Monday, June 18, 2012

Forget The Election Results - Greece Is Still Doomed And So Is The Rest Of Europe

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Michael Snyder, Contributor
Activist Post

The election results from Greece are in: the pro-bailout forces have won, but just barely. It is being projected that the pro-bailout New Democracy party will have about 130 seats in the 300 seat parliament, and Pasok (another pro-bailout party) will have about 33 seats. Those two parties have alternated ruling Greece for decades, and it looks like they are going to form a coalition government which will keep Greece in the euro.

On Monday we are likely to see financial markets across the globe in celebration mode. But the truth is that nothing has really changed. Greece is still in a depression. The Greek economy has contracted by close to 25 percent over the past four years, and now they are going to stay on the exact same path that they were before. Austerity is going to continue to grind away at what remains of the Greek economy, and money is going to continue to fly out of the country at a very rapid pace. Greece is still drowning in debt and completely dependent on outside aid to avoid bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, things in Spain and Italy are rapidly getting worse. So where in that equation is room for optimism?

Right now the ingredients for a "perfect storm" are developing in Europe. Government spending is being slashed all across the continent, ECB monetary policy is very tight, new regulations and deteriorating economic conditions are causing major banks to cut back on lending and there is panic in the air.

Unless something dramatic changes, things are going to continue to get worse.

Yes, the Greek election results mean that Greece will stay in the euro - at least for now.

But is that really a reason for Greeks to celebrate?

Right now, the unemployment rate in Greece is about 22 percent. Businesses continue to shut down at a staggering rate and suicides are spiking.

So far this month, about 500 million euros a day has been pulled out of Greek banks. The entire Greek banking system is on the verge of collapse.

Meanwhile, the Greek government is still running up more debt. It is being projected that the Greek budget deficit will be about 7 percent of GDP this year.

The Greeks went to the polls and they voted for more of the same.

Are they crazy?

Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Unfortunately, it looks like things are going to continue to get worse in Greece for quite some time. And the rest of Europe is heading into a very bleak economic future as well.

At the moment, unemployment in the eurozone is at a record high. Most analysts expect it to go even higher.

To say that Spain has an unemployment problem would be a massive understatement. The unemployment rate in Spain is even higher than the unemployment rate in Greece is. In fact, unemployment in Spain is the highest that it has ever been since the introduction of the euro.

The Spanish banking system is a complete and total disaster at this point. The Spanish government has already asked for a 100 billion euro bailout for its banks.

But that might not be nearly enough.

Spain is facing a housing collapse similar to what the United States went through back in 2008 and 2009. Right now, home prices in Spain are absolutely collapsing....
Fresh data yesterday shows how desperate the crisis is becoming in Spain. The property crash is accelerating. House prices fell at a 12.6pc rate in the first quarter of this year, compared to 11.2pc the quarter before, and 7.4pc in the quarter before that. Prices have fallen 26pc from their peak.  
'Fundamentals point to a further 25pc decline,' said Standard & Poor's in a report on Thursday. It may take another four years to clear a glut of one million homes left from the building boom.
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Meanwhile, money is being pulled out of banks in Spain at a very alarming rate. As panic spreads we are seeing slow motion bank runs all over Europe. Over the past few months massive amounts of money have been moved from troubled nations to "safe havens" such as Switzerland and Germany.

Investors are getting very nervous and yields on Italian and Spanish debt are spiking again.

Last week yields on Spanish debt hit their highest levels since the introduction of the euro. Without massive ECB intervention the yield on 10 year Spanish bonds will almost certainly blow well past the 7 percent danger mark.

The credit rating agencies are indicating that there is danger ahead. Moody's recently downgraded Spanish debt to just one notch above junk status. Spain is heading down the exact same road that Greece has gone.

The situation in Europe is very grim. Greece is going to need bailouts for as far as the eye can see. Spain is almost certainly going to need a huge bailout. Italy is almost certainly going to need a huge bailout. Ireland and Portugal look like they are going to need more money. France is increasingly looking vulnerable, and Francois Hollande appears to have no real solutions up his sleeve.

As I have said so many times before, watch Europe.

Every few weeks there are headlines that declare that "Europe has been saved" but things just keep getting worse.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, said the following a few weeks ago....
Our biggest trading partner is tearing itself apart with no obvious solution.
And that is the truth. There is no obvious solution to the problems in Europe. The politicians could kick the can down the road for a while longer, but in the end there will be no avoiding the pain that is coming.

