Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Goodbye Italy

Look at the numbers: $ 2.6 Trillion national debt which amounts to 120 percent of GDP. Nearly 15 percent of that debt comes due within the next twelve months. Yields on 10 year bonds now north of 7 percent. That's Italy.

The Italian political leader Berlusconi has resigned, joining his pal Papandreou. It's over for Italy. All that is left to speculate about is when Italy will recognize the necessity to do a planned workout -- commonly known as a (partial) default.

Before this is over, the leadership in Germany, France, and Spain will also step down, either voluntarily or by action of the voters.

This game has only one end. Either these countries sit down with their bondholders and work out a partial default plan or total chaos will be the end result when they simply can no longer sell debt at all and can't pay their day to day bills.

The unreality of the approach of European leaders is almost comic, except for the tragic implications that their foolishness may lead to.

There is no harm in a partial default. The bondholders already know they are in deep, deep trouble. A partial default only recognizes what markets have already accomplished -- major losses for bondholders. The bondholders are already there -- time for a workout.

Of course, this means that the entitlement systems can no longer function as they have in the past. There are simply no funds available for these systems. No one is willing to lend money to support other people in a grand lifestyle -- not anymore.

The countries of Europe will be forced, after a debt workout, to dismantle the entitlement systems that have undermined the work ethic in Europe and saddled their countries and much of the rest of the world with bonds that cannot be repaid.

Next up on the docket is the US. It's just a matter of time, but it is basically the same scenario.