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10 July 2015

Comments

Fuzz

Regarding Greece, Bloomberg had an article titled, “Proof that Merkel is Europe’s economic bully.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-09/proof-that-merkel-is-europe-s-economic-bully

In answer to that, a friend of mine, a multimillionaire veteran of Wall Street, sent me the following:

"Exceptionally wrong.

Merkel does not care about EU’s growth rate compared to the US. That’s an abstract number devoid of any meaning - the EU is a currency bloc, not an economic one. All she cares about is German growth. She cares about German exports and the primary motivation for keeping the EU together is to allow payment for all those BMWs with depreciated Euros, the currency's value held down by the sloths in the periphery. Were the EU to dissolve, the reintroduced Deutschemark would soar against all world currencies, destroying Germany’s exports.

Relatedly, she wants the Greeks out as 85% of her voters support that. They do not want to subsidize the pensions of corrupt losers. She gets to cut out a cancer at significant political gain (and immaterial fiscal cost) if she lets them go. Erm, let me think now, what would I do ….”


Bonnie McGuire

Regarding Maw Campbell's hateful email to the local Tea Party that was a little scary. Enough to put the police on guard during the parade. The Union actually did her a favor for not printing the entire email earlier. Too funny how God works in mysterious ways to reveal the truth. Both funny and sad.

Gary Smith

Don't forget about Puerto Rico which is a US Commonwealth. They have 70+ billion debt and have asked Congress for permission to declare bankruptcy. They are looking for a Detroit style settlement. They have a huge bond debt that could effect the US bond market. Here is a interesting article from the Washington Post on why they got there, I take this article with a grain of salt as there is probably a whole more to their problem than this.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/puerto-ricos-problems-can-often-be-traced-to-one-source-washington/2015/07/09/2cbd401e-21cd-11e5-84d5-eb37ee8eaa61_story.html
I would think this would have more an effect than Greece on the US economy because this is a US Commonwealth?

George Rebane

GaryS 431pm - I'm not sure. Puerto Rico's total debt is under $100B which we can pay off without much of a bump in our deficits, let alone service without even noticing it. But we do a total export/import with the EU of close $700B annually. Putting a real dent in that will put us back in recession (as if we were out of it already).

Don Bessee

Catching up on the threads and saw a classic ccc from the 'jon' @1032 last night or it could just be gross ignorance. Either way here is some home work for the 'jon', look up work force participation rate then get the charts and pay special attention the numbers for native born and foreign born and the subset black native born. Boy your open boarders has really worked out well for America and people of color in the urban hoods! NOT! For special credit- the total not working is ninety what millions?

Don Bessee

Dr. R- last post was for the new sandbox, sorry.

George Rebane

DonB 611pm - Why don't you repost it there? I'm doing my best to get the comments posted under the appropriate RR entries so that they will be more easily accessible for reference at a later time.

Walt

We are boned..... So much for global warming. If the ECO bastards are even half right, we need all those green house gases we can pump. Buy stock in Winter wear NOW!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3156594/Is-mini-ICE-AGE-way-Scientists-warn-sun-sleep-2020-cause-temperatures-plummet.html

Don Bessee

Dr. R. I would if I thought it would get anything other than the ccc like the last time it came up. ;-)

