Tag Archives: Varoufakis

How about them budgets?

Today it starts with the Wall Street Journal (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/italy-cuts-growth-forecast-for-2016-and-2017-1475014871), where we just got the news that Italy is downgrading the forecasts, from “1.2% for this year and 1.4% in 2017″ to “0.8% this year and 1% in 2017“, an offset of 0.4%. So, even as we consider how small this is, on a number 2.22 trillion, this still affects 8 billion dollar. Now, I would agree that the numbers are small, but when analysts are talking in millions, getting it wrong by 8000 million, the error is a little larger than should be allowed for. Italy is not the only one in this predicament, and the fact that this prediction is only reported approaching the final quarter of the initial reporting year, should give clear indication that something should have been known at least a quarter ago.

Italy is not the only one, France is reported on by Reuters that the deficit target will not be met. In this case, France has one part in favour of them, with the refugee issues going through their nations, certain places and departments have been unable to meet any budget, which under the unpredictability of that escalation makes perfect sense. We can overanalyse it, but without the proper raw data, it remains a speculation and not a very accurate one.

Germany has an entirely new issue to deal with, it is now dealing with a surplus and a growing one. Another prediction I got right, but not by the amount I thought it would. Germany exceeded expectations by growing the surplus past a quarter of a trillion dollars. So apart from the surveillance investments, Germany can look forward to (as doomsayers would state), to an interestingly larger EU donation voucher (read: invoice), one that is (according to Reuters) about 4.5 billion higher. The funny people did mention that post Brexit this was the consequence and as such, that response is funny, because it is only angering the German population, where a growing group is calling for a German referendum. Now, there is no official one planned, but that might not be for very long at present. With Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) on the rise, which according to Euro news is at an all-time high of 16%, this makes them a contender, with Chancellor Merkel now in a tough spot as the hard work Germany did achieve is now to some extent syphoned to the EU and Brexit will add to their worries. Now that Brexit is not showing to be the financial disaster so many experts claimed it to be, the threshold for leaving the EU is being lowered by a fair bit. AfD party leader, Frauke Petry stated: “And I think this is why many citizens don’t believe in the established parties and politicians anymore, because they simply don’t feel being taken seriously by the politicians firstly, and secondly because they feel basically betrayed by these politicians because they do not tell the truth”, which is an issue that many people have with the ‘status quo approach that those on the gravy train of EU incomes have been voicing‘, adding to the unrest in several nations. The issue now being pushed by France and Germany is an EU army solution, which seems odd in the light of NATO and it is detrimental on national policies all over Europe, giving another iteration of commissions and conceptual time wasting, as well as resources, especially financial ones.

Yet several news cycles are giving the implied worry (a worry from my side) that the Netherlands hasn’t learned its lesson yet and it is now playing a dangerous game. The initial consequences of Brexit are not realised and there are still worries that are undealt with. With a big smile Dutch Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem stated last week in the national budget day which has forever been the 3rd Tuesday of September that the message is ‘focus on investing in opportunities‘, yet he also admitted that ‘many people have still not benefited from the economic recovery‘. I personally believe that ‘recovery’ is too optimistic. You see, for too long, the EU deficit had been too high, the debt is close to out of control and the Dutch have, due to serious budget restraints gotten the upper hand over the debt to some extent. What is interesting is the way we see it in the NL Times (at http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/09/26/netherlands-0-5-pct-budget-surplus-2nd-quarter-2016/). The quote at the very end “Statistics Netherlands expects that the budget deficit will mount to 1.1 percent this year and 0.7 percent next year“, gives us clearly that there is no budget surplus, the deficit is finally being turned over, meaning that the deficit is still 0.7% in a years’ time. That means that the debts are for now still going up! I am willing to make the hazardous statement “Mark my words, by April 2017 there will be a bad news cycle that the deficit will alas not make it, due to <insert meaningless reason here> and is expected to be 1.6% in 2016, whilst the forecast for 2017 predicts the deficit to decline sharper to 0.9%“. I’ll keep an eye on this, because I want to know how it all goes. One of the reasons here is that whilst certain scaremongers, set to undo Brexit are still playing their games and placing the pawns in the field. The reality is that unless the Netherlands sets out a much stronger partnership with the UK, the UK fishers who saw the benefit of quickly unloading in places like Stellendam and Breskens so that they can do one additional load, that list will drop to zero (the number was never really high). But that is only one part of several issues that we see. The Dutch Harbour of Rotterdam, could also feel the pinch to some degree. The degree cannot be predicted, but it will happen, meaning that the blind billion to expect will lower by an indecent amount of millions. It is important to realise that the impact will not be large, but two or three of these impacts, like containers via Belgium and a few more of these changes and the impact will change the numbers. So the Netherlands is not out of the woods and we see ‘investment’ statements. Not to mention the German need to make a few changes, which means that containers to a larger extent will not go through Rotterdam, but straight to the end location via Hamburg. This is not a given, not a certainty, but a risk! All these issues are not considered and there is still for well over a year a deficit to content with. The NRC (at https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/09/21/kabinet-geef-geen-cadeautjes-maar-investeer-4373438-a1522535) gave us last week “Daarnaast zondigt het kabinet door het totale uitgavenplafond te verhogen met 2,2 miljard euro; de Zalmnorm wordt rücksichtslos terzijde geschoven“, which paraphrased gives us “The sinful deed of this government, through the raising of the maximum budget by 2.2 billion, the budgeting norm is blindly pushed aside“, meaning that as elections come close, the government is trying to give a fake ‘all is well’ view that will be discarded soon thereafter when the numbers show that nothing was achieved and Dutch spending will again go beyond acceptable levels.

