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Sun Jul 5, 2015, 07:57 PM

Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations.

Piketty: My book recounts the history of income and wealth, including that of nations. What struck me while I was writing is that Germany is really the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. Neither after the First nor the Second World War. However, it has frequently made other nations pay up, such as after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, when it demanded massive reparations from France and indeed received them. The French state suffered for decades under this debt. The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.

ZEIT: But surely we can’t draw the conclusion that we can do no better today?

Piketty: When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: what a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations.

the rest:
https://t.co/Dc2pPFrHRM

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Reply Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations. (Original post)
kpete Jul 2015 OP
libdem4life Jul 2015 #1
Cleita Jul 2015 #2
magical thyme Jul 2015 #38
Cleita Jul 2015 #41
hifiguy Jul 2015 #3
CountAllVotes Jul 2015 #4
arely staircase Jul 2015 #5
pnwmom Jul 2015 #12
arely staircase Jul 2015 #13
Igel Jul 2015 #21
pnwmom Jul 2015 #29
DonCoquixote Jul 2015 #40
1939 Jul 2015 #73
DonCoquixote Jul 2015 #74
Art_from_Ark Jul 2015 #61
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #30
pnwmom Jul 2015 #31
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #32
pnwmom Jul 2015 #35
druidity33 Jul 2015 #87
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #89
timdog44 Jul 2015 #90
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #91
druidity33 Jul 2015 #93
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #97
druidity33 Jul 2015 #103
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #104
druidity33 Jul 2015 #105
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #106
timdog44 Jul 2015 #94
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #96
timdog44 Jul 2015 #98
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #100
timdog44 Jul 2015 #101
DFW Jul 2015 #92
magical thyme Jul 2015 #37
Scurrilous Jul 2015 #6
Electric Monk Jul 2015 #7
kpete Jul 2015 #8
Electric Monk Jul 2015 #11
mmonk Jul 2015 #9
The2ndWheel Jul 2015 #10
roguevalley Jul 2015 #20
appalachiablue Jul 2015 #14
former9thward Jul 2015 #15
MFrohike Jul 2015 #16
Igel Jul 2015 #22
MFrohike Jul 2015 #24
Travis_0004 Jul 2015 #33
MFrohike Jul 2015 #36
Adrahil Jul 2015 #43
MFrohike Jul 2015 #58
Adrahil Jul 2015 #64
jeff47 Jul 2015 #67
Adrahil Jul 2015 #69
jeff47 Jul 2015 #70
Adrahil Jul 2015 #72
MFrohike Jul 2015 #82
Adrahil Jul 2015 #83
MFrohike Jul 2015 #84
former9thward Jul 2015 #48
MFrohike Jul 2015 #57
magical thyme Jul 2015 #39
former9thward Jul 2015 #49
magical thyme Jul 2015 #62
Adrahil Jul 2015 #71
dbackjon Jul 2015 #86
blackspade Jul 2015 #17
geek tragedy Jul 2015 #26
blackspade Jul 2015 #42
Adrahil Jul 2015 #44
geek tragedy Jul 2015 #47
Aerows Jul 2015 #51
George II Jul 2015 #18
stevenleser Jul 2015 #19
magical thyme Jul 2015 #63
valerief Jul 2015 #23
geek tragedy Jul 2015 #25
DFW Jul 2015 #46
malthaussen Jul 2015 #66
freshwest Jul 2015 #52
mountain grammy Jul 2015 #27
roamer65 Jul 2015 #28
cstanleytech Jul 2015 #34
DFW Jul 2015 #65
freshwest Jul 2015 #45
Aerows Jul 2015 #50
merrily Jul 2015 #53
Aerows Jul 2015 #55
d_legendary1 Jul 2015 #78
merrily Jul 2015 #99
merrily Jul 2015 #54
Ed Suspicious Jul 2015 #56
BrotherIvan Jul 2015 #59
nxylas Jul 2015 #68
BrotherIvan Jul 2015 #76
Nye Bevan Jul 2015 #75
Romulox Jul 2015 #81
Sherman A1 Jul 2015 #60
randome Jul 2015 #77
totodeinhere Jul 2015 #79
lark Jul 2015 #80
iamthebandfanman Jul 2015 #85
daleanime Jul 2015 #88
jtuck004 Jul 2015 #95
Yo_Mama Jul 2015 #102

Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:01 PM

1. Well now, this is inconvenient.

 

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:02 PM

2. Maybe Angela Merkel needs to be reminded of that. eom

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Response to Cleita (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:46 PM

38. Varoufakis reminded her not long ago

 

she responded by getting pissed off. Varoufakis is now considered ill-mannered.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #38)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 11:05 PM

41. Of course. The victim is the rude one.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:04 PM

3. Here and now, Piketty is the

 

smartest person in the room regarding economic history and theory.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:07 PM

4. Nail on Head!

and no, we will NOT forget!! Bailed out of two WW's that the USA got sucked into and ... all hell breaks loose!