Bill Tozer

Screw Greece. They borrow 300 billion and can't pay back 1.6 billion due last month. And that is just what they borrowed from the EU banks. Won't even get into what they owe other sovereign nations or the IMF or hedge funds or pension funds or private parties. We are on the hook for only 18 billion, thank goodness. Write that off as a rounding error.
Here is exactly what Greece is like: Its like I borrow 300 clams from you to stay afloat and promise to pay you back $1.60 months down the road, cross my heart, hope to die. But I can't even come up with 2 bucks on your easy payment plan. You come over and notice Grey Pompon in my fridge and empty bottles of fine wine strewn about. You see I have no job, no collateral, and ain't willing to even rake leaves around your place to pay the measly buck sixty. What would you do? Write it off and cut the sluggardl off as well.
Tiny Greece had been compared to the economy of New Hampshire or Georgia or some other Two Bit state I cannot recall at the moment. They are a pimple on the world's ass.
In Greece, if a single mother turns 40, she qualifies to be on the dole for the remainder of her life. Don't matter if the grown kid(s) have flown the coop or not. Just because one is an unmarried parent of adult children who turns 40 years of age, her working days are done. Barbers get an extra 10% hazard pay. Screw em. We all have known lazy relatives or acquaintances that think work is a 4 letter word, yet when you let them crash on the couch, they complain that they sleep better in a bed...your bed preferably and you can sleep on the couch.
As long as the world is Greece's enabler, Greece's dealer/pusherman/connection, nothing will change. They have no manufacturing or agricultural base sufficient to pull them out of it, not to mention keeping the olive picking sheep herder nation afloat. They can only survive on borrowed money for decades to come, maybe centuries. No need for an intervention. They are a lost cause. They will never, ever, ever pay 1/4 of it back. Impossible.
That pimple on the world's ass has come to a head and it's now time to squeeze it, wipe off the goo, and erase it from memory. Screw the Greek beggars with their tin cups and their sheer arrogance asking to live the lifestyles they are accustomed to. The world will survive just fine without ever mentioning the word Greece again.

Walt

Greece.. the poster child of a welfare state.(uh,, country) And "O" is following their economic plan with the U.S. China is is deep doo doo of their own, and soon will come calling to cash in on our markers. Washington has just run out of money AGAIN!! Here we go again with the debt ceiling crying again. Who is going to get squeezed? yup,,, we the people. Let's see who will buy our junk bonds this time. China is tapped out.

Bill Tozer

Hopefully Greece will turn to Russia and Russia will turn to China. China's problems are overblown. A little hiccup in one sector of their economy sends jiggers across the world and blows Greasey Greece to page 24 of the important stuff happening now. One statement out of China and its time to bucket up for turbulence. Bumpy ride ahead. Not so sure. To us, if China's GDP growth is forecasted to come in at 6-7% this quarter, we think they are taking a nosedive into the crapper, aka, the liberal meet and greet party place.

But Russia will eventually buddy up with China, just like Latin America and Africa is doing right now.. They all need borrowed money to make it through the week. Someday we will find out that all the money China has been buying stuff with (like our debt) has been purchased with printed Chinese "borrowed" money, lol. The debtor is the slave to the lender. The Yellow Peril just got all the personal information of possibly millions of U.S. government employees and contractors. What could possibly go wrong? They have us over the barrel. Have we no dignity left? Plus the Chinese are the World's largest single group of racists. They believe they are superior to us and they are proving it. When the party is over, the Chinese will turn out the lights. Or have their errand boys in The Sino-Russian pact do it for them.

George Rebane

BillT 835pm - Yes Mr Tozer, but in the interval I repeat myself - beware of a new Russian naval base in the Grecian archipelago.

Bill Tozer

Dr. Rebane @ recently pm: Russia, China, ISS, Iran: all are totalitarian regimes that can never get enough power or prestige. This is not to dismiss or dismish in any form the threat that Russia poses to seek its life long dream of a port in the Mediterrian. Just figure there will be two Super Powers when all is said and done. Sino-Russia and maybe the U.S. Yes, give Greece a few hundred billion to make it for a year so they don't do the Lewinsky on Putin. Russia's economy is no bigger than Our Golden State's economy, but they sure want to get a little respect....and more terrority to call their own. And oil and the power to cut off gas to Europe if they wake up in a bad mood. But China is the heir to the throne and they have patience. Lots of patience. And yen. Have a good Yon.

I guess I was right when I said China is the largest group of racists on the planet. White people come in second, but you will never know it listening to the progressives. Most progressives (I assume) are whities. Most Dems around these parts are honkies as well. Ben and Paul, Curtis Walker, Hillary, The Donald, Bernie (BS) Sanders, and Jerry Brown will always be racists, even after death. Funny, it's the control freak racists that usually don't think they are racists. If you are a cracker, you b a racist.

http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/10/why-white-people-will-always-be-racists/

Fuzz

The big European powwow on Greece comes tomorrow. Here's another comment from my Wall Street friend:

"Seems to me that no way on earth will Germany allow a debt write down which keeps Greece in the EU, and ‘extend and pretend’ is no solution as the Greek economy will never generate sufficient GDP to repay the principal and interest.

