As The Euro Goes The Way Of The Dodo

Where Does That Leave The Dollar?

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The Eurozone is heading for a crash—anyone saying otherwise is either stoned, works in Brussels, or hasn’t checked the European bond market action lately: All hell is breaking loose there.

dodo

And if, as I have argued here, the Irish Parliament decides not to pass the austerity budget next December 7—that is, decides not to take the European Central Bank bailout—then hell is going to break out in Europe just in time for Christmas: Satan and Santa Claus just might be squaring off on the Rue Belliard before year’s end.

Therefore, the smart money starts thinking about what’s going to happen after the euro-crisis-climax happens.

In other words, what’s going to happen to the dollar, once the euro goes the way of the dodo.

First, we have to understand how we got here, in order to figure out what’s going to happen next.

The Banana Republics of Europe

In the 1970’s and ‘80’s, various Latin American republics foolishly pegged their currency to the U.S. dollar.

It worked like a charm—at first. At first, all these small-fry countries took advantage of the fixed currency exchange rate to get indebted in dollars, and go off on a big-time shopping spree.

It all ended in tears, of course, when the bill came due. Chile, Argentina, Perú, Uruguay, at various times they all had their currency pegged to the dollar. And in each of those situations, once the currency peg became unsustainable, their economies crashed.

This is exactly what the smaller economies of Europe did. As I argued back in April, if you look at the euro as simply a very complex currency peg, then the solvency crisis we are witnessing in Europe was inevitable.

Just like the banana republics in Latin America, the PIIGS of Europe got over-indebted to the point of insolvency.

What Are The Europeans Doing? Trying To Save The Gangrenous Limbs, Instead Of The Patient

When the Latin American economies and their bondholders realized—the hard way—that their dollar-peg was unsustainable, the countries devalued their local currency, and started rebuilding their economies.

The bondholders? That is, the people fool enough to lend to these countries which had pegged their currency to the dollar? If they were lucky, they took a haircut. If they weren’t so lucky, they went home with a big fat bagel—a big fat zero.

What has the ECB been doing, with regards to the failing eurozone economies of Greece and Ireland? They’ve been trying to prop them up with bailouts—but keeping those economies pegged to the Euro.

What are the bailouts? Why, they’re loans. In other words, the Euro-morons are lending money to these shaky economies so that they can pay off their other loans. The Euro-drones in Brussels are not allowing Greece and Ireland to default and restructure: They are instead insisting in bailing them out and imposing austerity measures, without forcing haircuts on the bondholders.

So as the Greek and Irish economies continue to deteriorate, they have an overly strong currency for the weakness of their economy, and they are being forced to pay 100c on the euro, on loans they cannot possibly repay.

The effects are obvious:

Already, the Greek bailout of this past spring—which was supposed to be repaid in 2014 and 2015—is being extended to 2017. And casual observers of the Irish situation realize that, with the bailout costing €85 billion at 5.8% interest, there is no way that Ireland will ever be able to grow its way out of this debt. Greece and Ireland will be debt slaves forever, even as the crushing weight of the euro grinds their economies down.

Meanwhile, the bond markets realize that the bailouts of Greece and Ireland are only kicking the can down the road—the bureaucrats in Brussels are simply giving Greece and Ireland more loans to pay off older loans. So the bond markets are simply leapfrogging ahead to the next crisis-point:

Spain.

As I have argued here, Spain is the battleground where the Eurozone will either survive as a much smaller partnership of core members, or where the Euro will be utterly wrecked—and possibly the European Union along with it.

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About Gonzalo Lira

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