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"I'll Gladly salary You Tuesday because that a Hamburger Today"

"I'll Gladly salary You Tuesday for a Hamburger Today"

By Austin Bay

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- December 27, 2012


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As 2012 ends, the Greek debt dilemm continues. In December, the Greek government started restructuring its debt for the 2nd time this year.

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"Restructuring" may sound clean and clinical. The isn"t. Greece couldn"t accomplish its debt payment requirements, therefore its lenders agreed to a new repayment schedule.


Occasionally, the ax "selective default" shows up when restructuring occurs. Finance ministers and treasury secretaries will certainly tell friend the ax is just credit rating agency lingo, which wall Street understands, so don"t permit it scare you. In fact, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said precisely that best after Greece began restructuring. "The word selective default scares there is no reason. That is no a real event; that is no default."

But if girlfriend live on key Street, and work on main Street, and pay bills on main Street, and know that one plus one amounts to two on main Street, and also ultimately the straightforward math is the same on wall surface Street and in Athens, together well, you could not re-superstructure the finance minister"s confident assurance. Selective default method some lenders gain paid now, rather later and also other others still later. Maybe. For the creditors at the end of the line, and that"s commonly those who absence the politics clout to get paid first, all they"ve acquired is a promise.

J. Wellington Wimpy -- the gluttonous, globular straight man who appears in old Popeye the sailor cartoons -- is a character from another entertainment era, the 1930s. The decade, however, has resonance for 21st century Greece, the Eurozone and also every other country currently engaged in racking increase debt: The 1930s were the worst years of the good Depression. Wimpy loves hamburgers, an amour that leads come his signature line, "I"ll gladly pay you Tuesday because that a hamburger today."

The line, a diner"s hustle, neatly catches the risk of lending to any kind of individual or nationwide entity who spends lend money to pay for instant needs. Wimpy eats his burger today. Climate comes Tuesday, goodness, he"s hungry again. "Shall we," a not-so-theoretical 21st century Wimpy asks, therefore sincerely, "restructure the debt? Until next Tuesday? and I"ll must eat, in order come survive, so the I deserve to pay you. For this reason ..."

Greece isn"t a cartoon; it"s a tragedy. The human being of Greece have suffered, room suffering and, unfortunately, will continue to suffer. Their suffering can get lot worse.

Extremist political leaders prey on understandable publicly anger. Violent protests torment Greek cities. Terrorist threats, made in the surname of economic justice and national identity, are day-to-day fare. Old-line communists, still active in Greek job unions, have made politics gains. Greece currently sports its own neo-Nazi party. Greek Nazis advocate socialist financial populism and also Greek ultra-nationalism -- in various other words, national socialism. The Nazis took strength in Depression-ridden Germany. Unequal Wimpy, they weren"t conning diners for hamburger money.

The Greek people, however, also bear the major burden of responsibility for their recurring tragedy. Greek governments, repeatedly, cooking the books when they reported their yearly deficits to other Eurozone members. Greek governments repeatedly violated fiscal agreements and borrowed money they could not repay. In other words, they flat lied. Greek voters elected the federal governments and, choose Wimpy, delighted in the instant benefits. An easy math, and time, has actually exposed the lies together the hot air they were.

Main Street knows the truth: Greek debt is unsustainable. Based upon gross residential product, resources and also work ethic, America isn"t as deeply in debt as Greece. However, America"s very own structural blame is the biggest strategic danger the U.S. Faces. The is already eroding America"s army power. Soft power advocates had better pay attention. The debt is likewise eroding America"s economic, diplomatic and social power come influence and also persuade.

Last week, Standard and Poor"s credit experts raised Greece"s blame rating come a B-minus. S&P concluded that the recent restructuring effort, linked with much more budget cut (austerity) and also the come of about $49 billion euros in credit, supposed that Greece to be no much longer in "selective default." At the very least for a while.

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The Greek federal government touted the ratings rise as one encouraging sign. And it is -- at least, until following Tuesday.