Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Greek Tragedy or Greek Farce?

Yes, we say no!  No, we mean Yes!
So Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou first comes hat-in-hand to the European Union, lies like the sidewalk to get another bailout tranche, and then throws the very fate of his rescuers to the whims of the Athenian mobs by promising them a referendum on whether to "accept" the conditions upon which the EU Greek bailout was predicated.  (It has since morphed into a referendum on staying in the EU).  Take the money and run, as the song goes. Needless to say, Merkozy was totally caught off-guard, and must be tearing their hair out.  (As was Pappy's own finance minister who was admitted to hospital with abdominal pain within hours of the announcement.)  Of course the reason for G-Pap's duplicity is easy to conjure up: he'd like to be able to walk down the street to buy his next bottle of Retsina without a platoon of bodyguards protecting him from his own countrymen.  This is a massive populist gamble on Georgios' part - a gamble that could bring down the whole eurozone by triggering defaults on sovereign debt and igniting civil unrest throughout the continent.  You can't blame him, though, for trying to quell domestic violence by polling the average Greek on his way out.  And if you're headed for decades of austerity, why have to put up with those northern know-it-alls anyway?  It's just that a little warning would've been appreciated by everyone.  Merkel and Sarkozy are pissed (to say the least) that Europe is once again held hostage by a Papendreou (G-Pap's father taught him well).  Referendums are funny things though, and much depends on the phrasing of the question.  Merkozy's hoping Pappy can make "no" sound like "yes".  And given the Greek propensity for lying (that's the way they got into the EU in the first place), maybe he can.

The Good News:  The VIX is gyrating overtime!