Bank debt crisis: “….what happens when the Irish taxpayer stiffs the German taxpayer?”

Riffing off John’s nicely subversive theme, there’s another subversive version in Vanity Fair by Michael Lewis, which has a useful perspective on the similarities between Ireland and Iceland:

Ireland’s financial disaster shared some things with Iceland’s. It was created by the sort of men who ignore their wives’ suggestions that maybe they should stop and ask for directions, for instance. But while Icelandic males used foreign money to conquer foreign places—trophy companies in Britain, chunks of Scandinavia—the Irish male used foreign money to conquer Ireland. Left alone in a dark room with a pile of money, the Irish decided what they really wanted to do with it was to buy Ireland. From one another.

Hmmmm…. And here’s the total perspective vortex on where it’s brought the country:

One credit-analysis firm has judged Ireland the third-most-likely country to default. Not quite as risky for the global investor as Venezuela, but riskier than Iraq. Distinctly Third World, in any case.

And on the strange political incontinence that’s followed:

There’s been no Tea Party movement, no Glenn Beck, no serious protests of any kind. The most obvious change in the country’s politics has been the role played by foreigners. The Irish government and Irish banks are crawling with American investment bankers and Australian management consultants and faceless Euro-officials, referred to inside the Department of Finance simply as “the Germans.” Walk the streets at night and, through restaurant windows, you see important-looking men in suits, dining alone, studying important-looking papers. In some new and strange way Dublin is now an occupied city: Hanoi, circa 1950.

A bit like the Nigerians who would rather consume goods from Ghana rather than those made by other Nigerians they don’t know, the levels of trust in Irish banking and finance have taken a beating. A situation that was very long in the making, some would say. And now there is a desperation to find some convenient way out.

Here’s Lewis on Bloomberg yesterday. He points out the big fat flaw in a lot of the magical thinking current in Irish economics: much of the private money is already gone. In other words, it’s the old switcheroo. Where two years ago you had specific bondholders you could easily identify and burn, you now only have the ECB and to a lesser extent, the IMF.

A situation which leads Lewis to the obvious question: “….what happens when the Irish taxpayer stiffs the German taxpayer?”

Answer: Any new government that’s led by Fine Gael and Labour won’t, because they cannot face the political and economic consequences burning two of the world’s biggest fundholders.

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  • Mack

    @Mick

    Hmmmm…. And here’s the total perspective vortex on where it’s brought the country:

    “One credit-analysis firm has judged Ireland the third-most-likely country to default. Not quite as risky for the global investor as Venezuela, but riskier than Iraq. Distinctly Third World, in any case.”

    Should this not be, the actual crux of the debate. Without European support (and I don’t mean the ‘bailout’) Ireland will have to default. Is that support going to be forthcoming, or is it better that “the Irish taxpayer stiffs the German taxpayer?” with all the consequences involved?

  • Cynic2

    It doesn’t have to default. It may choose to…that’s different and so are the consequences

  • Mack

    Insolvent countries don’t have much choice in the matter Cynic.

    Debt-to-GNP is *already* at 110%. The market is charging almost 10% interest on Irish government debt, the EU/IMF are providing some funds at almost 6%. Do you think a country could afford a debt-to-GDP ratio of say 200% with a blended interest rate of, say, 7% ?

  • Mack

    To spell out that example a little more, that would 14% of GNP going on interest payments. 14% of GNP is about 1/4 of the tax take. Note that doesn’t include down payments on the outstanding capital.

  • Mack

    Sorry, it’s over 1/3 of the tax take. On interest payments. With no wiggle room what-so-ever for running deficits in the future..

  • Mick Fealty

    “Without European support (and I don’t mean the ‘bailout’) Ireland will have to default. Is that support going to be forthcoming, or is it better that “the Irish taxpayer stiffs the German taxpayer?” with all the consequences involved?”

