic opportunity to help millions of Germans improve their image on a world stage.

      I’m not blaming modern Germans AT ALL. What I’m highlighting is an opportunity, and now perhaps a missed opportunity to make life better for all Germans, and helping out their fellow EU members as well.

      The last line of the post in German means “Strike while the iron is hot.” They aren’t striking, and it’s due to politics.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  8. says

    I just believe something had to be done… From what i’ve read (and i’ll be the first to say that i don’t read the daily updates on the Greece debt), it seems that they were in debt a couple hundred billion.

    The markets reaction to this debt was a couple trillion last week. It makes no sense to me that the market drops a trillion dollars because of a billion dollar debt. I understand that Greece is seen to be the first domino to fall, but i do not believe they alone should cripple the market.

    On another note i do believe that they should be held accountable for their lifestyles. They should not get to retire early on the backs of others, so riot away, financial reform is needed. Welcome to the rest of the world where 70 is the new retirement age, and a ten hour workday is standard. On that note i’ll be the first to purchase some beach front property when and if you go back to the Drachma and into inflation.

    • says

      The issue is, NOBODY can quantify how much debt Greece, and the sub-debtors owe, and the domino effect that will happen if they go under. The graphic in this post on the top left prove that.

      I’ll be purchasing beach front property before you! Too bad, the Drachma ain’t coming back, and we’ll have to still pay in Euros! Lucky Greek!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  9. Live Richly says

    I’m afraid I strongly disagree that bailouts are a good idea. The Greek bailout like the US subprime one will not help the people, only the bankers. These are the same bankers like Goldman Sachs who profited greatly by causing the mess! Then because they are “too big to fail” they get bailed out when any of their reckless gambling goes bad. It’s “socialism for the rich” as gains are privatized and losses are socialized (passed on to the struggling taxpayer).

    • says

      This bailout was a good idea, b/c if Greece went under, Spain would be next, then Ireland, and then we’d have ARMAGEDDON all over again, but Euro style.

      The US is going to provide tens of billions in bailout money no questions.

      The rich lose, the less rich loose, everybody loses if the EU didn’t shock and awe with a $1 trillion package.

      “But when crap hits the fan, we all get smeared, so we might as well all pitch in. Once the rescue package arrives, we then enforce stringent regulations and make hard admonitions against guilty parties in hopes a crisis never happens again. But rest assured, as long as humans exist, crises will happen.”

      Thnx for your thoughts.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  10. Edwin | Finantage says

    “Make no mistake, the Greek fiasco is a crisis of politics, and not of economics, yet.”

    That is ridiculous.

    While Greek debt is high, it is nowhere near the levels to justify saying that their issues are not economics. Let me give you the short version of their problems which are 100% economic.

    In the past, a lot of outside investment was flowing into Greece. This led to quick growth and increased wages and profits in Greece, which developed into a bubble. Once the bubble burst, foreign money left the country which was no longer competitive.

    The bubble had raised costs so high that Greek goods and services were overpriced. Overpriced goods and services means that no one wants to buy from there. So what does a country normally do in these circumstances? Well, it devalues their currency to make the goods and services competitive in an international market without affecting the price level at home.

    Greece can’t do this because they are part of the Eurozone and have no control over their currency. But the states in the U.S. have a common currency, why don’t individual states have this same issue? Well they do, except labor is more mobile in the U.S. American’s all have a familiar culture and moving from place to place is not only accepted but very commonplace.

    Europe is another beast entirely. People have been living in the same place and around the same culture for a long time. They are less inclined to move to another country where they feel very uncomfortable than Americans are inclined to move to another state.

    Once again, this has everything to do with economics, not politics.

    • says

      Until the $1 trillion package was announced, this definitely was a crisis of politics, b/c as you say, there are multiple countries, set in their ways, who cannot agree on the same thing. They surprised us.

      If this was an economic crisis, then how could they so easily come up with $1 trillion? I’m focused on the word CRISIS here, not what they did wrong. You can’t come up with a $1 trillion package if there was an economic crisis. And at the same time, you can argue that because there is an economic crisis, the EU/IMF MUST come up with $1 trillion.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

      • Edwin | Finantage says

        So because the U.S. came up with a $800 billion package for TARP it wasn’t labeled as a crisis?
        .-= Edwin | Finantage´s last blog ..Who Is Homo Economicus =-.

