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"I'll Gladly salary You Tuesday because that a Hamburger Today"

"I'll Gladly salary You Tuesday for a Hamburger Today"

By Austin Bay

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- December 27, 2012


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As 2012 ends, the Greek debt crisis continues. In December, the Greek government started restructuring its debt for the second time this year.

You are watching: Gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today

"Restructuring" may sound clean and also clinical. It isn"t. Greece couldn"t fulfill its blame payment requirements, for this reason its lenders agreed come a brand-new repayment schedule.


Occasionally, the ax "selective default" shows up when restructuring occurs. Finance ministers and treasury secretaries will certainly tell girlfriend the ax is simply credit rating company lingo, which wall surface Street understands, so don"t permit it fear you. In fact, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said specifically that best after Greece started restructuring. "The word selective default scares without reason. That is not a real event; the is not default."

But if girlfriend live on key Street, and also work on key Street, and also pay receipt on key Street, and also know the one to add one equals two on main Street, and also ultimately the simple math is the same on wall surface Street and in Athens, as well, you might not re-superstructure the finance minister"s i was sure assurance. Selective default method some lenders get paid now, rather later and other others still later. Maybe. For the creditor at the end of the line, and also that"s commonly those who absence the political clout to get paid first, every they"ve acquired is a promise.

J. Wellington Wimpy -- the gluttonous, globular straight male who shows up in old Popeye the sailor cartoons -- is a character from another entertainment era, the 1930s. The decade, however, has actually resonance because that 21st century Greece, the Eurozone and also every other nation currently involved in racking up debt: The 1930s to be the worst year of the great Depression. Wimpy loves hamburgers, one amour the leads come his signature line, "I"ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

The line, a diner"s hustle, neatly captures the risk of loan to any individual or nationwide entity that spends lend money to pay for immediate needs. Wimpy eats his burgess today. Climate comes Tuesday, goodness, he"s hungry again. "Shall we," a not-so-theoretical 21st century Wimpy asks, for this reason sincerely, "restructure the debt? Until next Tuesday? and I"ll should eat, in order come survive, so that I deserve to pay you. For this reason ..."

Greece isn"t a cartoon; it"s a tragedy. The people of Greece have suffered, are suffering and, unfortunately, will continue to suffer. Their suffering can get much worse.

Extremist politics leaders prey on understandable public anger. Violent protests afflict Greek cities. Terrorist threats, make in the name of economic justice and also national identity, are daily fare. Old-line communists, still active in Greek job unions, have made political gains. Greece currently sports its very own neo-Nazi party. Greek Nazis advocate socialist financial populism and also Greek ultra-nationalism -- in various other words, nationwide socialism. The Nazis took strength in Depression-ridden Germany. Unlike Wimpy, lock weren"t conning diners because that hamburger money.

The Greek people, however, likewise bear the major burden of duty for their ongoing tragedy. Greek governments, repeatedly, cooking the publications when they report their yearly deficits to fellow Eurozone members. Greek federal governments repeatedly violated fiscal agreements and also borrowed money they could not repay. In other words, they level lied. Greek voters chosen the governments and, prefer Wimpy, took pleasure in the prompt benefits. Straightforward math, and also time, has actually exposed the lies together the hot air they were.

Main Street knows the truth: Greek debt is unsustainable. Based on gross domestic product, resources and work ethic, America isn"t together deeply in debt as Greece. However, America"s very own structural blame is the best strategic danger the U.S. Faces. The is already eroding America"s army power. Soft power advocates had far better pay attention. The debt is likewise eroding America"s economic, diplomatic and social power come influence and persuade.

Last week, Standard and Poor"s credit experts raised Greece"s debt rating come a B-minus. S&P concluded the the latest restructuring effort, merged with an ext budget cut (austerity) and the come of around $49 exchange rate euros in credit, meant that Greece was no much longer in "selective default." At least for a while.

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The Greek government touted the ratings rise as one encouraging sign. And it is -- at least, until following Tuesday.