    Indeed Mack, it’s relates to that quantum theory idea you suggested a few weeks back. The debt has a weird two way dynamic.

    It’s reckless lending by German and French banks on one hand, and world class stupidity by Irish banks on the other.

  • Brussels Tuesday night and very senior Germans have no doubt that it is a little local difficulty that more intregration of economies in Euroland (read that to mean Berlin discipline) will be the new order of the day within two years. That would take us to the 2013 stop-gap point that the most recent bailout has embedded. So yes there will be ‘European’ support. But the past lending is a footnote now. It has had the consequence of serving Euro integration nicely. Past is past.

  • Michael Lewis’s Vanity Fair piece is very long, for a magazine article but it was such a great read.

    Contrary to what may be believed, there people out there writing warning articles about the dangers of the Irish Banks and the bricks and mortar boom, like this one

    http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2005/08/03/how-secure-will-you-be-when-the-credit-runs-out

    There were not enough heavy hitters in the big media though and too few of them in Ireland.

    Stood Ireland stiff the German taxpayer?

    Well, Lewis reckons that will happen. I do too. It wont be a quiet decision for the Government. Many eyes will be on them and they will have stopped crying.

    Let us hope that is the central theme of the general election and that as many voters as possible actually understand the consequences of doing it and not doing it.

  • I think the bail-out needs to be renegotiated, but acting unilaterally is pretty much out of the question. Not only for the reasons here, but because the effect it would probably have in the wider Eurozone. It would probably force a bail-out of Portugal, Spain and perhaps beyond, at a time when I assume that German and British banks would have to be bailed out to some extent or let fail. The question in that environment is: would we still be relying on exporting our way out of our crisis? Would that be practical (after all, wouldn’t Britain and the US be adversely affected by a spreading Eurozone crisis)? Could we stimulate domestic demand to make up the shortfall? I doubt it.

    That’s not to say that Portugal and Spain, etc. won’t need the support of a bail out (it seems like they eventually will), or that the current support is a good solution. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like there are many comprehensive or convincing ideas or plans out there – are Irish political parties even discussing what would be the best way of governing the Eurozone?

  • George

    “the Irish taxpayer stiffs the German taxpayer?”

    That’s strictly not true, it’s the Irish banks who stiff the Irish taxpayer, who stiff the German banks who stiff the German taxpayer.

    I am slightly disconcerted at how the people who have actually borrowed and lent the money are now being left out of the equation.

    It’s like promulgating that H + 2 = H20

  • Nunoftheabove

    I am not the first to suggest this but I still haven’t yet heard a compelling reason for not pursuing it. Surely a more realistic – and for that matter appropriately capitalist – solution would be to renegotiate on a strictly debt for equity swap basis, thus giving the various creditors a vested interest in the survival of the Irish economy and the sustainability of some form of banking sector in the longer term. This would make the creditors shareholders, reduce/eliminate any possibility of default, serve to remove debt from the broken banks’ balance sheets and in effect would allow them to wipe the slate clean without the same degree of additional pressure to massively recapitalize that they now have and at least bring Ireland back into some sort of shape which would enable a return to state credit-worthiness at some point in the future.

  • Mack

    @George -It’s not about the banks any more. Between 60 – 80 billion has been borrowed from the ecb to pay senior bond holders in the last 12 months. European taxpayers and not finamcail instituitions will be on the hook for those loses if / when they materialise.

  • What sort of an eejit allows an institution with a right dodgy business model*, which can only survive and prosper obscenely if it delivers enslaving debt to eejits and their social circle, to survive and prosper and blight their existence and destroy their dreams.

    * You go into a bank today, to look for start-up capital to start up a new business tomorrow, which exactly copies the banks modus operandi, and the manager will call you a criminal and advise that they are not prepared to entertain the business, good day.

    Bend over please, like good little boys and girls. This won’t hurt …. much.