& recommend!!

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:13 PM

5. doesn't negate anyone else's debt

but puts it in an important historical perspective.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:33 PM

12. It should. Greece was one of the countries that forgave German debt after WW2.

It's time for Germany to return the favor.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:40 PM

13. interesting (good) point

I surely hope this all works out well for the greek people. don't misinterpret my comment. I am much more for them than German bankers, or any bankers.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:36 PM

21. Greece didn't get reparations.

That's the problem and the term to use. Nor did a lot of other countries when Germany was bombed into submission and its government killed, executed, or imprisoned. They didn't so much "forgive" the debt watch those responsible for it vanish.

Germany paid reparations. The USSR exacted a heavy price--large territorial losses. West Germany's last payment to the West was in 1971. It paid them off early. That included WWII and WWI debt, which were included in the reparations. Winners get reparations from losers. Greece wasn't a winner in WWII. It wasn't a winner.

One thing that was different for Germany was it got more loans than grants under the Marshall Plan. In the '50s the Allies converted some of thos loans to grants, and brought it in line with what the other Marshall Plan recipients got.

These seem to be important facts to take into consideration, and I'm sure that nobody would make claims based on ignorance. Esp. when they're easily obtainable online these days. That would be just plain prejudiced and lacking in critical thinking skills.

Piketty is either counting those conversions as "non payment of debt" or the debt that vanished when the country was conquered and occupied as "non paid debt." But he has an agenda, and little things like defeat and dissolution tend to become less important when there's a motive.

If you want, I'm sure that it can be arranged to return the favor to Greece. Greece can be bombed, partitioned, some land given to another country, its leaders killed or executed or imprisoned, and it's government dissolved and everybody resonsible for agreeing to that debt replaced under an occupation government. Then Greece can pay reparations to those who conquered it. As long as it's not Germany, that would eradicate the debt owed to Germany.

Or maybe not.

Once everybody gets past the political posturing and "I know a few facts, but intend to act like it's all known to me"; once we get past humiliated chauvinism and cries that "really, we don't owe the money because we're the borrowers--you owe us, lenders!" attitude they perhaps can work out something. Perhaps not. Russia can own Greece like it owns Armenia and that'll make a lot of people happy. For some reason.

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Response to Igel (Reply #21)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:15 PM

29. To read your post, it appears you think Germany wasn't responsible

for its actions in WW2, that caused it to be "bombed, partitioned," etc.

As you say, Germany's debt was included in the reparations, and much of it eventually forgiven -- i.e., loans were turned into grants.

It is time for Germany to return the favor.

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Response to Igel (Reply #21)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:55 PM

40. Germany paid reparations. The USSR exacted a heavy price--large territorial losses.

Well, there is a lot more to that fact:
One, not once, but twice, Germany attacked Russia. WW2 was especially nasty because Stalin did not want war with Germany, he was worried more about London or the US. Stalin actually killed agents because they kept insisting Germany was going to be stupid enough to attack on it's eastern and western fronts, the same mistake it did during WWI. They did, and while it is easy to say Germany paid in terms of land, the USSR paid in terms of lives. Add to this Germany allied with Japan, responsible for A) getting the us into the war, and B) actually killing 22 million in China alone. That's more then three times the body count in the Holocaust!

And speaking of said Holocaust, well, to cop a riff off Abe Lincoln, NOTHING any of us say can subtract from or add to the meaning of that event. Add to this that many in Germany are and were still quite happy that Hitler destroyed the Jewish population, and that the world decided to take a homeland from the Arabs rather than make the Germans return the lands and assets they stole from Jews.

And let's not even touch how many died in the rest of Europe.

