The Greek Debt Crisis Escalates: Is Greece Threatening To Leave The Euro?

Is the Greek debt crisis about to explode out of control?  According to Der Spiegel, the government of Greece is considering leaving the Euro and reestablishing its own currency.  If that happened, it would throw global financial markets into chaos and it might mean the end of the euro as a pan-European currency.  But the Greek government has to do something about all of these debts.  At this point Greece is literally drowning in debt.  The yield on 10-year Greek bonds has now reached an astounding 15.51%.  There is no way that is sustainable even for the short-term.  Greece is rapidly going bankrupt.  Even with absolutely brutal austerity measures in place, the debt just continues to explode.  There are protests against the government almost daily and Greece is in a state of chaos.  Unfortunately, because Greece is part of the euro they can’t just start printing lots of money as a way to get out of this crisis.  Now there are persistent rumors that Greece really is thinking about leaving the euro, and that could potentially mean big trouble for the world financial system.

It was a new article in Der Spiegel that brought these rumors to the forefront again.  Der Spiegel says that it possesses secret Greek government documents that discuss plans to leave the euro.  Der Spiegel also claims that a secret crisis meeting was held in Luxembourg on Friday night to discuss this crisis.

The following is a brief excerpt from the Der Spiegel article that caused the financial community in Europe to be in such an uproar today….

“The debt crisis in Greece has taken on a dramatic new twist. Sources with information about the government’s actions have informed SPIEGEL ONLINE that Athens is considering withdrawing from the euro zone. The common currency area’s finance ministers and representatives of the European Commission are holding a secret crisis meeting in Luxembourg on Friday night.”

So was there such a meeting in Luxembourg on Friday night?

Well, it turns out that there was a meeting of a small group of European finance ministers.  But according to German government spokesman Steffen Seibert, this meeting was planned well in advance and had nothing to do with Greece leaving the euro….

“There is a meeting of some finance ministers that has long been planned. Greece exiting the Eurozone is not on the agenda of that meeting, and it has never been.”

So is Greece actually thinking about leaving the euro?  All over Europe this notion is being denied.

Perhaps the strongest denial was issued by the Greek Finance Ministry….

“The report on an imminent Greek exit from the eurozone, as well as being untrue, has been written with incomprehensible levity despite the fact that this has been repeatedly denied by the Greek government, and the governments of other EU member states.”

What was probably being discussed at this meeting of European finance ministers is a restructuring of Greek debt.  This is something that Germany has apparently wanted for quite some time according to a recent article posted on Business Insider….

For weeks, German officials have been hinting that they want a Greek restructuring to happen. German economic advisor Lars Feld recently said that the restructuring should happen “sooner than later.” He’s previously also said “restructuring is the only road to take.”

So what would a restructuring of this debt look like?  A recent article on CNBC gives us some clues….

More importantly, tonight’s finance ministers meeting might lay the groundwork for “extending the maturities” on those loans — giving Athens a little more oxygen until it probably ends up restructuring its $470 billion existing debt by either extending maturities or exchanging Greek bonds, at a discount, for EU-guaranteed bonds, Brady Bond-style from the 1980s.

What Germany does not want is for Greece to even think about leaving the euro.  According to the article on Der Spiegel, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is ready to play hardball with the Greeks.  Der Spiegel says that a report has been prepared that would lay out for the Greeks the severe consequences of leaving the euro….

“It would lead to a considerable devaluation of the new (Greek) domestic currency against the euro,” the paper states. According to German Finance Ministry estimates, the currency could lose as much as 50 percent of its value, leading to a drastic increase in Greek national debt. Schäuble’s staff have calculated that Greece’s national deficit would rise to 200 percent of gross domestic product after such a devaluation. “A debt restructuring would be inevitable,” his experts warn in the paper. In other words: Greece would go bankrupt.

Greece is really in a tough position.  They are going to go bankrupt if they stay with the euro and they are going to go bankrupt if they leave the euro.

Meanwhile, the anti-government protests continue.  The Greek people are not happy.  The Greek economy is coming apart like a 20 dollar suit.  Greece could end up being the spark that sets off a massive financial panic in Europe.

As I have written about previously, the European debt crisis is on the verge of spinning wildly out of control.  It is not just Greece that is facing a horrific debt crisis.  The financial problems in Europe literally span the entire continent.

A lot of Americans are obsessed with the death of the U.S. dollar, but the truth is that there is a strong possibility that the euro could end up collapsing before the dollar does.

