The Real Reason Greece Folded – Ep. 95

  • As I have been saying all along, the Greek Prime Minister capitulated to German demands
  • In fact, he is agreeing to a plan that is more onerous on Greece than the one he encouraged his own people to vote down just over a week ago
  • Those who thought Greece held all the cards, that the Eurozone would risk a domino effect of other nations leaving the euro
  • I felt Germany held the stronger hand and would push Greece from the Eurozone rather than cave in to Greek demands
  • Greece is going to stay a part of the Eurozone, at least for now, because it is the only way they can get the bailout funds they need to sustain Greek socialism
  • Greek socialism will be mitigated to a degree, by the austerity demands to cut government spending
  • They don’t need higher taxes
  • If Germany were to allow the Greek debt to be forgiven, the moral hazard for other struggling states would be enormous
  • The message Germany is sending is that it did not go well for Greece, it is not going to go well for any country who refuses to get their economic house in order
  • Germany demonstrated that membership in the Eurozone is not for life
  • This will force other countries to get their house in order
  • I don’t agree with Greece’s choice, although it might be better for Greece in the short than leaving the Eurozone
  • No Greek politician wants to accept responsibility for the austerity measures – it is easier to throw the blame over to Germany of Brussels
  • Push comes to shove no politician is going to be able to undo Eurozone austerity measures without having to face the music
  • Greece has run out of other people’s money to fund socialism
  • Now their debt to GDP will be over 200%
  • They can’t pay their debt now – how are they going to pay off a larger debt?
  • Part of the austerity measures, included a €50 billion privatization program, similar to the IMP’s recommendation years ago
  • Greek government assets will be sold off for the benefit of foreign creditors
  • I think it would have been best for Europe to kick Greece out and loan them no more money
  • The euro is down today, but I think it is a dip to buy the euro
  • This move will show the markets that the euro is here to stay
  • Greece could have done one of two things:
  • Greece could have refused the aid package and defaulted on the debt
  • If they got kicked out of the euro, they could still use the euro as currency, they just would not have access to the ECB for bailout
  • If this happened, banks would fail; the government would have to downsize, pensions would have to be cut;
  • Without a tax income in euros, the government would have to operate on a balanced budget
  • Eventually, relieved of the debt they currently owe, they would be about to re-establish better credit
  • Greece could then enact real tax reform, become a tax haven in Europe and that would grow the Greek economy
  • The liberals will point to Greek economic challenges as proof that cuts in government spending do not work
  • It’s not about asking the people who are already pulling the wagon to pull harder; it’s about the people who are riding in the wagon to get out and start pulling themselves
  • Greece needs government level austerity
  • The Greek shipping industry is vibrant because it is not taxed
  • If shipping is now taxed, it will drive the industry away from Greece
  • In order to stimulate business with lower taxes, they would have to leave the Eurozone
  • Another choice is to establish a sound drachma backed by gold
  • Where would they get the gold? From privatization of assets
  • I would use the proceeds to back up my currency
  • Alternatively, they could back the currency with a Foreign Exchange Reserve
  • If Greece abandoned socialism and became a tax haven the proceeds of privatization would yield much more to the Greek government because all of those assets are worth a much in a tax haven
  • A tax-free Greece, with all its natural resources, coastline and tourism, would be rich
  • Singapore and Hong Kong don’t have nearly the resources of Greece, yet they are rich
  • What Singapore and Hong Kong don’t have is the Greek Government
  • If you put the Greek Government in Singapore, it would be broke, too
  • If Greece had a sound currency backed by gold reserves or a Foreign Exchange reserves and no income tax, their economy could boom, especially once they got out of all their current debt
  • Unfortunately, the Greek voters would not have allowed such a government because they want socialism
  • At this point they can’t come back. They are obligated to repay all this debt which will mean a tax increase
  • That’s not the kind of austerity Greece needs. It needs the austerity that comes from lower government spending
  • The Greek government has been basing their socialism on money from the Eurozone
  • They were considering going back to the drachma so they could print money
  • But printing money is default; it’s worse than default because it severely restricts the standard of living
  • The bottom line is that Greece will get bailed out; it is not going to work, but it will be an example of what happens when a country pushes debt to the very end
  • Americans need to realize that Greece’s problem is our problem
  • We’re broke, too, and when our creditors finally become concerned about it and no one will be talking about the problems in Greece, because they will be insignificant compared to the problems in the United States.

Peter Schiff is an economist, financial broker/dealer, author, frequent guest on national news, and host of the Peter Schiff Show Podcast.



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