It is a slow day in a small Irish town. The rain is misting and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and having a hard time making ends meet, let alone climbing out of debt. On this particular day a rich German drives into 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 the 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 runs 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 feed co-op.
The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub.
The publican slips the money to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has fallen on hard times and had to offer her services on credit.
The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.
The hotel proprietor puts the €100 note back on the counter.
At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the €100 note, pockets the money, and leaves town.
No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking forward to a brighter future.
And that, gentle reader, is how a successful bailout works.