        • says

          Why are we arguing about the definition of the label “crisis”? The economics aren’t as fascinating to me as the politics of the EU. Why don’t you provide some of your solutions, or write a rebuttal on your site? That would be more productive don’t you think?

        • Edwin | Finantage says

          I wrote a rebuttal here in my first comment. You didn’t respond to any of my points but instead brought up how if the EU could provide a $1 trillion support package, it must not be in any sort of crisis. Rather than reiterating everything I wrote prior to that, I responded to your ridiculous argument that somehow the size of support can define a crisis.

      • Edwin | Finantage says

        You clearly don’t know about the economics because you refuse to acknowledge that economics has anything to do with the problems. I explained why it’s an economic issue, you responded with some sort of nonsense remark about how it can’t be considered a crisis due to there being a $1 trillion package. A rational observer can tell there was no attack on my part.

        It’s almost pathetic that you attack my site and create a straw man with my arguments rather than responding directly. I’ve commented here plenty of times in the past and if I have something to add, I plan to.

        • Edwin | Finantage says

          Ignoring my huge personal issues, the reason I argue against your assertion that this is political is because you are putting far too much weight into the idea that this is all caused because Greece is far too generous with its social programs (which I must admit, it is a bit too generous). But that isn’t the sole cause of their crisis. It had more to do with a general bubble in their economy than it does with their debt and deficit situation (although that certainly does exacerbate the problem).

          It looks to me like you are taking what is mostly a bubble issue and turning it into some kind of ideological argument against social programs.
          .-= Edwin | Finantage´s last blog ..Who Is Homo Economicus =-.

        • Old soul says

          Not only different countries are interconnected, many things in this world are also interconnected. There is nothing as simple as “economics has anything to do with the problems” if you try hard to find out after a few years, decades or lives…

        • says

          Once again, we already know all the economic problems. How many times do I have to say this? It’s up to you if you don’t think I know anything about economics. Something must be bothering you in life, so I welcome you taking it out here.

        • says

          Hey Edwin, why don’t you stop being an annoying prick and add some value? We all know about Greece spending more than they earned, hence their debt problems. Hello?! Just go back to your own website and pretend you’re hot sh*t. It seems to me you’ve got a big chip on your shoulder and think you deserve better b/c you think you’re so smart, yet you’re probably just a grunt, unhappy with his job.

      • Edwin | Finantage says

        My comment doesn’t seem to be getting through. I’ll reiterate my argument again. Yes, Greece has a huge debt and deficit due to their extremely generous social programs. But this is not the main cause, even though it makes the problem much worse. The main cause is that the huge capital flow into Greece heavily inflated the prices there. Once capital left due to the bubble bursting, Greece is overvalued.

        The cause was the bubble, not the debt and deficit. A bubble is an economic issue, not a political issue.
        .-= Edwin | Finantage´s last blog ..Who Is Homo Economicus =-.

      • says

        Sam,

        There’s no point arguing against Edwin b/c he is what we call a TROLL.

        You write a long post talking about the missed opportunity of Germany, and he zeroes down on one line and starts attacking, ignoring your entire thesis. You’re too nice. Don’t bother with this idiot. There’s a reason why some people stay losers.

        • Edwin | Finantage says

          Wow what a bitter person, I’m not trolling and clearly you’ve ignored everything I said. I said nothing about their debt problems (although that part of it), its the bubble in their economy that caused them to get into such a mess.
          .-= Edwin | Finantage´s last blog ..Who Is Homo Economicus =-.

  11. says

    i can not diagree with you more about linkingGermany’s wartime atrocities from 70 years ago to their response to the greek crisis. Its riduclous to think that germany has any responsibility to greece, which is why close to 90% of germans dont support a bailout. There are rules to follow when joining the euro, greece didnt follow them, and must now pay the consequences. It will get bailed out, but Germany should have no guilt or personal responisiblity to make sure europe succeeds just because of the War 2 generations ago.

    • says

      Then the Germans are being shortsighted, because if Greece goes under, Germany losses much much more economically than if they were to lead a bailout.