In all these factions, the reasoning of Brexit holds firm and this whilst Mario Draghi (at http://www.bbc.com/news/live/uk-politics-parliaments-37473075), starts his political ‘career’ in the trend, of ‘I am looking for a new position, preferably before the reality hits you all‘, by stating “the initial impact of the Brexit vote on the Eurozone has been “contained”“, which is utterly untrue. The impact is not contained, the results are not known because spin doctors are still trying to turn this around via any political means available. In addition “resilience after the vote was thanks in part to “adequate preparation” by both the ECB and the Bank of England“, which we know was not entirely true because someone decided to leak the required need for investigation by the Bank of England in the first place, which meant that the armour of EVERY party went up, so there was a large level of speculated bad news in there, the news clearly showed how disastrous it would be and it failed to happen. In addition, we see “Draghi ‘doesn’t have answer’ on future of Euro clearing in London“, which is interesting when we see “the issue of the UK’s departure from the EU and its implications for the executing – or “clearing” – of euro-denominated transactions in the City of London“. Why would that change? Why would people want to make those changes, because pre of post brexit, there was no impact for the US Dollar, so why is that suddenly an issue? The fact that the ECB took that path and that the result was that it was successfully challenged at the European Court of Justice by the UK government last year, makes me wonder why Neena Gill (Labour MEP for West Midlands) opened her mouth in the first place (regarding THAT questions that is). The fact that Jill Seymour of UKIP got a much larger support in her district gives me the idea that she has other problems to deal with, playing ‘ban-she’ (pun intended) to a question that the UK does not want to raise again for now, whilst staying silent over Draghi’s Trillion Plus Euro stimulus and now the rephrased additional overspending via the what is referred to as the ‘Juncker Expansion wallet’ is one that should have been on her lips. As I see it, she would have been better off staying at home (or in her office) and send someone else to actually grill Mario Draghi. In addition, when French Liberal MEP Sylvie Goulard asked the question, it seems clear to me, that she was setting up the essential discussion to try and move some of the City of London’s expertise towards Paris, which is a proud nationalistic tactic to have and as she is French, I would applaud her attempt with the response: ‘well played milady, but at present not the best idea!‘, as I see it, Neena Gill didn’t have to add to this! The question is not completely unsound, yet the path of Euro based Derivatives is a key market and London does not really want to move it for obvious reasons, yet the size of it has everyone on the edge. The issue has happened before, yet the considered impact will be beyond believe, the stakeholders could lose quick access to Trillions when the clusters get upset and the Euro Clearing moves to Paris (or even Germany). The plain issue is that the shift could very well happen when Frexit is in full gear, what happens after that? Another move? If you want to learn more, look at the Bloomberg interview (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-21/global-banks-said-to-plan-for-loss-of-euro-clearing-after-brexit), which gives a decent picture, even if economy is not your field.

All issues linked to budgets and each of them having a larger impact on the EU as a whole. Now, I understand that Brexit makes France and Germany trying to take the Euro Clearing market, yet, as the growing voice of Frexit bolsters, moving the Euro seems to be a really bad move, even for stakeholders who hope to gain a short term advantage. Even if we see that the Netherlands is a lot less likely to follow this path at present, France is close to doing it and the number of people wanting this in France is still growing. I personally see that budgets have been at the core of this from the very beginning (starting with the Greek one that is),

For Greece this is not a nice time and it will stay as gloom as death for a long time to come. The new austerity measures will cut hard, especially with the retired population of Greece. There is something utterly unacceptable regarding the transfer of the assets, including major organizations such as the country’s power corporation and the water boards of Athens and Thessaloniki. My view goes back to ‘Cooking the books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/) as well as ‘Feeding hungry wolves‘(at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/28/feeding-hungry-wolves/). My issue is that Greece had to be held accountable, but a fire sale leaving Greece with nothing was never an option in my book. Partially, when team Tsipras-Varoufakis won the elections they had an idea and no other path but their pride, this was where they ended. The initial idea to open the bond markets again was even worse. Now we see a Greece that has Greeks, yet is no longer Greece, as I see it, for the first time in history, the bulk of a nation is owned by banks and creditors, a situation that has never happened before to this extent (as far as I can tell), even as there is an option, it will still remain ugly for Greece for a long time. However, if the change would be accepted Greece would have a first step in actually resolving things. Resolving up to a degree, because I do not expect that this can be solved within the next two generations (if that happens, it will be a miracle). In that regard the energy and utilities would remain completely Greek and a first step into an actual future would be made. Yet, this is not about Greece!

The issue seen that debts are mounting up and we get to see these academic speeches on how good it was. For me, I still remember the 2015 article in the economist (at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/03/economist-explains-5), where we saw “some worry that the flood of cash has encouraged reckless financial behaviour and directed a fire hose of money to emerging economies that cannot manage the cash. Others fear that when central banks sell the assets they have accumulated, interest rates will soar, choking off the recovery“, so no matter how you twist it, it is additional debt, the people get to pay in the end, and as the evidence has shown the last 10 years, proper budgeting is not the aim, the ability or the inclination of these EU governments, making the people anxiously running towards the nearest European Exit Compound.

 

 

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Wackadoo for a game

The E3 is done, the 2015 San Diego Comic Con is on and I am missing out on all of it this year. Whether it is addiction, compulsion or enslavement. It might be the last one, yet my feelings for Elite: Dangerous are no less than the same feeling I had when I had when the original  on the Commodore 64 was released in 1985. There was one shop who had it on the first day, which meant a 4 hour train ride, two hours there, and two hours nail biting trip back. Yes, it was one hell of a day, but the result was exceeding expectations, the game would be my number one game to play for a very very long time, all because a friend showed it to me on his BBC Micro B one year earlier (1984).

Enslavement is what I have in common with Greece on several levels. Like Greece, I did this to myself, whether my DNA made me desire this videogame more than sex or whether it is just the animation of pretty pictures that move because of my interaction does not matter, it was all me! Now it is so simple to blame David Braben (like calling him ‘Jerry’), but it is me, only me and I very much realize that.

It seems that the press and many others (like Greek Politicians) cannot see that. So I feel miffed when I see ‘The euro ‘family’ has shown it is capable of real cruelty‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/13/euro-family-angela-merkel-greek-bailout) by Suzanne Moore. In January 30th 2013, I wrote ‘Time for another collapse‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/01/30/time-for-another-collapse/). In there I stated “Greece is fighting just about everything from no longer payable debts and unemployment figures to phantoms of their past“, in February 2013 in ‘The Italian menace?‘ I wrote “Politicians are also to blame. For that I would like to mention papers like “Investing in Greece: an Olympic opportunity”. It came from Costas Bakouris in 2001. The thoughts were all fair enough. However, how much came to happen? How much money did come in?” This list goes on and on, I reported on it well over two years ago, no one truly dug into these matters and everyone seems to live by the credo: ‘if Goldman Sachs can hide it and the press does not report on it, it does not exist‘.

Now, the Greek people will get a harsh dose of the consequences of not holding its politicians to account.

Than 22nd January 2014 ‘Cooking the Books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/), where the quote by Business Week “Europe’s having a bond rally and the PIGS are playing host. Portugal, Ireland, Spain—and even Greece, where Europe’s debt crisis began—are heading back to the bond markets and enjoying their lowest borrowing costs in years, as investors appear reassured that the region’s sickest economies are on the mend” is centre in all this, the part ‘investors appear reassured that the region’s sickest economies are on the mend‘ is the delusion to outrank all other delusions. In all this there is a link of power players promoting one another through unnamed sources. Greece should have known better! And in all this, as I stated before, these power players will sell Greece down the river in a heartbeat, because the fallout of Italy and France would be massively worse (10 times worse). All what we see now is the direct consequence of inaction, inaction for 3 Greek administrations and especially these last 6 months when the Greeks gave faith to what I regard to be a rock star (Varoufakis) and a paper tiger (Tsipras), all this, a mere consequence of inaction.

