While the US markets are rockin’ and rollin’, I wanted to follow up a small NYTimes piece that might have slipped by unnoticed: Populist Advance in Finland Could Endanger Bailouts.

This seems to be the pattern. In nations where bankers and their creditors were allowed to go belly up, the populace seems to be more satisfied with the outcome, and the politicians are mostly managing to retain their jobs. Tiny Iceland seems to be the only country that got this right.

Ireland went the wrong way, but now seem to be having second thoughts. The UK went the wrong way, and then imposed austerity. The US not only went the wrong way, they made Congress a wholly owned subsidiary of the banking sector.

Now comes more signs that some of the Europeans are having further doubts: With 19% of the vote, the True Finn Party — highly skeptical of bailouts for countries like Greece, Ireland and, most pertinently, Portugal — are now odds-on favorites to become coalition partners:

“The True Finns ran on a platform that was hostile to the recent financial bailouts of Ireland, Greece and the agreement reached this month to aid Portugal. Those bailouts were meant to put an end to a sovereign debt crisis that has threatened the future of the single currency zone and raised questions about whether the disparate economies in Europe could ever be successfully integrated . . . their election gains came in the wake of advances by populist parties on the right across the European Union, including in the Netherlands, France and Sweden.”

Europeans are slowly figuring out they got royally screwed by bankers. Assuming bank debt, taking responsibility for bankers’ recklessness — is simply not in the public’s interest. I wonder when Americans will reach the same conclusion . . .


Forget Nationalizing: An Irish Renege on Bailouts? (March 31, 2011)

Advice to Irish: Prepackaged Bankruptcy for Banks (April 4, 2011)

Populist Advance in Finland Could Endanger Bailouts
NYT, April 18 2011

After the Bailouts, Cracks Are Showing
Richard Barley
WSJ, APRIL 19, 2011 

Icelanders Reject Depositors Bill, Forcing Year-Long Fight
Omar R. Valdimarsson
Business Week April 11, 2011

Category: Bailouts, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

31 Responses to “European Pushback Against Bailouts”

  1. Terry says:

    All our politicians–right, left, up the middle; incumbents and wannabes–are OWNED (or at least rented for a very long time) by the financial sector because of campaign financing laws. It really doesn’t matter who one votes for, they’re all profiting from their financial links and won’t change their ways.

  2. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    We, as individuals, probably have reached the same conclusion — the difference being that we foolishly embraced corporatism and allowed the Rule of Law to fall by the wayside. Corporatism IS our system.

  3. franklin411 says:

    I don’t think the bankers really “own” American politics. Sure, they’re extremely important, but only because there’s a dearth of political reason in the American voting public. Why?

    Simple. Race.

    Here in America, anyone who wants to subvert the political process can always point to some “out” group and say “aha! That’s why we have problems! Because of that guy!” Then the 1/3 of the population votes against their own self interest because they’re blinded by fear/hatred/stupidity.

    The groups targeted change from decade to decade: The Irish, ethnic Slavs, Jews, Catholics, Asians, Hispanics…but the process always stays the same.

    It will be interesting to see what happens once *everyone* becomes a minority. Will the same old tricks work?

  4. phasor says:

    Americans have reached the same conclusion, but there exist no “public interest” in American thinking only private interests. Thus claiming banker’s recklessness is not in the public interest is irrelevant and ignores the fact that it is in someone’s private interest.

  5. rktbrkr says:

    Up til now it’s been the peripheral borrowers who have been objecting to the terms, now a peripheral lender is objecting. All sacrificing to benefit the bankers in the core.

    The Eurozone is like a B36 bomber (which had 6 rear facing props and 4 front mounted jets) every member is straining to go in different directions and different speeds, some forward and some in reverse, when one rips away it’s time to break out the chutes (Swiss Franks, Dollars, silver & gold, the proverbial golden parachute LOL)


  6. rktbrkr says:

    confidence is a “fragile flower that can fade under the stress of international events”…the Irish have a way with words (even if their financial sense is flawed)

    FINANCE MINISTER Michael Noonan says that less cash is being withdrawn from the ‘pillar’ banks – AIB, EBS and Bank of Ireland – since last Thursday’s stress tests reports RTE.
    The Minister has told the Dail that there has been a significant reduction the the amount of deposits being withdrawn since last week’s announcement and that the Government has succeeded in restoring confidence in the country’s banking system, but that this confidence is a “fragile flower that can fade under the stress of international events”. The news comes as shares in Bank of Ireland and AIB continue to rally.

