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Get Off The Stage !!

06/05/2015

Many years ago, a client went to Greece on vacation.  As a souvenir, he bought me a “genuine” set of Worry Beads, explaining it was my job to do his worrying for him.  It is ironic that much of that worrying has to do with where he bought the Worry Beads — Greece.

There is no subject that I’ve spent so much time worrying about and so little time writing about.  That’s because most of the worry is just free-floating anxiety, not worth writing about.  The economics are clear, i.e., overly-generous pensions and health care combined with lax tax collection and an over-valued currency.  They borrowed money to pay pensions, which is crazy.  The current left-wing government is adamant that social spending is just as important as debt repayments, which is also crazy.  After all, once you start spoiling a child, you can never stop spoiling him . . . or can you?

When this problem started percolating to the surface four years ago, it had the possibility of tearing apart the European Union.  That was akin to saying that the bankruptcy of Wisconsin would tear apart the United States.  Since then, tiny little Greece has whip-sawed stock markets around the world.  That is the part that has both worried me and annoyed me – its potential to roil stock markets.  After long last, this problem appears to be reaching a conclusion this summer, and I’ll be happy, no matter what happens.  Some of the problem will certainly be “kicked down the road,” but we are at a turning point.

The bonds of Greece are now held in strong hands that understand the problem.  The European Union will survive Greece’s bankruptcy.  Let’s just get it over, so we can start paying attention to fundamentals again — like sales and profits and dividends, etc.

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