85-89% of Germans, in polls, say ‘no debt relief’.

But maybe Merkel can save face by kicking the Greeks out with a big debt haircut, arguing that avoiding the need for any further loans to these bozos is, net, cheapest for the German taxpayer in the long run, and that restructuring existing debt without haircuts is delusional.

I would love that approach as it accomplishes several important things, one being removal of this ceaseless distraction from the headlines and synapses of the financial markets where I make my living. (It’s hard to convey just how disprportionate US market volatility is to the events in this rounding error of a nation). Another is that an exit followed by the massive devaluation and complete collapse of Greece after they revert to an unsubsidized drachma will (I have convinced myself) serve as deterrent, not precedent, to other sloths contemplating exit later.

The Greek tragedy, in other words, will see Portugese, Spaniards and Italians out some more back into their labor and stop whining. And modest humanitarian aid to starving Greeks will likely be a lot cheaper than making further bad loans to a bunch of liars, cheats and scofflaws who have no business being in any currency union.

Aid? The nation has no agriculture left (planting olives was so stressful for these mendicants that they now buy theirs from Germany), has destroyed its tourist industry (18% of GDP per the CIA) as no one will accept your credit card and has very modest revenues from refining crude oil in the face of a world awash in refinery capacity whose cost falls daily.

Finally, the inevitable Greek collapse following exit would remind voters that choosing a leader whose office has an image of Che Guevara on the wall is not a winning strategy. Greeks, of all people, you would think read history."

George Rebane

Fuzz 156pm - Good analysis that highlights the lesson for Spain, Italy, et al. The question though remains whether the collapse of Greece will be enough of a goad for the others to do what may already be the impossible. I repeat my 843am which may weigh on Merkel and other NATO members. I would dearly love to see the decision tree up on some wall in Berlin.

Bonnie McGuire

Dr Rebane...Hate to change the subject but in the sandbox you mentioned the discussion on Linda Campbell was supposed to be here. Not hardley but that's okay. She provided us with some invaluable information. Had she been a drug addict she may have been motivated to violence. Therefore the concern. Research on most of the public shooters indicates they were druggies who began their addiction following public education pushing Ritalin and Adderall on young children. An acquaintance recently told me her son was put on Ritalin, even though his grades were excellent....therefore illegal, which she didn't know. He became very depressed and was crying continually, but didn't know why. She told the doctor to discontinue treatment on the drug. Can you imagine how drugged depressed young people feel towards they feel are responsible for their misery? Most people don't have any idea about this stuff.

Now regarding Todd Juviinal. I've been around here long enough to know he was a good Supervisor who represented his constituents. Dr rebane your site provides a place where freedom of speech thrives. It's obvious that some contributors who try to monopolize it think it's a weakness.

Ben Emery

George,
Your Greece analysis has a gaping hole in it, the banks! Greeces debt was a fraction of what it is now and the banks (especially Golman Sachs) created a scheme the right leaning Greek government agreed to hide their minimal debt. It worked and Greece entered into the EU and the debt and interests came due.

Progressives use Scandinavia as an example of democratic socialism that works not the nations you list. Actually the nations you listed are those of the PIIGS nations that are being squeezed by the bankers. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/piigs.asp

Your obsession with France is sort of ridiculous since the US has a debt that dwarfs that of France. If we want to compare it to GDP it is 3% less than the US.

George Rebane

BenE 923pm - It's late and your logic is showing again. None of the Scandinavian countries have a socialism that can serve as a model for the US which is multi-cultural, multi-gruberized, and has a population almost two orders of magnitude greater than any of theirs. Besides, their systems are not sustainable either, only sinking more slowly through ruses like reducing services in their nationalized healthcare systems and spending next to nothing on defense. And comparing absolute (non-normalized) debt numbers is sophomoric.

