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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:38 pm 
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$úñ_DëV|L wrote:

I wonder that as well. Just read this juicy quote:
Quote:
"How does Germany have the cheek to denounce us over our finances when it has still not paid compensation for Greece's war victims?" Margaritis Tzimas, of the main opposition New Democracy party, told parliament.


Next week will be interesting. Greece, Portugal, and Italy are all coming to market with new bond issues.



History such that it is, is.

Quote:
When a “rescue” is mentioned, all eyes fix on Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and most creditworthy borrower.


I don't blame Germany for not wanting to risk itself. That being said, I think Greece ought to accept it's situation but seriously consider asking for better help in revitalizing itself rather than look to US investment firms.

I'm still mind boggled at how Microsoft believes less than 2% of facebook is worth $240 million dollars and how Twitter raised $100 million in investment "donations."

Way to go Greece! And we all thought Haiti made a pact with the devil. :shake:


But hey, at least there's some petty cash to spend before they go down to drain and become EU bitches.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:53 pm 
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So now would be a good time to plan a trip to Europe with the Euro devaluing? 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:16 pm 
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homersheineken wrote:
So now would be a good time to plan a trip to Europe with the Euro devaluing? 8)


Oddly enough, I wonder if the number of US tourists to Europe has declined due to the decline of the US dollar. Oh what a vicious circle this global economy is.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:20 pm 
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i talked about this drunk last night.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:39 pm 
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dkfan9 wrote:
i talked about this drunk last night.


:lol:

Were you wearing your wings too?

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:49 pm 
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px wrote:
dkfan9 wrote:
i talked about this drunk last night.


:lol:

Were you wearing your wings too?


no, but i am trying to figure out how the night ended. i have this vague notion about trying to go to wendys (and i know i went there by the uneaten food on my desk). dont really remember leaving the bar or anything though. or sending the 5 or 6 text messages i sent to various people later. not even sure how i got that drunk. this is probably the wrong topic to talk about my blackout though :?

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:58 pm 
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dkfan9 wrote:
this is probably the wrong topic to talk about my blackout though :?


Maybe that's what is happening with the Greek economy. They blacked out and left uneaten food on their desks. :shake:
Silly Greeks.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:02 pm 
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px wrote:
dkfan9 wrote:
this is probably the wrong topic to talk about my blackout though :?


Maybe that's what is happening with the Greek economy. They blacked out and left uneaten food on their desks. :shake:
Silly Greeks.


that'd give me a good excuse:
hey, i'm just trying to emulate the birthplace of democracy!

ok, that's not a good excuse, but it is an excuse, which is what's important.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:04 pm 
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The birthplace of democracy! You just blew my mind.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:21 pm 
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yeah, cuz democracy has worked out so great!

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:57 am 
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rafa_garcia18 wrote:
yeah, cuz democracy has worked out so great!


On the surface it has, anyways. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:20 pm 
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http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlema ... s_pensions

Quote:
What makes Germans so very cross about Greece?

Feb 23rd 2010, 19:19 by Charlemagne
IT IS the pensions, stupid. That, I am coming to conclude, is the cause of the real venom being expressed towards Greece in places like Germany. It is not just that German politicians and newspaper commentators are really cross about the idea of bailing out the profligate Greek government. It is striking how often their annoyance is expressed in angry comparisons of the Greek and German retirement pension rules. Even the news that the Greek government was planning to raise the legal retirement age from 61 to 63 as part of swingeing austerity measures seems to have been like a red rag to a bull in Germany, which not long ago increased its legal age from 65 to 67.

In the thundering words of one editorial from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

“The Greeks go onto the streets to protest against the increase of the ­pension age from 61 to 63. Does that mean that the Germans should in future extend the working age from 67 to 69, so that the Greeks can enjoy their ­retirement?”

Or here is a New York Times report:

In Germany, the debate over aid to the Greeks intensified last week when the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that unpopular labor-market reforms, known as Hartz IV, may have gone too far in cutting benefits for the country’s unemployed. That set off a political fight within the German government over jobless assistance, one that was inevitably framed as helping Germans or saving Greeks.

“I can’t explain to a Hartz IV recipient that he won’t get another cent but some Greek gets to retire at 63,” said Michael Fuchs, a deputy leader in Parliament of Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democrats, in Sunday’s issue of the newspaper Die Welt.

