Greece in Turmoil

ATM Line Greece

by Jeff Davis

A CNBC news article reports: “The deteriorating situation in Greece—including long lines and a 60 euro ($67) limit at ATMs—could get much worse if voters there refuse to accept creditor-imposed reforms in a referendum… said billionaire Wilbur Ross, who has a large interest in the country. ‘Once there’s social unrest, which there will be before too long if this thing continues, no tourist is going to want to go to Greece,’ Ross told CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ on Monday. ‘If the Greek people understand how limited those concessions that are requested are, and contemplate going into the abyss on (the) other side, they’re never going to pick the abyss.'”

Well, guess again, Wilbur. The Greeks just voted over 60 percent against the austerity measures that were proposed. Bank closures have been extended through Thursday as everyone now scrambles around to try to find a solution that is tolerable for everyone.

The article goes on “Last year, the chairman and CEO of WL Ross & Co. and other international financiers invested $1.8 billion in Eurobank—becoming the biggest shareholder of Greece’s third-largest bank. He said Monday he made the bet thinking the current government would not be in power. Ross said there are lines at Eurobank branches, but surprisingly they’re not totally out of control yet.”

If they can only withdraw 60 euros at a time and not their life savings, there’s little reason to go to the bank. No one knows what will happen when banks re-open with no limits except that many customers will want all their money out to avoid getting an arbitrary government confiscation of 20 percent of their savings.

“Debt talks between Greece and its creditors collapsed late Friday, after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a national vote for his people to decide on whether they’re willing to accept reforms in exchange for more bailout aid. Sunday’s referendum may effectively turn out to be a vote on whether Greece stays in the common currency.”

“‘I don’t see how Mr. Tsipras and the [leftist] Syriza party survives this. They promised people right along that they could get no problems, go back to the way it was, the EU would fold. The EU didn’t fold and I don’t think they will fold,’ Ross said.”

“Ross said it’s ironic that ‘ Greece bought us democracy centuries ago, and now they’re about to bring us chaos.’’”

Well, actually, it’s the combination of big international banking and overpaid and far too numerous state workers that’s brought the chaos. Nations should NEVER be allowed to borrow. They should be forced to make the hard decisions to cut their spending until they’ve got a balanced budget every year. (Something the US under Obama can’t do either by the way —only our creditors are not breathing down our collective neck yet.)

In the long run, anything that leads to the bust-up of the European Union is a good thing, but it’s going to be one unholy mess as the banksters fight tooth and nail to keep their fangs sunk into the member states.

What will be interesting to see is if this character Tspiras can keep his promise to the Greek people that nothing will change, that they’ll be able to go on retiring at age 50 and everybody gets oodles of money from the government for, basically, shuffling papers and not producing useful products in the private sector.

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