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May 11 2011

Your Sanitized Financial News

You may think this is about Economics, but it’s really about censorship.

Yesterday I published some notes about how transparently insolvent the mega-banks are.  Today there are follow up developments.

First of all I’d like to quash any thought I’m being unnecessarily hard on Italy by including them in the PIIGS

Another recession in Europe as a whole is also a very likely prospect, Zulauf said.

“The EU is trying to dictate a very severe austerity program…and that will lead to a lengthy recession, I would call it a depression, and we will see later this year that Italy, Spain and virtually all the peripheral countries will be in negative growth again,” he said.

“I think there is a 90 percent likelihood of another recession in Europe (beginning) later this year,” Zulauf said.

(h/t Chris in Paris @ Americablog which you should be sure to click on)

Extend and Pretend

The big news today (h/t emptywheel @ Firedog Lake), the Wall Street Journal caught BLATANTLY scrubbing the words of Timo Soini after the fact and after they printed it unedited online yesterday.

Why did the Brussels-Frankfurt extortion racket force these countries to accept the money along with “recovery” plans that would inevitably fail? Because they needed to please the tax-guzzling banks, which might otherwise refuse to turn up at the next Spanish, Belgian, Italian, or even French bond-auction.

Unfortunately for this financial and political cartel, their plan isn’t working. Already under this scheme, Greece, Ireland and Portugal are ruined. They will never be able to save and grow fast enough to pay back the debts with which Brussels has saddled them in the name of saving them.

And so, unpurged, the gangrene spreads. The Spanish property sector is much bigger and more uncharted than that of Ireland. It is not just the cajas that are in trouble. There are major Spanish banks where what lies beneath the surface of the balance sheet may be a zombie, just as happened in Ireland for a while. The clock is ticking, and the problem is not going away.



If some banks are recapitalized with taxpayer money, taxpayers should get ownership stakes in return, and the entire board should be kicked out. But before any such taxpayer participation can be contemplated, it is essential to first apply big haircuts to bondholders.

For sovereign debt, the freedom to fail is again key. Significant restructuring is needed for genuine recovery. Yes, markets will punish defaulting states, but they are also quick to forgive. Current plans are destroying the real economies of Europe through elevated taxes and transfers of wealth from ordinary families to the coffers of insolvent states and banks. A restructuring that left a country’s debt burden at a manageable level and encouraged a return to growth-oriented policies could lead to a swift return to international debt markets.

This is not just about economics. People feel betrayed. In Ireland, the incoming parties to the new government promised to hold senior bondholders responsible, but under pressure, they succumbed, leaving their voters with a sense of democratic disenfranchisement. The elites in Brussels have said that Finland must honor its commitments to its European partners, but Brussels is silent on whether national politicians should honor their commitments to their own voters. In a democracy, where we govern under the consent of the people, power is on loan. We do what we promise, even if it costs a dinner in Brussels, a “negative” media profile, or a seat in the cabinet.

The bolded parts are the censored ones.  Timo Soini is the head of the populist True Finn party and the top vote getter in Finland’s recent elections.

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