I’m sure by now you’re equally annoyed with triple-digit market downturns in both America and Europe, all the direct result of Greece’s selfish financial ministers and incompetent governing body; however, good news, for the collective West, has finally emerged from the childish pit of gloom and doom formerly known as Greece: European leaders have withdrawn from negotiations with Alex Tsipras’ socialist representatives. According to multiple sources, such as Bloomberg and Yahoo (YHOO), the European Union (EU) has lost all patience with Greece and Prime Minister Tsipras’ unrealistic proposals. As such, Germany, in addition to other powerful EU states, has withdrawn from debt-refinancing negotiations.
For those unfamiliar with Greece’s current situation, the country has struggled to promote economic growth since the 2008 Recession. While other member nations, like the United Kingdom and Germany have cut expenditures to promote growth, Greece has embarked on a Keynesian spending approach similar to America’s quantitative easing program. The glaring problem, obviously, is that Greece does not have the resources for massive government stimulus programs; nor does the country have the necessary infrastructure to meaningfully implement stimulus reform. Thus, Greece has borrowed vast sums of money from international creditors like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and EU member states. Now, unable to repay its debt, Greece is attempting to renegotiate loan terms. This has forced Greece to approach Germany, a conservative and powerful EU member. However, Angela Merkel and her colleagues, while initially interested in helping Greece, have since lost patience with its radical governing party.
For reference, Greek citizens, in reaction to EU austerity demands, elected extreme leftist Alex Tsipras as Greece’s new prime minister – a huge mistake. Although Greeks seemingly want Tsipras to ignore EU-supported pension and tax reforms, the country’s citizens must also remember that beggars are not choosers. While Keynesian economic policies, which are meant to be temporary, often spur domestic growth, deficit spending is not a long-term solution; additionally, Greece does not maintain adequate funds for ongoing stimulus spending. Hence, the issue at hand is systemic reform, which Greek representatives have no willingness to embrace. In fact, Greek officials claim that future spending cuts will further lower Greek citizens’ standard of living.
This rhetoric obviously appeals to Greeks, but what officials and citizens alike seem to misunderstand, or ignore, is the fact that a Grexit (Greek exit from the Eurozone) will cast the country into an extreme depression. Life may be tough now, and all citizens clearly want to keep their pensions, but a Grexit will decimate the wealth of all Greek citizens. In the event that Greece defaults, the country will be booted from the EU, Tsipras will freeze all national bank deposits, foreign and domestic loans will be unobtainable, and Greece’s currency will be valueless. This ensures a standard of living far below the alternative of embracing austerity.
I for one would not mind if Greece defaulted on its loan repayments and was subsequently exiled from the European Union. In a sense, this decision represents the will of the citizenry. Alex Tsipras was elected to represent the majority of Greek citizens; if Greeks wish to embrace the EU fallout, then this is a great example of democracy at work – albeit a twisted form of democracy. Moreover, Greek officials, and citizens, are responsible for the country’s astronomical debt; low revenues and high costs ensure Greece’s current predicament. And while global economic powers have tried to intervene, Greek extremists have rejected all proposals. Tsipras and his pawns forget that they hold no power in international negotiations: Greece has no money! Yet, when approached by Eurozone members, Tsipras acts like a dictator. Let’s make something unequivocally clear: a Grexit will hardly impact global growth prospects. In fact, analysts and investors, less bond owners, would be more than happy to see Greek out of the limelight. A Greek exit from the EU is negligible; it might even prove favorable to Germany in the long-term, as member countries won’t be forced into subsidizing Greece’s idiocy.
It is expected that EU finance ministers and creditors will meet with Greek officials on Thursday for a final round of negotiations. Rumor has it that Western creditors will issue a final proposal, one devoid of Greece’s many requests. In effect, Greece has overplayed its hand; EU game theorists are better-versed than their Greek counterparts. The ball is now in Tsipras’ court and, for him, both outcomes are unfavorable. In any case, I’m just hoping the EU reaches a conclusion for the sake of global markets. Greece is not economically important, and I’m sick of markets acting like it is.