At the End of the Day

Life is too serious to be taken too seriously

Interviewed on BBCNews this afternoon in relation to the clinical killing of an Iraqi-born British father and his wife, a grandmother and a French cyclist, the British Ambassador in France attempted to reassure his British audience by saying that the French authorities “are treating this as a very serious murder”.

It’s good to see something being taken seriously. David Cameron seemingly doesn’t take serious graft, serious abuse of Ministerial objectivity, serious tax avoidance, and serious connections to grubby druggy hangouts at all seriously when it comes to promoting Jeremy Hunt to his new job as Secretary for Health. It’s been difficult for some time now to take Mr Cameron seriously, but this latest response to blackmail may land him in more serious trouble.

Equally hard is the task of taking anyone seriously who says they will do “whatever it takes”, and Mario Draghi is the latest face to appear in those particular stocks. The term bailout has been replaced by ECCL, or Enhanced Conditions Credit Line – basically funds to help these countries 100% deficient in funds . The ECCL will come with “full macroeconomic conditionality,” says Draghi, but as yet there are no signs whatever of anyone else suffering the same leeches cure as Greece. Alongside and somehow over and within these ECCLs will run OMTs, or Outright Monetary Transactions. Ourageously Moronic Tinkering would fit just as well, methinks. But IMF super-heroine Chrissie Lagarde says  “We strongly welcome the ECB’s new framework, the OMT, for intervention in the sovereign bond markets of countries in a rescue programme”. It makes these Clubmeds sound like Amy Winehouse in rehab, and probably offers roughly the same chance of success.

As heavyweight Greek commentrice Eleni Tsigante points out, there is something very seriously silly about a Troika asking for 13 hour days and 6 day weeks. This is, she writes to tell me,  ‘Chinese Special Economic Zones stuff’. I think if anything that’s slightly Sinoist, but Eleni rightly goes on to describe it as ‘Siemens’ revenge’. Many Greeks have suffered from Siemens’ stains over the years, but it doesn’t do to wash such soiled bed linen in public, allegedly.

Buying the same submarine twice is about as silly as it gets…..unless of course you get bribed twice as well. But more seriously bonkers still is paying for your house and then being force to pay rent for being there. Greece’ property owners will become “tenants” in their own homes and pay “rent” in form of property taxes, should the latest Troika/Samaras government plans on property taxation come to pass. Soon all Greek citizens will be fitted with breathometers, and taxed on the number of times per day they inhale. As every increasingly insane tax revenue idea is floated, there will be more and more sharp intakes of breath. Brussels is thus hoping for a bumper breathometer inflow.

Maybe some of you saw that movie The Truman Show. The more I hear and read about the Greek austerity farce, the more I find myself wondering if the whole thing is a gigantic spoof being run by say, ABC, called The Bondholder Soap. I keep looking for signs that the sky is wobbling in the background, or the same actor has two parts. If this is true, then ratings are obviously flagging, and so the more unlikely plots are being brought into play.

And finally, as the news-anchors say, Barack Obama is all set this evening to tell the Democratic Convention and the American people that he needs four more years in the White House to “finish the job”. I have male chums with long-suffering wives who say the same sort of thing about DIY projects they started with enthusiasm one Saturday morning four years ago: jobs which still appear to consist of a hole in the wall where once there was a vaguely annoying wall.

The Black Dude had been trying to punch a hole in Wall Street since 2009, but to date I can’t even see the hole. So I’m left wondering what this ‘job’ is that he wants to finish. If you tune in later, I can guarantee you won’t find out. And that is a very serious problem indeed.





21 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Well, I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies, at least the ‘financial sky’ didn’t fall in this week…or maybe it did, we just haven’t realised it yet…


  2. As the old Austrian empire was collapsing, one General famously sent a signal “The situation is hopeless but nor serious”.

    Just about fits today’s situation, I reckon. With its anthem in a dozen or so languages, its boneheaded politicians and self assurance of rightness, I reckon that supra national, ramshackle empire was the closest thing to today’s EU that we have seen.
    The trouble is that its successors were so much worse.
    It’s bein’ so cheerful what keeps me goin’


  3. So Sig. Draghi has upset the German’s.
    How does he propose unlimited funds? Let me see now….
    Turn on the printing presses. That will solve everything.

    Looks likely your German euro exit prediction may come true.

    That’ll be fun.


  4. “Soon all Greek citizens will be fitted with breathometers, and taxed on the number of times per day they inhale. As every increasingly insane tax revenue idea is floated, there will be more and more sharp intakes of breath. Brussels is thus hoping for a bumper breathometer inflow.”

    I remember in the 60’s reading a newspaper article quoting Prince Philip saying something like “soon you’ll need a licence to breathe.” Interestingly, he is a Greek . Or an alien from the planet Zarg. Or something. I still like him, though.


  5. And we thought things were messy before… I can only imagine what things will be like if Germary backs out. Would be interesting from an academic perspective if if it wasn’t for all the financial mayhem that will accompany it.


  6. I could have guessed this but very interesting to see the actual chart. The prospect of Obama be re-elected was always going to lead to a nice run for the gun makers and I’m sure they are more than happy to feed the fear a little bit with subtle advertising.


  7. Spot on comment Edward!

    You have hit the nail on the head!

