In this, the crisis that never ends until next week, it does no harm once in a while to sit quietly for a minute and ponder what thing(s) exactly it is trying to save. Now that Gordon Brown has retired to lecture extensively to advise rising leaders about how to best confuse everyone still further, he is sadly unavailable to save the world; so we must lower our sights a little, and make a shortlist of answers to the obvious question, “WTF is the point of all this pain-wracked salvation?”
For example, are our elected leaders and their entirely unelected allies trying to save us, the people who voted for them? Let’s just examine that suggestion for a minute. If you’re 18-25, you probably don’t have a job. If you do have one, it offers a spending power 30% lower than it was in 2002, and involves fewer hours at this lower rate. If you are up to your eyes in debt you shouldn’t have taken on, you’re OK….for now. If you’re under 30 and trying to buy a house you can’t really afford except at 0% interest with HTB, you’re in good shape….for now. If you’re old and on benefits with only a State pension to rely upon, you are in very bad shape indeed. The chances are you’ve already decided not to retire. In the US, there are twice as many poor folks on food stamps than there when the Black Dude said he could, even though he couldn’t, and didn’t. In the UK, food banks for the poor represent Britain’s major growth industry.
If you’re over fifty with a private pension, your pot has been slaughtered by up to 40% over the last three years thanks to QE. If you’ve saved hard and sold a thriving business, you’re earning no interest on it at all thanks to Zirp. If you keep more than £85,000 in any one account, you’re asking to have it stolen from you by central bankers – probably without warning. If you want to go abroad and change Pounds into dollars or euros, it’s worth less than it was three years ago, two years ago, or a year ago. If you’ve invested in gold over the last eighteen months, you’ve been cheated by manipulation.
All in all then, if they’re helping us as Our Friend in Hard Times, then probably what we need right now is lots of enemies.
OK then, are the Gods trying to save the euro? They say they are (the US doesn’t want contagion, and the EC simply won’t admit the single currency’s dead) but they don’t seem to be going about it the right way really. Because the bailout costs are going up all the time (Schäuble had a Truth Moment yesterday and admitted Greece needs another one) but so is Sovereign eurodebt.
Now that doesn’t seem right, does it? You save somebody, and then they keep on dying. It’s not exactly something you could suggest as a parallel to medicine, is it? Witch Doctor Ju-Ju maybe, but not the work of 21st century physicians. Signor Draghi is trying to save the euro by alternately buying it, selling it, and printing it. There doesn’t seem much method in there either: he buys it restore confidence, sells it to reduce export costs, and then prints it to stimulate an economy that shows no signs of life. This too owes more to Mary Shelley’s imaginings than it does to fiscal economics.
Over the last year, Mario Draghi has illegally subordinated Greek bondholders and committed an unspeakable public rape of Cyprus. This is hardly designed to reassure holders of eurodebt – and even less so anyone mad enough to buy any more of it.
So it seems unlikely the game-plan is to save the euro. Or alternatively, it is, but everyone involved has the econo-fiscal competence of a fig tree, whose leaves they have been using to disguise this fact for some time now. The jury’s out.
So, is it to save the Dollar? Well, here too the data are equivocal. Bernanke sells the buck hard to inflate away a debt so huge, no comparison to buses stretching across solar systems could ever do it justice. Uncle Ben, in fact, disobeys the old adage ‘The buck stops here’ every day of the week: who TF knows any more where the Dollar will stop?
But on the other hand, we don’t want those nasty yellow chopstickers making the Yuan the Reserve Currency, so QE allows Benny to pump up the Dow with fiat lavatory paper: and because the markets are replete with saps, bigger dividends mean higher share prices. And that continues to make America and thus the Dollar seem eternally credible. It’s a tripwire act without a safety net……and as Ben’s been at the Xanax again, the audience is on the edge of its collective seat, waiting for him to topple painlessly to earth.
So, is it to save the capitalist economic system? Now in this instance, we can give an unequivocal “no”: because it’s brutally clear that none of these low-lifers give a baboon’s backside about the economics involved.
After all, if they did genuinely want free-market capitalism , we wouldn’t have economy-shattering austerity in ClubMed, we wouldn’t have the British media in the hands of unelected monsters, we wouldn’t have a single currency that delivers a playing field as level as the Matterhorn’s north face, we wouldn’t have Wall Street and the global banking system selling shredded IOU fragments to each other, we wouldn’t have sovereign treasuries rescuing csf-fluid arid bankers, and above all we wouldn’t have every market from gold to bonds via interest rates and the stock markets manipulated with the help of the very high taxes paid by citizens. Well we wouldn’t, would we? Quite.
Well then, what’s the residue of possibilities here? And as Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes say in many a novel, “Watson, when all the other possibilities have been exhausted, that which remains must ineluctably be the answer…however bizarre it may seem”.
Except in this case, the answer is tediously and infuriatingly predictable: we’re in the business of saving the politicians, their financial liar friends in the global banking system, and the bureaucrats who do the bidding of whoever will give them unearned stipends and illegal pension emoluments.
Why else, for heaven’s sake, would we be putting the European citizen through the mincer in order to save the lenders’ necks – when default would’ve been a better result for 98% of humanity? Why else are we being told all these ridiculous lies by Merkel, Obama, Osborne, Rehn, Rajoy and Samaras…when every last statistic shows them to be incorrigibly mendacious boobies? And why else are the pinstripes in Whitehall, Athens, Paris and Washington still spending money like water while their employers – us – suffer from at best theft, and at worst starvation?
It isn’t rocket science. The whole farrago of nonsense is designed to save an infinitessimal percentage of Homo sapiens whose hubris and greed is infinite.
It’s a thought we need to keep close to our brains and hearts as things get increasingly surreal. They will try to dissipate our focus. Don’t let them.