The fact is, Germany existed at the leisure of the world. One can argue that World War One was a mess, and that the allies were truly greedy demanding reparations, but, to go to war in a time when many people who were boys in ww1 were still young enough to serve in ww2 was an act of shame. They wanted a war, and they wanted a big war, and it can be argued the only reason they did not mange to start another war was because they were forced to behave. For them to act in an arrogant manner will not bode good, because Europe, already tired of Berlin's dreams of a Reich, might very well simply wish them to fall down and stay down.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #40)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:37 AM

73. Japan was killing Chinese long before Japan allied with Hitler NT

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Response to 1939 (Reply #73)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 11:40 AM

74. 22 million during ww2 is still a big number

again,that's three Holocausts. Not that we want to ever play the devil's math and say one live = so many, but that fact is that even if the only thing Germany caused 2was to embolden the Japanese to kill 22 Million Chinese, it will still deserve to be remembered to the present moment, and long after.

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Response to Igel (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:30 AM

61. Greece was blitzkrieged by Germany during World War II

after it was first attacked by Italy. Greece was then partitioned into 3 occupation zones, controlled by Italy, Germany, and Bulgaria, respectively.

The Greek people suffered under Nazi occupation. "The occupation brought about terrible hardships for the Greek civilian population. Over 40,000 civilians died in Athens alone from starvation, tens of thousands more died because of reprisals by Nazis and collaborators, and the country's economy was ruined.[1] At the same time the Greek Resistance, one of the most effective resistance movements in Occupied Europe,[citation needed] was formed. These resistance groups launched guerrilla attacks against the occupying powers, fought against the collaborationist Security Battalions, and set up large espionage networks. By late 1943 the resistance groups began to fight amongst themselves. When liberation of the mainland came in October 1944, Greece was in a state of extreme political polarization, which soon led to the outbreak of civil war. The subsequent civil war gave the opportunity to many prominent Nazi collaborators not only to escape punishment (because of their anti-communism), but to eventually become the ruling class of postwar Greece, after the communist defeat.[2][3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_occupation_of_Greece

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:15 PM

30. The money the Greek government owes isnt all owed to Germany though.

To be honest I think Germany might be more willing to discuss repayment terms of the Greek debt if the Greek government will get on board with getting actually getting its spending more in line with what it has coming in.
If the Greeks show more of an actual willingness to do that atleast over time then Germany would hopefully be willing to help the Greeks out of the mess that they got themselves into.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #30)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:17 PM

31. At least two Nobel prize winning economists, Krugman and Stieglitz,

say that Germany's imposing further austerity measures on Greece is like putting people in debtor's prison and then expecting them to repay their debt.

It won't work.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #31)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:28 PM

32. True but spending in excessive of what even the most optimistic predictions

are of what you could take in over and over and over sure as hell wont get you out of debt either but it is what it is now and there are going to be alot of unhappy people from the lenders who (stupidly) loaned Greece the money to the Greek people themselves.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #32)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:36 PM

35. As is usual, the people who benefited then are not the people who will pay now.

The whole situation must be terrifically frustrating.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #32)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:48 PM

87. A country is not a household...

households do not make their own currency. Thinking of a country's debt in relation to what, let's say, a home-owner might know will mislead you. This is a lot more complicated than most of us on DU recognize. I firmly believe Greece is in the right here. I think they got screwed on the Austerity deal to begin with. But these are opinions based solely on the blogo-sphere writers i trust, not on any actual knowledge of International Finance.



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Response to druidity33 (Reply #87)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:56 PM

89. Thats debatable but one thing that isn't debatable is the report by the IMF

(though you can of course debate the reports conclusions) and in it they said if the Greeks had stuck to the plan that there would probably not have been a need for any further debt relief but they didnt.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #89)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 05:05 PM

90. And of course

we all believe the IMF and their reports.

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Response to timdog44 (Reply #90)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 05:10 PM

91. Well its either the IMF or the Greek government but considering some of deals they made to conceal

how deep they were in debt with Goldman Sachs..................I kinda lean a teeny little bit more towards believing the IMF.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #91)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 06:09 PM

93. Actually, wasn't the conclusion...

of the report that Greece should be forgiven some/most of the debt? Or that Austerity would never have worked?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-europeans-tried-block-imf-182309098.html;_ylt=AwrTcc.r.ppVxvkAyiEPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--


"Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a blog post the IMF had upheld the Syriza party government's contention for the last five months that debt relief should be at the centre of the negotiations.

"Puzzlingly, all this fine research by the good people at the IMF suddenly evaporates when IMF functionaries coalesce with their ECB and the European Commission colleagues in order to impose upon our government their chosen policies," he wrote.

The IMF argues that Greece's debt burden of nearly 185 percent of gross domestic product can only be made sustainable if the euro zone provides considerable extra financing through a mixture of new loans and a debt restructuring."





