It’s Not Just Greece

Oh no, it’s just Greece, right?  Uh, wrong.

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary is seeking an international credit line of 15 to 20 billion ($20 to $26.3 billion) euros, the secretary of state heading the prime minister’s office, Mihaly Varga, was quoted on Saturday as saying.

Hungary is seeking backup from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to reassure investors it has financing even if it gets cut off from debt markets later this year.

Uh huh.  Remember that Hungary has been having some wee problems of late with regard to its government, the EU and IMF.

Hungarian bond yields are over 11%, which is not good at all in a world of ZIRP.  This effectively precludes most borrowing.

The problem with these pleas and “rescues” is that they continue to belie the real problem, which is that governments cannot continually borrow more than they tax.  It is simply not possible on a long-term basis for this to work, as compounding eventually gets you.  It might not immediately, but in the longer run it will with certainty.

Do I expect Hungary to eschew that which it must?  Not right away, and perhaps not at all until there’s a disaster, but in the end all governments must reconcile their budgets to this underlying fact — like it or not.

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