Tags: Greece | Spain | bailout | crisis

Europe Lives in 'Bubble of Naiveté'

Friday, 15 Jun 2012 04:24 PM

By Chris Freind

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Greek municipal workers protest austerity measures on Thursday in Athens.
(Getty Images)
Would you consider the Euro-technocrats (and their American backers) who orchestrated the bailouts of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain (and soon Italy) to be:

A) Hell-bent on world domination by propping up the Euro to create a one-world currency (to complement a one-world government, of course);

B) Closely connected to the banks and governments receiving the billions being doled out so cavalierly — and who are undoubtedly being “taken care of” for their services;

C) Good-hearted souls who truly believe that there is no such thing as perfect men, just perfect intentions — leaders who hold that the “more-debt-solves-everything” economic philosophy, while not perfect, is the only salvation for a continent near collapse;

D) Cowards who know damn well what they’re doing won’t work, but are kicking the can down the road (again) so that the implosion won’t happen on their watch; or

E) Just plain morons. And that’s not meant as a mean-spirited personal attack, but merely a point-of-fact description.

Answer:

All of the above.

The brain trust across the pond is trying to prop up the Euro or — more accurately, save it from extinction. But let’s be honest: since they can’t identify what their problems are, let alone how to solve them, anything beyond keeping their heads above water is wishful thinking.

Will people financially benefit from the bailouts? Absolutely. Any time incomprehensibly large amounts of money change hands, insiders make out like bandits (because often times they are). Some of that corruption is illegal (but difficult to prosecute since those at the top are often in on the deal), but there is also widespread institutional corruption, where many of these financial transactions are immoral, unethical, and “criminal” — just not illegal.

So while the corporate hacks and pols “get theirs,” the people get shafted. Why would anyone expect change, since there is no incentive to rock the boat? Those who stand up are often kicked out of the “club,” and the European march towards oblivion continues.

Are there some European leaders who believe that one bailout after another is the best policy to right the ship?

Absolutely. They live in a bubble of naiveté borne from never holding private-sector jobs. To them, free enterprise is a hindrance, not a solution, so they cannot relate to the obstacles businesses must navigate to survive. And thus, they can’t understand why so many companies are shutting down.

They never had to meet a payroll, never dreaded issuing a pink slip, never worried about how to pay skyrocketing health insurance.

They never had to compete while handicapped with needlessly high energy costs, and never cursed up a storm because of crushing taxes and ridiculous, job-killing regulations. More important, they never experienced competition and all that striving to be the best brings out in people.

Bureaucrats thrive in a spread-the-wealth environment where mediocrity is the norm, and aspiring to greatness is ridiculed. Sadly, they have never been imbued with the vision that complacency is the enemy, and that the constant drive to develop better products and services, and how to most innovatively bring them to market, is the only tide capable of lifting all boats.

Instead, they believe government solutions are the only answer.

The problem with bailouts is that there is no such thing as “government” money. In a democracy, it is always the people’s money, sent to the government with the reasonable expectation that it will be spent with restraint and wisdom. In Europe’s case, as in America, that train has jumped the tracks.

Instead, spending has increased so exponentially that entire nations are effectively bankrupt.

“Government” money has been made so easily available to all people for all things that the sense of entitlement has wiped out any incentive to work harder and be more productive. Europe has become a continent of sloths, content to siesta and a take a lavish pension at 45. That’s a whole lot easier than putting in the work necessary to make one’s life, and his or her children’s future, better.

Now it’s time to pay the piper. We no longer live in a world where problems will just work themselves out. Instead, they will be with us until people face the truth. But unless that hard look in the mirror occurs, Europe’s deterioration will only accelerate.

Nothing the Europeans are proposing will solve the problem, since they are simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Spain is paralyzed by debt whose unemployment rate is 25 percent. Yet the “solution” is to take on even more debt! That’s like buying a $40,000 Ford with zero in the bank and claiming a “savings” of $60,000 because you didn’t get the $100,000 Mercedes.

Earth to Europe: Have we met?

Like Greece, the bailout will change nothing in Spain. The Spanish will riot rather than tolerate cuts in pensions and services. Leaders may discuss austerity measures, but will cave. And why not?

They just suckered Europe (mostly Germany) and the United States into giving them $125 billion to do as they please. Instead of implementing reforms, it will be Business As Usual with Other People’s Money.

Layoffs will continue, defaults will increase, and more companies will close because nothing will change.

But the good news for Spain is that soon it will be a distant memory as Italy, whose financial crisis is even larger, teeters on collapse. All the money in the European Central Bank won’t be enough to save it, so the printing presses will keep cranking out worthless Euros. And the madness continues.

Will the last one to leave Europe please turn out the lights?

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Friendly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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