    The Irish gove has been printing Euros to cover the holes in the banks balance sheets, the news article said they “notified” the Euro zone, didn’t ask permission – I assume the same options are available to all european soverigns

  7. machinehead says:

    ‘Europeans are slowly figuring out they got royally screwed by bankers. I wonder when Americans will reach the same conclusion . . .’

    Probably when the bankster cartel (a/k/a the Federal Reserve) has succeeded in driving gold to $2,000/oz and gasoline to $8/gallon, while continuing to provide ZERO PERCENT FREE MONEY to banksters.

    Indict Bernanke for his financial crimes. Compared to Bernanke’s extortion and counterfeiting gang, Charles Ponzi was a sweet boy scout who helped old ladies across the street.

  8. carleric says:

    Kudos to the Icelanders and kudos also to the Finns who voted for the True Finn party…why save all the banks? If we make stupid investment decisions where is our bailout? Let them fail and stop all this crapola about systemic failure….that is only a cover to protect money interests by the Fed, the Adminitration and Congress.

  9. wally says:

    As others said – we have reached that conclusion… but do not have the normal political means available to do much about it. (Hence the move to the wacko extreme in many cases… because there is no rational option). Our country has been taxed by the bailouts, but we were not represented at the table.

  10. Jim Greeen says:

    “..I wonder when Americans will reach the same conclusion . . .” In the land of sheep I would be prepared to wait a long, long time!!!

  11. DL says:

    The shock to me has always been why the average J6P in Germany is so willing to bail out Greece and Portugal.

  12. DeDude says:

    “The Irish gove has been printing Euros to cover the holes in the banks balance sheets, the news article said they “notified” the Euro zone, didn’t ask permission – I assume the same options are available to all european soverigns”

    That may be the nuclear option for the weak countries. If the strong countries do not pay for a workable bailout on the debt side then they get to pay for it in a different way (when the weak countries begin printing euros to pay the debt). Still a lot of fun ahead as the Finish tea-bagger equivalents begin to practice their ignorance.

  13. Mike in Nola says:

    We will have to look to Europe for our liberation. Ironically, they, with all their restrictions on campaign financing and speech, are much closer to true democracy than we are. A revolt against the bankster-imposed austerity measures is much more likely to start there than here. Once it starts, the collapse will spread and I hope sweep the corporate whores, or at least enough of them, from power.

    F411: that’s really a non-starter explanation. The reality is that news outlets are overwhelming controlled by big business. Other than the few small islands on MSNBC or Spitzer on CNN where do you see anything but airheads or propagandists.
    I turned the TV on this morning for the first time in a week (barring things like South Park) and there was the head of Citizens for Affordable Energy aka the API yapping away on CNBC like he represented someone other than big oil. 2008 redux. It’s all drill baby drill to solve high oil prices. Nothing about the effect of speculation caused by Bernanke’s policies or the fact that the Saudi’s have cut production because there’s too much oil around: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42633507/ns/business-oil_and_energy/

  14. Mario B says:

    Maybe I’m being unrealistic here but I feel that a lot of Americans have realized that the general population got screwed by the banks. The problem is that a decent percentage of Americans are more concerned with the latest fashion trend and which celebrity did what to care. To make matters worse, our politicians are more concerned with getting re-elected than doing the right thing for our Country’s future.

    I really shouldn’t rant/complain because I have no clue what to propose as an overall solution to fix our system.

  15. Robespierre says:

    “… I wonder when Americans will reach the same conclusion .”

