Monday, November 15, 2010

Burn the Bondholders

 The picture depicted above is of a cement truck crashing the Irish Parliament protesting the bailout of the Insolvent Anglo Irish bank and the government's attempts to shovel the debt onto innocent Irish Citizens. Ireland is of course one of the PIGS(Portugal, Ireland,Greece and Spain) facing big debt problems. It is currently running a budget deficit of 14.4% of GDP, just behind Greece, the current champ at 15.4%. Greece is utterly hopeless as the Germans have figured out with huge public sector union and pension costs, a tradition of entitlement for doing no productive work, flagrant tax corruption,no significant resources  and astonishing growth in their debt. Austerity has been imposed by the government after some visits from the heavies at the IMF and the EEU Central Bank but a cursory glance suggests that the center wont hold and the Greek Citizens, always treading near anarchy will not tolerate these measures for much longer. Meanwhile over in Ireland, our old Celtic Tiger, the situation is similar. The Irish Citizens have groused and grumbled but so far haven't really rioted in the streets but the government has been plodding along grinding their hardworking freckled faces into the cobblestones with behind the scenes machinations by among others, Bond Thugs from Goldman Sachs but things are starting to heat up. There  are indications that the heretofore well behaved citizens may have had it with their pusillanimous politicians. The existing government of hard drinking Brian Cowen's coalition Fiana Fail party could fall by the end of the year. The cost of insuring Irish debt has soared along with bond yields of Irish Bonds. The proximal impetus seems to have been from some courageous remarks by Angela Merkel who suggested that it may be high time for the bondholders of the world to share in the pain instead of just the citizens. That's an original thought from a politician but of course she is German, not American and not Irish. Angela has been lambasted by the bond market heavies who thought they owned the world and are now starting to get a wee bit nervioso. My solution is for Ireland to abrogate the bailout, and adopt Sweden's measures of the 1990's by nationalizing the banks, firing the executives, letting the bond and equity holders drown in the Irish Sea and this deleveraging along with the native industry and educational level of the Irish citizens could restore Ireland to Celtic Tiger status within 10 years. At this point Celtic Kitten status would be welcome.

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