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Greece Economic Crisis Declared Over: It Isn’t

Mainstream media is all aglow over the alleged end of the Greek economic crisis. Mainstream media is wrong.

Can-Kicking Deal

This was another can-kicking announcement according to Eurointelligence.

Here it is. Finally, a deal on debt relief for Greece. It is a fudge of sorts, but a deal that ends the eight-year-long Greek debt crisis – for now. These are the main components of the deal:

  • A €15bn loan disbursement at the end of the programme, of which €3.3bn can be used to buy back IMF loans;
  • A 10-year extension of the EFSF loans, and a ten-year deferral of interest payments and amortization starting from 2033; and
  • A return of profits from Greek bonds (SMP and ANFA) held by Eurozone central banks, a total of €4bn, with semi-annual payments and subject to reform targets.

There is no growth clause, no interest-rate cuts, no major buyback programme. This is not debt relief in the way the IMF defines it, but debt relief of the kicking-the-can-the-road variety.

It also leaves Greece with a significant exposure to IMF loans. Even if Greece were to use the €3.3bn to buy back IMF loans, that still leaves €7.1bn to be repaid by 2024.

The IMF abstained almost entirely from the debate as it is now officially leaving the programme and will only participate in the post-memorandum oversight, writes Kathimerini. Christine Lagarde refused to make any statements about Greece. What this means for the IMF role after the programme ends is yet to be seen.

So this is it, after eight years, three bailout programmes and endless eurogroup meetings. And with debt nearly at 180% of GDP, there is still the potential for things to turn wrong. But for now, everyone seems happy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fed’s Dilemma: Debt-to-GDP Ratios Dramatically Understate the Debt Problem

Reader Lars writes Debt-to-GDP ratios understate the true nature of the problem. He uses Greece as an example.

Reader Lars from Oslo, the capital of Norway, and a long-time reader of this blog, questions the widespread use of debt-to-GDP as the true measure of the debt problems of a country.

Hello Mish

As we approach the next debt crisis it’s time to ask some questions.

The widespread measurement of the debt problems of a country is DEBT as a percentage of GDP.

Few analysts question this ratio. But this is how I see things.

GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government Spending + Net Exports.

In simpler terms, GDP is the sum of the private sector plus the public sector plus the net trade balance.

However, only the Private Sector pays taxes and that is what enables debt service. In fact, the private sector must service its own debt as well as that of the public sector.

Thus, a better metric to measure debt levels is private sector GDP as reflected in tax income. This tells us the true brutal story of the debt problem.

Using Greece as an example, the real public debt is over 300% of GDP. Given that Greece’s private sector is less than 50% of GDP, the brutal reality is that Greece has a debt level which is over 600% of Private Sector GDP.

The Greek state takes in around €65 billions in tax. This is approximately 10% of total debts.

During the previous Greek debt crisis, economists noted that Greek debt was less than 2% of global debt.

The problem is that the rest of the world is not going to service the Greek debt. The Greek taxpayer will service the Greek debt, and for him the bill is insurmountable.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Greece & the Debt Crisis

The entire EU Crisis began precisely on schedule on the Political Pi Turning point from the major high in 2007. Precisely on the day of the ECM turning point, April 16, 2010 (2010.29) Greece notified the IMF it was on the verge of bankruptcy. By April 22nd, the Euro fell to near year-low levels amid concerns about Greece’s debt crisis. The IMF activated the loan facility and Greece received its first €45 billion on April 23rd, 2010. Then on May 9th, the IMF approved a bailout package for Greece with the largest loan and exceptional, fast-track access. Of course, that turning point of April 16th, 2010 was also the first time the SEC charged Goldman Sachs with outright FRAUD is selling its Mortgage Backed Securities.

Mother-MerkelIn dealing with Greece, the German head of state Chancellor Angela Merkel, had promised the German taxpayers that any loan to Greece they will be held to the fire and forced to repay. The polls were turning hard against Merkel as she was being bashed in the world press for Greece had forgiven Germany’s debt after World War II, but Merkel refused to provide any relief for Greece because of her campaign promise. The divert the press from here hardline policy on Greece, Merkel then summarily announced that she would take the refugees from Syria with open arms. That then began the European Refugee Crisis and Merkel then force the rest of Europe to share the burden she created unilaterally. The entire European Refugee Crisis was created by Merkel, and this has been at the center of the crisis which is tearing Europe apart at the seams. That came as the next ECM wave turned from its peak 2015.75.

Now as we approach the next political Pi Turning Point due on November 21st, 2018, which will be 8.6 years from when the Greek debt crisis began, the EU Commission has demanded from the Eurozone states that debt relief should be provided to Greece. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Turkey Wants to Invade the Greek Islands

Turkey Threatens to Invade Greece

Can a Country Commit Suicide by Taxation?