      Yes, Greece didn’t follow the rules. They need to man up. You would think Germany would have no guilt for killing 11-17 million people. But, next time you meet a German, ask them about the topic. They are suffering needlessly through no fault of their own, and that’s sad.
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

      • says

        Having lived in Germany with German families in both West Germany (Darmstadt area) and East Germany (Both Dresden and Forchheim), I never experienced the “They are siffering needlessly.”

        If you discuss the topic with them, they feel shame that their ancestors followed blindly and did horrific acts. But how is this different than all of the Americans that I know who feel shame for some of the things our country has done?

        I’

        • BW says

          and destroyed the culture/country that was Hawaii…

          oh yeah, and that whole slavery thing?

          Maybe Germany should have bailed out Greece for economic reasons, but not due make up for 70 years ago. The French police went along with the Nazis…so should France pay? Just an example.

          • says

            True true, and good points. This is why we have affirmative action in the US, and have preferential treatment thanks to the Kamehameha foundation in Hawaii to help locals succeed through free education. It’s the best school system in Hawaii and you need to have Hawaii ancestary.

            Yes, France should definitely pay. Again, what hurts Greece ultimately hurts France b/c they all use the same currency.

  12. Charlie says

    It’s crazy how interconnected all of our economies are. Europe’s markets go down, ours go down, Asia goes down, vise versa. I don’t know what will work, but I hope they come up with some sort of solution and soon!

  13. Mike Hunt says

    Hi Sam,

    It appears you are pretty set in your thoughts so I’m not going to be able to sway your opinion.

    However I’ll give my 2 cents…

    The root cause of the problem is one of excessive debt and underdeclaration of the debt. By rights, Greece should have never been admitted into the EU back in 2001 since they misrepresented their debt burden. Both Greece and the EU were complicit to this.

    The trouble is, when countries (and people and corporations) take on excessive debt this becomes mathematically impossible to shed without default or massive currecy devaluation. Throwing more loans at the problem to try and supress the interest rate will just lead to a bigger crash.

    Bookmark this post and check back a year later. I’m willing to bet that this bailout would lead to a bigger crisis within 1 year. Spain, Italy and Portugal all have excessive debt. Germany has grown like crazy by exporting to the other EU countries. Germany has a compelling reason to exit the Euro and return to the DM… yes, they will face a huge crisis but the way out of a huge debt hole is not through more loans.

    Unfortunately the clowns in Washington subscribe to the same crazy ideas of throwing more debt at a huge debt problem- look at Freddie, Fannie, the 10% of GDP deficit. It will come crashing down and judging from how unstable the stock market and interest rates are, it may not be too far away.

    -Mike

    • says

      You’re right, I don’t think the EU will allow Greece’s problems to spread to Italy, Spain and the rest of the EU. They’ve already learned from the US example that a massive concerted bailout is necessary b/c at the end of the day, it’s all about confidence given all the leverage.

      I don’t need to book mark this post, b/c it’s my site. :) But, feel free to come back and tell me you’re right and the EU went to hell b/c of this bailout package!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  14. says

    Regardless of what happens, I’m going to back the resilience of Germany. This could hit them in the pocket, but they’ll bounce back. I remember the West German sentiment taking on East Germany twenty years ago, when West Germany was in great shape with a budget surplus and East Germany was….well, East Germany. It was pretty contentious among the West Germans I spoke to at the time. There were plenty of concerns among the West German people, and there were plenty of factors assisting their eventual success, but ultimately, Germany thrived greatly to their credit and because of their resilience. Do you remember those funny stories of 130mph BMWs on the Autobahn passing rickety East German cars after the wall came down?
    I do agree that Greece should never have been allowed to join the Union. I had reservations about Portugal as well, when they joined…and I hoped that Spain would be OK. As a Brit, I took a particular interest in how the whole thing was coming together at the time. Let’s hope it sorts itself out.
    Andrew
    .-= Andrew Hallam´s last blog ..Can we beat the market 8 years in a row? =-.

  15. says

    I think that the European debt issues will stay contained for the most part. I totally agree with Greece being lucky they came forward first and would’ve loved to see the German lead bailout. That would have been a great way to increase the bonds between the nations of the EuroZone. I do think that Greece should be held accountable for how it’s government has essentially put a run on their economy because it also clearly affects how international currencies interact with each other. Especially in such jumpy overly risk hungry international market.

