Green Room

Zimbabwe’s bank account has a balance of … $217

posted at 11:33 am on January 30, 2013 by

No, I didn’t leave off a “million” or “billion.”  They have a grand total of two hundred and seventeen dollars left:

“Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 in government coffers,” Finance Minister Tendai Biti said, according to The Telegraph. “The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment.”

That last admission was an understatement not because of his assessment of paralysis, but because he implied the problem is only a recent one.

The country that was once considered southern Africa’s “breadbasket” for its fertile lands and rich mineral deposits has been experiencing slow but certain ruin due to more than three decades of largely despotic rule by President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe and his cronies seem to be making off with most of the revenue:

Last year, Finance Minister Biti complained that government coffers had not received the promised $600 million in diamond revenues from a recently discovered rich deposit. Biti said that only one-fourth of that pledge has been received.

Overall, at least $2 billion worth of diamonds have been stolen from Zimbabwe’s eastern diamond fields and have enriched Mugabe’s ruling circle, international gem dealers and criminals, according to an organization leading the campaign against conflict diamonds.

Mugabe’s ruling clique. International gem dealers.  Criminals.  But we repeat ourselves.

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Can I buy Zimbabwe?

portlandon on January 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Last time I checked the US has -$16,000,000,000,000.00

But wait, we can just print more…

keving on January 30, 2013 at 11:38 AM

How much we got in Fort Knox?

portlandon on January 30, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Our future.

Steve Eggleston on January 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Can I buy Zimbabwe?

portlandon on January 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

No kidding. I’ve been looking for an out-of-the-way place to call my own. I would still prefer an island, but Zimbabwe will do.

GWB on January 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

So, in other words, Zimbabwe is trillions of dollars in better shape than we are?

Obama’s ruling clique. International peddlers of socialism. Criminals. But we repeat ourselves.

Gingotts on January 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Can I buy Zimbabwe?

portlandon on January 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Do you want to?

Steve Eggleston on January 30, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Hey, at least that is $16 Trillion+ more than we have in our fereal government’s bank account.

BigGator5 on January 30, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Is that in Zimbabwe dollars?

blammm on January 30, 2013 at 11:45 AM

That’s not the total after accounting for debt liabilities. That’s just all the cash they have on hand.

Ed Morrissey on January 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Do you want to?

Steve Eggleston on January 30, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Why not? The Real Estate market has to pick up someday.

portlandon on January 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM

You know you have to be more clear than that, Ed. The snark is strong on this site.

BigGator5 on January 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM

So, in other words, Zimbabwe is trillions of dollars in better shape than we are?

Obama’s ruling clique. International peddlers of socialism. Criminals. But we repeat ourselves.

Gingotts on January 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

At last check, the Treasury Department has a few ten billion dollars on deposit in the Federal Reserve, so we’re a bit better than Zimbabwe.

Steve Eggleston on January 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM

I remember hoping that their constitution would work. It was a pretty good one.

But it just didn’t, and even a good constitution cannot hold back evil people.

Now, all those left are suffering…except for the evil elite. The old, old story…

Ragspierre on January 30, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Well as Obama says, at some point you’ve made enough money.

Doughboy on January 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

That’s not the total after accounting for debt liabilities. That’s just all the cash they have on hand.

Ed Morrissey on January 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Fair enough. Their debt is about $8 to $10 billion. So still far better off than we are.

Of course, their GDP is smaller. About $10 billion. So their debt is roughly 100% of GDP. USA: $16 trillion in debt, $15 trillion in GDP – 106.7%… Ouch.

Finally the corruption: Mugabe has stolen some $2 billion from the people of Zimbabwe… How much has Obama stolen? $2 billion is just the Mooch’s yearly travel budget.

Gingotts on January 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Is that in Zimbabwe dollars?

blammm on January 30, 2013 at 11:45 AM

No – that’s in USD. They switched to US Dollars after the tragedy that was the second (2006), third (2008) and fourth (2009) Zimbabwe dollar.

Steve Eggleston on January 30, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Finally the corruption: Mugabe has stolen some $2 billion from the people of Zimbabwe… How much has Obama stolen? $2 billion is just the Mooch’s yearly travel budget.

