Another day, another faux bailout. Recently, European finance ministers agreed to let the Spanish banks get the first €30 billion slice of their bank bailout.
Those same finance ministers are also set to approve a year’s delay in the deadline given to Spain for reaching a budget deficit of 3% of GDP. That won’t, of course, be the last bailout for Spain and, please note, a budget deficit of 3% is still pushing debt ever upwards in acountry whose economy is getting smaller not bigger.
Unsurprisingly, government bond markets have once again been wildly unimpressed. Spanish bond yields briefly touched 7.76% , before falling back. Given that Spanish debt (according to the misleading official figures) is around 7.7% of GDP and rising fast, interest rates at this level mean that about 6 cents in every euro are going to pay the interest on that debt.
The costs of euro collapse will be huge, but those costs are coming anyway. And they only get bigger the longer you defer the moment of truth
Put another way, Spaniards have to work about three weeks a year, simply to pay off the interest they owe on the national debt. No wonder their economy is failing under the weight of that burden. No wonder unemployment is so extravagantly high.
It’s time to end this massive Ponzi Scheme. If the problem is too much debt, you don’t solve the problem by extending more debt. If the problem is banks with irresponsibly reckless lending practices, the solution is not to “gift” them more money. If the problem is a wildly uncontrolled money supply, you don’t solve that problem by printing money until the presses are smoking hot.
A Ponzi Scheme is any merry-go-round fraud where you have to keep pulling new idiots into your scheme to keep things going. It’s the economics of the chain-letter. People can sometimes make money, but only if the supply of idiots is big enough. These things always collapse – and collapse disastrously – in the end.
We’re near that point now. Spain can’t receive a Greek-style bailout: all the EU rescue funds combined don’t have the resources to do it. Even if Germany decided to do all it could, the scale of these debts would simply overwhelm Germany’s (already very indebted) economy. In any case, if the fairies came and Spain were rescued, the pressure on Italy would soon become almost overwhelming. And though France hasn’t been hitting the headlines recently, it has higher debt than Spain, a history of deficits and a huge banking sector with vast exposure to Spain, Italy and Greece.
So why not let’s just call it a day? For Spain. For Italy. For the single currency failure know as the Euro. For this whole misconceived and duplicitous Ponzi Scheme. The costs of euro collapse will be huge, but those costs are coming anyway. And they only get bigger the longer you defer the moment of truth.
David Cameron wants to hold a referendum on Europe sometime after the next election. But he’d better get on with it. Europe, in its current form, doesn’t have that long to live.
Mitch Feierstein is CEO of Glacier Environmental Fund and author of Planet Ponzi: How bankers and politicians stole your future