But it is more than humorous how a certain contingent of progressives (hard Left?) see greedy capitalists behind every problem in the world.

Ben Emery

Goerge,
You, once again, painted progressives in a false light of holding up Greece, Spain, and France as examples of democratic socialism that works. I corrected you, once again.

Sophomoric? You are the person who continues to talk about unsustainable debt in Europe while the US is drowning in it. The difference is much of Europe actually has good social safety nets in place and the US doesn't. Disparity and social mobility are at 80 year records in the US. Over 90% of economic gains since 2008 have gone to the top 0.5% income recipients. I don't use the term earners since most of the top 0.5% fall into the unearned income brackets. A term I hope makes a come back for people to understand the difference of money making money and labor making money.

Ben Emery

George, 11 July 2015 at 10:15 PM
"But it is more than humorous how a certain contingent of progressives (hard Left?) see greedy capitalists behind every problem in the world."

I can say the same thing about the "Hard Right" with government programs/ spending.

The difference is I can admit that centralized governments are very capable and often produce bad results when go unchecked. You on the other hand seem to live in total denial of the power the financial sector has in our own federal government and influence on a global scale.

The fact of the matter is the conservative governments of Greece are the ones who did the under the table deals with banks(Goldman Sachs)to achieve the requirements of debt to GDP to enter into the EU. By hiding these debts/ interests for years when the bill came due it hammered Greece along with the global economic crisis in 2007 that was created by the bankers, which we are still trying to recover.

The government compensation packages were manageable but when the banking debt is heaped on top it becomes unmanageable. What Greece current government is trying to do is to get the interests rates from the banks erased. Since that money was created out of nothing therefore the banks took no risk at losing something since they never held the reserves/ principle to begin with.

I think as do the majority of the Greek people that is a reasonable request.

George Rebane

BenE 845am - Didn't hold them up as "democratic socialism that works." And pointing out the fiscal problems of Europe in no way diminishes those from which we suffer - your logic is not accessible to me. What would you call national safety nets that consume a greater fraction of the GDP with each passing year?

Re your 915am - Could you present a shred of evidence in these pages that I am in "total denial of the power the financial sector has in our own federal government and influence on a global scale." One of RR's signal theses and a stave of (my modestly named) Rebane Doctrine is the intrinsic corruption of big corporations being maintained by the government gun.

But your representation of Greek financial surprises (baked in by conservative governments) is both sad and laughable. No such thing happened as the long record of detailed warnings to Greece attest. There were no debts or interest rates hidden from the Greeks or the world. The ECB and the bond markets accurately reflected both. Even I knew about it, wrote about it here, and developed a financial formula to correctly compute the probability of Greece's default.
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2011/11/investors-playing-the-odds.html
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2011/11/greece-and-the-100-haircut-george-rebane-we-hear-that-greeces-financial-situation-is-so-dicey-that-they-now-have-to-pay.html

"The government compensation packages were manageable but when the banking debt is heaped on top it becomes unmanageable." It was those loans from the banks which funded the preposterous compensation packages.

Ben, the history I have witnessed, experienced, and studied is at great odds with the history you embrace. But even given that (and the above quote which might serve as the poster child of your understanding), I do think that you're out of your depth when your forays take you into international finance. Such pursuits have historically been a disaster for people of the Left. Nevertheless, I welcome the opportunity to counter your arguments.

Bill Tozer

Yo Bro. Ben: You should take a page out of the Krugman playbook and Blame The Germans Of Present Day Nazi Germany for Greece's.....er......socialism's woes. What happened to all those high hopes and rousing attaboys when planning it on the chalkboard? It certainly befuddles the progressive melon.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/krugman-european-project-just-dealt-213205137.html

Ben Emery

I will try and come back tonight after work but I got to go.

Here is a message from Robert Reich and very easy to follow cartoon I have posted here many times. Apply this to Greece at the moment. Right now the EU/zone is applying economic coup on Greece new leftist government.