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Response to druidity33 (Reply #93)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:33 PM

97. So we are same page this is the report I am referring to

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=43044.0


Summary: At the last review in May 2014, Greece’s public debt was assessed to be getting back on a path toward sustainability, though it remained highly vulnerable to shocks. By late summer 2014, with interest rates having declined further, it appeared that no further debt relief would have been needed under the November 2012 framework, if the program were to have been implemented as agreed. But significant changes in policies since then—not least, lower primary surpluses and a weak reform effort that will weigh on growth and privatization—are leading to substantial new financing needs. Coming on top of the very high existing debt, these new financing needs render the debt dynamics unsustainable. This conclusion holds whether one examines the stock of debt under the November 2012 framework or switches the focus to debt servicing or gross financing needs. To ensure that debt is sustainable with high probability, Greek policies will need to come back on track but also, at a minimum, the maturities of existing European loans will need to be extended significantly while new European financing to meet financing needs over the coming years will need to be provided on similar concessional terms. But if the package of reforms under consideration is weakened further—in particular, through a further lowering of primary surplus targets and even weaker structural reforms—haircuts on debt will become necessary.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #97)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:04 PM

103. probably we disagree

on basic principle. I don't believe the people of a Nation should be held responsible for what their banking institutions do. The banking institutions should be responsible. Did Greece have an insurmountable debt problem before 2008? It's akin to Medieval doctoring, thinking that bleeding a patient helps when feeding them broth, then food would be better.

It really sounds to me like you're saying to the Greek people, "You made your bed... lie in it." I just don't see it that way. This was a swindle. The people will pay for it, like they always do...



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Response to druidity33 (Reply #103)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:54 PM

104. " "You made your bed... lie in it."" Actually I am not.

They of course need to repay the money loaned to them but on the other hand as the IMF has said its 100% impossible for them to do that right now so I think the lenders are going to agree to something, either they take pennies on the dollar or they wait a hell longer for the money maybe as long 60 - 100 years.
That means Greece will need to probably make most if not all of the changes that the IMF recommends this time though so as to avoid a repeat of this in a few years.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #104)

Tue Jul 7, 2015, 05:52 AM

105. I think you're wrong.

"They of course need to repay the money loaned to them"

No. They don't. There should be a jubilee. The people of Greece didn't get a dime of bailout money... why should they owe it to anyone? They certainly don't "need" to make all the changes the IMF recommends. Good luck trying to convince people the Greek people deserve this...



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Response to druidity33 (Reply #105)

Tue Jul 7, 2015, 04:16 PM

106. Really? Were the police going keep doing their job if they didnt get paid?

Military? Fire departments? Road workers? Sewer workers? School teachers? Trash collectors and any other civil service? If they got provided with any of those services still and those who were providing the services (mostly Greek citizens) kept their jobs then ya, they got more than some dimes I would say.
And that does not take into account things like the government continuing to pay pension and other retirement benefits and before you say "oh those already paid for" sure they might have been at one but if they were what did the Greek government (made up of and by Greek citizens) do with the money?

And again, I am not saying or implying that they deserve it because they dont but do most of the lenders really deserve to be told to fuck off and that they will never get a dime especially if they loaned the money in good faith? I mean some sure I can see telling them that if they were counting on or had a vested interest in Greece failing at repaying it, I get telling them to fuck off but all of the lenders??

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #91)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 06:22 PM

94. And now

We are swearing. Goldman Sachs?

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Response to timdog44 (Reply #94)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:28 PM

96. Atleast on the forum on another thread Goldman helped Greece hide the true extent of its debt which

if true is part of the reason why Greece is so much deeper in the hole.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #96)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:46 PM

98. Amazing how easy

All this and how hard all this is. I tend to error on the side of the downtrodden. People make mistakes. Big mistakes. I go to a doctor to find out and get recommendations. I expect no less of a banker. Problem is I find most bankers to be sleaze bags.

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Response to timdog44 (Reply #98)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 08:02 PM

100. I dont feel to much sympathy for the Greek government (notice I said the government) if they

worked with the bank to cook the books and hide their debt on purpose.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #100)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 08:30 PM

101. I have to say

I had not thought of that. But who resigned their post in the middle of a crisis? Could it have been the Greek financial minister? And what are his ties tot he outside world of banking.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #30)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 05:55 PM

92. Something else that might make the Germans more willing

It would help if Varoufakis et al would stop calling the Germans Nazis and terrorists in public interviews. That's one of the few non-violent offenses that can actually land you a jail term in Germany. Merkel's family actually moved to East Germany from the west voluntarily--not the biggest Nazi fans.