    The identification of the ‘Eurozone’ with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is remarkably prescient!

    Both were multi-national and multi lingual, composed of disparate nationalities, religions, and values.

    Both were dominated by Germany, militarily, politically, and economically.

    Both defied gravity…

    Both were run by a centralised regime intolerant of dissent

    More concerning, both disintegrated after a war in central europe..

    Ironically the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire (one Otto von Habsburg) became (wait for it), an MEP!

    Regular readers/posters on the slog, may care to take note..


  8. Yeah he’s a real nice guy, it’s just he’s a little…erm…misunderstood. Hitler was the same. And, I’m sure that Pol Pot had lots of redeeming qualities … even though I’ve searched Google and can’t find a single one. But then what does Google know? Do your own math.


  9. So… the German baced Samarass govt. (hey, they campaigned for him not me) decides today to “privatize” all state resources… of course including the natural gas co…. they end up getting trillions in natural gas and hundred of billions in oil for 50 billion… and they get a demoralized labor base willing to wor 6,7, or even 8 days… with no insurance or pension hopes… then turey (recently fast traced by Germany for EU integration) starts letting 90,000 a month cross their border ( that I assure you are very well guarded on their border with Greece) to flow past their radar, sonar, and military eyes and ears into Greece… flooding the job scene with even more demoralized and desperate laborers… of course they want 6 day wees… that is the plan… a cheap labor pool, no environmental or labor law having manufacturing haven, with its own oil, gas and solar wph capacity… same as china have decentralized ‘industrial zones’… cheap labor,low land prices, and a government committed to the bribe exchange system between Greece’s elites and German elites… been saying this all along… how come they only demand privatization or labor reforms instead of demanding tax collecting? ooooops…. their friends would go to jail and who would then betray the country cheaply to their German pals in the future?


  10. We are witnessing the worlds first outright financial war… where one country can literally tae over another without ever firing a shot… future historians will be awed at the size of Angela M’s balls in having so blatantly bludgeoned another country into annexation, and gotten pretty much away with it in the eyes of the world (that has a history of looing the other way when it comes to Germany).


  11. Alithea! @Ioannis

    You are right – the first war waged BY WAY of economics. The little pot being GR and the big pot being Spain.

    The big question for GR though, isn’t Merkel or the Troika – (we can still say no) – it is our so-called “government”. Voted in by people who didn’t want to lose their money LOL. It seems more or less clear now that there will be no new Οχι day and safe to assume the government members are (or will be) benefitting from the new arrangements too.

    Meanwhile Mytilineos has moved METKA [biggest steel company] offshore to Bulgaria – home of the 10% flat tax, which refused recently to join the euro, a very sensible nation – and the others are following fast in his footsteps. Will the old METKA works now qualify as a Special Economic Zone for offshore steel-making? We’ll find out soon.


  12. Congrats JW on an excellent week of slogging . I actually think Mario has given Germany all the arguments it needs now to leave the Eurozone . Imagine , Greece goes out and Global Money buys cheeap assets , Germany leaves and Euro collapses . Now that would give us something to talk about . If the Bundesbank is against this then surely something has to give .Personally I think we are seeing the creation of the last definitive bubble in stocks and bonds .


  13. That’s not a mercy at all. That’s the curse. The “financial sky” desperately *needs* to fall to collapse the mechanisms by which governments are controlled, politicians are bought, and you are en-serfed.

    To put a finer mathematical point on it: Your overlords are leveraged at 300 to 1. The small blessing of a 1% daily gain in the market represents a massive gain to the ponzi financiers, and a relative plunge in wealth for you.

    Still happy there wasn’t a collapse?


  14. @SD; ‘I think we are seeing the creation of the last definitive bubble in stocks and bonds .’
    I have no wish to be rude but, how many times have we heard this before?


  15. @Popo; ‘ Your overlords are leveraged at 300 to 1. The small blessing of a 1% daily gain in the market represents a massive gain to the ponzi financiers,’
    That is why my friend, there isn’t going to be any collapse. I personally would rather see the demise of the whole rotten edifice but, I have to accept the fact that isn’t going to happen well, not anytime soon, eventually I do believe it will but, it might take a decade or two.


  16. @kfc1404

    If central-planners could effectively stave-off collapses over the long-term, there would be no collapses and empires would last forever.

    The oligarchy is powerful — immensely so — but leverage is always and forever a double edged sword. (Or an achilles heel if you prefer). And markets are always exponentially larger than the market-makers. (If they weren’t there would be no point).

    Mathematically speaking, it is simply not possible to create a perpetual growth cycle using leverage. It *is* possible to extend growth for prolonged periods. And it *is* possible to sequester enough of the world’s wealth during those periods to survive the economic winter when it arrives. But there will absolutely, as sure as night follows day, be a collapse.

    Combine the basic economics with the underlying economic, military and productive shift from west to east, and the writing is very clearly on the wall.

    “When” and “how” are questions for idiots and geniuses only. But eventuality and inevitability are questions of basic calculus.


  17. @kfc Point taken .. there is never a last bubble per se so you are right ..what I meant more speciicfally is the last stage of the housingboom bank-lending /subprime /tarp/soverign/bail-out /EU crisis cycle ie the end of the leveraged cycle that started in the 90s .


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