Can a Country Commit Suicide by Taxation?

Certainly, an economy can be seriously damaged by reckless taxation, but Greece seems determined to see if it can be outright destroyed by it, too.

Greece has confirmed that a nation can spend itself into a fiscal crisis.

And the Greek experience also has confirmed that bailouts exacerbate a fiscal crisis by enabling more bad policy, while also rewarding spendthrift politicians and reckless lenders (as I predicted when Greece’s finances first began to unravel).

So now let’s look at a third question: Can a country tax itself to death? Greek politicians are doing their best to see if this is possible, with a seemingly endless parade of tax increases (so many that even the tax-loving folks at the IMF have balked).

At the very least, they’ve pushed the private sector into hospice care.

Let’s peruse a couple of recent stories from Ekathimerini, an English-language Greek news outlet. We’ll start with a rather grim look at a very punitive tax regime that is aggressively grabbing money from taxpayers with arrears.

Tax authorities have confiscated the salaries, pensions and assets of more that 180,000 taxpayers since the start of the year, but expired debts to the state have continued to rise, reaching almost 100 billion euros, as the taxpaying capacity of the Greeks is all but exhausted. In the month of October, authorities made almost 1,000 confiscations a day from people with debts to the state of more than 500 euros. In the first 10 months of the year, the state confiscated some 4 billion euros.

But the Greek government is losing a race. The more it raises taxes, the more people fall behind.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Greek Fraud Reads Like a Crime Novel


Tamara de Lempicka The refugees 1937
Note: I feel kind of sorry this has become such a long essay. But I still left out so much. You know by now I care a lot about Greece, and it’s high time for another look, and another update, and another chance for people to understand what is happening to the country, and why. To understand that hardly any of it is because the Greeks had so much debt and all of that narrative.

The truth is, Greece was set up to be a patsy for the failure of Europe’s financial system, and is now being groomed simultaneously as a tourist attraction to benefit foreign investors who buy Greek assets for pennies on the dollar, and as an internment camp for refugees and migrants that Europe’s ‘leaders’ view as a threat to their political careers more than anything else.

I would almost say: here we go again, but in reality we never stopped going. It’s just that Greece’s 15 minutes of fame may be long gone, but its ordeal is far from over. If you read through this, you will understand why that is. The EU is deliberately, and without any economic justification, destroying one of its own member states, destroying its entire economy.

A short article in Greek paper Kathimerini last week detailed the latest new cuts in pensions the Troika has imposed on Greece, and it’s now getting beyond absurd. For an economy to function, you need people spending money. That is what keeps jobs alive, jobs which pay people the money they need to spend on their basic necessities. If you don’t do at least that, there’ll be ever fewer jobs, and/or ever less money to spend. It’s a vicious cycle.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Great Oil Swindle

silentera.com

The Great Oil Swindle

Is leading us to destruction

When it comes to the story we’re being told about America’s rosy oil prospects, we’re being swindled.

At its core, the swindle is this: The shale industry’s oil production forecasts are vastly overstated.

Swindle:  Noun  – A fraudulent scheme or action.

And the swindle is not just affecting the US.  It’s badly distorted everything from current geopolitics to future oil forecasts.

The false conclusions the world is drawing as a result of the self-deception and outright lies we’re being told is putting our future prosperity in major jeopardy. Policy makers and ordinary citizens alike have been misled, and everyone — everyone — is unprepared for the inevitable and massive coming oil price shock.

An Oil Price Spike Would Burst The ‘Everything Bubble’

Our thesis at Peak Prosperity is that the world’s equity and bond markets are enormous financial bubbles in search of a pin. Sadly, history shows there’s nothing quite as sharp and terminal to these sorts of bubbles as a rapid spike in the price of oil.

And we see a huge price spike on the way.

As a reminder, bubbles exist when asset prices rise beyond what incomes can sustain.  Greece is a prime recent example. In 2008 when the price of oil spiked to  $147/bbl, Greece could no longer afford imported oil. But oil is a necessity so it was bought anyway, their national balances of payments were stressed to the point that they were exposed as insolvent and then their debt bubble promptly and predictably popped.   The rest is history.  Greece is now a nation of ruins and their economy might as well be displayed alongside the Acropolis.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Cradles of Capitalism: The City-States of Greece and Italy

There long has been a persistent academic debate as to whether an “ancient economy,” referring mainly to Greece, even existed at all. In a field dominated by Marx, Marxists, the 19th century sociologist Max Weber, and such scholars of renown as Sir Moses Finley, the lingering image of the economic world of the Greek polis is that of something very static. We imagine a leisure class lounging at the sandaled foot of an orator while slaves tended to the fields, flogging cows harnessed to ploughs stuck in the mud. It is the notion of a “primitive” economy: money made for status, not investment; credit extended for the purchase of slaves, war waged for the capture of booty, elites in control of craft guilds and tyrant-kings keeping the peace by randomly doling out the goods.

