April 16, 2012

Spain Debt Explosion and Italy's Democracy Implosion

Spain Debt Explosion

Spanish authorities had to come to reality with the regional debt time bomb. It was known that spanish debt was far bigger than their current official data suggested.
Today's news, via the WSJ, confirm that the Spanish government may take over some regions' finances, in an attempt to shore up investor confidence (just as Ireland did with its banks and we know how well that worked out?)
This leaves Spain's Debt/GDP nearer 135% than its 'official' 68.5%.
The WSJ notes comments from a top government official that "there will soon be new tools to control regional spending" and that they may take over at least one of the country's cash-strapped regions this year.  The simple truth as acknowledged by Rajoy is that Spain has lost the trust of financial markets.
It seems that CDS markets have been ahead of the reality in Spain's true credit situation as it is perhaps a little easier to manipulate a few regional bonds than an entire sovereign CDS market.
The velocity of the most recent move suggests some short-term action by the politicians/ECB soon enough though their failed attempt today suggests the wholesale exit of real money is a hole too big for even the ECB to comfortably fill.

Italy's Democracy Implosion

In the meanwhile Monti's government in Italy is starting a crusade against political parties, it has been now some weeks that media have been bombarding the Italian political parties on the corruption issue.
Admirable effort indeed, pity that all Italian newspapers have discovered the rotten state of Italian affairs only 2 weeks ago when an Independentist party Lega Nord which has been shouting for decades its slogan of "Roman Crooks" has been discovered to run multiple fraud and embezzlement operations effectively stealing taxpayer money to cover audacious financial gambles in exotic places as far as Tanzania.

Before Monti government this story would have not even risen eyebrows today is enough to start calls for a major purge of political parties via erasing the public financing that keep them alive.

Let us be clear all Italian parties are corrupted and rotten and what the Lega did has been done by everyone else as a normal practice.

What Italy is facing though is a big illusion, thinking that all this is happening to clean up the country of corrupt and useless politicians is the perfect ruse for the angered and frustrated Italian citizen crying for the blood of those guilty to bring the country to bankruptcy.

Yes, Italian politicians are guilty of betraying the country for their petty interests, as guilty as the Italian citizens who supported them blindly in exchange for favours and the promise of an undeserved job or a blind eye to their stealing and defrauding.

What though is not highlighted by anyone are the real motives behind all this.

This is an attempt to get rid of political parties completely or weaken them to such a state that they will abandon even the slightest opposition to whatever Monti want to do with the country.
This has been happening already since Berlusconi's majority is still in the Parliament approving laws being passed by Monti.
Nonetheless austerity laws are eroding support to parties fast, and some parties have started to raise their voice against Monti fearing a total loss of public support. The most loud protests, surprise, surprise were coming from the Lega and we know how it ended.
Next step for Monti will be to cut the parties' life support, which is public financing, money given to parties by the state and that allow them to operate, once removed the public financing, political parties will be dead and an already ailing democracy will be buried in favour of a soft dictatorship. 
Deserved end for the politicians, not so much for the younger generations that will pay the price.

April 15, 2012

Daily Photo: Montmartre