Argentines. Can they be trusted? Since 1800, various leaders of Argentina have stiffed creditors eight times through sovereign bond defaults.
Argentine politicians put Argentinians on the hook for $29 billion. And because other politicians stiffed past bond holders, current Argentine politicians had to sell bonds through New York bond dealers and thus become beholden to security laws of the State of New York.
Now, $29 billion seems like much bank credit denominated in bank cash (as it isn't money). However, let's get perspective.
Recently, Comcast acquired Time Warner Cable for $67.6 billion or 2.33 times as much. Back in 1998, when the dollar bought much more, Exxon bought Mobil for $80.3 billion or 2.76 times as much.
In 2000, AOL, those pesky people who sent countless CD-ROMs for us to use as drink coasters, bought Time Warner for a whopping $186.2 billion or 6.42 times as much as what Argentine politicians have put their people on the hook to pay.
Thirteen years ago Argentine politicians stiffed the world for $95 billion or 3.3 times as much as they desire to stiff today's bond holders.
So what happened to the all of that bank credit Argentine politicians borrowed? Upon whom did they blow those credits? What did they buy?
Likely, Argentine pols squandered those bank credits on salaries for themselves, for meddling bureaucrats and on welfare benefits to bribe citizens for votes rather than invest in commercial infrastructure while reducing the involvement of politicians and bureaucrats in the Argentine economy. Well, if all else fails, sitting president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner can wage a Guerra Sucia using Eva Peron like appeals.
It's the same old story being played again. When will the man and the woman on the street awaken to reality?
In their presence, politicians alone create the rules by which economy arises. When circumstances go against the people, it's because of politicians and not because of commerce, competition, and markets.
As I have said often over the years, government is mafia with better public relations.
For a look at the biggest acquisition deals of all-time, check out Bloomberg here.