Was all this inevitable? Yes, personally I believe so, even though I believe that Antonis Samaras was on the right path, yet overall, that path was just prolonging a bad situation that had no long term future path.

In all this the Press is equally to blame, in conjunction with economic forecasters, power players and political whatever you want to call them. They were all about demonising ‘austerity’, it was all about how bad austerity is. The plain, bland and bitter truth is that austerity is nothing more than keeping a proper budget, yet several of the previous parties are ALL ABOUT SPENDING! Which is delusional! Just like I cannot speed up the release of Elite: Dangerous or No Man’s Sky, they cannot write away debts, there will be a consequence.

So when I read “Alexis Tsipras has fought tooth and nail for something resembling the debt restructuring that even the International Monetary Fund acknowledges is needed. The incompetence of a succession of Greek governments and tax evasion within Greece is not in doubt. But the creditors of the euro family knew this as they upped their loans, and must now delude themselves that everything they have done has been for the best” which is nicely written Miss Moore, but the following parts remain an issue “something resembling the debt restructuring” is not even close to a reality unless you keep your spending in order, which has not been done for decades.

It is her last paragraph that bothers me the most “The euro family has been exposed as a loan sharking conglomerate that cares nothing for democracy. This family is abusive. This “bailout”, which will be sold as being a cruel-to-be-kind deal is nothing of the sort. It is simply being cruel to be cruel“, in all this governments are to blame, in all this the press took a back seat to ignore what needed to be done, keep a proper budget, in all this close to ALL EEC nations failed. You see debt, even governmental one needs to be paid back, that part has been ignored for too long. The EEC now has an accumulated debt that is closing in on the size of the US debt. It almost looks like a plan by the banks in global charge to equalise all debts making them in charge of everything. Is that such a large leap? You see the debt only seems to go down in Malta, Czech Republic and Belgium. Belgium is essential because its debt is already too large, but at least they are making a positive change, only them and no one seems bothered about this. As per today they are all bothered with the upcoming consequences, now as Greece has seemingly pulled the bunny out of the hat, we will see changes of another nature, because Marine Le Pen will not let the momentum she can gain from this unanswered issue and as France is down 2.6 trillion, she will now emphasize on the benefit of moving away from the EEC, which heralds future for France, the French product and the all-round future of France. Is she right? I cannot tell as there are a few too many unknown factors here, but beyond Suzanne Moore there is more to see.

For that we need to look at gung-ho go-getter Helena Smith of the Guardian, who writes “It will take years – decades perhaps – for Greeks to get over this crisis. Catastrophe may have been averted, but it comes at the expense of conscious national failure: an overriding recognition that the state formed after the fall of military rule provided 40 years of peace and stability, but has ended in extraordinary ignominy. The promise of unending progress did not occur. Of all the truths that Greeks must now confront, that will be the hardest“, personally she writes well, but the truth is (as I see it), that the Greek issue will take generations, likely 3 of them to get it all under true control, in all this the deadly issue was not changing when it was possible. A hard-line change in 2005 would have made all the difference, now we get the added pain of a decade of spills whilst the economy is down further and more people are unemployed, all factors changing the game.

Helena writes “In return for a third bailout – this time staggered over three years and amounting to €53bn – Greeks essentially have been told to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And that is the good scenario. The alternative – Grexit – would have bypassed purgatory but taken crisis train passengers straight to hell“, even that is not completely on par. Yes Helena is correct, but what she (validly) abstains from, is the part that is depicted by ‘the valley of the shadow of death‘ is a road of reformation of administrative law, criminal law, taxation law and taxation regulation. In addition there will be pension reformation and consumer taxation. If any of these matters are not initially resolved in 18 months, with this I mean proper reformation design from day 1 (tomorrow), not a collection of empty meetings with governmental paid lunches and dinners.

It will take long working weeks (50 hours plus) to make this happen in 18 months and that draft will be decent enough to truly change the tides. If any of these changes are not done by then (so even if they get all but one done), than the Greeks will only have hell to look forward to, the Purgatory station will not be an option at that point. Changes that if Syriza had seriously started talking and started on changing them, the last week would never have happened. In all this there is one other advice the Greeks need to take home, no matter how proud they are, their survival will now depend on changing their family structure.

Let me explain, as time is now too short for those who have an option, the Greeks have one option left to survive (if at all). Consider a family with grandparents, parents and children. We call them iteration 1, 2 and 3. They need to sit down and see where the lowest debt is. If at all possible, make to all debts the minimum payments then, take every coin they have left and place that on the lowest debt. Do not hide behind pride and time and just pay them all. Get rid of them one by one as fast as possible. Banks will all state that this will not work, but they need these people all enslaved. Create safety by removing the first debt, then the second and so on. As the debts fall away, so does the interest, Greeks need to make momentum and the banks are ALL about longevity. They will twist, spin and make all kinds of brazen projections, but Greece will be in a bad place well beyond 2020. So the Greek people, if possible need to move away from all debt, after that, whomever has shed the debt, they can move forward, they can acquire and grow.

In all this, it will be another Greece, one that has a retirement system which can no longer work in the previous path, there will be a Consumer tax setting that will up the cost of living and the health care system in Greece will remain a matter of nightmares, possible it can only be accessed through the purgatory station the Greeks hopefully avoided, but in all this, taxation laws will have to change at first light, it will also mean that the very wealthy Greeks will move to another place, not unlike Gerard Depardieu. There is no telling where they will end if they want to avoid taxation of that what they avoided for so long and it is equally wrong to speculate how much taxation is due, I lack the pure data on that. What is cause to all is the dire need for the Greeks (and many EEC politicians) to stop spending money they did not have and money they were unlikely to receive. all this is centre to the fall of Greece and it is not over yet because even though Greece when over the edge, France and Italy are right there with Greece (which is why they were so opposed to Grexit) and with these two we face a 5 trillion Euro tumble, 10 times the debt of Greece.

So are we wackadoo for a video game, are we going wackadoo for the game of economics or are we just wackadoo for a totalitarian enabling of banks through debt?

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When a joke is too pathetic

This is the first thought that came to mind when I saw the ‘headline’ ‘IMF has ‘criminal responsibility’ for Greek crisis‘, which was in the Guardian Live part. So, is Alexis Tsipras just too stupid to be allowed as a politician? Let’s face it, after 6 months he achieved absolutely nothing, so is my question that far out of bounds? He created decline in diplomatic bonds by accusing everyone, except the ones really responsible, which were the Greeks themselves!

