Buffett Rule, Tax Reform Law, Greek Debt Crisis, Health Care Plan, Cap and Trade, Dodd-Frank (2012)


February 21, 2012

The Greek government-debt crisis is one of a number of current European sovereign-debt crises.

Beginning in late 2009, fears of a sovereign debt crisis developed among investors concerning Greece’s ability to meet its debt obligations due to strong increase in government debt levels.[1][2][3] This led to a crisis of confidence, indicated by a widening of bond yield spreads and the cost of risk insurance on credit default swaps compared to the other countries in the eurozone, most importantly Germany.[4][5]

The downgrading of Greek government debt to junk bond status in April 2010 created alarm in financial markets. On 2 May 2010, the eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed on a €110 billion bailout loan for Greece, conditional on the implementation of austerity measures. In October 2011, Eurozone leaders agreed to offer a second €130 billion bailout loan for Greece, conditional not only the implementation of another austerity package, but also that all private creditors holding Greek government bonds should sign a deal accepting a 53.5% facevalue loss. This proposed restructure of all Greek public debt held by private creditors, which constituted a 58% share of the total Greek public debt, would according to the bailout plan reduce the overall public debt burden with roughly €110 billion. A debt relief equal to a lowering of the debt-to-GDP ratio from a forecasted 198% in 2012 down to roughly 160% in 2012, with the lower interest payments in subsequent years combined with the agreed fiscal consolidation of the public budget, expected to give a further debt decline to a more sustainable level at 120.5% of GDP by 2020.

The second bailout deal was finally ratified by all parties in February 2012, and became active one month later, after the last condition regarding a successful debt restructure of all Greek government bonds, had also been met. The latest bailout plan is to cover all Greek financial needs from 2012-2014. If Greece can comply with all economic targets outlined in the bailout plan, the country is set to be self-financed with yearly governmental budget surpluses from 2015-2020, followed by a possible return in 2020 to start using the private capital markets for debt refinance and the place to establish new debt to cover its future financial needs.

In mid-May 2012 the crisis and impossibility to form a new coalition government after elections, led to strong speculation Greece would have to leave the Eurozone. The potential exit became known as “Grexit” and started to affect international market behaviour. A second election in mid-June, ended with the formation of a new government supporting a continued adherence to the main principles outlined by the signed bailout plan. The new government however immediately asked its creditors to be granted 2 extra years, extending the deadline from 2015 to 2017, before being required for the first time in more than 35 years to start posting annual accounts with a public budget surplus instead of a deficit. The creditors are currently examining this request in the light of an updated and recalculated sustainability analysis of the Greek economy, and are expected to publish a report with their findings by the end of August 2012. If Greece is granted extra years to restore their fiscal balance, this will either require creditors to: 1) fund Greece with a new extra third bailout loan, or 2) launch a new debt restructure to decrease the debt repayment (i.e., by imposing additional haircuts on governmental bonds, or by offering Greece to pay some lower interest rates).[6]


Duration : 0:49:25

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *