This is just a warm up for what’s coming our way
by Graham Summers
Phoenix Capital Research
Posted originally June 3, 2011
Despite the fact we were told repeatedly that the Greece situation was solved just 12 months ago, the country is once again at the forefront of the ongoing crisis in the Euro-zone. Having already thrown billions at this problem last year, this time around European officials are actually considering REAL solutions, i.e. Greece leaving the Euro-zone. Of course, as soon as these rumors surfaced, several Greek officials (who never seem to be named) quickly responded to say the rumors are unfounded.
At this point it is clear that the Euro-zone will be restructured in the near future. Whether or not it will change with Greece alone leaving the EU, or if we see multiple players drop out, one thing is clear: the EU in its current form is finished.
How we get to this outcome remains to be seen. But the “Greece issue” serves as a perfect illustration of the central issues plaguing the world financial system today. Consider that Greece’s entire GDP is less than $330 billion (about the same size as the state of Massachusetts). The country also has a debt to GDP levels of over 100% and deficit of around 12%. In other words, it’s clear, plain as day that the country is broke. So why does Greece matter so much to the EU? The answer is quite simple: derivatives and the interconnectedness of the global banking system.
It’s now well documented that Greece should never have been allowed to join the EU. The only way it met the fiscal requirements was by using off balance sheet derivatives (crafted by Goldman Sachs and pals naturally) to hide the true state of its financial health. However, once Greece entered the EU, its bonds quickly entered the toxic debt game of “hot potato” amongst the EU banks. By the time the European crisis erupted last year, German and French banks were on the hook for $65 billion and $82 billion of Greece’s debt, respectively.
Small wonder then that these more fiscally sound countries pushed to bail Greece out. Failure to do so would mean a banking crisis in either country. So banks got the EU into this mess in the first place (Wall Street helped hide Greece’s true debt loads to get Greece into the EU) and now banks are making sure that European taxpayers pony up the cash for this dishonesty (German and French banks are leaning on politicians to not allow Greece to collapse).
And so here we are, with austerity measures and higher taxes occurring in Europe because of bankers’ greed and dishonesty. Having realized that their politicians aren’t going to do the right thing, the people are now openly expressing their disgust at the ballot box (Angela Merkel’s party is getting slammed in Germany for supporting the bailouts) and the streets (protests are occurring across Europe).
And it’s just a taste of what’s coming to the US.
Indeed, everything happening in Europe right now (civil unrest, political turmoil, currency crisis) is coming to the US’s shores in the future. We are running similar debt-to-GDP ratios, deficits and our banking system is similarly laden with worthless derivative garbage.
Again, the same upheaval happening in Europe will come to these shores. It’s only a matter of time. Which is why the wise thing to do is prepare in advance of this. This means getting some food, water, and bullion on hand. It also means considering what one would do if the stock market came undone again.