Then there is ancient epic itself, with the noble Odysseus disdaining seafaring for profit (though he did take all the pay-offs he could collect) and the great Achilles pondering a discovery of precious treasure only so far as it might estimate his aristocratic worth. From this rudimentary foundation, an entire field of Socialist-Keynesian views on the Greek economy has prevailed, with occasional libertarian scholars such as Murray Rothbard and Jesús Huerta de Soto getting a word in edgewise. In recent time, however, academia has found much more evidence of technological advances and market-driven considerations on the part of the classical polis than previously thought.

Keeping in mind that in both ancient Greece (and Renaissance Italy) that democracy was not incompatible with aristocracy, and that oligarchies and tyrants were not necessarily illiberal, several points may be made in defense of the economic model of the city-state: 1) that the stronger the city-state, the greater the industrial and economic expansion; 2) that private property was considered a fundamental economic principle; 3) that banking standards were relatively conservative;

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Preparing For EU Collapse


Claude Monet The house at Yerres 1876
 

If there is one thing the Spain vs Catalonia conflict reminds us of, it has got to be Turkey. And that is a much bigger problem for the EU than it realizes. First of all, Brussels can no longer insist that this is an internal, domestic, Spanish issue, since Catalan president Puidgemont is in…Brussels. So are 4 members of his government.

That moves decisions to be made about his situation from the Spanish legal system to its Belgian counterpart. And the two are not identical twins. Even if both countries are EU members. This may expose a very large European problem: the lack of equality among justice systems. Citizens of EU member countries are free to move and work across the Union, but they are subject to different laws and constitutions.

The way the Spanish government tries to go after Puidgemont is exactly the same as the way Turkish president Erdogan tries to get to his perceived archenemy, Fethullah Gülen, a longtime resident of Pennsylvania. But the US doesn’t want to extradite Gülen, not even now Turkey arrests US embassy personnel. The Americans have had enough of Erdogan.

Erdogan accuses Gülen of organizing a coup. Spanish PM Rajoy accuses the Catalan government of the same. But they are not the same kind of coup. The Turkish one saw violence and death. The Spanish one did not, at least not from the side of those who allegedly perpetrated the coup.

Brussels should have intervened in the Catalonia mess a long time ago, called a meeting, instead of claiming this had nothing to do with the EU, a claim as cowardly as it is cheap. You’re either a union or you’re not.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Grexit

GREXIT

QUESTION: I just read an article about Grexit and the MoU that expires in the summer of 2018. Let’s assume Greece exits EU and the Euro, what would happen to Greece and it’s people? What hardships would Grexit bring to the Greek people and what could individual Greeks do to prepare themselves for these hardships?

Thanks for your blog.
Greetings from Greece!
Cheers,

J

ANSWER: Things will be much brighter once Greece gets out of the Euro. Brussels is desperately trying to keep Greece in the Eurozone for their survival, not what is best for Greece. The major data is published by various agencies that are directly or dependent upon government and they will always champion staying in the Eurozone. If you look beyond those headlines, you see a different picture. Most of our clients in Britain who were against BREXIT, now report that things are much better. Themanufacturing industry experienced a job boom in the last quarter. Compared Q3 2016, the job market data with that for 2017 showed that the manufacturing sector witnessed a 24% increase in advertised vacancies over the past 12 months. Jobs have been created in Britain at a faster pace since the BREXIT vote, despite the headlines of the fake news.

I have explained before that when Britain abandoned the gold standard in 1931, they instantly recovered from the Great Depression. This was the case study that George Warren used to demonstrate to Roosevelt that the dollar had to be devalued to reverse the economic decline. Maintaining the gold standard back then was the equivalent of “austerity” imposed upon Europe by Germany. Everyone just gets this whole issue of currency and the Quantity of Money dead wrong. The Austrian School of economics predates the massive government debt era. Today, the government is the biggest borrower within society and they compete against the private sector reducing economic growth.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Kyle Bass Sounds Off On “Worthless” Puerto Rican Debt, The Crypto “Gold Rush”, And Guns

Kyle Bass Sounds Off On “Worthless” Puerto Rican Debt, The Crypto “Gold Rush”, And Guns

With the dollar’s recent post-Fed bout of appreciation providing some much-needed relief for Haymarket Capital’s P&L, its founder Kyle Bass sat for an interview on Friday with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker. During the 20 minute discussion, Bass expounded on the importance of holding gold, his cautiously optimistic view on digital currencies, the misguided notion that holders of Puerto Rican debt will someday be made whole – oh, and Bass’s next big call: Long Greece – particularly the stocks and debt of Greek banks.

A few weeks ago, Bloomberg view published a Bass-penned editorial in which the hedge fund founder and CIO called on the IMF to stop bullying Greece –  publicizing the fact that he is now effectively long Greece. Greek government bonds have performed reasonably well so far this year: They’re up about 16%.

And if Bass is right, they could have another 20% to 30% over the next 18 months if the IMF abandons its insistence on austerity and acknowledges that debt relief will need to be part of the long-term alleviation of debt. Bass added that, in the near future, voters will elect a more business-friendly government that will help reestablish the country’s creditworthiness, much like the government of Mauricio Macri did for Argentina.

I think you also have an interesting political situation in Greece where I think there’s going to be a handoff from the current Syriza government to kind of a more slightly-center-right but very economically independent new leadership in the next, call it, 18 months.

And so, I think you asked why now? And I think you’re starting to see green shoots. You’re starting to see the banks do the right things finally in Greece and you are about to have new leadership.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Only Real Europe is Greece


Eugene Delacroix Greece expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi 1826
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, famous for his imbibition capacity and uttering -not necessarily in that order- the legendary words “when it becomes serious, you have to lie”, presented his State of the Union today. Which is of pretty much limited interest because, as Yanis Varoufakis’ book ‘Adults in the Room’ once again confirmed, Juncker is nothing but ventriloquist Angela Merkel’s sock puppet.

But of course he had lofty words galore, about how great Europe is doing, and how that provides a window for more Europe, in multiple dimensions. Juncker envisions a European Minister of Finance (Dutch PM Rutte immediately scorned the idea), and he wants to enlarge the EU by inviting more countries in, like Albania, Montenegro and Serbia (but not Turkey!).

Juncker had negative things to say about Britain and Brexit, about Poland, Prague and Hungary who don’t want to obey the decree about letting in migrants and refugees, and obviously about Donald Trump: Brussels apparently wants ‘to make our planet great again’.

What the likes of Jean-Claude don’t seem to be willing to contemplate, let alone understand or acknowledge, is that the EU is a union of sovereign countries. The meaning of ‘sovereignty’ fully escapes much of the pro-EU crowd. And if they keep that up, it will break the union into pieces.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary must accept their migrant ‘quota’, as decided in Brussels, and that, too, constitutes an infringement on these countries’ sovereignty. And don’t forget, sovereignty is not something that can be divided into separate parts, some of which can be upheld while others are discarded. A country is either sovereign or it is not.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Greek Authorities To Launch Mass Confiscation Of Safe Deposit Boxes, Securities, Homes In Tax-Evasion Crackdown

Greek Authorities To Launch Mass Confiscation Of Safe Deposit Boxes, Securities, Homes In Tax-Evasion Crackdown

Last week, the Greek parliament once again approved more austerity to unlock withheld Greek bailout funds in Brussels: a symbolic move, which has little impact without any actual follow through, like for example, actually imposing austerity. And while Greeks have been very good in the former (i.e. promises), they have been severely lacking in the latter (i.e. delivery).

That may be changing. According to Kathimerini, Greek Finance Ministry inspectors are about to start seeking out the owners of all local undeclared properties, while the law will be amended to allow for financial products and the content of safe deposit boxes to be confiscated electronically. The plan for the identification of taxpayers who have “forgotten” to declare their properties to the tax authorities is expected to be ready by year-end, according to the timetable of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue.

What follows then will be a wholesale confiscation by the government of any asset whose source, origins and funding can not be explained.

The Greek tax authorities will receive support from the Land Register to that end, as by end-September IAPR inspectors are set to obtain access to the company’s database to draw details on properties. Any taxpayers identified as having skipped the declaration of their assets to the tax authorities will be asked to comply and declare them, along with paying the tax and fines dictated by law. Should taxpayers fail to do so, the asset will be “sequestered.”

Kathimerini also notes that the IAPR is also waiting for Parliament to pass regulations permitting the mass confiscation of safe deposit box contents and financial assets such as securities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Meanwhile… In Greece

Meanwhile… In Greece

You know it’s bad when the police are rioting against the new austerity measures assigned from Brussels…

As KeepTalkingGreece reports, tension between protesters from police, fire brigades and coast guard on one side and riot police on the other side broke out shortly after 8 o’ clock in the evening on Wednesday when the angry protesters tried to break the police cordon and enter the Greek Parliament.

Riot policemen and protesters pushed and shouted at each other, with protesters shouting “Disgrace! Disgrace!”

Members of of the Greek Police, the Fire Brigades and the Coast Guard marched to the Parliament on the general strike day protesting the new austerity package that will be voted on Thursday at the Parliament.

Three squads of riot police were deployed outside the Parliament to prevent their colleagues to enter the House.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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