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5,473 Posts
Yup, they lost the wars, but they've won the peace.

The flip side of that joke is that for those on the lower branches, when they look up, all they see is r-souls (sorry, I don't want to get round the swear filter, but you should be able to work it out)

19,792 Posts
What is there to fear from a physically imperfect German trying to take over Europe, anyway?

37,774 Posts
Also in the news, bad children will now be getting a bag of euro notes for Christmas, instead of that expensive coal.

1,068 Posts
I got this as a beginner's explanation

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is
beating down harshly, and all the streets are deserted.
Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives
on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving
through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100
note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to
inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend
the night.

The owner gives him some room-keys and, as soon as the
visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100
note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and rushes down the street
to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes
the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier
of animal feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs
to pay his drinks bill at the friendly neighbourhood pub.
The pub owner slips the money along to the local prostitute
drinking at the bar - who, in spite of facing hard times,
has always gladly offered him her 'services' on credit.

The hooker then rushes over to the hotel and pays off her
room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor quietly replaces the €100 note back on
the counter, so that the rich traveller will not suspect

At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, states
that none of the rooms are satisfactory, picks up the €100
note, pockets it and leaves town.

No one has produced anything. No one has earned anything.
However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to
the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, dear ladies and gentlemen, is how a basic
financial bailout package works!

1,068 Posts
And this for the more expert...

Helga is the proprietor of a bar.

She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed
alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar.

To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that
allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Helga keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting
the customers' loans).

Word gets around about Helga's "drink now, pay later" marketing
strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into
Helga's bar.

Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands,
Helga gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially
increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Helga's gross sales volume increases massively. A young
and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these
customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases
Helga's borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the
unemployed alcoholics as collateral!

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to
make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into

These "securities" then are bundled and traded on international
securities markets.

Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold
to them as "AA" "Secured Bonds" really are debts of unemployed

Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb!!!, and the securities
soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading
brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices still are climbing, a risk manager
at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand
payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Helga's bar. He so
informs Helga.

Helga then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being
unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts.

Since Helga cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into
bankruptcy. The bar closes and Helga's 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBOND prices drop by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value
destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans,
thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Helga's bar had granted her generous payment
extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the BOND

They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and
with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds.

Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family
business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is
taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and
lays off 150 workers. Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage
houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a
multi-billion-dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from the

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on
employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who’ve never been in Helga’s bar.

Now do you understand?
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