I'm sure Merkel had a few choice words for the Greek officials that called her that, but aside from a few confidants and the NSA, no one else heard it.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:44 PM

37. it does if the amount Germany owes Greece is the same as the amount

 

Greece owes.

And it happens that it is roughly the same. If Germany paid Greece its war reparations with interest, Greece would be pretty much back at even-steven.

And for more historical perspective, Greece forgave some loans for Germany's reconstruction and restructured what it didn't totally forgive.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:19 PM

6. Pssssst




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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:19 PM

7. I fixed the link for you, so folks can read the rest

 

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #7)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:25 PM

8. thanks for having my back

what is up with that link anyway?

i did find this other one:
https://t.co/Dc2pPFrHRM


peace to you Electric Monk,
kp

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Response to kpete (Reply #8)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:32 PM

11. It was the @ symbol in the url

 

so I looked it up here http://www.ascii.cl/htmlcodes.htm and replaced it with

& # 64 ;

(without the spaces)

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:26 PM

9. Bingo. And Greece signed off on forgiveness of it ironically.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:26 PM

10. Well that's the case with everything

You can go back and find irony, hypocrisy, or no standing with basically every nation. The bigger it is, the more examples it has. America has no standing to lecture other countries in how to build a nation(slavery, genocide, that whole thing), but we do it anyway, because who's going to stop us? Germany has more economic clout than Greece does, so that's why they can say whatever they want. That would also be why they're still where they are today after never paying any of those debts.

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Response to The2ndWheel (Reply #10)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:28 PM

20. Greece should resubmit the bill to Germany. Germany has defaulted

more than once. They wanted to beat a dead horse and Greece gave them the finger. They should give them a new bill.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 08:54 PM

14. In 1953 Germany went to the Allies about the debt burden they held, and adjustments were

made by cancelling some debt and deferring more, the way I've heard it described by Thom Hartmann in the last 6 months.
The reporter asked Piketty if it was because Germany was not generous. I can think of a few other reasons.

Piketty is brilliant; he and Elizabeth Warren did a joint book talk at the Statehouse in Boston last year that was very interesting. I'd like to see more of Thomas in the US, I think there's a real need to understand his major research effort and economic ideas in this messed up country.

~ Sometimes there is an attitude of do as I say, not as I do. ~

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Response to former9thward (Reply #15)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:20 PM

16. Hrm

You should re-read your first link. It notes that German war debt was reduced from 269 billion gold marks to 112 billion gold marks. That's a debt write-off of well over 50%. It's incomplete to claim Germany paid the war debt without noting the massive reduction in that debt.

While Piketty's problems are pretty well-known, there was quite a bit of disagreement over them during mid-2014, it's curious that you'd use The Economist as a source to attack him. The Economist's stance on questions of political economy is decidedly neo-liberal. Given that Piketty's work is a flawed attack on that line of thinking, it's questionable to use that source.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #16)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:39 PM

22. Some of the write-off was bringing that debt in line with other

Marshall Plan recipients.

Plus it should be pointed out that a lot of Greek debt was written off. People say it wasn't; that's either forgetfulness, willful ignorance, or assuming that everything needed is known. Since this was in recent memory ...

Nah, I assume inattentiveness.

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Response to Igel (Reply #22)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:47 PM

24. It was?

Was it written off or were maturities extended? There's a correct answer to that question. Let's see if you actually know it or if your condescension is completely ignorant.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #16)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:29 PM

33. You know Greek had a debt write off less than 5 years ago.

 

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Response to Travis_0004 (Reply #33)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:38 PM

36. I know

You're aware there's a world of difference between imposing haircuts on private investors and writing off sovereign debt, right? That's the difference between the German write-off and what happened in Greece. The haircuts were in exchange for switching the debt from private to public.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 12:05 AM

43. It should also be noted...

 

That this was not debt willingly taken on by Germany, but imposed upon them. That does make a difference.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #43)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 02:36 AM

58. And it doesn't

Why? The 2010 bailout of Greece, which was a money-laundering operation to prop up failing German and French banks, was also imposed from outside. Hell, at least the Entente could point to Belgium and the Netherlands to make their case about German guilt. What could Merkel and Sarkozy do? Whine that the Greeks willingly took money from stupid bankers?

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #58)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 08:04 AM

64. The Greeks didn't just take the money, they sought it.

 

They had an unsustainable system and sought to finance it with loans. I dont have a ton of sympathy for morons who run up their creidt cards either.