  • Nunoftheabove

    amanfromMars

    In fairness, a lot of the initial eejitery was on the part of the borrower as well as the lenders. Just because happy hour’s on doesn’t mean it’s not daft to drink five times as much as you normally would and to do so five times as quickly. Not all the time, anyway….

    Problem is, on this occasion the sensible drinkers in the pub, strangers to the pisshead, are being requested without their permission to:

    (i) pay for the cost of the bouncers for throwing the drunk onto the street (not the bar’s problem, apparently);

    (ii) pay for the cost of cleaning the pub as the drunk caused a shocking mess – threw up, smashed glasses etc – not really the bar’s responsibility, you see)

    (iii) (ii) pay for the window he smashed in the kebab shop next to the pub while pissed (regrettable of course, but really, not the bar’s problem – the sensible drinkers in the pub should cover the tab);

    (iv) pay for the drunk’s taxi home (not the bar’s problem, plainly – the people he’s never met before in the pub really ought to chip in – it’s only fair);

    (v) pay for the cost of replacing the hall table the drunk smashed to smithereens when he finally got indoors (again, not the bar’s problem – the ordinary punters should empty their pockets….)

    (vi) pay for the cost of legally representing the drunk in litigation against the bar for ‘head injuries’ sustained in throwing him out of the boozer. (seems logical for the regular drinkers to cover the tab, right ? Naturally no compensation will come their way should the drunk win the case….sure he can share that with the licensee)

    etc etc

  • Greenflag

    @ amanfrommars ,

    It’s been said before by this very observant commentator on the ‘banks ‘ Deja vu time 🙂

    Some people never learn

  • Reader

    Nunoftheabove: Problem is, on this occasion the sensible drinkers in the pub, strangers to the pisshead, are being requested without their permission to
    The pisshead is a member of their club, and the elected club steering committee volunteered to pay damages.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Reader

    Give you that but….mandate to do so would you say ?

  • Reader

    Nunoftheabove: Give you that but….mandate to do so would you say ?
    Do they need a specific mandate so long as it doesn’t breach the constitution? It doesn’t matter anyway. There will be a new steering committee soon, who will get another chance to decide whether to seriously piss off the barman.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Reader

    Indeed; do you think there’s any mileage in the debt equity swap idea mooted above ? Ultimately there are limited options as we are already at the lender-of-last-resort stage, but still – Ireland has so little to lose in terms of credit-worthiness that the threat of default is one of the few cards that it has left and seems to me at least to have the relative beauty of being vaguely commonsensical – do it this way or wreck the economy and risk the integrity of the Euro and forget about repayment …perhaps ever.

  • That’s strictly not true, it’s the Irish banks who stiff the Irish taxpayer, who stiff the German banks who stiff the German taxpayer.

    I am slightly disconcerted at how the people who have actually borrowed and lent the money are now being left out of the equation. ” …. George, 4 February 2011 at 12:23 am

    Surely, George, that is not true. Is it not the Irish government, led by the genius of Brian Cowen who stiffed the Irish taxpayer and shafted its population right good and proper, as this little anecdote from the Vanity Fair article reveals …..”Cowen happens also to have been the minister of finance from 2004 until mid-2008, when most of the bad stuff happened. He is not an obvious Leader of Men. His movements are sullen and lumbering, his face numbed by corpulence, his natural resting expression a look of confusion. One morning a few weeks before, he went on national radio sounding, to well-trained Irish ears, drunk. To my less trained ones he sounded merely groggy, but the public is in no mood to cut him a break. (Four different Irish people told me, on great authority, that Cowen had faxed Ireland’s 440-billion-euro bank guarantee into the European Central Bank from a pub.) And the truth is, if you were to design a human being to maximize the likelihood that people would assume he drank too much, you’d have a hard time doing better than the Irish prime minister.

    Methinks the stiffing and shafting of the population by its executive administration is never ever any part of the deal in any nation, and thus are any and all such dodgy deals, both unlawful and unconstitutional and therefore null and void, and would be very liable to criminal proceedings and public prosecution.