Keep an eye on Europe.  The European debt crisis could plunge the entire global financial system into chaos at any time.  Things are not nearly as stable as they seem.

20 Shocking New Economic Records That Were Set In 2010

2010 was quite a year, wasn’t it?  2010 will be remembered for a lot of things, but for those living in the United States, one of the main things that last year will be remembered for is economic decline.  The number of foreclosure filings set a new record, the number of home repossessions set a new record, the number of bankruptcies went up again, the number of Americans that became so discouraged that they simply quit looking for work reached a new all-time high and the number of Americans on food stamps kept setting a brand new record every single month.  Meanwhile, U.S. government debt reached record highs, state government debt reached record highs and local government debt reached record highs.  What a mess!  In fact, even many of the “good” economic records that were set during 2010 were indications of underlying economic weakness.  For example, the price of gold set an all-time record during 2010, but one of the primary reasons for the increase in the price of gold was that the U.S. dollar was rapidly losing value.  Most Americans had been hoping that 2010 would be the beginning of better times, but unfortunately economic conditions just kept getting worse.

So will things improve in 2011?  That would be nice, but at this point there are not a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic about the economy.  The truth is that we are trapped in a period of long-term economic decline and we are now paying the price for decades of horrible decisions.

Amazingly, many of our politicians and many in the mainstream media have declared that “the recession is over” and that the U.S. economy is steadily improving now.

Well, if anyone tries to tell you that the economy got better in 2010, just show them the statistics below.  That should shut them up for a while.

The following are 20 new economic records that were set during 2010….

#1 An all-time record of 2.87 million U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in 2010.

#2 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.

#3 The price of gold moved above $1400 an ounce for the first time ever during 2010.

#4 According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, approximately 1.53 million consumer bankruptcy petitions were filed in 2010, which was up 9 percent from 1.41 million in 2009.  This was the highest number of personal bankruptcies we have seen since the U.S. Congress substantially tightened U.S. bankruptcy law several years ago.

#5 At one point during 2010, the average time needed to find a job in the United States had risen to an all-time record of 35.2 weeks.

#6 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs, which is believed to be a new record low.

#7 The number of Americans working part-time jobs “for economic reasons” was the highest it has been in at least five decades during 2010.

#8 The number of American workers that are so discouraged that they have given up searching for work reached an all-time high near the end of 2010.

#9 Government spending continues to set new all-time records.  In fact, at the moment the U.S. government is spending approximately 6.85 million dollars every single minute.

#10 The number of Americans on food stamps surpassed 43 million by the end of 2010.  This was a new all-time record, and government officials fully expect the number of Americans enrolled in the program to continue to increase throughout 2011.

#11 The number of Americans on Medicaid surpassed 50 million for the first time ever in 2010.

#12 The U.S. Census Bureau originally announced that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that was the highest number of Americans living in poverty that they had ever recorded in 51 years of record-keeping.  But now the Census Bureau says that they miscalculated and that the real number of poor Americans is actually 47.8 million.

#13 According to the FDIC, 157 banks failed during 2010.  That was the highest number of bank failures that the United States has experienced in any single year during the past decade.

#14 The Federal Reserve brought in a record $80.9 billion in profits during 2010.  They returned $78.4 billion of that to the U.S. Treasury, but the real story is that thanks to the Federal Reserve’s continual debasement of our currency, the U.S. dollar was worth less in 2010 than it ever had been before.

#15 It is projected that the major financial firms on Wall Street will pay out an all-time record of $144 billion in compensation for 2010.

#16 Americans now owe more than $881 billion on student loans, which is a new all-time record.

#17 In July, sales of new homes in the United States declined to the lowest level ever recorded.

#18 According to Zillow, U.S. housing prices have now declined a whopping 26 percent since their peak in June 2006.  Amazingly, this is even farther than house prices fell during the Great Depression.  From 1928 to 1933, U.S. housing prices only fell 25.9 percent.

#19 State and local government debt reached at an all-time record of 22 percent of U.S. GDP during 2010.

#20 The U.S. national debt has surpassed the 14 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever and it is being projected that it will soar well past 15 trillion during 2011.

There are some people that have a hard time really grasping what statistics actually mean.  For people like that, often pictures and charts are much more effective.  Well, that is one reason I like to include pictures and graphs in many of my articles, and below I have posted my favorite chart from this past year.  It shows the growth of the U.S. national debt from 1940 until today.  I honestly don’t know how anyone can look at this chart and still be convinced that our nation is not headed for a complete financial meltdown….

The Economic Collapse