Lots of EU countries have been worrying about their public finances for some years. To date, painful austerity measures imposed in most developed European countries have mostly focussed on extending the legal retirement age: so this is something that is at the front of voters' minds. In unhappy contrast, successive Greek governments have spent years using their pensions system as a main vehicle for bribing Greek voters.

Greek pensions are a thicket of confusion. This is a blog posting, not a print article, so I have only been Googling this rather than making a dozen calls, but according to this conference paper, civil servants in Greece employed before 1992 can retire after 35 years service, if they have reached 58, and retire on 80% of their final basic salary. That certainly sounds a great deal more generous than similar civil service schemes in Germany, which seem to insist on 40 years of service, and set the pensions rates in the low 70% range of final basic salaries.

You can see why that makes Germans cross. All credit is due to Kathimerini, the Greek daily, which has consistently tried to explain to Greek readers how the crisis looks from abroad and to make them think hard about their assumption that theirs is a poor country, which has been far from spoiled or pampered over the years. Here is a commentary from an English language supplement to Kathimerini:

It is not only that our EU partners are angry about our lying to them (and to ourselves) about the state of our finances, nor is it only that they will have to help us politically or economically (or both), but there is also the rather damning fact that in many aspects the Greeks enjoy a more privileged life than their German partners in the EU. Through all this borrowing, Greek salaries and pensions rose far above (about 30 percent) Greek productivity. This means that even if salaries in many cases (though not all) were still lower than the German equivalent, pensions were higher, and usually paid at an earlier age. So there is no longer a feeling of the richer EU countries helping their poorer partners – Greece’s mess comes across as exploitation of the underprivileged by the pampered.

Actually, even this frank analysis has skated over some still nastier gulfs of understanding and misunderstanding. Because the outside world looks at Greek pensions and sees a mess of special interest groups securing unaffordable pensions from successive governments, more or less as electoral bribes. (There have been special pension deals over the years for civil servants, for Olympic Airlines staff, farmers, wives of farmers, employees at the National Bank of Greece, even I am told hairdressers, the list is very long).

But seen from the perspective of ordinary Greeks, it has not felt so cosy as all that. If the pension scheme is utterly broke, it is not just because of greedy Greeks.

This devastating academic study details how many Greek state bodies failed to make the correct contributions for their employees, in some cases for years. Then the Greek central government "essentially appropriated" social insurance funds by investing them in state securities or depositing them in the Bank of Greece at low interest rates. Finally, as in many Mediterranean countries, all social spending was skewed towards pensions, essentially for vote-winning purposes. Things like unemployment benefits are pretty miserly in Greece, the real money has always gone to pensions, which have been used as a "substitute" for other welfare policies.

If readers can offer first hand accounts of the debate in Greece, or of the Greek pensions system, I would love to hear from them. But I think this gap in perceptions is worth exploring further.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:24 pm 
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Very interesting. Germany has a right to be upset about that. I'm pissed as hell about the retirement age in the US, and more people should be too.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:37 pm 
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They can't demand to retire earlier than the people they want a bailout from. That's sorta terrible, actually.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:42 pm 
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how cute...

http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/25/news/ec ... e_goldman/

Quote:
Fed probing Goldman trades with Greece
By Jennifer Liberto, senior writer
February 25, 2010: 11:01 AM ET


WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday that the central bank is looking into Goldman Sachs' and other U.S. financial firms' role in Greece's debt problems.

"We are looking into a number of questions related to Goldman Sachs and other companies and their derivatives arrangements with Greece," Bernanke said.

Bernanke's response was to a question posed by Senate Banking chief Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who asked about U.S. financial banks and hedge funds that are making financial bets that the Greek government will default on its loans.

Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) and other banks have been in the news over reports they secretly helped raise $1 billion in credit for Greece, in a way that was off the balance sheet and helped hide Greece's big debt woes from European Union regulators.

The New York Times reported recently that some of these same banks were also now making side bets that Greece defaults on loans it owes U.S. banks and hedge funds. By betting in favor of default, the U.S. banks and hedge funds win whether Greece pays off its loans or not.

Dodd asked whether Bernanke thought there should be limits on the use of these types of bets to prevent firms from creating intentional runs against government.

"The rising price of these contracts contribute to an atmosphere of crisis, making it even more difficult for the Greek government, in my opinion, to borrow," Dodd said.