    Never, Americans are political neophytes by upbringing (by design). Never talk politics or religion mantra has been ingrained into the American brain for decades now to ensure a lemming population. Europeans are politically active and are not afraid to take the streets to show their displeasure. Their politicians are as bought as ours by the financial sector. The difference is that they actually fear the masses…

  16. franklin411 says:

    Yes, but business has always exerted a great deal of control over the press. It was true in the 1930s too–many newspapers were run by big business cartels, and they ravaged the New Deal. Luckily, the American people chose to see through the smoke and mirrors, and they embraced Roosevelt’s reform agenda en masse in 1934 and 1936 (just about everyone was anti-Hoover in 1932).

    There’s always going to be some group controlling information, and there’s always going to be an alternate means of obtaining information. They own TV, but we have the internet. So it’s really not a question of access to quality information, but rather a question of whether people choose to be idiots. =)

  17. KJ Foehr says:

    @ Mario B

    “I have no clue what to propose as an overall solution to fix our system.”

    How about something like this for starters,

    Limit election campaigns to 90 days.

    Limit political campaign contributions to $100 per person per election cycle. Limiting contributions to a small amount would prevent the wealthy from having more influence over candidates than the middle class and poor.

    Limit campaign contributions to only citizens, no corporations or any other entities. Only citizens can vote in elections; therefore, it makes sense to me that only citizens should be allowed to contribute to campaigns. If this is ever to be truly a government of, by, and for the people, then only people should be allowed to be involved in the election process. Corporations should be prohibited from involvement in campaigns at any level.

    Limit expenditures by any organization (such as PACs) for the purpose of influencing a federal election to $10,000 or $1,000 or maybe even zero, to limit the influence of special interest groups in the election process. Also, foreign based entities should not be allowed to make any expenditures within the US for the purpose of influencing a federal election.

    There are many things that can be improved in our country, but campaign reform would be an excellent first step. We often hear politicians and others talk about “taking our country back”. But imo, unless we get the big money out of poilitcs, we, the people, will never get it back.

  18. realgm says:

    I think a lot of people know they are being royal screwed by the banks and the banksters, but what can they do really?

    The big corporations got the money to lobby for laws in their favors, for policies that would benefit them, and they have big H&R block to help them escape from taxes.

    The little guy can only complain about it, but not much else. The election doesn’t matter as both parties are corrupted. It’s a matter of picking among a bunch of rotten apples and find one that is the best. Most politicians are sleeping with big corporations and the rare a few that concern about the general Americans are being pushed aside.

    Americans are not at a point where they don’t have enough food to force them to get out on the street and start a revolution. It would probably takes many more years before the American finally stand up against the super riches and the corporations. At the mean time, average Joe are still getting screwed left and right with no light ahead in the long long tunnel.

  19. super_trooper says:

    You’re missing several pieces. The Finish election is consistent with the last few decades of European Parlament elections in the nordic countries. The votes for EP rarely reflect the national parliamentary elections as the EP has very little power in the EU. These are fringe elections. (i) Turn out is poor. (ii) Just look at the closest EU member to Finland, Sweden (2009 election). The major party did poorly and unique parties that have no representation in the country get many votes, including (for Sweden 2009 election), June list and Pirate Party! Yes, that’s right Pirate party. Expect the “True Finn Party” to be gone in 4-8 years.

  20. Mike in Nola says:

    KJ Foehr:

    While I agree with your solutions, they would probably require constitutional amendments from my quick take on the Supreme Court decision on corporate contributions. Either that, or get the Supreme Court packed with people who actually have an idea that the founding fathers weren’t particularly fond of corporations and didn’t intend for them to rule the country. That may be the only reason to vote for Obama next time. Of course that has to be accompanied by making a novena to pray for Alito and Robert have strokes. Thomas is too stupid to be dangerous if he’s not in the majority.

  21. KJ Foehr says:

    @ Mike in Nola

    “…they would probably require constitutional amendments from my quick take on the Supreme Court decision on corporate contributions.”

    Among the many sad things that have eroded the political power of the people, that Supreme Court ruling is probably the saddest in recent years. (That and the creation of moral hazard by socializing the losses of TBTF entities and then allowing them to grow ever bigger.)

