Congress blocks indiscriminate IMF aid for Europe
Oops – the USA have changed their mind about helping to pay for the Greece bailout. Apparently, someone in Congress has grown a brain and taken the money off the table. Reason being – the USA can’t afford it! No! Shock! Horror!
Europe may have to clean up its own mess after all. The US Senate has voted 94:0 to block use of taxpayers’ money for IMF rescues that make no economic sense or bail-outs for countries like Greece that far are beyond the point of no return.
“This amendment will help prevent American taxpayer dollars from underwriting dysfunctional governments abroad,” said Texas Senator John Cornyn, the chief sponsor. “American taxpayers have seen more bailouts than they can stomach, and the last thing they should have to worry about are their hard-earned tax dollars being used to rescue a foreign government. Greece is not by any stretch of the imagination too big to fail.”
Co-sponsor David Vitter from Louisiana said America had run out of money. “Our country already owes trillions of dollars in debt. We simply can’t afford to take on other countries’ debt in addition to our own.”
It is unclear where this leaves the EU’s $1 trillion “shock and uh” package. Urlich Leuchtmann from Commerzbank said the IMF share of $320bn was the only genuine money on the table, the rest being largely euro smoke and mirrors, or plain bluff.
The measure is an amendment to the US financial overhaul law. Backed by both parties, it can hardly be ignored by the Obama administration whatever Tim Geithner may or may not want to do. The bill has to go to Conference for reconciliation with the House, but the point is made.
It instructs the US representative at the IMF to determine whether a country with a public debt above 100 per cent of GDP can be expected to repay IMF loans. If this cannot be certified, the US must oppose the rescue package.
This is obviously aimed at Greece, which will have a debt of 130 per cent by the end of this year. The debt will rise to 150 per cent by the end of its the rescue/death package, leaving Greece in a worse position than before.
The US is the IMF’s biggest shareholder and can veto aid packages, though it has never done so because the Fund has never been so stupid as to defy the world’s dominant financial and strategic power.
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