Let’s take a look at some of this, for this I am taking a larger step back, back in time. You see, after the Olympics of 2004, we should have seen an influx and a positive result for Greece, which it did, but only to the smallest extent. Compared to other nations that influx was not as strong as many expected it to be. When we look at the data the OECD (at http://www.oecd.org/) has, we see that the investment in Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) was up in the year before the Olympics (that makes sense), then collapsed, only to go up steeply in 2006 and 2007, after that it goes down a lot, far below the average, guess what, after it hit a low (-26%) in 2012, suddenly there was a spike in investments, to minus 9.5% in 2013 and plus 2.7 percent in 2014. Yet, investments by whom? If we look at investment on % of GFCF by government we see that they represent 23.3% in 2013 and 20.7% in 2012. All this whilst corporate invested 34.9% in 2012 and 38.3% in 2013, households are in the basement, so the picture does not make sense (to me), when we compare this next to let’s say, the Netherlands, the picture looks even more distorted. Greece spiked its general government investment as % of GFCF far beyond the Netherlands, especially in 2009 and 2013. Greece has nowhere near that funding. Now, we see that it is just ‘% of GFCF’, yet spiking’s of 7% difference makes a lot more sense for the Netherlands than for Greece (the Dutch have dikes, harbours and plenty of assets to worry about). The Greek spending under former PM George A. Papandreou as well as spending by former PM Antonis Samaras, or should I say spending whilst they were in charge? Spending on transport equipment, other buildings and cultivated assets went up consistently, especially since 2012, whilst investment for dwellings went down from 2011 to 8% in 2014. These investment parts cannot be denied to some extent, yet the spiking implies that it is done at a moment’s notice, on the whim of emotion, lacking long term insight and stability. You only need to compare Greece to nations like the Netherlands and Sweden to see that the ‘spikes’ reflect what I would call: lacking vision and insight.

The questions only increase when you consider that Greece’s net trade never comes close to -20, -25.2 is the best they were able to achieve from 2003 onwards, and this is in billions of dollars, so as we see a decade of minus 20 billion or worse, it was -64 billion in 2008, questions should be asked, especially from the Greeks. A nation in trade deficit for ever a decade adds up to questions on WHY they were allowed onto the bond market in 2014, no one clearly asked those questions. In that light I need to add a blog (at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/05/11/how-the-greek-banks-secured-an-additional-hidden-e41-billion-bailout-from-european-taxpayers/), the article called ‘How the Greek Banks Secured an Additional, Hidden €41 billion Bailout from European taxpayers’, so how come that these matters are not on the front page? So as I see it, these massive indicators are shown that when it comes to ‘criminal responsibility’, Alexis Tsipras should also knock on the doors of previous PM’s and Greek political bigwigs (if they actually have any). For the simple reason that massive austerity would have been needed in 2006 onwards, how much was cut? How was this achieved? You see 2005 was already a clear indication that overhaul of property taxation, tax collection and tax evasion was a clear given, especially when you come up short by THAT much. Yet in over a decade no achievements were made and neither was anything truly done in the last 6 months.

In addition, we see the dangers of the title ‘Athens threatens to miss IMF payment‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/16/eurozone-greek-exit-athens-imf-grexit-tsipras), whatever the Eurozone braces for is an unknown to me, considering the large players downplayed the event. The quote ‘threatens to miss IMF payment‘ is also slightly misrepresented. As I see it. As I see it, Greece no longer has that much money at their disposal, I reckon the shift by using the IMF emergency funds was a clear given. There is also a ghostly silence when it comes to the bank run. No clear indication how strong that pull is, or are the banks perhaps already empty? That is not a speculation, it is the question, especially as political parties and banks are debating ‘Grexit’. The problems will only intensify when the bank runs are complete. Actually, I expect that escalations will occur a lot faster when people can no longer withdraw. There is presently no indication when it will happen, but as payments are missed, the dangers of banks no longer handing out cash (emphasis on ‘being able to’) after June 23rd is not out of the question, if the bank run continues, that date might be even before that date. It will be a new low in humanitarian economics, as retirees will no longer receive payments, how will they be able to pay, when the Greek government allowed in March for the dipping into pension funds. Depending on how many Greek bonds these pensions ended up with, when money is not coming, which is extremely realistic, the pension funds themselves will not be able to flood the monthly retirement pay out, which is due in less than 2 weeks, at that point, how will the population react?

I expect to stay away from Greece until that dust cloud settles as it will be a harsh reality for Greeks to watch tourists walk around whilst they can no longer afford to feed themselves. The escalation with refugees all over Greece (Kos being the most visible one) is not helping any. The fact that posters are appearing with texts like “I am an immigrant, I’m here to rape your children” is not helping any. You might think that they are separate issues, but they are not. You see, this fuel of hatred is hitting Greeks every day, the unrest is growing amongst both sides. The entire debt mess is hitting the Greeks, who now see that what is left would be lost to the refugees. We are all about humanitarian aid, but how many will give them your last sandwich? How many will give food to the refugees when it means that your children will not eat? You might think that this is an exaggeration, but after next week, that might not be the case. When the announcement of a default meeting is given, the banks will get overrun, people will take all their money out, they might already be starting that today, when THAT is gone, how exactly will groceries be paid for? All this, because the two players Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Vardoulakis have basically been sitting on their hands for 6 months. It is nice to see the headlines ‘No new reform proposals for Eurogroup‘ and ‘Varoufakis rules out ‘Grexit’, deal possible if Merkel takes part‘. Well, as we are seeing now, it is no longer up to Varoufakis and Tsipras. as they pushed away reforms, accused the IMF and as we see ‘Europe Struggles Toward Solution as Tsipras Rips Into Creditors‘, we have to wonder, the Greeks made these deals, a I see it, the acts of THIS administration is now killing their own options, burning the bridges behind them. At this point, as I see it. Greece can no longer state “Grexit not a possibility“, at this point, we have arrived at the stage that Greece gets notified that Greece will be ejected from the Euro, perhaps even the Eurozone. The latter part is not that likely, but in sight of the Greek acts, no longer an impossibility. Now, only 2 hours ago we see “US urges compromise after Greek PM attacks IMF” (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jun/16/greek-crisis-negotiations-deadlocked-as-time-runs-short-live-updates). Now we see “US Treasury secretary Jack Lew has telephoned Alexis Tsipras to urge him to reach a realistic compromise, urgently. In a statement, the Treasury revealed that Lew told Tsipras that the Greek people, and the global economy, would suffer if Athens can’t reach a deal with creditors

My cold war view (I miss those old days) is: “Jack, buddy boy! Did you miss certain facts? Did you consider that this is exactly what Alexis Tsipras wants all along? He is a communist! This scenario will have a massive impact on America, he is meeting Putin on Friday. Perhaps they will walk through the Hermitage on Saturday, a family outing, special tour and as they turn around the corner he gets his new golden future, if he can push Greece over the edge, massively hurting the US (please do not deny that it will not hurt the US), than he will have a nice future, he might even get the Star of Lenin on May 1st 2016. Instead of meeting with European parties, he is having another meeting with Putin. This guy met with Putin more often than the bulk of the Europeans together

This might look like my shallow view, but consider the past of Syriza, their foundations, is my view so far-fetched? He has done absolutely nothing to propel the debt situation in any positive way. Is all war not based on deception? (Source: Art of War). Look at all the photo’s the papers have, all posing moments and all presentations of the moment (which politicians tend to do), has Alexis Tsipras been anything but a petulant child? As he went on and on in the style of: ‘Just give me my cookie now!‘ (Reference to the 7.2 billion bailout). In 6 months no clear reforms, no clear mention in any direction that could have eased any kind of resolution. The icing on the cake would be if the US would now take on some of these debts too. It would be a total victory for Tsipras, he can tell the Greek population has been dealt with and he’ll be living next to the Kremlin for daily Caviar and Vodka, the new Russian superstar!

This is just my view, it is a view and there is no reliability on my view, but oddly enough, my view matches all the facts we see, so is it less or more likely? Consider yourself, when you are in deep water with your bank, would you not try to get a dialogue and understanding? Would you not plead ‘there is no money now, but as soon as some comes in, we start paying!’ of course, the bank cuts you off, but the bank realises that waiting is better than losing, especially when the client has sincere intentions. So pissing of your bank, accusing them of ‘criminal responsibilities’ and letting them pay for it all, how does that help?

When the fence between you and the tiger is gone, posturing seems pointless, even if it is the only thing left to you. So, are the Greek politicians in charge now the joke that is too pathetic?

From accusations to ‘trying to make up’ as Helena Smith of the Guardian reports, “Over in Athens the government’s spokesman has just released a statement attempting to douse tensions with EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker“. Is this part of the play, or have the members of Syriza lost direction and focus? This is the question for many, you see, accusations followed by carefully phrased corrections is about emotion, limelight and posturing, as I see it an almost empty gesture to keep a non-conversation going. In here, I mean non-conversation as a means to continue a dialogue that allows for non-actions to continue too. Will this go on for 30 hours until the upcoming near-fatal meeting to be? That will be a question to consider, because tomorrow might be the last chance before certain members meet separately to put Grexit to the vote. That last part is again just my view, but it is a distinct possibility, because the reality of Grexit has now been voiced, and the change from ‘if’ to ‘when’ Grexit commences needs a start date, Germany, France and Italy would want to keep control of that moment, just to make sure that they will not be terminally affected because of it, a consequence that is still an option!

As I see it, the game will change massively for France when Grexit happens, as such, France would want to champion that meeting for valid reasons of cost impact.

 

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S&M or S&H?

That is the question that should be on the minds of people everywhere! You see Self-interest and Misinformation is every bit a tool of application in the Sade-Masochistic approach that politicians use, or if we use names it would be the dialogue between Alexis Tsipras and Jean-Claude Juncker where Tsipras voices: “You wash my back, I wash yours real hard!” So as we see in the Guardian the call for ‘Sanity and Humanity‘ we must ask the clear ‘why?’ part. You see, we are now getting ‘misinformed’ by laureates and by people in the industry of high economics. They most likely want their cushy job to continue. If Greece falters that is no longer an option, because the repercussions go a lot further than Greece, even the US is now getting involved because the fallout from Greece leaving is a lot more than the people are told.

First Premise: If my thoughts were wrong, then why not let Greece out of the Euro, let it float its Drachma and slowly get back on the horse? Because virtual or not, the fallout of half a trillion whilst Italy and France are so deep in debt is a massive problem!

The names calling for this are: Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, star French economist Thomas Piketty, former Italian PM Massimo D’Alema, and America’s Jamie Galbraith. The list has more names, but you’ll have to get to the Financial Times for that.

You see, the premise of Humanity is nice (and I am all for Humanity), but when the person involved REFUSES to take decent steps towards the solution, the sanity part is to just cut them lose, but as I stated in my first premise, that is not an option, the negative consequences are scaring too many ‘profiteers’ as I see them!

The first untruth by these writers (bleeding hearts seem to be the most apt title). We see the quote: “Six months on, we are dismayed that austerity is undermining Syriza’s key reforms, on which EU leaders should surely have been collaborating with the Greek government: most notably to overcome tax evasion and corruption“. I would call this a lie of the first order! Why am I calling it that loud?

The Greek government has done close to nothing to overcome tax evasion and corruption! Which politicians from former administrations have been arrested and are investigated for squandering government funds? We saw one case of tax evasion for 1.2 million, which is 0.000028436% of the debt, it does not even cover the smallest part of the interest bill.

The next statement is: “Austerity drastically reduces revenue from tax reform, and restricts the space for change to make public administration accountable and socially efficient” the second expression of laughter! Greece has next to nothing in revenue from taxation, let alone revenue from tax reforms, in addition public administration is not holding anyone accountable, the Greek public administration is a joke no one wants to touch (let alone the Greeks), so the claim made here is nothing more than an empty sentence.

Now we get to an interesting part: “It is wrong to ask Greece to commit itself to an old programme that has demonstrably failed, been rejected by Greek voters, and which large numbers of economists (including ourselves) believe was misguided from the start“. Well, if it was misguided, then the ‘friends’ you have in Goldman Sachs and other financial pool party’s should not have borrowed them the money to begin with! There is no doubt that Syriza has a bad deal, but they wanted the bad deal! They wanted to govern at the expense of everything and everyone! New Democracy under Antonis Samaras was actually trying to sort things out. In addition, the Greek voters do not get to reject this. They voted the people in that spend the money with zero foresight or consideration of the consequences, the Greek people now get to pay for it all. You see, someone spend over 400 billion, it went somewhere. That part is due and the loans made afterwards to get things ‘rolling’ was never realistic, but the top economists were all eager to get the kickbacks that they refer to as consultancy and commission! When a bank allows for events THIS STUPID to get out of proportions, in the end, I do not deny that Tsipras and Varoufakis are playing a clever game. They are willing to let the ‘other’ players collapse. It is a ‘pay our debt or else’ approach. It is not acceptable! And I reckon it should not be tolerated on this level.

What would be acceptable, if the entire debt is paid for by banks, monitored by oversight commissions to ensure that the people (their consumers) never get any additional charges! That banks would need to come up with the money from their own profits and dividends. That I would find acceptable, but guess what? The ‘friends’ of those who signed this letter will not accept that and they will reject that in a heartbeat, so here we see Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, et al all writing about humanity, when it should be about accountability!

