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Greece, Germany and Goldman

You just can't make this stuff up. Germany trashes Greece for being a nation of "lazy cheats." Greece snarls back that Germany should pay the Greeks World War II reparations before opening their big traps. There are accusations about Goldman Sachs helping to hide Greece's debt. And then, Greece fires the head of its debt office and replaces him with a guy who used to work for...

That's right -- Goldman Sachs. From Zero Hedge:

Yesterday's news about the departure of the head of the debt management agency, Spyros Papanicolaou, was somewhat of a yawner, until we realized that his replacement would be none other than Petros Christodoulou, who until today was head of Private Banking and Group Treasury at the National Bank of Greece... Yet what is oddest, is that Mr. Christodoulou worked not only as head of derivatives at JP Morgan but also held comparable posts at Credit Suisse, and... wait for it, Goldman Sachs... Uh, say what?

I wish I could say that it's shocking. Meanwhile, Greece's debt problems are shaking the very foundation of the European Union. The EU has pledged support for Greece, but several EU countries are balking. From The Telegraph:

Holland's Tweede Kamer has passed a motion backed by all parties prohibiting the use of Dutch taxpayer money to bail out Greece, either through bilateral aid or EU bodies. "Not one cent for Greece," was the headline in Trouw. The right-wing PVV proposed "chucking Greece out of EU altogether".

Germany's Bundestag has drafted an opinion deeming aid to Greece illegal...

The Frankfurter Allgemeine summed up German feelings when it asked why taxpayers should bail out a country that thinks it an outrage to raise the retirement age to 63. "Should Germans have to work in the future until 69 instead of 67 so that Greeks can enjoy early retirement?"

Greek politicians respond this way:

"How does Germany have the cheek to denounce us over our finances when it has still not paid compensation for Greece's war victims?" Margaritis Tzimas, of the main opposition New Democracy party, told parliament.

"There are still Greeks weeping for their lost brothers," the conservative lawmaker said during a debate on a bill to clean up the country's discredited statistical service.

It's getting uglier in Europe. And of course, ever-present, is Goldman Sachs.

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I'm Greek and I think it's pretty low to bring up WW2 on today's wonderful Germany people (who literally are no more complicit in the atrocities committed by Nazis any more than today's Jews are). I also think Greece is responsible for Greece's problems for its own economy. EU taxpayers shouldn't be burdened because of if not illegal... at minimum morally suspect accounting practices of prior Greek governments. EU taxpayers should do only what they need to do to protect the Euro and themselves individually as taxpayers. Its one thing to be altruistic to a nation or person that genuinely needs help quite another to reward fraud.

Having said that, it sure would help be a boast to the Greek people themselves (that have only been hammered by bad news the last few years) if more of the EU (and the rest of the world) stopped beating around the bush with the current FYROM governments nasty behavior towards us. I know you are trying to be polite to everyone but the current FYROM govenment hasn't been dealing in good faith on this issue with either Macedonians (of the Greek variety) nor the EU., (now claiming themselves to be related to "ancient Macedonians" whereas before widespread constitutional recognition they claimed the opposite.

e.g.

'We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great.'
(FYROM'S Ambassador Ljubica Acevshka to US representatives in Washington on January 22 1999)

"We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century ... We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians" (Kiro Gligorov, FYROM's first President to Foreign Information Service Daily Report, Eastern Europe, February 26, 1992)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA3kwC2YTq4

'We are not related to the northern Greeks who produced leaders like Philip and Alexander the Great. We are a Slav people and our language is closely related to Bulgarian.'(FYROM´s Ambassador to Canada Gyordan Veselinov in an interview to Ottawa Citizen newspaper on 24 February 1999)

Everyone knows they used to call themselves ethnic Bulgarians in the 19th century. Its not the fault of Greeks their current government took them down this road. As Australian PM Mike Rann recently stated no nation should have its history and identity stolen from it by a neighboring state.

New, this season on Bravo, it's the hot new TV reality show: "European Disunion!"

I won't be surprised in the least...

So when does Europe erupt into war again? Then we'll sit by and watch for a while before jumping in, ramping up production for the battle and pulling ourselves out of this depression-lite situation.