But i dont much sympathize for the foolish banks either, and there is risk and responsibility on both ends. The banks are going to take a hit now, and they should, but the Greeks are not little doe-eyed innocents here. Plenty of blame to spread around, IMO.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #64)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:17 AM

67. Debt requires a borrower and a lender

It is not only up to the borrower to be responsible.

The banks are going to take a hit now

Nope. The banks that gave out bad loans have already been repaid.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #67)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:22 AM

69. Yep, it does. And both are about to take a hit.

 

If the governments were foolish enough to shore up private banks making bad loans then THEY will take the hit.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #69)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:27 AM

70. Greece was required to do so in order to get money from the EU/IMF.

We shouldn't pretend the Greek government had complete autonomy in this situation.

Greece had its own economic issues, but the Troika made them far worse.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #70)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:28 AM

72. I agree. As I said, plenty of blame to go around. nt

 

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #64)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:25 PM

82. Oh?

So, French and German banks make a ton of loans for people to speculate in real estate all over southern Europe. A bubble builds and pops, just like here. Those banks get bailed out by their governments who, instead of doing the quote unquote responsible thing, stick the tab on another country. Remind me again how why I'm supposed to sneer at Greece for that?

There's plenty of reasons to knock Greece, but this system of bailouts isn't one. It's imposed by foreigners for the purpose of breaking open the Greek economy to robber barons. I'll save my tears for the actual Greeks getting screwed and the actual French and Germans staring tax rises in the face because their leaders are stupid and corrupt. This isn't a morality play. It's graft writ large.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #82)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:33 PM

83. There was plenty of graft....

 

But the Greeks weren't innocent victims here. They've had an unsustainable system for a long time, and they attempted to finance it with loans they could not repay. In the end, they do share in the responsibility for this.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #83)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:44 PM

84. There IS plenty of graft

You can harp all day on Greek loans, but the 2010 bailout, which started it all, was a bailout of French and German banks who made bad loans and cried to Merkel and Sarkozy. If France and Germany wanted to bail out their banks, fine. The fact that they stuck Greece with their tab is simply evil. They only compound the evil when they blather on about reforms (which always means make worse) and fiscal responsibility. At the end of the day, this is a crisis of French and German making. They passed the buck on responsibility for banks they failed to regulate and actively coddled.

I haven't claimed Greece is innocent. I'm simply telling you that this crisis is the fault of French and German leadership. Let them be honest for a change and tell their people that Greece is failing because they had to bail out their banker benefactors and were too scared to stick their own taxpayers with the bill. Greece has plenty of problems and is plenty corrupt. They've also been hounded, threatened, had their colleagues in the Eurozone threaten regime change, starved, and blamed for the after-effects of a housing bubble produced by the bank-worshipping frauds in Paris and Berlin (and Washington). Like I said before, you can say a lot about Greece but this isn't the subject to do it.

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Response to MFrohike (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:08 AM

48. Well maybe you can use another source.

And tell us who Germany owes...

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Response to former9thward (Reply #48)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 02:32 AM

57. Heh

I didn't challenge your use of Der Spiegel. Using The Economist for economic matters is no different from citing the Cato Institute. Their viewpoint is notorious.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #15)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:52 PM

39. Germany *claims* it finished paying its war debt

 

"In 1942, the Greek Central Bank was forced by the occupying Nazi regime to loan 476 million Reichsmarks at 0% interest to Nazi Germany. In 1960, Greece accepted 115 million Marks as compensation for Nazi crimes. Nevertheless, past Greek governments have insisted that this was only a down-payment, not complete reparations.[1] In 1990, immediately prior to German reunification, West Germany and East Germany signed the Two Plus Four Agreement with the former Allied countries of the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Since that time, Germany has insisted that all matters concerning World War II, including further reparations to Greece, are closed because Germany officially surrendered to the Allies and to no other parties, including Greece. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_reparations_for_World_War_II

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #39)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:10 AM

49. Greece will claim anything.

Who says it is legitimate?

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Response to former9thward (Reply #49)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:12 AM

62. re-read the last sentence. Germany doesn't refuse to pay because it doesn't owe reparations.

 

It refuses to pay because Germany didn't surrender specifically to Greece.

Are the Greek Claims for War Reparations Justified?

Greece has demanded payment of the war reparations, awarded by the Paris Conference of 1946, as well as of a forced occupation loan, in 1945, 1946, 1947, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1987, and 1995. At the London Conference of 1953, Germany sought and succeeded to defer payments. It was successfully argued that the German government should not have to assume the obligation for the entire debt since it represented only West Germany, and settlement of claims was postponed until Germany would be reunited.