    And I just love the understatement in …. “I am slightly disconcerted at how the people who have actually borrowed and lent the money are now being left out of the equation” ….. which is mirrored equally well in the Vanity Fair piece, [which incidentally is a right entertaining read too, with some pearls of typical Irish humour within*] with ….. “In retrospect, now that the Irish bank losses are known to be world-historically huge, the decision to cover them appears not merely odd but suicidal. A handful of Irish bankers incurred debts they could never repay, of something like 100 billion euros. They may have had no idea what they were doing, but they did it all the same. Their debts were private—owed by them to investors around the world—and still the Irish people have undertaken to repay them as if they were obligations of the state. For two years they have labored under this impossible burden with scarcely a peep of protest.

    Quite why the man and woman in the street, with many of them living in real enough fear of being put out into the street because of the “leadership” shown by the ponzi self-serving banking system and incompetent politicians, are not fcuking furious and looking for blood, is slightly disconcerting for it shows a complete and utter lack of respect and belief in themselves, and that makes them all easy prey to all of those flash foreign gits in fancy suits who now appear to be feasting on their carcass, to keep their Ponzi running ….”The most obvious change in the country’s politics has been the role played by foreigners. The Irish government and Irish banks are crawling with American investment bankers and Australian management consultants and faceless Euro-officials, referred to inside the Department of Finance simply as “the Germans.” Walk the streets at night and, through restaurant windows, you see important-looking men in suits, dining alone, studying important-looking papers. In some new and strange way Dublin is now an occupied city: Hanoi, circa 1950.

    *”What happened was that everyone in Ireland had the idea that somewhere in Ireland there was a little wise old man who was in charge of the money, and this was the first time they’d ever seen this little man,” says McCarthy. “And then they saw him and said, “Who the fuck was that??? Is that the fucking guy who is in charge of the money???” That’s when everyone panicked.

    And has anything fundamental changed in the banking sector since Flash Gordon Brown saved the world and the banks crashed, or have debts soared ever higher to be never repaid, but with the people now being charged and loaded with the losses to keep them in their place ….. screwed into the ground at the bottom of the heaps of money circulating amongst bankers with right dodgy friends/cohorts/co-conspirators in the Rape of the Wild Wicked West?

    Methinks you know the answer to that question is a resounding NO, NOTHING HAS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED AND THE SITUATION IS WORSE THAN EVER.

    So Fix it. Dump the Old Crooked System and start an New SMARTer System. Or are y’all gonna say/gurn/cry/whine/shout that it is not as easy as that, whenever with IT and Virtual Controls, is it as simple as that? To deny it so easy just means that it is something which you cannot do, but that does not mean that it cannot be done by Others into Fields of Virtual Control with IT. Capiche.

    And methinks, Gerry is of a not dissimilar disposition. Certainly his campaigning rhetoric is not of the traditional subservient line to the status quo arrangements, which have so catastrophically failed to deliver anything but chaos and crippling poverty, with massive private debts unconstitutionally nationalised to save useless banks, for a country now “owned” because of the dodgy national guarantee, by foreigners with the backing of nothing more substantial than a money printing press of their own too.

    And if the Irish just bend over and take it, like good little boys and girls, whether it pleases them or not, what does that tell you about them and the System? And you who would know of them and the System and their plight, and who would do nothing, and be then by pathetic and apathetic default, a contributory part of the ongoing catastophe?

