ATHENS, Greece – Hundreds of youths rioted in Athens on Saturday, throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at police who responded with tear gas at a May Day rally against austerity measures being enacted by the cash-strapped government to secure foreign loans to stave off bankruptcy. The center-left government is set to announce more sweeping spending cuts through 2012 to win support for an international loan package worth euro45 billion ($60 billion) this year alone. The Cabinet meets Sunday morning to finalize the measures, with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou expected to announce them at noon and then immediately fly to Brussels for an emergency meeting of euro-zone finance ministers.
The International Monetary Fund has said it will provide the money over three years, along with Greece's partners in the euro zone. IMF and EU negotiators began talks in Athens on April 21 and continued through Friday.
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Saturday after a meeting of French government officials that she was confident euro-zone finance ministers would approve the package by the end of the weekend. Governments are discussing a package of up to euro120 billion ($159 billion) over three years, she said.
In March, Athens announced belt-tightening measures aimed to save some euro4.8 billion this year through cuts in civil service pay, higher indirect taxes and a crackdown on widespread tax evasion. But these proved insufficient, and additional austerity measures will likely include further hikes in consumer taxes, and deeper cuts in pensions and public service pay. Unions are furious.
"These measures are death. How people are going to live tomorrow, how they're going to survive, I do not understand," said Nikos Diamantopoulos, who was participating in a rally organized by pro-Communist unions.
Greece spent freely for years and ran up debt equal to 115 percent of gross domestic product. It has been effectively shut out of bond markets to refinance its debt pile because investors fear default and are demanding high rates of interest the government says it cannot pay.
Signs that the help will soon be approved have calmed markets, which previously pushed Greece's cost of borrowing to untenably high levels high as EU and German officials showed little urgency in addressing the problem.
On Friday the interest rate gap, or spread, between Greek 10-year bonds and their benchmark German equivalent narrowed to 6.20 percentage points, from a staggering 10 points Wednesday.
But Athens was in for more bad news as credit agency Moody's Investor Services downgraded the debt rating of nine Greek banks: National Bank of Greece, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, Emporiki Bank of Greece, Agricultural Bank of Greece, General Bank of Greece, Marfin Egnatia Bank and Attica Bank.
Moody's said the banks' might face further downgrades — a move that would come alongside Moody's ongoing review of the country's sovereign debt rating.
On Thursday, the agency confirmed that it is awaiting to see details of an EU-IMF rescue package before a possible revision of Greece's credit rating, but that a "multi-notch downgrade" remained likely.
This has become such a familiar scenario that it almost doesn't warrant notice.
Greece joins an ever increasing club of unfortunate saps forced to undergo an IMF financial enema. It has worked so well for Mexico that Mexicans die by the hundred thousands each year just to come here. Of course, that's the tiny bit that Americans see, all those illegal immigrants streaming across the border. What they don't see is the huge number of migrant workers inside Mexico, forced by globalization to float from shanty town to shanty town in search of whatever subsistence wage job they can find.
The Greeks have my sympathy. Whatever led them to this point is now utterly irrelevant to the globalists holding the purse strings. They'll lend Greece this exorbitant sum of money but I suspect it will help no one but the foreign banks who hold Greece's bad paper. Everyone else in the country will just have to learn how to eat shit and like it. Given the IMF's history, this is pretty much a given.
What interests me though, was this quote:
Greece spent freely for years and ran up debt equal to 115 percent of gross domestic product.
Hmmmm...sound the least bit familiar?
If my math is correct, the U.S. stands at about 90% on the "GDP/Debt" scale. With a debt that's increasing at roughly $4 billion a day, can we be far behind?
Does anyone in this dipshit cuntry seriously think the global community will give a flying fuck when po-dunk America runs off the same cliff?
To answer my own question...yeah I think they do?
I think we are in for the mother of all wake up calls.