Germany was unified in 1990 with an agreement between Germany, the USSR, Great Britain, the USA and France. On July 23, 1990, the German magazine Der Spiegel wrote that with this Agreement, Germany avoided the nightmare of a peace agreement, which would have brought to the fore demands of reparations from all directions. In other words, with this Agreement Germany sought to circumnavigate article 5, paragraph 2 of the London Agreement.

The demand of Greece for payment has been made continuously from the end of the war up to date, to the generation responsible for the crimes and to their children. It is the Germans that requested and succeeded, with the London Agreement of 1953, to postpone payment of their obligations, and transfer them to their children and grandchildren. These children and grandchildren benefited greatly from the deferral of payments. Germany's affluence today is greatly due to the fact that Greece and other countries accepted to defer payment of reparations, and to give the opportunity to the Germans that committed the crimes to rebuilt and build a better future for their children, while the Greeks had to build on the ruins left behind by the German war machinery after a brutal and completely unprovoked war.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/constantine-tzanos/are-the-greek-claims-for-war-reparations_b_3439287.html

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #39)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:27 AM

71. War "debt" was imposed. That's pretty different.

 

The victorious allies imposed debt on a defeated (and devastated) Germany. That's not quite the same thing as seeking loans to finance a system with huge tax carve-outs for the rich, some of the the most generous retirement ages and pensions in Europe at the time, and a corrupt, inept government that doesn't do a good job of collecting taxes and makes frequent fraudulent payments.

The Greeks did almost nothing to change that until it became apparent that they might get stuck with the bill.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #71)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:46 PM

86. Poor innocent Germany. The Germans were FORCED into invading Europe

 

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:20 PM

17. I've been saying this for the last week or more...

And have been admonished that it just wouldn't be fair to the German people to bail out Greece..

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Response to blackspade (Reply #17)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:51 PM

26. It's not. They were all born after WWII. nt

 

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #26)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 11:59 PM

42. That makes no sense at all.

They all benefited from the German bailout.
Otherwise they would have grown up in a debt ridden third world corner of Europe.
All of the post WWII generations have benefited from both the reconstruction efforts and the debt forgiveness and restructuring.
Greece itself forgave the massive debt and reparations that the Germans owed them.


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Response to blackspade (Reply #42)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 12:07 AM

44. See post #16

 

Having said that, the troika has been unreasonable.

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Response to blackspade (Reply #42)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 12:53 AM

47. This post puts it pretty well.

 

The statute of limitations has run on arguing that Germany got a sweetheart deal from WWII. For one, Greece wasn't carved in half and occupied by a foreign army between 1945 and 1990.

This is all fairly irrelevant, as German voters through their elected representatives decide what to do with Germany's money. They make this call, not anyone else.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #47)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:19 AM

51. As Greeks do, with Greece's money

 

and they spoke definitively.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:22 PM

18. That was an entirely different Germany, many generations ago, with a government not freely elected.

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Response to George II (Reply #18)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:26 PM

19. Yep. If we're going to use history, the Greeks have never atoned for their 5th Century BC atrocities

 

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3287836?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Of course this is all silliness. As you noted, you cannot compare recent IMF funding to 1870's war debt.

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Response to George II (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:14 AM

63. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/constantine-tzanos/are-the-greek-claims-for-war-reparations_b_3439287.

 

Today's Germans cannot be held responsible for reparations.

The demand of Greece for payment has been made continuously from the end of the war up to date, to the generation responsible for the crimes and to their children. It is the Germans that requested and succeeded, with the London Agreement of 1953, to postpone payment of their obligations, and transfer them to their children and grandchildren. These children and grandchildren benefited greatly from the deferral of payments. Germany's affluence today is greatly due to the fact that Greece and other countries accepted to defer payment of reparations, and to give the opportunity to the Germans that committed the crimes to rebuilt and build a better future for their children, while the Greeks had to build on the ruins left behind by the German war machinery after a brutal and completely unprovoked war.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:45 PM

23. Facts schmacts. They're for progressives and socialists. The U.S. right wing knows that.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 09:50 PM

25. No mention of the Treaty of Versailles?

 

Rather misleading to bemoan Prussia collecting reparations in 1870 but skip over the conditions imposed in retaliation 50 years later.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 12:46 AM

46. Polemics are always more convenient to work with than history.

Always have been, always will be. History is written by the victors, not the vanquished.

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Response to DFW (Reply #46)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 09:25 AM

66. Strictly speaking, history is written with the consent of the victors...

... or there would have been, e.g., no German accounts of WWII.