    Nunoftheabove, I congratulate you on the post 4 February 2011 at 6:08 pm, it provides a crystal clarity to a murky episode.:-) And every Irishman and woman will understand it perfectly to see the inequity which renders the present situation and its apparent present resolutions and drunken arrangements, both totally unacceptable and grossly unfair and therefore also illegal and unlawful [should there be any significant semantic difference between the two words]

    Seems like the pub could do with a new barman too. What says the Reader, who wrote ….. “Nunoftheabove: Give you that but….mandate to do so would you say ?
    Do they need a specific mandate so long as it doesn’t breach the constitution? It doesn’t matter anyway. There will be a new steering committee soon, who will get another chance to decide whether to seriously piss off the barman.
    “….Reader, 4 February 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Mick, is there a problem with the italicising and bold html function which were earlier available and which showed in the preview window below this dialogue box how the post would present itself in publication.

  • Bummer …. one small mistake in a closing tag and the post is rendered wrong. Please remove 5 February 2011 at 6:43 am and leave this in its place, Mick. Thanks

    That’s strictly not true, it’s the Irish banks who stiff the Irish taxpayer, who stiff the German banks who stiff the German taxpayer.

    I am slightly disconcerted at how the people who have actually borrowed and lent the money are now being left out of the equation. ” …. George, 4 February 2011 at 12:23 am

    Surely, George, that is not true. Is it not the Irish government, led by the genius of Brian Cowen who stiffed the Irish taxpayer and shafted its population right good and proper, as this little anecdote from the Vanity Fair article reveals …..”Cowen happens also to have been the minister of finance from 2004 until mid-2008, when most of the bad stuff happened. He is not an obvious Leader of Men. His movements are sullen and lumbering, his face numbed by corpulence, his natural resting expression a look of confusion. One morning a few weeks before, he went on national radio sounding, to well-trained Irish ears, drunk. To my less trained ones he sounded merely groggy, but the public is in no mood to cut him a break. (Four different Irish people told me, on great authority, that Cowen had faxed Ireland’s 440-billion-euro bank guarantee into the European Central Bank from a pub.) And the truth is, if you were to design a human being to maximize the likelihood that people would assume he drank too much, you’d have a hard time doing better than the Irish prime minister.

    Methinks the stiffing and shafting of the population by its executive administration is never ever any part of the deal in any nation, and thus are any and all such dodgy deals, both unlawful and unconstitutional and therefore null and void, and would be very liable to criminal proceedings and public prosecution.

    And I just love the understatement in …. “I am slightly disconcerted at how the people who have actually borrowed and lent the money are now being left out of the equation” ….. which is mirrored equally well in the Vanity Fair piece, [which incidentally is a right entertaining read too, with some pearls of typical Irish humour within*] with ….. “In retrospect, now that the Irish bank losses are known to be world-historically huge, the decision to cover them appears not merely odd but suicidal. A handful of Irish bankers incurred debts they could never repay, of something like 100 billion euros. They may have had no idea what they were doing, but they did it all the same. Their debts were private—owed by them to investors around the world—and still the Irish people have undertaken to repay them as if they were obligations of the state. For two years they have labored under this impossible burden with scarcely a peep of protest.

    Quite why the man and woman in the street, with many of them living in real enough fear of being put out into the street because of the “leadership” shown by the ponzi self-serving banking system and incompetent politicians, are not fcuking furious and looking for blood, is slightly disconcerting for it shows a complete and utter lack of respect and belief in themselves, and that makes them all easy prey to all of those flash foreign gits in fancy suits who now appear to be feasting on their carcass, to keep their Ponzi running ….”The most obvious change in the country’s politics has been the role played by foreigners. The Irish government and Irish banks are crawling with American investment bankers and Australian management consultants and faceless Euro-officials, referred to inside the Department of Finance simply as “the Germans.” Walk the streets at night and, through restaurant windows, you see important-looking men in suits, dining alone, studying important-looking papers. In some new and strange way Dublin is now an occupied city: Hanoi, circa 1950.

    *”What happened was that everyone in Ireland had the idea that somewhere in Ireland there was a little wise old man who was in charge of the money, and this was the first time they’d ever seen this little man,” says McCarthy. “And then they saw him and said, “Who the fuck was that??? Is that the fucking guy who is in charge of the money???” That’s when everyone panicked.