Robert Reich on Greece.

People seem to forget that the Greek debt crisis—which is becoming a European and even possibly a world economic crisis—grew out of a deal with Goldman Sachs, engineered by Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein.

Several years ago, Blankfein and his Goldman team helped Greece hide the true extent of its debt—and in the process almost doubled it. When the first debt deal was struck in 2001, Greece owed about 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it had borrowed. Goldman then cooked up an off-the-books derivative for Greece that disguised the shortfall but increased the government's losses to 5.1 billion euros.

In 2005, the deal was restructured and the 5.1 billion euro debt was locked in. After that, Goldman and the rest of Wall Street pulled the global economy to its knees—whacking Greece even harder.

Undoubtedly, Greece suffers from years of corruption and tax avoidance by its wealthy. But Goldman Sachs isn't exactly innocent. It padded its profits by catastrophically leveraging up the global economy with secret, off-balance-sheet debt deals.

Did any of its executives ever go to jail? Of course not. They all got fat bonuses and promotions. Blankfein, now CEO, raked in $24 million in 2014 alone. Meanwhile, the people of Greece struggle to buy medicine and food.
Economists Thomas Piketty and Jeffrey Sachs also have weighed in, writing in The Nation that the results of European austerity in Greece have hit the vulnerable the worst—"40 percent of children now live in poverty, infant mortality is sky-rocketing and youth unemployment is close to 50 percent."1

Debt restructuring must be part of any solution for economic reforms in Greece. But instead of doing that, the European powers have made eleventh-hour, draconian demands: slash pensions, privatize even more core state functions, and attack unions and workers' collective bargaining rights.2

The U.S. can help make things better (instead of worse, like Goldman Sachs did). In addition to diplomatic power, the U.S. has voting power in the International Monetary Fund—one of Greece's creditors.

President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew can use their pulpits and their votes to yield a positive and just outcome. The Greek parliament on Friday approved a new plan that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras proposed, but so far the European parties aren't offering up the debt restructuring that's needed for a real solution and instead are demanding even more draconian austerity measures from Greece to even keep talking.

IMF Whistleblower John Perkins summarizes it perfectly in 2:09.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-dsiufhMu0

Ben Emery

George,
From the history I have studied and experienced we have two very different ideas at where the major problems are found.

I point to the greedy who seem to never have enough and you point at the working poor who are using the strength of their back and their intellect to try and eek out a living with dignity. The greedy see that last word "dignity" as their leverage stick and continuously try to reduce the compensation of labor to add to their already overflowing coffers.

George Rebane

BenE 716am - There is so much error in Reich's analysis that it's hard to know where to begin. But his worldview has already been stoutly refuted here and elsewhere. Greece was not duped by Goldman Sachs but solicited a method by which it could buy votes for the insane pension and spending programs its socialists had in mind. There was never a plan to grow the economy to pay off debts, the government's only desire was to hide the true cost of its programs so it could still borrow money on the open bond markets. As a good capitalist, GS showed them how.

Reich and Krugman are fellow travelers, they the solution to every social problem as coming from a government that grows, taxes, regulates, and spends. Having said that, Greece is still in a bind for having pretended to be something more than a strategically located third world country in the EU. The world has other places to buy olives, and tourists have other destinations. But it ain't over yet.

fish

Ahhh.....Greece! Let it serve as a cautionary tale to the US...... that it will likely not heed. At least the US can print its own "money" so they probably won't become a vassal of the EU or Chinese.

The nice thing about the Greek fiasco is that eventually both sides lose! Good times!

Bill Tozer

Fish, just a bit ago: Cautionary tale that we won't heed? Exactly my odd fellow. How many decades and confabs will pass before Germany receives the gold it owns that we talked them into storing over here?? Guess at the time it was a deal they couldn't refuse.
That might be just the reason Texas is demanding its State owned gold back that Uncle Sam is nice enough to hold on to extremely tightly for The Lone Star State. Seems talking is getting Austin nowhere. The check is in the mail.
Maybe Texas and Germany will have to go themselves to Hard Knox U and quit waiting for Fed Express. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Think it is best to keep an eye on the cleaning lady cause somebody over at Fort Hard Knocks has made off with a lot of booty.