    Great article!!! Way to get us, your readers, to think..or at least get me thinking :) Thanks!
    .-= Nunzio Bruno´s last blog ..The 5 Minute Business Consultant =-.

  16. Saskia says

    My country, the Netherlands, has suffered a lot during WW II under the German occupation. Yet I am sure we don’t feel that Germany has to contribute a lot for that reason. We also have to pay a lot of money for saving the euro. My feelings are very mixed, I know we have to in order to save the EU, but when I know the Greek retire at the age of 53 (!) and we have to work till we are 67, I certainly hope it’s worthwhile!!!

    • says

      That is quite amazing the massive 14 year spread between retirement ages and social security type benefits within the Euro.

      Hence, I continue to assert this is a political crisis. With one currency, there should eventually be a standard retirement/pension age, and other things made standard.

      Europe will eventually have to follow the US in standardization in the long run…. but it’s going to take a long time. Ironically, these market meltdowns help accelerate standardization!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Germany’s Missed Opportunity To Save Greece & Themselves =-.

  17. Edwin | Finantage says

    I’m not sure exactly whats going on here. I write calm responses yet they get deleted and The Genius gets to keep his flame riddled posts. Yes, I may be a bit… harsh by using wording like “this is ridiculous” to begin my responses. But I continue with a full argument.

    Maybe people refuse to get past the first word and read the actual argument as no one has yet responded to it. If that’s the case, I’m sorry some of you feel that way. But in no way have I acted like a troll or deserve to get flamed like this. This isn’t the way to get a real conversation.
    .-= Edwin | Finantage´s last blog ..U.S. Deficit is Spiraling Out of Control! … Except it Isn’t =-.

  18. Lovingkind says

    Edwin (| Finantage), I felt a very different vibration in this community for the first time!

    I visited this site often because I wanted to learn. I am so ignorant when it comes to money and many related issues. I have learned a lot since I visited this site. In addition to the site owner, I am very grateful to its readers. Because of their intelligence, experiences and sometimes. sense of humor even when they argue, that kepy me coming back. So, let’s bring our good spirit to this community, even when our opinions/perceptions are different…

  19. says

    Edwin, if things get a bit heated from time to time, it’s a lot more interesting than benign agreement. I enjoyed the spice. And if it did rattle some feathers, then it’s a great reminder to us all about the limitations of the written word, versus seeing expressions and tones in a more personal, less tech fashion. I’ll just smile, imagining you slapping the Samurai on the back and spilling a bit of beer on him in the process of your argument.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
    .-= Andrew Hallam´s last blog ..Can we beat the market 8 years in a row? =-.

  20. says

    Hmm, I applaud a US blogger taking an interest in European affairs (seriously, I do) but you’re a little out of date on your inter-Euro rivalries I’d suggest. ;)

    The Germans have got themselves a whole new load of negative stereotypes to play with these days — they barely need the war anymore. ;)

    The trouble is the Euro is an essentially flawed currency. What works for a hyper-efficient and productive economy with very high savings rates like Germany (e.g. low interest rates) translates very badly to a profligate and unproductive country like Greece, that could really do with a weaker currency along with everything else.

    It’s all one step close to either the United States of Europe or else a break up of the entire currency.

    I know you don’t mind links, so if I can be permitted one I outlined my thankfulness that the UK is not in this Euro-mess here:

    http://stocktickle.com/2010/03/02/thank-st-margaret-were-not-in-the-sickbay-of-piigs/
    .-= Monevator´s last blog ..Snap thoughts on the Con Dem coalition from a private investor’s perspective =-.

  21. Dumb Article says

    Anyone who attacks a person or thinks less of someone because of what their GRANDPARENTS did is either stupid or trying to take advantage of them. Germans today didn’t do the atrocities that were committed in WWII. I could say that the Greeks should pay a shit ton of money to the Turkish for the Greco-Turkish War in 1919-1922. Both sides were accused of ethnic cleaning, massacring of women and children, and other war atrocities, do you see the Turks whining about reparations nowadays? NO.

  22. medical assistant says

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

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