    And has anything fundamental changed in the banking sector since Flash Gordon Brown saved the world and the banks crashed, or have debts soared ever higher to be never repaid, but with the people now being charged and loaded with the losses to keep them in their place ….. screwed into the ground at the bottom of the heaps of money circulating amongst bankers with right dodgy friends/cohorts/co-conspirators in the Rape of the Wild Wicked West?

    Methinks you know the answer to that question is a resounding NO, NOTHING HAS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED AND THE SITUATION IS WORSE THAN EVER.

    So Fix it. Dump the Old Crooked System and start an New SMARTer System. Or are y’all gonna say/gurn/cry/whine/shout that it is not as easy as that, whenever with IT and Virtual Controls, is it as simple as that? To deny it so easy just means that it is something which you cannot do, but that does not mean that it cannot be done by Others into Fields of Virtual Control with IT. Capiche.

    And methinks, Gerry is of a not dissimilar disposition. Certainly his campaigning rhetoric is not of the traditional subservient line to the status quo arrangements, which have so catastrophically failed to deliver anything but chaos and crippling poverty, with massive private debts unconstitutionally nationalised to save useless banks, for a country now “owned” because of the dodgy national guarantee, by foreigners with the backing of nothing more substantial than a money printing press of their own too.

    And if the Irish just bend over and take it, like good little boys and girls, whether it pleases them or not, what does that tell you about them and the System? And you who would know of them and the System and their plight, and who would do nothing, and be then by pathetic and apathetic default, a contributory part of the ongoing catastophe?

    Nunoftheabove, I congratulate you on the post 4 February 2011 at 6:08 pm, it provides a crystal clarity to a murky episode.:-) And every Irishman and woman will understand it perfectly to see the inequity which renders the present situation and its apparent present resolutions and drunken arrangements, both totally unacceptable and grossly unfair and therefore also illegal and unlawful [should there be any significant semantic difference between the two words]

    Seems like the pub could do with a new barman too. What says the Reader, who wrote ….. “Nunoftheabove: Give you that but….mandate to do so would you say ?
    Do they need a specific mandate so long as it doesn’t breach the constitution? It doesn’t matter anyway. There will be a new steering committee soon, who will get another chance to decide whether to seriously piss off the barman.
    “….Reader, 4 February 2011 at 10:35 pm

  • Reader

    Nunoftheabove: the threat of default is one of the few cards that it has left
    I can see that a couple of posters – notably Cynic2 on other threads – see the issue of default as a moral issue. But in the world of international finance and national interest I doubt the concept actually exists. The real problem is that if you stiff the lenders before you have got your budget balanced you will have a hell of a job paying your way through the year without credit. I think SF’s plan is to empty the piggy bank. I don’t know how much sense that makes.
    Nunoftheabove: debt equity swap idea mooted above
    That might be a hard sell if the banks have negative net worth, or if you can’t get all of the creditors to agree the deal. Countries can default and survive, but banks can’t. If one of the creditors holds out for their money, the others will end up taking on that debt – no sale!
    The UK experience is that a bank that has been propped up can work its way back into profit. Are the Irish banks really so much worse off? If the banks can be preserved and retained, they could be an important part of the recovery a couple of years down the line.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Reader

    I would say that the 3 main Irish banks in question are in a hole much deeper than the main troubled UK banks, certainly. At least, for now.

    I agree that the moral question is a red herring – ultimately financial services doesn’t have a pinprick of morality in it and pushes the legality of what it does as far as the line can possibly stretch (they call it competitive advantage) – the referee doesn’t award your side an extra goal if you insist that you were offside and feel bad about claiming a goal that wasn’t true bill.

    Besides, in this case taking a sentiment-heavy moral position on honouring debt makes the ability to pay back the debt all the less achievable and thus is self-injuring even in straightforwardly materialist terms which is all that matters in finance.

