The ECB’s money-printing and bond-buying promise, lovingly dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions, became the bailing wire and duct tape that has kept the Eurozone together to this day. Turns out, it’s illegal under the EU treaties and unconstitutional in Germany.
Entries in Euro (163)
When Jens Weidmann, President of the emasculated Bundesbank, speaks, central bankers and money printers worldwide stuff wax into their ears. “Caution,” he started out, “the euro crisis is far from over.” Then he committed central-bank heresy.
Suddenly, there’s a solution to France’s economic crisis. Unlike the cacophonous clamor from the far right to drop the euro, this one is attractively presented with graphs and in terms that even a French politician might understand. And it’s not contaminated by partisanship.
The euro, its dexterous management, the “whatever-it-takes” guarantees by ECB President Draghi, the trillions being shifted around to prop up banks and governments – all these efforts to keep the Eurozone duct-taped together have hit countries differently. Including France and Germany. They’re shooting at each other now, and hitting the ECB.
German Election Finally Gets Messy: “Euro Is More Than A Currency” And Greece “Shouldn’t Have Been Allowed In”
No debacle is allowed to interfere with Chancellor Merkel’s efforts to hang on to her job, and debacles get swept under the rug at least until after the elections on September 22. Every time uppity opposition voices stir up some controversy, it’s brushed off, denied, ridiculed, or minimized – and it has worked admirably well so far. But suddenly there’s Greece again.
During the hearings before the German Constitutional Court, Finance Minister Schäuble, perhaps unwittingly, put his finger on yet another fatal flaw of the Eurozone: a central bank that could bail out speculators and pile the resulting losses on taxpayers of other countries, no questions asked, whenever it felt like it, without controls – “to save the euro,” as it were.
In my interview with Voice of Russia, I talk about the ECB's fears for its own existence. I use Spain, which is stuck in an existential crisis, as an example of the greatest “achievement” of central banks: the separation of economic reality from stock markets. And I get a chance to lambaste the French finance minister who is once again barking up the wrong tree.
At first blush, the German economy appears to be ailing – at first blush because the stock market, in its omniscient manner, is predicting wondrous developments as it hop-scotches from one all-time high to the next. This relentless optimism has morphed into a breeding ground for projections into outright magnificence. But inconvenient data is getting in the way.
Contributed by Don Quijones: It is as if the youngest democracy in Western Europe has lost its youthful innocence. After the betrayal of so many hopes and promises, reality is dawning on the people that neither democracy nor EU membership quite are the panacea they were cracked up to be.
Austerity succeeded in trimming the bloated government sector. But instead of picking up the slack, the private sector destroyed jobs almost four times faster! The hope is that this fiasco will finally reverse course, that something will click and start a virtuous cycle before the unspeakable happens. But so far, it has relentlessly gotten worse.
Those close to the epicenter of power, those near Chancellor Merkel, have to toe the line on the euro – it’s far more than just a currency, it’s a sacred concept worth saving no matter what the costs. While the possibility of a small country's exit from the euro has been accepted, the euro itself has been inviolable in those circles. Until now. An insider offered a "Plan B"; and the euro’s life is limited to five years!
The average Cypriot household had a phenomenal net worth of €670,900 in 2010 – over three times that of German households. That wealth had been sucked out of the cesspool of corruption that the banks and the government were, until neither had a drop of lifeblood left. Now the party is over. And you can almost hear the snickering among European politicians.
Everyone learned a lesson from the “bail-in” of Cypriot banks: Russians who’d laundered their money there; bondholders who’d thought they’d always get bailed out; Cypriot politicians whose names showed up on lists of loans that had been forgiven; even Finance Minister Sarris. His lesson: when a cesspool of corruption blows up, no one is safe. And German politicians learned a lesson too: that it worked!
The Stunning Differences in European Costs of Labor: Or Why “Competitiveness” Is A Beggar-Thy-Neighbor Strategy
The ominous term “competiveness” is bandied about as the real issue, the one causing Eurozone countries to sink deeper into their fiasco. To address it, “structural reforms,” or austerity, have been invoked regardless of how much blood might stain the streets. And a core element of these structural reforms is bringing down the cost of labor.
Cyprus didn’t prick the Eurozone bailout bubble, the notion that bank investors who took enormous risks to gain financial rewards would always be made whole by taxpayers. That bubble had already been pricked in February. But it was the first time that the international bailout cabal, the Troika, stuck its needle into it—while Germany quietly bailed out all investors in one of its own rotten banks.
Why is it that 17 nations have to fundamentally reorganize themselves and shift sovereignty away from national parliaments to new layers of transnational, beyond-control bureaucracies that can extract untold wealth from taxpayers—just to save the banks?
Anti-euro movements have been squashed by political establishments across the Eurozone. Then Italy happened. Two anti-austerity parties captured over half the vote and threw the status quo into chaos. It stoked a fire in Germany where Chancellor Merkel’s bailout policies have hit resistance. Now the heat is on to dissolve the “coercive euro association.”
There have been waves of threats by Eurozone politicians to bully people into accepting “whatever it takes” to keep the shaky construct of the monetary union glued together. These threats peaked last year with disorderly default, and when that wasn’t enough, with the collapse of the Eurozone. But now, the ultimate threat has been pronounced: war.
The ECB and the national central banks of the Eurozone set out to collect “micro-level information” on household wealth. A massive bureaucratic undertaking. Surveys went out in 2010. Results are now ready. No one in Europe had ever done a survey on that scale before. And no one might ever do it again. Because, in the era of bailouts, the results are so explosive that the Bundesbank is keeping its report secret—and word has leaked out why.
Euros entered circulation on January 1, 2002. For six years, they grew on trees in southern Europe. But the bubble got pricked. Since then, the monetary union has been in crisis. Almost half of its existence! Until suddenly, its problems were solved. But now confidence in the monetary union is weaker than ever. With a hue of resignation in Germany.