Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Possible Bailout of Greece?

The big economic story this past week has been fear that Greece could default on its debt (my earlier post about the Greek economy was on December 13, here). Worries then spread to Spain and Portugal and their ability to pay off sovereign debt.

418. Which nations or groups are Greece's primary creditors (ie, who plays the role of China::USA for Greece)?

The US stock market has had a bad couple of weeks, and I think it's related to the concerns about Greece affecting the global economy on a broader scale.

This morning, Anthony Faiola reports in the Post (here) that European countries are talking about a possible bailout. Faiola says that the two possible sources of a bailout are (1) a German-led consortium of European Union countries/banks and/or (2) the International Monetary Fund.

419. It seems that the wealthier European nations are going back and forth as to whether or not to intervene in the Greek situation. Who's driving the decision-making: the bankers/economists or the political leaders like Angela Merkel? Are there populist uprisings in northern Europe (a la the Tea Parties) that are calling for fiscal/budgetary restraint and opposing the possible bailout?

Here is Faiola's summary of the Greek economy and its troubles:
Just as investors found millions of U.S. homeowners to be riskier bets than initially thought, they are now realizing that Greece -- as well as other weaker economies that use the euro -- is no Germany. Political handouts and padded employment rolls helped public-sector wages double here over the past decade. Rampant tax evasion -- at least a quarter of the economy operates under the table -- drained government coffers even as public spending soared. When the global financial crisis hit, Greece cooked the books to mask the extent of its massive budget deficit, with the fiscal emergency becoming clear only over the past few months.

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