Bernanke said that while such bets are an important financial tool to help mitigate risk, the Fed planned to look into reports that the financial bets were made to manipulate markets.

"Obviously, using these instruments in a way that intentionally destabilizes a company or a country is -- is counterproductive, and I'm sure the SEC will be looking into that," Bernanke said. "We'll certainly be evaluating what we can learn from the activities of the holding companies that we supervise here in the U.S."

The kinds of financial bets that regulators are concerned about are credit default swaps, which are insurance contracts -- the same kind of contracts that pushed the insurance giant American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) to the brink of collapse.

During the real estate boom, investment firms were buying and selling securities backed by pieces of mortgages. The firms also paid AIG to back up the investments if they turned sour.

When all the real estate investments went bad at the same time, AIG didn't have enough money to pay back all the promises it had made.

Congress is considering legislation to make such financial bets more transparent in its regulatory overhaul package. The Senate has yet to pass a bill on that subject.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:47 pm 
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edit

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Last edited by thodoks on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:56 pm 
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As per Bernanke's testimony yesterday, The Federal Reserve has the authority to buy the debt of any foreign government.

Mark it gyro, dude!

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:28 pm 
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thodoks wrote:
As per Bernanke's testimony yesterday, The Federal Reserve has the authority to buy the debt of any foreign government.

Mark it gyro, dude!



Are we collecting debt now for the National Debt museum?

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:51 pm 
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http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6241WZ20100305

Quote:
Greeks fight cuts but expect government to win out

Angeliki Koutantou and Lefteris Papadimas
ATHENS

Fri Mar 5, 2010 6:58am EST

ATHENS (Reuters) - Wildcat strikes hit schools and hospitals and brought public transport in Athens to a halt as an opinion poll showed stiff opposition to some new government austerity measures, but also a sense of resignation.

Pressured by financial markets and the European Union, Greece announced on Wednesday 4.8 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in wage cuts, a pension freeze and tax hikes to tackle its huge fiscal deficit and 300 billion euro ($408 billion) debt pile.

In Athens on Friday the only buses on the streets belonged to the riot police and at the airport more than 60 flights were canceled as unions called impromptu work stoppages and protesters shouting "never, never, never" marched on parliament.

The escalation in protests came as an opinion poll showed around three-quarters of those surveyed disapproved of higher taxes on fuel, VAT hikes, a freeze on public pensions and cuts in bonuses for civil servants.

On a more positive note for the government 50 percent of the 530 people surveyed said they backed bigger salary cuts for public service workers. The survey did not ask for people's opinion of how the government was handling the crisis overall.

The survey carried out by Public Issue for Skai TV also showed 65 percent supported higher duty on alcohol and cigarettes and 82 percent approved of a levy on luxury goods.

Reflecting the government's relatively high ratings and a big majority in parliament, the poll also showed that 78 percent of people believed there was a high probability that all of the government's measures would be implemented.

Ratings agencies and other EU governments have said delivery will be key in determining whether Greece can re-establish its credibility on the world stage and as a borrower.

Figures published on Friday showed that foreign investors bought 77 percent of a 5 billion euro bond sold by the Greek government this week with the biggest demand coming from Britain and Germany.

'NOT A CENT' FROM GERMANY

The latest protests came as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou prepared to travel to Germany on Friday for a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the hope of persuading her to back more concrete EU support measures for Greece.

Papandreou has said it is time for the European Union to do its bit although Germany again moved to temper his expectations with Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle saying his government "does not intend to give a cent" to Greece.

Until the new measures announced on Wednesday, most Greeks thought the government was handling the crisis effectively, according to two polls in late February.

But Friday's poll did not ask people whether they approved of government's handling of the debt crisis.

Opposition to belt-tightening has so far been relatively muted for a country with a tradition of street protest.

Those polled in the latest survey did not expect the government to get a smooth ride, however, with 62 percent predicting social unrest was highly likely in the next year.

The private sector GSEE union and its sister public sector union ADEDY, which represent half of Greece's 5-million workforce, have called on workers to stop work from midday (1000 GMT) on Friday and attend a rally outside parliament.

Elsewhere teachers and the state media were on a 24-hour strike while hospitals in Athens were running on minimum staff.

($1=.7362 Euro)

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 Post subject: Re: Greece Financial Bailout
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:08 pm 
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Yay...just booked our flight to Greece last night. I hope they stop the strikes before we get there.

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