Gingotts on January 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

You’ll need to be more specific. Are you asking how much Obama has stolen from this generation or the next one? Or do you mean the one after that?

Doughboy on January 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Why not? The Real Estate market has to pick up someday.

portlandon on January 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM

I’m from West Zimbabwe (AKA Detroit) and I’ve been hearing that my whole life.

Flange on January 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Why not? The Real Estate market has to pick up someday.

portlandon on January 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM

That, and whoever owns Zimbabwe can walk around and pick up diamonds.

The Rogue Tomato on January 30, 2013 at 12:08 PM

That, and whoever owns Zimbabwe can walk around and pick up diamonds.

The Rogue Tomato on January 30, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Only after you kill or run off the entire native population except for any surviving white farmers who had their land stolen.

MelonCollie on January 30, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Only after you kill or run off the entire native population except for any surviving white farmers who had their land stolen.

MelonCollie on January 30, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Nah, once I own Zimbabwe, I’ll just whip out my walker and yell at all the native population to get off my lawn.

The Rogue Tomato on January 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Of course, their GDP is smaller. About $10 billion. So their debt is roughly 100% of GDP. USA: $16 trillion in debt, $15 trillion in GDP – 106.7%… Ouch.

Gingotts on January 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

That’s not even the worst ratio out there. Until last year, St. Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean had about 200% debt to GDP. Jamaica has around 130%. I think Japan is around 200% too. We’re seeing the periphery unravelling everywhere, and the cancer is spreading inwards to the core (look at Europe).

Doomberg on January 30, 2013 at 1:02 PM

TIL I have more money than Zimbabwe.

Meryl Yourish on January 30, 2013 at 1:07 PM

This is the direct result of leftist policies of redistribution.

Grunt on January 30, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Buy Zimbabwe and flip it.

The Notorious G.O.P on January 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Buy Zimbabwe and flip it.

The Notorious G.O.P on January 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Flip it as in Guam? or the TV Show?

can_con on January 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Honestly, people are still using this steamer of a straw man?

Only after you kill or run off the entire native population except for any surviving white farmers who had their land stolen.

MelonCollie on January 30, 2013 at 12:29 PM

I’d love for someone to show me a population/society that just materialized out of thin air without conflict over land? That’s the story of humanity bro… We compete for land and natural resources. Since the dawn of man they’ve been fighting and scrapping for food, tools, women, and so on.. We’re no different than anyone else. America just makes the biggest and easiest target for sniveling drool bags like you.

If people like you were to be believed there were never slaves anywhere in the entire world before the American pillagers enslaved Africans. And also, there was never a real or soft war fought for land or power.

preallocated on January 30, 2013 at 2:56 PM

They should invest it in oh, say, light rail. Or windmills with solar panels on their blades.

Like we do.

TexasDan on January 30, 2013 at 3:02 PM

At least Zimbabwe’s dictator is honest about their finances. That’s much more than I can say for ours.

SAMinVA on January 30, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Well, at least they are free of White Imperialism and all the attendant prosperity.

BL@KBIRD on January 30, 2013 at 3:15 PM

That’s enough to buy an Xbox.

Do the right thing, Zimbabwe.

Armin Tamzarian on January 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM

The good news is, with their inflation rate, it will be $217 million at the close of the day…. Paul Krugman thinks they’re doing great!

Scott P on January 30, 2013 at 5:27 PM

“Can we borrow it?”

- Obama

Ward Cleaver on January 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM

That’s enough to buy an Xbox.

Do the right thing, Zimbabwe.

Armin Tamzarian on January 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM

They’ll still need Grand Turismo 5, and Forza Horizon.

Ward Cleaver on January 30, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Nah, once I own Zimbabwe, I’ll just whip out my walker and yell at all the native population to get off my lawn.

The Rogue Tomato on January 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM

It might work…

If you had ten thousand young men wielding shotguns standing behind you.

Otherwise not so much.

MelonCollie on January 30, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Nah, once I own Zimbabwe, I’ll just whip out my walker and yell at all the native population to get off my lawn.

The Rogue Tomato on January 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM

It might work…

If you had ten thousand young men wielding shotguns standing behind you.

Otherwise not so much.

MelonCollie on January 30, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Or just Clint Eastwood.

Jurisprudence on January 31, 2013 at 12:51 AM