Now we get the half-truth in all this “Clearly a revised, longer-term agreement with the creditor institutions is necessary: otherwise default is inevitable, imposing great risks on the economies of Europe and the world, and even for the European project that the Eurozone was supposed to strengthen“, is that so?

My second premise: Yes there will be risks, but the one I see is a more total collapse when the debt is shouldered by those already in too deep. That part is not mentioned and moreover that risk has been trivialised by several players all over the Eurozone field, including by the top of the IMF and a few top players in the US too.

And I reckon that the quote “Syriza is the only hope for legitimacy in Greece” can be discarded out of hand, they actually escalated it all, in all this, as I see it, New Democracy was the true hope for Greece.

Now we get a quote that is truly a worry “Consider, on the other hand, a rapid move to a positive programme for recovery in Greece (and in the EU as a whole), using the massive financial strength of the Eurozone to promote investment, rescuing young Europeans from mass unemployment with measures that would increase employment today and growth in the future“.

My third premise: First of all, this is not the first time that approach is used, Adolf Hitler used it in 1935; how did THAT turn out? Now, let’s not go all Nazi on this and consider the issues in Spain, Italy and France? Do you have solutions for them too? How would you like to voice this in reality? That is the problem, you see, jobs come from places that have income, that have product and that is selling, that allows for hiring and paying staff! This is the entire issue, there are no jobs, because people are not buying, because after the cost of living there is not enough money to spend.

It is not a math issue that requires a Nobel price, a mere abacus, or just common sense, paper and pen could have worked that out! In addition, the prediction I made in my article ‘An Olympic steeplechase‘ on May 26th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/26/an-olympic-steeplechase/), two days later Deutche Welle publishes this “‘We’ve been receiving reports of a decline in bookings, especially from Germany’, says the tourism manager to DW“. I saw the writing on THAT wall! In addition there is “Andreadis quotes the latest statistics from the German Society for Consumer Research (GfK): Bookings in Germany have declined by 2 percent based on annual figures“, two percent does not seem that much, but in an economy where the Greek GDP is making another step towards 0 and lower, 2% is a lot. The issues with refugees isn’t helping Greece either. The British media reported that Kos, a Greek tourist attractor has become a ‘disgusting hellhole’, which would push tourism down further. Influx from both Russia and Scandinavia is down too, but at present unknown by exactly how much. It basically means that tourism will not bring the bacon to the outstanding invoices for Greece, apart from collecting the taxation on it all that is.

The final misrepresentation is “Like the Marshall plan, let it be one of hope not despair“, it is a misrepresentation, because the Marshall plan did the right thing, whilst the people did their part, the governments were in better control, within the Euro at present not one government has been holding pace with the expenditure and keeping a proper budget, which gets trivialised by those administering it and the extra spending is overstretched again and again.

My fourth premise: So this is not about Mr Marshall and his amazing achievement, this is about the Greek government actually doing something. Pushing the invoice out 30 days is not a solution. In addition to that, nearly every person and toddler can see that the 7 billion that is supposed to be freed up will after paying the civil servants their 2.2 billion in outstanding parts will not even cover all the bills until the end of the year and whilst Greek taxation is not being addressed, another interest invoice of 22 billion will be due in under 10 months. Yes, 22 billion just for the interest payment!

So as we are misdirected by some people hiding behind the fact that IMF payments have been overdue before, the issue here is that Greece is now TWO payments behind, totaling a little over 1 billion, part one due in two weeks! So as the Greeks vow not to leave the Euro, the question will soon become, do they actually have a choice in this, because when payments are not forthcoming, there must be repercussions, the one part Greeks are really good at denying.

I must of course also mention that there is debt restructuring document, which is regarded as being ‘hopeful’. The view comes from Peter Spiegel of the Financial Times and the quote is “The restructuring plan is ambitious, offering ways to reduce the amount of debt held by all four of its public-sector creditors: the European Central Bank, which holds €27bn in Greek bonds purchased starting in 2010; the International Monetary Fund, which is owed about €20bn from bailout loans; individual Eurozone member states, which banded together to make €53bn bilateral loans to Athens as part of its first bailout; and the Eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, which picks up the EU’s €144bn in the current programme“.

The fifth premise: My issue on these document is that they are ALWAYS based on too positive an outlook, which is why they usually fail. In addition, Greece will at least need another 20 billion, that is if the 7.2 billion that they are trying to get their fingers on is already in the given picture, which is not a given at present.

The quote “to get back under 60 per cent of GDP” is just insanely unrealistic. You see, to do that you need to fix expenditure by a lot, the one part the Greeks utterly refused to do, in addition, they just rehired the people they had let go, so expenses are back up too!

As Peter Spiegel (@SpiegelPeter) states: “It also involves eliminating a chunk of Greece’s bailout debt“, which is fine by me as long as the BANKS pay for that part, if it comes from Goldman Sachs’s pocket so much the better! Let’s not forget that part of this entire mess was because Goldman Sachs helped Greece mask the actual debt it had (source: Der Spiegel) on February 8th 2010! How much forward momentum did Greece achieve since then (like lowering debt)? NONE!

I will say again that this is all unfair on the Greek people, but they did elect this lot into parliament, as they elected the previous bunches, how about knocking on those doors to get at least some of those funds back (which also lowers debt)?

 

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An Olympic steeplechase

Greece is at it again (or still might be a better word)! Let’s turn back the clock a mere month! On April 28th we get the following news (via several sources): “Greece has decided to pull Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis back from bailout negotiations, a move it describes as ‘clipping Varoufakis’ wings’ and ‘reining him in’ after three months of debt talks failed to produce an agreement”.

That move made perfect sense, several people (including me) saw him in some rock star presentation which was good for his ego and not too good for the Greek people. Of course, reining in does not mean ‘keeping him quiet‘, which I would not do (for the shear entertainment value alone), but also because he is the selected spokesperson of the Greek economy. So when we see the news in the Guardian a few hours ago stating: “Greek bond weaken after Varoufakis blames creditors“, my first thought was ‘can’t the man shut up?’

The quote given is “The problem is simple: Greece’s creditors insist on even greater austerity for this year and beyond – an approach that would impede recovery, obstruct growth, worsen the debt-deflationary cycle, and, in the end, erode Greeks’ willingness and ability to see through the reform agenda that the country so desperately needs. Our government cannot – and will not – accept a cure that has proven itself over five long years to be worse than the disease

In my own view I state that he squandered 95% of the time he had with posturing, he forfeited the game buy thinking that Greece is too big to be ‘Grexitted’. Guess what Yanis! The Dutch SNS bank thought that very same notion! It did not pan out too well for them either!

