Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia One of the benefits of living in the emerging world is the increased personal freedoms. Here in Malaysia, non-Muslims are not subjected to the same standards as Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, as they would be in the Middle East. And in all of the time I have spent here, I have yet to see the police harassing someone or handing out silly traffic tickets. That said, the personal freedoms of living in the emerging world also means the police aren’t going to get involved in some neighborhood dispute over which side of the fence someone’s flowers are planted on. If you want to be left alone, living in the United States or other western countries is the exact opposite thing you want to do. I know a guy who got into a scuffle with the police at a mall after a simple personality conflict with the girls working there. Another friend I know recently sent me photos from London with CCTV signs next to posters for a play based on 1984. The level of interference into everyday liberties in the west is crazy. However, we frequently speak about how the everyday interference into financial liberties is even worse. For example, US persons who filed their FBAR forms, due June 30, are now getting confirmations from the Financial Crimes Task Force letting them know their filings were accepted. Imagine: a US citizen living overseas with a foreign bank account to pay the mortgage has to report his “offshore” bank accounts to a government agency that investigates terrorists. If you don’t like it, you get thrown in jail, the same way you get rounded up if you don’t like having your every move surveilled. The latest developments from Greece, however, show just how far part of the population will go to deprive you of your financial liberties. Let’s talk about the Greek debt. A new campaign of crowdfunding website Indiegogo promises “CrowdFunding a bailout fund for Greece. By the people, for the people.” The aggressive and laughable campaign seeks to raise 1.6 billion euros to help the Greeks pay off their loans and avoid default. It is an especially rich idea considering that Greece has imposed capital controls and forced its people to scrounge around just to find an ATM that will let them withdraw 60 euros per day. Pensioners are lining up for hours to claim 10% of what they used to earn in government checks. Welcome to life in a bankrupt country. The people who want to take your money make it sound so easy… just like the guy running the campaign to ask YOU to bail out the irresponsible Greek government.
All this dithering over Greece is getting boring. European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people of not. Why don’t we the people just sort it instead? The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy.
Yep, “easy”. If only every man, woman, and child each reach into their piggybanks and send three euros to his campaign, the entire Greek debacle will be over. That is, until the Greek government gets back to its spendthrift ways and racks up more debt to pay off. Some people are great at spending everyone else’s money and never imagining they’ll have to pay it back. I’ve spoken about this concept using an analogy to Paris Hilton, in which a country where morally bankrupt politicians are handed money end up financially bankrupting the whole place. The bleeding hearts that have taken power around the world are all too happy to spend money on “the children” or “for the people” with no regard for fiscal sanity whatsoever. What they do know now, however, is that they can count on “the rich” to people the bill when it comes due. That’s because “the rich” aren’t popular the way “the people” are. Accomplishing something is much less admirable than playing the victim to the average westerner. That’s why subjecting your cash to the western world is so dangerous these days. All it takes is a few bleeding hearts to whine about how some retired postal worker is only getting half of his cushy pension after a whole 30 years of “public service” for governments to reach into YOUR pocket. People like this:
This isn’t just about Greece, but about the Greek people, the working classes and trying to help other ordinary people across the world. If governments, corporations or banks won’t help, what can we do but band together.
What “we” (the most dangerous word in the English language) we can is stop pandering politicians from racking up billions and trillions of dollars, euros, and pounds of debt in “our” name. If the Greeks want to elect politicians who will fight financial reality at every turn in order to remain popular, who are the rest of us to be forced to bail them out? A crowdfunding campaign that encourages us to do so is a voluntary example of what everyone in Europe is already being forced to do: suffer damage to their currency and give up their money to featherbed the work shy in southern Europe. This same concept happens all over the world, including in the United States. Some parts of any country or region are more prosperous than others, while others get more than their “fair share” of spoils. Somewhere, someone is paying too much due to government stupidity. If you’re reading this, chances that’s you. Chances are your money is being held hostage is more than one way – be it tiny interest rates, currency devaluation, currency manipulation, or economic sluggishness – because people where you live elected politicians that avoided making hard decisions in order to spread the gravy around. So if people in your country are bemoaning “the poor Greeks” not getting their pension checks at 55 while the rest of Europe slaves away and works hard, I’m guessing your country isn’t be a safe haven for wealth of any sort.