The EU has an Economy larger then the USA and overall it has a Current Account Surplus thanks to many of the Northern European Nations-Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Austria and also two other very closely aligned countries Switzerland and Norway. ITaly seems to be doing okay lowering it's trade deficit and also they have a large Manufacturing/Engineering Sector while a Country like Greece does not. Spain and Portugal two other Nations mentioned along with Greece do not have the same Debt to GDP Ratios even though they are currently running a Deficit. Spain and Portugal have Greatly upgraded their Highways, Ports, Airports ,Urban Mass Transit Systems, High Speed Rail, Drinking Water, Sewage Systems,Renewables, etc. with much of the debt so they plowed it into Productive areas such as Infrastructure, Energy and also Education/Training while Greece also inproved Roads and so forth used much of their money for Consumption so they have much higher debts then most other countries and not as much to show for it. To incur Debt is never Good but if you are adding debts and using it for productive measures then eventually it will be worth it. Take the USA we need 3 trillion Dollars worth of Infrastructure improvements (roads, Dams, Ports, Airports, Rails, Electrical Grid, Water Systems, etc. and the American Society of Engineers rated it a D to D- on their last report. America has not Created any net increase in Jobs since 1999 and we continue to shed jobs though at a slower rate the overall job totals needed are North of 30 Million!!!
We are running 1.5 Trillion Dollar a year Governmental Deficits, Huge Trade Deficits, State Deficits, Consumer Deficits, Corporate Deficits which now total about 60 Trillion and are increasing 3.5 trillion yearly while our Entitlement Deficits-S.S. , Medicare, Etc. are North of 30 Trillion over the next 30 Years.
Are K-12 School system is consistently ranked towards the Bottom of the Industrial World and are University Education is the most Expensive in the World so less and less are Graduating while our Technical/Trade Education System is very Weak Compared to Germany and others. 85% of German Citizens either have a Vocational/Technical Degree or a College Degree while about 30-35% of American Hold Either. Close to 70% of Americans cannot Compete in the Global Economy and so this weakens the Nations and increases the Rich-Poor Gap which is around 50 on the Gini-index.
We have 8 Million People in our Correctional System (Jail, Prison, Probation, Parole, etc) which is close to 40% of the World's Total and this has increased from 1 million in 1980.
We also have the Death Penalty while 120 other Nations have banned it.
With the Patriot Act and other Government Bills that have been passed Recently the Constitution/Bill of Rights have been Greatly Weakened and the above Number should be indicative of the lack of Democracy and Freedom in this country- it is not a Democracy and not even close.
We wage 3 Wars at present two over Oil- Afganistan and Iraq while the Third is waged on the American Public.
The Country refuses to go to a Renewable/Sustainable Economy like Germany and others are doing which weakens us even more sicne we do not have sufficient Oil Reserves and Fossil Fuels Damage the Environment including the People.
Europe has the best Infrastructure in the World and most Advanced. Their Workforces are the best Educated and skilled on average-Free College and Technical/Vocational Schools, They have extensive Welfare Safety Nets for the Population when Needed, They are the World's largest Exporters both Merchandise and Serivces and by Far the largest!
They have some of the Longest Life Expectency's on the Planet while the USA has the 50th ranked Life Expectency. They also have Universal Health Coverage and Dental. German's Receive close to 50 Days off a year(paid) for Vacation and Holidays. Sick Days, Parental Leave, Free or Cheap Day Care, Free Universities and Vocational/Technical Schools,9 times smaller Correctional Population per Capita and Not Death Penalty, extensive Renewable Power and Sustainable Development and is the Second Largest Creditor Nation on the Planet- America is the largest Debtor and that says something!!
Switzerland and Germany have the highest Wages and Benefits in the World (mercer survey) and this includes Cost of living and Taxes while the USA did not come in the top 20 Countries( Median) Included where everyone from top to bottom.
The Euro is Higher and the Yen is Higher Then the US Dollar while the Swiss Franc Hovers around Parity. Do you know what the USA DOllar was worth in 1971 compared to these Currencies? 4 to 1! Why did the Dollar lose so much value against these currencies and many others since that time? Inflation, Debt, Loss of Manufacturing, Peak Oil, Mismanagement of the Country giving the Rich all the Resources, Fighting Wars over Oil, No Reinvestment into the Country, War on the US Citizen, etc.
Very Nice Picture!! I've Lived in Europe (Germany) and I can tell you all right now on average they have a higher Quality of life and the People also make very Good Wages and Benefits. All the Misinformation really blinds the common folks to their true Position Right Now. Slaves! Serfs! Prisoners!

The involvement of the Goldman fraternity is just beyond belief. Don't forget the Chelsea Clinton engagement to a Goldman boy. We need a web list of all current and past Goldman execs and their addresses so we can boycott them in social and business activities

Imagine the uproar in the USA if a single state ( *cough* California *cough*) were to need a bailout!

@Benjamin, thank you for the perspective.

To me this drama begs the basic question of what is to be gained by being in the EU.

Everyone should calm down. The Germans who committed the atrocities in Greece during WWII were punished and are dead and gone. Asking the later generations to pay for a war that their great grandparents waged is not only ridiculous but immoral.

Greece should have never fudged their books to satisfy the EU, and the EU should have known that the books were cooked, but everyone was so anxious to get the Euro off the ground they turned their heads and held their collective noses to the stench of the financial improprieties in order to form a more perfect union.

Goldman Sachs is the real enemy here. Their motive wasn't European unity or continental economic strength. It was pure and simple greed. In the end, they are the evil doers in this whole debacle.

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