I have always found the "history is written by the victors" line to be wince-worthy.

-- Mal

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:33 AM

52. Cited in the link as to why the their WW2 debt was structured differently/forgiven. n/t

Last edited Mon Jul 6, 2015, 03:45 AM - Edit history (1)

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:07 PM

27. K & R for an excellent interview.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:09 PM

28. Europe faces two stark choices...either federalize or start the break up.

Either come under a European federal republic and assume all debt of the member nations, or begin the reversion to the old national currencies and demote the EU to a free trade zone.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #28)

Sun Jul 5, 2015, 10:31 PM

34. No, they could also agree to extend the loan terms to 40 years or more in order to give Greece

the time its needs to get its spending in order and to repay the debt.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #34)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 08:55 AM

65. Greece is like Argentina. Time to forgive the debt or let them default. It will never be repaid.

Extending terms 40 years is the same as admitting the debt will never be repaid (correct), except that it allows the creditors to balance their books fictitiously for 40 years by claiming the debt as an asset, even though the cupboard is really bare. It is forgiving the debt under another name. Like El Cid did with Raquel and Vidas and the box of sand, except with no intention of ever buying back the box of sand.

It is not the only solution, but it is a great face-saving solution. Greece, Germany and France all know the debt will never be repaid. It's all in how the fiction is handled.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 12:44 AM

45. That's gonna leave a mark! Never heard about this! SHTF time. n/t

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:16 AM

50. Germany has declared bankruptcy 7 times

 

Greece isn't there yet - 6.

Pull out the beam from your eye.

What fascinates me is that this decision by Greece is pissing off all of the right people .

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Response to Aerows (Reply #50)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:50 AM

53. So, Germany is the Donald Trump of nations?

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Response to merrily (Reply #53)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:52 AM

55. Pretty much. n/t

 

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Response to merrily (Reply #53)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 02:01 PM

78. That was pretty good!

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Response to d_legendary1 (Reply #78)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:51 PM

99. Glad you enjoyed it.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:51 AM

54. Thank you for this valuable OP, kpete.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:53 AM

56. I just find myself wondering, if taxpayers can bail out banks to the tune of trillions, then why

isn't Greece also too big to fail?

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 03:00 AM

59. Why are there so many conservatives on DU and apparently in the party?

How did they get there?

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #59)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 10:18 AM

68. The Republican party went crazy

If you're a Republican and not a batshit fundie neo-Confederate, where else are you going to go?

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Response to nxylas (Reply #68)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:06 PM

76. And they all showed up

People are blithely talking about the suffering of a country that they would NEVER have the heart to do here. It's sickening frankly.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #59)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 12:58 PM

75. Do you consider President Obama to be a "conservative"? (nt)

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #75)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:24 PM

81. Obama famously described himself as a "moderate Republican"

"The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican,"


http://thehill.com/policy/finance/272957-obama-says-his-economic-policies-so-mainstream-hed-be-seen-as-moderate-republican-in-1980s

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:00 AM

60. Thanks for posting.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 01:19 PM

77. So the German people are responsible for their past leaders' actions.

 

But the Greeks are not. Hmm...
[hr][font color="blue"][center]You should never stop having childhood dreams.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 02:40 PM

79. Here's one important distinction.

Germany's debts were incurred before the creation of the Eurozone. But since the Eurozone was created Greece doesn't owe money to only Germany although Germany has picked up a disproportionate percentage of the tab. Other countries have a say in this, not just Germany.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:11 PM

80. Germany is ground zero for continuing the policies that hurt the world in the first place.

That's why Europe's economy hasn't recovered as much as the economy here, we didn't go for the steep austerity that the ECB wanted.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:46 PM

85. Didnt Greece decide

to forgive Germany of its debt in 1953 ?

bet they wished they hadn't now :p

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 04:49 PM

88. K&R.....

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 07:21 PM

95. The country that gave us the Nazi's says you haven't done enough to make up for your sins. lol. n/t

 

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Jul 6, 2015, 09:00 PM

102. Yes, but in fairness the EU was adopted to change all that, and the demands now are EU covenants,

rather than German covenants. It is not just Germany that is disturbed - take Finland, for example. They have been more hardline than Germany.

Nor can the French exactly pride themselves on being superb European citizens in history - not after the Napoleonic wars, tp name one incident.

The EU was supposed to be an entirely different way of doing things. There is a reason Rajoy of Spain is saying that the Greeks must cooperate.

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