Now we get the second quote, this one from Dimitris Stratoulis. He states “If we decide that there is no money left for the IMF, we have repeatedly said that our priority is to pay salaries, pensions, health, and education”. To be honest, I cannot completely oppose that! Although my priority should state Pension, Salary and Health, with a question mark to what salaries are to be paid, but I understand that the people should normally go first. I do not oppose this! Yet Syriza has been playing what I regard to be a pissing contest with people who did not need to play that game and had no interesting in playing that game. There is additional evidence. Perhaps you remember the case of Leonidas Bobolas, who got arrested in April 2015 for 1.2 million in tax evasion? That short term theatrical play just as the ‘negotiations’ were going on. I reported it in my blog on April 27th in the article ‘Finding inspiration‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/04/27/finding-inspiration/).

How many arrests since then?

The news is awfully quiet around it. There has also been zero visibility on praising Kostas Vaxevanis on his findings and his reports. It seems to me that the members of Syriza have absolutely no intent of doing anything constructive at all towards their creditors. So when we see the statements “Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has apparently pledged that Greece will meet its €305m repayment to the International Monetary Fund” by Yanis Varoufakis as well as “Tsipras instructed officials to act speedily as his government sought to defuse tensions saying it would do its best to honour its debts – even if it failed to reveal how, exactly, it would find the money to pay €1.6bn in loans to the International Monetary Fund next month” (Helena Smith, the Guardian).

Yet these two parts are already ignoring the 750 million pushed forward because the invoice of May 12th was not ‘paid’! It was settled using the IMF emergency funds, which means that this money is also due. In addition on May 12th, 16th and 19th are the amounts of 348, 581 and 348 million due. That is just the IMF, the maturing bonds as well as the ECB have not been taking into account in this matter. In addition, more bailouts are already known to be needed, so as Varoufakis is boasting, threatening and claiming, I notice that many are ignoring the observation some made “the creditors’ insistence on even more austerity, even at the expense of the reform agenda that our government is eager to pursue“. This is at the heart of the matter, because Greece is facing a 22 billion annual interest invoice, which it has no way of paying. A fact many are simply ignoring. So as non-actual payment of three quarters of a billion were made, we must wonder where that comes from. Let’s not forget that on June 12th 3.6 billion in T-bills mature!

Another non-reality comes from that same Guardian when we see: “Traders are also blaming Klaus Regling, the head of the European Stability Mechanism, for today’s euro selloff“, which is specified in “There is little time left… That’s why we’re working day and night for an agreement. Without an agreement with the creditors, Greece will not get any new loans. Then there’s a threat of insolvency. There are a lot of risks contained in that”, which is a reality I have pleaded for, for some time now. The funny part is that the New Democracy HAD it for the most sorted and the Greek people were suffering, no one denies that! Yet the courts have not made any attempt to hold previous administrations accountable, the tax evasion schemes had one trial so far and 1.2 million does not go far.

There is one final part that is an additional danger. It is not reported on, because in all honesty, the actual danger is not known yet. But did you consider how tourism will do this year? How many thousands of tourists will consider avoiding Greece (the Germans being a first nation that comes to mind)? You see, no matter how we regard the Germans, they for the most had jobs, had incomes and will desire a warm vacation. The Greek approach will work out nicely for Spain, Portugal and Italy I reckon, but with the acts of alienation Greece is cutting itself in the fingers. In addition, the dangers of drying ‘wells’, like the fear of empty ATM’s and other means not operational give added fear to the tourist population. Even though Crete should remain reasonably safe, the reality is that no part of Greece might be safe if clear progress is not booked within 2 weeks. I do hope that it will not pan out to be too bad for Crete, Stavros Arnaoutakis has been an active fighter for the prosperity of Crete for a long time and it was his birthday yesterday, so: “Happy belated birthday Stavros!” He was born in Archanes, due South of Iraklion. You might wonder why I bring this up. I will repeat the issue I voiced well over a year ago. It is becoming more and more visible that the power of Crete might reside in its independence. Crete has a founded tourist base, it has a functioning harbour for commerce and functioning airports for commercial ends too. This independence would not break their Union with Greece, but unlike the independence of Scotland, Greece has a much better chance to setup its independence at present, without too many nasty negative sides. Whatever options Syriza is currently destroying, Crete could set up a working base of minimal credit and continue for now. It will be hard, no one will deny that, but if Crete can sway a few services towards the Cretan island, it would for the better part be decently self-reliant.

This is a much better position than the position Greece had in the past, which team Tsipras/Varoufakis efficiently destroyed as I personally see it.

I also believe that the dedication Stavros Arnaoutakis has shown for a strong Crete could go a long way with whatever creditor conversation might be needed. As Crete moves straight into the Drachma, which would then be called the Cretan Drachma, would start to build on a future for both social enhancements (within Crete) as well as built on the decent foundations that Cretan housing has as well as a shift towards a services oriented future. Consider the mild climate Crete offers with water views all around that island, how long until 2-3 retirement villages would rake in jobs, commerce and income from retirees who would like their last few years in decent sunshine?

It is not enough to warrant full independence, but it is a start, if only to make the reliance on tourism 10%-20% smaller. Consider call centres that could work in that time zone and the better weather conditions. Before too long, students from all over Europe will seek a call centre all day and party all night vacation. I admit it is not the business call that matters here, but good commerce is where you built it!

Now, this might not be a great idea (perhaps not even a good idea), but I am trying to find a solution! I hope that there will be options for the Greek people, because Syriza is quickly and as I see it possibly intentional discarding whatever solution is left for the Greek people. If you doubt this, then consider the following facts:

* Less than an hour ago, I see in the Guardian, the following release: “Mujtaba Rahman, analyst at Eurasia Group, reckons that Greece will probably reach a deal with the Eurozone in time” (I am not convinced), in addition we see “We continue to believe Tsipras will lose around 5-10 lawmakers from his coalition when the package is presented to parliament (potentially attached to a vote of confidence). But we suspect he will lose less than 12 MP’s allowing him to keep his parliamentary majority“. As I see it, this should be about protecting the Greek people, now we see the cold reality (not an invalid one) that this seems to be more about playing with votes and keeping a ‘parliamentary majority‘!

This is why I felt that Antonis Samaras was the better option. He was trying to find solutions, not be ‘the popular guy’! You think Antonis Samaras was making friends when he was in office? No! He inherited a 400 billion invoice (very rough estimate) with no way to pay for it. With floating the credit ceiling and pushing non actions, Tsipras in his short time (with of course support by Varoufakis) has added close to 20% to that total debt. Now, in all honesty, he did not cause that 20% directly, but by sitting on his hands and playing theatrics he has not helped resolve any of it.

