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Germany and Greece

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  • 2 months later...





"Recently, when the current Greek government committed to actually collect some taxes in order to get more loans, a bureaucrat decided that a great way to collect property taxes would be to include them in people's electricity bills, a move that caused an uproar. Lawsuits followed, as the national power company tried to cut off electricity for nonpayment. In a country where it can take a decade for a legal matter to get on a court docket, a court rather quickly took up the case and ruled it illegal for the power company to cut off service for non-payment. This ruling led to a massive financial loss by the power company as people simply stopped paying their electric bills.


I assume that by now you have seen the video of the televised debate among representatives of the seven Greek parties. In a bit of poor planning, the very nationalistic Golden Dawn party head, a rather solid-looking young body builder, was seated next to the Communist Party leader, who is a lady. A few insults were exchanged, some water was thrown in the face of a rather pleasant-looking young lady (a representative of a leftist party) across the table from the Golden Dawn guy, there was a slap on his arm with a folder by the Communist Party leader; and then they were on their feet and Mr. Golden Dawn was repeatedly slapping and then punching Ms. Communist Party.


If for some reason you have not viewed this short but exciting clip, here is a link: http://www.rt.com/news/greek-politician-slaps-rival-278/ . Or you can Google "golden dawn greek slap" and get a link to a report in your language of choice. If you choose the German version from Der Spiegel, you can hear the word neo-Nazi repeated several times by the German reporter.


This exchange provokes a few thoughts. First, incidents of violence and vigilantism in Greece are rising, along with the lawful public demonstrations. Whatever veneer of civility that was left was ripped away by the boorish behavior of the Golden Dawn representative.


Whether it be families or nations, such a level of dysfunctionality almost always ends in tears. The "slap" is just one more telling incident in a country that is on the brink of self-destruction. It is very possible that the winner of the election will be a party that wants to reject austerity but believes that the rest of Europe will give them the money they need to continue to pay their public employees, maintain services, and keep the government functioning. The reasoning seems to be that Europe will do that because they need the Greeks to continue to pretend that they will pay off their national debt to the European governments and ECB.


Why are we still fixated on Greece? Even though Greece is small, it matters; because if Greece leaves the euro then the markets will immediately ask, "Who's next?" And while a year ago everyone thought the answer was Portugal, the market is now looking hard at Spain, which is on the same path to insolvency that Greece was only a few years ago.


Source: JohnMauldin.com (http://s.tt/1dRzK)

Source: JohnMauldin.com (http://s.tt/1dRzK)




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