I like Greeks well enough. Zorba was cool, and in my youth I thought it would be fun to meet Melina. I've even forgiven them for inventing the Olympics which, over a few thousand years, evolved into an unseemly marketing device that gave Mitt Romney cause to believe he is qualified to administer all the affairs of the United States of America.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Everything below is boring economics and politics. So if you're in the mood for nothing but cheap thrills and light porn this morning, just click the Melina link. An alternative filthy picture is noted for the pleasure of female readers.)
I don't think, though, that its a very good idea to lend money to Greek persons.
The report is just one of the latest in the Hanna-Barbera epic which narrates the comic effort of Greek politicians, unions, corrupt businesses, and public-sector idlers to pretend they know what the (eff) they're doing.
It makes the point that people -- including giant banks which should have known better -- loaned too much money to Athens politicians for the purpose of buying voting blocks across the land, from the Mediterranean Isles to the Albanian border.
The lenders knew the loans were somewhat risky, but, hey, it's a sovereign nation, right? So they charged a high interest rate and forked over.
A few years went by and, ooops, the Greeks finally admitted that they could not pay even the interest, not to mention the zero chance of ever retiring the actual loans.
So now the lending sharks are humping to renegotiate the loans as a lower interest rate -- about 4 per cent -- in hopes that, for a little while, they have something plausible to show their gullible share holders and bank examiners. Something other than the actual collateral -- a load of empty ouzo bottles and a first lien on next year's grape leaves.
Now, this is an American blog, written from an American perspective, largely for Americans, so why does it give a rat's pubie about the elected and appointed thugs of Athens and the financiers they're trying to hornswaggle.
Why, for educational purposes, of course. Our own president and nearly all satraps in the Congress may read about it and lay down their golf clubs long enough to go, "hmmmmm, wonder how much lower our credit rating has to go before we have to ask the ECB and the IMF for permission to pay our guys in the 82nd Airborne?
I probably wouldn't have bothered with Greece this morning if I hadn't noticed Ben's press release promising that American money would continue to be rent-free for at least three more years. And that he had his finger on the trigger to sell more gummint bonds, backed again by the solemn word of the gummint plus, this time, a load of empty ouzo bottles and a lien on next year's grape leaves.