    To your point on negative net worth, if the debt equity swap was wholesome enough that problem would be in effect eliminated and the capitalization issue relatively unproblematic. I do agree though that it requires several players to sing in harmony in order to work and that’s what’s even more problematic about what the stupid FF feckers have already signed up to. Those crying out too loudly though should be told that either they get on-board with taking a piece of the currently doomed banks or they can howl at the moon.

    Let’s bear in mind that apart from a good understanding of the desired/likely upside of sanctioning a loan or undertaking an equity investment, banks only really consider two key fundamentals of a deal before pressing the ‘send money’ button:

    (i) the probability of default; and
    (ii) the potential for loss given default.

    A lot of the original German, Dutch and French banks need to be told to return to their pre-Anglo, pre-BoI and pre-AIB loan credit risk calculations and, when they’ve finished spilling their shame-induced tears all over them, to perhaps socialize them with their shareholders – private and institutional investors etc – and then to manage their expectations of payback with a little more realism.

    It’s tremendously regrettable that we’re now at one remove from those institutions however just because we’re now dealing with the ECB and IMF – the lenders of last resort – doesn’t mean that in effect the same approach can’t be taken and as I say sometimes in poker a low value card can win you the hand that keeps you at the table.

  • Greenflag

    @ Mick,

    ‘It’s reckless lending by German and French banks on one hand, and world class stupidity by Irish banks on the other.

    Only half the story – correction

    It’s reckless lending by German and French and British banks on one hand, and world class stupidity and reckless lending by Irish banks on the other.

    And then there’s the politicians who were in power in Ireland , the UK , and the USA and Germany and their assembled economists and mandarin experts and sleepy or non existent Central Bank , Federal Reserve , Bundesbank etc ‘regulators ‘

    And of course those hundreds of millions of USA and British consumers who replaced NOT getting any real income increase over the past decade by spending money they did not have, on maintaining their ‘standard of living’ .

    At least the Irish were having their first ‘property ‘ bubble . Both the USA and the UK (especially the South East and London) have had several .

  • Greenflag

    @ manfrommars ,

    ‘And has anything fundamental changed in the banking sector since Gordon Brown saved the world and the banks crashed, or have debts soared ever higher to be never repaid, but with the people now being charged and loaded with the losses to keep them in their place ‘

    Well it’s getting just a little embarassing for the ‘bankers’ to get their bonuses this year although one ‘genius’ did mange to make the point that he was entitled to an even bigger bonus this year because nobody -neither the media nor the public appreciated him giving up some of his bonus last year .
    And they accuse Egyptian President Mubarak of being out of touch ?

    ‘NO, NOTHING HAS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED AND THE SITUATION IS WORSE THAN EVER.’

    This comment is alas about 98% true . There has been the annual Davros gala and the G-20 head nodding get together -but back in Wall St , the City and in Berlin , Paris and Beijing the ‘politicians ‘ remain terrified of their banks . No more is heard the plaintiff cry of a couple of years ago that the ‘banks’ were too big too fail . They are now even bigger having gorged on the remains of former competitors .

    Not a single politician either Republican or Democrat has demanded that Goldman Sachs , Bank of America , and Citigroup should be broken up . Instead these huge institutions are being allowed to set up their next ‘bubble’ with the knowing and unknowing assistance of those lower down the ‘food’ chain .

  • Hi, Greenflag,

    I wonder if this little clever, and quite subversive because it is so very informative and educational, video, ….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yipV_pK6HXw ….. will reach anywhere near the same 4,164,827 views [and counting] as its Big Brother, “Quantitative Easing Explained” …… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUY16CkS-k&feature=related

    Uncle Sam certainly doesn’t have its worries to seek, that’s for sure, whenever so many within the Admin and Capitalism are hell bent on destroying it with Ignorant Incompetence and Arrogant Hubris from within.