Austerity Is for ‘Little People’

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As economic uncertainty continues to take its toll on people in Europe, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Leona Helmsley during her 1989 tax evasion trial. According to housekeeper Elizabeth Baum’s testimony, she had the following exchange with Helmsley shortly after being hired in September 1983: “You must pay a lot of taxes,” said Baum. Helmsley’s ostensible reply? “We don’t pay taxes,” she answered. “Only the little people pay taxes.” What does Helmsley’s quote have to do with the current economic conditions? It parallels the view of economic, financial and political elites whose economic policies are currently playing themselves out in Europe and America. To wit: Austerity is for “little people.”

When one views the latest Greek bailout through this prism, it makes far more sense. The European Union, the transnational entity which orchestrates the parameters by which industrious Germans and French will bailout out profligate Greeks, has no particular concern for the people of the individual countries involved in this drama. In fact, the people subject to the conditions of the bailouts — on both ends of the equation — want no part of the deal. On one end, Greek unions are calling for a 48-hour general strike on June 28 and 29, to protest further austerity policies that must be enacted if the government, facing what amounts to a “take it or else” ultimatum from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, aka the “troika,” is to stave off insolvency. And on the other end, while the French citizenry is taking the bailout in stride, the Germans are furious. On both ends, the citizens of the individual countries involved have virtually no say in the matter.

Why? Because in the world of the transnational elite, countries are an anachronistic construct. This is highlighted by the fact that bailing out the Greeks was an impossibility until two people, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, agreed on a “breakthrough” deal last week. Part of that deal involves the European Union underwriting Greek debt. Another part involves funding by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose largest shareholder at 17 percent is the United States — meaning that American taxpayers will also be on the hook for Greek profligacy, to the tune of billions of dollars.

For whom are these sacrifices being made? Elite bankers, bondholders and bureaucrats. Bondholders who can get more than 25 percent for gambling on Greece’s future, but don’t want to take a “haircut” for doing so, along with bankers who continue to prop up the socialist nation in order to protect the transnational construct of the European Union, in which the “little people” have far less of a say in their own destiny than the EU bureaucrats in Brussels. Thus, it is no accident that the air is thick with talk of a “Lehman-type moment.” As far as the internationalists are concerned, Greece has become “too big to fail.”

Yet some people are recognizing the futility of maintaining the EU regardless of the cost. The German Magazine Der Spiegel is calling for a Plan B, noting that the “currency union chains together economies that are simply incompatible.” This is no longer a viable option because “the crises of a few euro countries are a crisis for the euro, as well as a crisis for the European Union, its governments and its institutions.” Furthermore, “that the countries funding the bailouts are lacking democratic legitimization is now becoming the greatest impediment to joint crisis management” because policy decisions are being made “at the behind-the-scenes meetings of discrete central banks…that are then handed to the [national] parliaments to rubber-stamp, even though hardly any of their members understand them.”

American Spectator’s Roger Scruton elucidates. The architects of the EU were people who “had little else in common apart from a belief in European civilization and a distrust of the nation-state…part of a broad movement among the postwar (WWll) political class.” As time went on, Europe became a continent where “[E]ach increase in central power was to be matched by a diminution of national power,” despite the fact that this is “not a direction that the people of Europe have chosen,” but one that is “moving always toward centralization, top-down control, dictatorship by unelected bureaucrats and judges, cancellation of laws passed by elected parliaments, constitutional treaties framed without any input whatsoever from the people…moving always toward imperial government.”

A blow-back against such centralization is already occurring. Political parties such as the True Finns, who bitterly oppose bailouts, won a fifth of the votes in that country’s last election in April. “This was a referendum on EU policy,” said Timo Soini, the True Finns leader, following his party’s electoral gains. “We will keep our money and our right to make our own decisions.” Recent polls show French president Nicolas Sarkozy trailing ultra-nationalist Marine Le Pen, and Socialists in Spain’s last election took a drubbing directly related to that country’s need to impose Greek-like austerity measures on a populace beset by 22 percent unemployment.

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  • Robert A. Hall

    I will link to this piece from my Old Jarhead blog. In WWII Budapest, it is reported that the Nazis (doubtless to the approbation of their Islamic admirers) would line up Jews who were chained together on a bridge over the Danube. They would shoot the fortunate one on the end, who would fall into the river, dragging the others to their drowning deaths one by one. We are chained to the other developed economies. If Greece goes into the abyss, it will eventually drag us in as well. And I do not see what we can do about it, because politically, Greece is incapable of helping itself. Not that we are doing so well at that.

    Robert A. Hall
    Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
    (All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans)

    • palidin48

      Mr. Hall: I agree that a chain reaction of failed economies is a probability. I believe it will not only devastate the developed world, but the devastation will be world wide. I could not begin to guess what the outcome will be, But I believe that the international movers and shakers are best left out of the re-building process that will take some time and that recovery at the micro level will tend to guard against enslavement on a global basis.
      The process we are about to begin is the result of the natural tension that exists between the collectivists and the individualists. we are looking to see what happens when an irresistible force collides with an immovable object.

  • Fred Dawes

    Thank you Ahlert, the system wants us all to think that we the world people are totally at fault for the banking system and trillions of dollars that have disappeared into some shadowy place on mars, but the fact is our boys inside the banking system planned right down to the total collapse of our America system of banking and the ideals of our once great government to take it out with the trash and by doing so can take down all Americans.
    We have worked for in over 100 years to make our nation great but in the last 60 years the system has taken us down a road of total but slow dismantling but now it has moved up the date of that death of a great people and a system of right and wrong checks.

    The Greeks are being used as a testbed country, listen to what is being said about the greek people and that will be siad About the American people soon as being a low life bellyacher's who only think of themselves and not the nation it is outrageous to listen to government monkeys and bankers who have rap-off trillions in the name of BS AND HAVE STARTED Down the road to mass dismantling of nation states and the end game is mass murder of billions of people.