What are your thoughts on Greece? –@jamesketchell
AAAARGH! Greece! I am so sick of this country already. We first even heard of Greece in May 2010. There were some rumblings. They couldn’t pay their debt and everyone wanted to retire by some early age – what? 24 years old they wanted to retire. And then hang out on the beach and get paid by the government.
Then suddenly everyone in the media became experts on the word “contagion.” Somehow these beach-goers were going to spread their vile debt contagion throughout the rest of Europe, then the US, then China and Asia and the entire world would collapse. “But James”, anchors would say to me on TV, “can’t you see how Greece could create a domino effect” Blah blahblah. One more blah: Blah!
Let me tell you some fun facts about Greece:
A) It’s 0.15% of the world’s population.
B) If you go to Greece (or, in my case, if you go to a pool hall in Astoria, NY which is almost entirely populated by Greek people, and many of the waitresses at the Greek diners were too beautiful for me despite the fact that I wrote my phone number down on $2 bills that I gave out as tips) they have three types of backgammon that they play as opposed to our one. No wonder they want to retire so early!
C) The Greek debt divided by the Eurozone GDP is similar to Rhode Island’s debt divided by the US GDP. If Rhode Island defaulted I wouldn’t care either. Rhode Island, also btw, is a beach resort. Just like Greece.
D) Most important: Since the time of Augustus in 20 BC, Greece’s bills have been paid by other countries. All the way up to Ronald Reagan in 1989 who was terrified the Soviet Union would have access to the Mediterranean so kept paying Greece’s bills. So the EU knew this going into the situation that Greece can not live without the kindness of strangers. This has been known for 2030 years!
E) In 1981, the top 5 banks in the US were 263% exposed to South American countries that totally defaulted! Zero! Thank god the word “contagion” had not been invented yet by some media Einstein. What happened next in the US? 20 year Stock market boom!
So okay, what’s our exposure to not only Greece but let’s throw in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Italy. Other than Ireland, all prior leaders of the world.Total exposure in the top 5 US banks? 8% Glory Be! You know what this means? It means I should never be able to turn on the TV and hear the word “Greece” unless I am watching some backgammon tournament on ESPN 3.