    I don’t know if constitutional amendments would be required, but imo, whatever it takes is what we should do. The extremists on the right say if we don’t cut the deficit and debt now, we will lose the country. I believe we have already lost it or very nearly so, and it is not tyranny by the government that threatens the American dream. It is tyranny by corporations as they tighten their control of government and thus neutralize our best defense against their power over us.

    What really needs to be cut now is the power and influence of big corporations. We still have the power of the ballot. They haven’t taken that away from us yet, but they are doing an increasingly good job of controlling both the minds of voters and the actions of elected officials, which has the same effect as taking away our voting power. We need to use this power soon before they usurp it completely.

  22. econimonium says:

    “…that has to be accompanied by making a novena to pray for Alito and Robert have strokes. Thomas is too stupid to be dangerous if he’s not in the majority.’

    Thank you Mike in Nola for making me spit out my tea! How an intellectual microweight like him ever made it to the court is a testament only to what you get when you allow the Right to nominate anyone for anything. I don’t know what’s going to happen but the next few years are going to be super-interesting for the Republicans.

  23. Lugnut says:

    The ones that initially reached that conclusion were called Tea Partiers. Then they were co-opted by larger monied interests, Republican neo-cons looking to steal a populist voting block, and marginalized by liberals and the snarkier members of the MSM as Tea Baggers. Mission Accomplished.

    Hey its Wednesday, American Idol is on tonite!

    Otherwise, what machinehead says rings somewhat true to me.

    “Probably when the bankster cartel (a/k/a the Federal Reserve) has succeeded in driving gold to $2,000/oz and gasoline to $8/gallon, while continuing to provide ZERO PERCENT FREE MONEY to banksters.”

  24. formerlawyer says:


    The Germans have an export based economy – how are the Greeks and Portugese supposed to pay for German goods and services?

  25. DeDude says:


    I agree they were co-opted – and now tea party rallies are 1/10′th the size they used to be. Those 9 out of 10 staying home appears to be very disappointed. The new GOP candidates that sounded so great at the pre-election rallies turned out to be just standard corporate slave neo-cons after they made it into congress. What will those people do at the next election?

  26. Lugnut says:

    Probably continue to stay home. Both parties have abandoned the interests of J6Pk, and there is no viable third party.

  27. Christopher says:

    “I wonder when Americans will reach the same conclusion . . .”

    Maybe when NASCAR is shutdown due to $10/gal fuel?
    Or perhaps when McDonald’s is forced to raise the price of a McDouble Cheeseburger?

    Regardless….it will quite likely be far far too late to matter.

  28. Mike in Nola says:

    Anyone seen the original Rollerball with James Caan? Looks prophetic these days.

    Of course, on Netflix only available on DVD like almost everything I’m interested in. And they wonder why Bit Torrent is so popular.

  29. CitizenWhy says:

    Real US Civics: How the Federal Government is Structured

    1. Legislative Branch: There are three Houses of Congress: the House of Corporate Lobbyists and the other two. The House of Corporate Lobbyists writes the laws. It’s not entirely clear what the other two Houses do.

    2. There are two Executive Branches: the Goldman Sachs/US Treasury/Federal Reserve branch and the other branch. The Goldman etc. branch makes policy, the other one makes war.

    3. There are two Judicial Branches: The Corporate Advancement Branch, which includes the Supreme Court, and the Criminal Branch. The Criminal Branch exists to put street criminals in prison, especially if they are members of minority groups. The Criminal Branch also exists to ensure that no Wall Street Executive, or any other prominent financial executive, gets investigated or prosecuted.

  30. CitizenWhy says:

    Dear @formerlawyer:

    The German export market is shifting to Asia. China is now its biggest buyer, buying Germany’s advanced engineering industrial manufacturing equipment. Of the Chinese will at some point copy the technology and stop buying it.

  31. lalaland says:

    Hard to blame the system when barely any Americans even bother to vote:

    2008 = 56.8% (highest since 1968)

    2006 = 37.1%

    We could vote in more informed and intelligent representation after all (ever watch House speeches on Cspan? we aren’t even close to capacity there).