Greece after math

Looking like it was another ‘buy the rumor sell the news’ near term.

After you do the maths it still doesn’t add up.

It can’t add up.


Given today’s institutional structures- pension funds, insurance reserves, etc.- that include massive, tax advantaged, demand leakages where private sector credit expansion is bound to periodically fall short full employment levels. And with the private sector necessarily pro cyclical, counter cyclical fiscal adjustments are, for all practical purposes, entirely in the realm of the issuer of the currency- the ECB, and not the users of the currency- the euro member nations.

In other words, as previously discussed, the maths can’t add up without the ECB, directly or indirectly, writing the check.

And that includes the banking system, which, to serve public purpose, requires credible deposit insurance, again meaning support from the issuer of the currency.

The last few weeks have demonstrated that the ECB does ‘write the check’ for bank liquidity even though it’s not legally required to do that,(and even though some think it’s not acting within legal limits) but it won’t just come out and say it.

And, apart perhaps from the Greek PSI (100 billion euro bond tax), which they still call ‘voluntary’, no government has missed a payment, also with indirect ECB support either through bond buying or via the banking system, but, again, it won’t just come out and say it’s an ongoing policy.

So while the ECB can and has ‘written the check’ as needed, there has been no formal proclamation of any sort that it will continue to do so. Nor does it look like there will be any such over policy announcement for a considerable period of time.

This means any manager of ‘other people’s money’ with any fiduciary responsibility will continue to remain on the sidelines.

And even as markets fluctuate, and then some, underneath it all payments are met on a timely basis and the banking system continues to function to service deposits and loans.

And budget deficits will continue to be deemed too large, (at least until private sector credit expansion exceeds the ‘savings desires’/demand leakages) ensuring the maths don’t ever add up without the assumption of the ECB writing the check.

One last thing.

Publicly, at least, they all still think the problem in the euro zone is that the public debts/deficits are too high. And to reduce debt the member nations need to cut spending and/or hike taxes, either immediately or down the road.

A good economy with rising debt and ECB support to keep it all going isn’t even a consideration.

They’ve painted themselves into an ideological corner.

And deficit spending, exacerbated by austerity, may nonetheless be high enough for it all to muddle through at current (deplorable) levels of economic performance.

This economic ‘torture chamber’ of mass unemployment can, operationally, persist indefinitely, even as, politically, it’s showing signs of coming apart.

The founders of the euro believed a single currency would work to prevent a third great war. So they did what it took politically to get the consensus needed to create the euro. Ironically not realizing what they created to promote unity has turned out to be the instrument of social disintegration.