George Boardman

Greece's problems are of its own making. The only responsible adult in this whole mess appears to be a former Communist, Angela Merkel.

George Rebane

BillT 1045am - Mr Tozer, that's quite a report on Texas gold. Can you give us ref on it for further study. Thanks.

GeorgeB 1112am - Agreed.

Bill Tozer

Dr. Rebane @ 16 minutes ago. Refs? Refs and links? You don't need no stinkin' refs. I think what we have here is a trust issue. Ok, your wish is my commando.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-law-first-state-gold-bullion-depository-federal-reserve/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-19/there-s-a-pile-of-gold-in-manhattan-texas-wants-it-back-

Now, if ya Google Texas wants its gold back, you can find some interesting refs outside the mainstream. Texas is the only state with a pile of gold, not the gold futures and IOUs paper gold like CA has.
Me thinks Texas has a trust issue with Our Great White Father in Washington.

Bill Tozer

Ok, good odd Doc, I admit it isn't as exciting as the Feds digging tunnels under Texas Wal-marts for some paramilitary joint adventure venture. Nor do I think Texas is just going to say "naw" to a cashless society and refuse the Mark of the Beast.

Maybe it ain't complicated at all. It's their's and they want to take physical possession of it. They need no reason, they need not to even answer why. "Cuz" is the best answer.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/with-eye-on-fiscal-armageddon-texas-set-to-repatriate-its-gold-to-new-texas-fort-know

George Rebane

BillT 345pm - No contention on why TX wants its gold or why it should keep it; I fully concur with that sentiment Mr Tozer. I just wanted some referenced reports that a state wants its own physical gold within its own borders. I consider it to be a milestone demand which should attract our attention until the matter is resolved. I trust you will keep us informed on how things proceed.

Ben Emery

What is going on in Greece/ Eurogroup is incredible. I need to read it again. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Exclusive: Yanis Varoufakis opens up about his five month battle to save Greece
http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/exclusive-yanis-varoufakis-opens-about-his-five-month-battle-save-greece

excerpt
"WhenJeroen Dijsselbloem, the European Council President, tried to issue the communiqué without him, Varoufakis consulted Eurogroup clerks – could Dijsselbloem exclude a member state? The meeting was briefly halted. After a handful of calls, a lawyer turned to him and said, “Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.”

“So,” Varoufakis said, “What we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It’s not answerable to anyone, given it doesn’t exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it’s confidential. No citizen ever knows what is said within . . . These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody.”

George Rebane

BenE 920pm - Do you have any idea why your cited report has Greece's creditors working to assure that the monies they lent will not be repaid?

Bill Tozer

Yo Ben. Nice distracting bits of worthless info. Shall we focus on how in the world can Greece make its payroll without getting a loan to pay last week's payday?
All Greece has to do is come up with a way to pull out of its current definition of bankruptcy. So, if we loan Greece 20 bucks, then they can pay us back 3 bucks, pay their public sector employees, keep a couple of hospitals open (without medicine) and be broke again, needing to borrow more money to avoid bouncing checks in 2 weeks, and pay back a pittance to their creditors...which allows them to borrow more...

There is indeed a conspiracy. The conspiracy is based on the grossly erroneous notion that others outside of Greece have shot the Greeks in the foot and other nations/evil corporations have done cut off Greece's nose to spite its face. Hell, Ben, even if Greece had no creditors today, it will be picking up the phone tomorrow franticly begging for a payday loan tomorrow. Problem is their payday loan is always bigger than their payday. Or, if you prefer, Greece needs more revenue than it can possibly generate. At least the Olympic Stadiums in Athens can be disassembled, sold, and shipped to be along side the Brooklyn Bridge in somebody's playground. Might even make enough off the sale to keep their massive public sector workers happy for a couple of hours. Ok, maybe 90 minutes.

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