The equation for what is happening in Europe that I have shared before still applies....

Brutal austerity + toxic levels of government debt + rising bond yields + a lack of confidence in the financial system + banks that are massively overleveraged + a massive credit crunch = A financial implosion of historic proportions.

We are watching a slow-motion financial train wreck that is absolutely unprecedented happen right in front of our eyes and our politicians are powerless to stop it.

It is going to be a long, hot summer for the European financial system.

On election day in Greece, the mood was incredibly somber. Instead of celebrating, most Greeks seemed resigned to a very hard future. As an article in the Telegraph described, the entire nation seems to be grinding to a halt....
This is the election that is supposed to decide whether Greece stays in the euro. Yet as it, and Europe, face what could be their Katrina moment, the dominant sense here is not of panic, or fear, or even hope - but of a country in suspended animation, grinding to a halt.  
The Athens Heart shopping centre, in the southern suburbs, is polished, full of big brands, and almost totally empty of customers. 'We've had five sales all day,' says Steryiani Vlachakou, the assistant in the Champion sportswear store. 'It's been getting a lot, lot worse.'
Sadly, it is not only Greece that is doomed.
The truth is that all of Europe is doomed, and when Europe falls the entire globe is going to feel it.

So get ready for the hard times that are coming. The pain is going to be immense and most people are not even going to see it coming.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.


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Anonymous said...

"The Greeks went to the polls and they voted for more of the same.
Are they crazy?"

Let me think about that for a millisecond. . .

In our country it will be Obama or Romney. More war, ever increasing spending, more deficits, more lies and propaganda, more police state. Our sheep will be choosing one or the other statist to cage us and shear us all naked. They could have chosen Ron Paul to run against Obama to change direction, but instead chose the socialist/fascist route by a large majority.

Are Americans crazy? Not really a hard question to answer. But who are crazier, the Greeks or we Americans?

Jeff Simpson said...

"The Greeks went to the polls and they voted for more of the same. Are they crazy?"

Well maybe the question should be "Is the voting system in Greece secure?" In other words Do we know for a fact that there was no Election fraud?

Anonymous said...

Ya, that's right. Everybody around the world are crazy..... Because there's no such thing as electoral fraud.
Or is there?

Scott Free said...

I'm sure the Greek elections are every bit as honest as US elections.

Anonymous said...

Governments have made it not easy to travel with all the security at the airports. Made to feel like we are cattle.
My generation bought collector items,Hummels,plates,spoons,dolls,nicknacks,and stuff. My generation is dying out. Watch the pawn shows.To much junk collecting dust.

Steve said...

It would also be nice if you pointed out the glaringly obvious fact that if the two parties who are 'opposition' to each other for decades can form a coalition, then the Greek people have really NEVER had any choice in leadership. Not unlike the US, but at least now in Greece the curtain has been pulled back and the truth can now be seen!

Wombat said...

When people have nothing left anymore....everything has been taken from them by whomever or whatever....they can always have an election. Is it a sop? Is it a salve? Or is it social glue sniffing? Look at Haiti. Look at Iraq. Look at Afghanistan. "Free and fair" elections are nothing but a chimera. They're no different from elections Stalin-style. Just a sop, just a salve, just a pathetic round of social glue sniffing to make us feel good for a fleeting moment before they start screwing us all over again.

Anonymous said...

The Euro and the Eurozone are at the Heart
of the Problem

National Sovereignty for Greece

JadeZ said...

30% of those who voted voted for austerity, which is insane but..those are the people who have jobs telling the others "as long as I have mine the hell with you".

and thats expected behaviour.

but lets look at these numbers...say a million can vote but only half do. 30 % of 500g is 150,000 and thats all it takes to form a government!

15%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! of the people.

Anonymous said...

Good, it needs to collapse. "What is weak and falling, needs to be pushed"--F. Nietzsche. I couldn't agree more.

canobs said...

__The Lisbon treaty forbids the ECB to be a PUBLIC (lending at no-interest for social needs like roads schools hospitals )bank or help any EU contries central bank, The ECB is controlled by the PRIVATE banking system (multiple interests prone)the BIS(bank for international settlements, IMF and WB)___ This is WHY the Euro currency and European Union is Doomed ____ And also WHY GoldmanSachs turned Greece bankrupt, to destabilize the Euro currency competing with the American dollar in all oil(petroleum) transactions ___ Ref: -

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