America expended tens of thousands of lives and immeasurable national treasure, including the Marshall Plan, during and after World War II to liberate and rebuild Europe. The United States also defended Europe throughout the Cold War while they pinched their defense budgets and capabilities in favor of massive social expenditures. If you are an American taxpayer, which means you are busy working to pay your payroll and income taxes, you may not be paying too much attention to this. On the other hand, the miscreant people of Greece want somebody else to pay for their excessive spending and resulting excessive debt accumulation. And they have a secrete route to your pocket book. It is called the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF, also known as the “Fund,” was conceived at a United Nations conference convened in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944. The 44 governments represented at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation that would avoid a repetition of the vicious circle of competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with one other.
Now, your first question is probably, what does Greece’s excessive spending problems have to do with “exchange rates and international payments?” The answer is nothing. Greece is one the European Unions’ 27 member nations and one of 17 EU nations which have adopted the Euro. And, there are other nations in the EU besides Greece that have similarly disastrous fiscal policies, including Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. These and other EU nations have far too willingly used socialist economic policies that have resulted in massive government spending and debts.
As you can see from this chart, Europe faces a real and substantial debt crisis. The data is sorted by the amount of public debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. As a measuring stick, you should note that for the period ending FY 9/30/08, over 232 years since America’s founding, our debt as percentage of GDP was around 40%. Unfortunately for America, the Obama Administration has outrageously increased the public debt to $9.748 trillion in less than 3 fiscal years. This is a whopping $3.930 trillion increase, or a 68% increase in three years. And so today, the debt to GDP ratio is about 65%.
Since World War II, many of the EU members have accumulated so much debt that it is questionable if their economies are viable. As we noted above, Greece’s total debt is over 150% of GDP. For perspective, if the US publicly held debt (currently around $9.748 trillion) was 150% of GDP (currently around $14.343 trillion) our public debt would amount to $21.5145 trillion. If long term interest rates rose to 7%, it would take about $1.50 trillion of our tax revenue just to pay the annual interest expense. And this would be about 50% of 2008 federal revenue.
If more than one of these misbehaving nations fails simultaneously, the burden of subsidizing their indebtedness falls upon the fewer remaining well-behaved EU nations. And then more and more Germans will start asking themselves why they should assume the burden of defaulters like Greece.
Suppose Italy starts to wobble and needs a bailout? How much of their debt could Germany and/or France pick-up to save to save them? For Germany to increase its debt to 100% of GDP, it would require an increase of $557 billion. For France, it would require $473 billion. So, if France and Germany are the strongest EU nations, together they could absorb another $1.030 trillion of debt of defaulters at which point they would both have public debt to GDP rations of 100%. Why should they do this? What EU nation wants to make itself like Greece so the Greeks can survive their own mistakes? If Germany and France won’t go to the wall, maybe their collective capacity is only $500 billion. But, if Germany and France won’t step up, how are the liberal elites of Europe going to hold the Euro together? Uncertainty breeds more uncertainty. And just the possibility of defaults could result in a falling Euro.
If the Euro depreciates in value because of multiple defaults, one of liberalisms’ greatest achievements, the joining of 17 sovereign and independent nations into the European Economic Community with its single currency, the Euro, could become subject to its own self-destruction. Within this body, each member state controls its own individual government but local democracy is increasingly being supplanted by the EU government and its economic policies. There is very little responsiveness to the citizens of the individual member states. In a sense, these nations created and imposed upon themselves their own federal government. And here again, we see that liberalism’s primary attack on representative government is excessive deficit spending.
Therefore, this is not just about Greece. Now everything is about saving the Euro currency from collapsing. And, liberalism must control that artificially created monetary union and supra-nation state, the European Economic Community, from spinning out of control. Otherwise, they take a huge step backward from their goal of increasingly centralized international control over individual nations.
So, how does the International Monetary Fund get involved in all of this?
Collapse of the U.S. Economy is Drawing Near