But we must also adhere to reality. The following we get from Bloomberg if Greece misses a payment: “A missed payment date starts the clock ticking. Two weeks after the initial due date and a cable from Washington urging immediate payment, the fund sends another cable stressing the “seriousness of the failure to meet obligations” and again urges prompt settlement. Two weeks after that, the managing director informs the Executive Board that an obligation is overdue. For Greece, that’s when the serious consequences kick in. These are known as cross-default and cross-acceleration“. This is a true reality, yet is that per payment?

Consider that this happen on June 5th and we get to June 19th? At that point two T-bills will have matured for the total amount of 5.2 billion, the second one of 1.6 billion on the 19th itself. When the 5th is missed, what will the markets do then? In addition, on June 19th a total of 910 million will be due too (16th and 19th of June IMF payments). In addition, what will happen to the interest levels when the two week term passes?

No one denies that the payment pressure is too unreal, but the Greek government themselves was cause to all of this (not Syriza)! That is at the heart of the ignored facts (read: unmentioned). These facts are exactly why Crete should consider protecting the Cretan population if at all possible. In addition, the separation could give additional credit to the Greeks on Crete and it might (not a guarantee) instil a lesser negative impact on tourism, which would be a massive plus. A few extra options could be set up there, but that would be up to Stavros Arnaoutakis and his peers to decide.

So how will we see this steeplechase unfold?

The ‘die hard’ positive proclaimers are singing the same song again and again, the doomsayers are hammering on what cannot be and both are interestingly avoiding key issues. Whether they feel repetitive on them is beside the point. I try to remain on the fence (which is hard with Syriza), yet I do try to find solutions. Will they be useful? Not for me to decide, but at least as a non-Greek, I might be one of the few trying to find a non-exploitative solution, which puts me ethically, morally and spiritually ahead of the pack.

 

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I told you so!

OK, not the best title, but it is time to throw a little hardship onto the fire. Now, the next part will be one you might not agree with, especially if you’re an economist, yet, so far, my prediction have been spot on and there is a lot more to come.

First there is the answer to those who either revoiced or proclaimed that Greece still had plenty of time, in addition, we now see the how the inactions of Tsipras is now showing to be the death of his fellow Greeks. The message that is only hours old “It’s official, Greek cash reserves are running dry” The quote gives us “In a move that puts Greece’s credit crunch into perspective, prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ government has revealed that it has just over €600m euro in cash reserves. A presidential degree allowing the state to sequester the funds of public bodies has seen €64.5m being transferred from local authorities to the Central Bank of Greece, said a government statement released this morning“, in addition we get “The statement’s timing – hours after Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ alarming warning that the country could go bust “in a couple of weeks” – is clearly aimed at focusing minds as EU finance ministers meet in Brussels” and last there is “described by the leading economist Mohammed El Erian today as potentially “devastating for Greece’s long-suffering population.””. That part I stated weeks ago, but several people disagreed. It would never get that far. Now we see it! It has come that far! In addition the 600 million part implies (implies not fact) that the loans can no longer be honoured. Now we see the first clear consequence of the Status Quo push I opposed all along.

Now we get to the utter incompetent politicians, better known as Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis. The quote “Media and analysts in Greece this morning believe it is almost inevitable that a deal will now be put to public vote” means that these two are going to hide behind a referendum, In my mind, the actual response should be ‘If Syriza actually loves its nation, it will abdicate today and returns power to New Democracy and the seat of power returns to Antonis Samaras’. I believe that such a change, with additional austerity would give Greece a chance to remain in existence. This had also been my view all along and is now voiced by Costas Karagounis (at http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/05/11/new-democracy-the-greek-government-has-put-the-party-above-national-interests/). This will not be an easy sell.

The only way that this works is to do two steps that the Greek rich will not like.

  1. All tax settlements from December 2014 are to be declared null and void in Greek Parliament.
  2. All tax evaders to be prosecuted with late fines set at 20%.

2b. the accounts of any listed tax evaders are to be frozen through the Palace of Justice in The Hague and to be monitored as payment is properly made to the Greek treasury.

Now for the other parts, this is the one that will cost the IMF, however, they can now consider an option where the payments will become an option.

  1. All loans are to be reset with the total amount set at 1% interest and all bonds are to be matured immediately and added to the debt, also at 1%.
  2. Greece is prohibited from entering the bonds market until 2040, in addition, they are not allowed any more bond actions until 75% of the debt has been repaid (whichever date comes last).

 

Now we get to the future of Greece, for that to work a harsh change will be needed if Greece is not to become extinct (again).

  1. Every municipality is now under austerity for balanced budgets, which means that services would cease unless there is money coming into the city. Debts are no longer allowed to be passed on, in every municipality the mayor and the local treasurer are liable for prosecution and mandatory prison terms if they fail. It seems to me that wasting funds should be stopped at the source.

You see, some will see my steps as ‘too extreme’, but when we get the quote: ““there is almost no-one who believes that negotiations over a [long-term] deal will end in June. Everyone is saying journalists should be prepared to work right the way through the summer and ensure they are around in June, July, early August.”” This implies that Tsipras is still playing the ‘let’s delay it all game‘. This is given added weight, but the following statement from Wolfgang Schäuble: “12-May-2015 11:21:47 – GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER SCHAEUBLE SAYS IMPROVEMENT IN GREEK TALKS CLIMATE NOT MATCHED BY SUBSTANCE“. Which was a clear reported issue in February 2015, so in one quarter the Greek team had not learned anything at all. This was not a ‘pissing’ content, this is a situation where two politicians are playing with the very existence and livelihood of millions of Greeks. You see, when it all stops the Greek retirees are literally left with nothing.

So as the EU finance clambake ended with no progress for Greece, we see a small message at the end. The message is: “They also hope to reach agreement on a new scheme, the European fund for strategic investments (EFSI), by June – so it can begin investing in private projects this summer“. Can anyone tell me where that money is coming from? Another trillion euro’s? I have no idea how much is involved, yet with the EU at large out of cash, who will fund those investments?

Yet, the trouble for Greece is not even close to over, it only deepens, that part was shown less than two hours ago, when we got the following from Twitter source: @enikos_en

The Social Security Foundation (IKA), Greece’s largest pension fund, has decided to take short term loans worth €360 million in order to pay June’s pensions to its members, financial site enikonomia.gr reports. The decision was made Monday by IKA’s governing board. The loan is comprised of €150 million in repos from a private bank, using Greek Treasury bonds that IKA owns as collateral, and the rest from cash reserves of three other funds, including €100 million from the Public Power Corporation (PPC) employees’ insurance fund” (source: the Guardian).

Now we get to the issue I had less than two weeks ago, I predicted this to some extent, get loans to pay for loans. This situation is so much more dangerous when you analyse the information, which should get you the following:

  1. IKA takes a loan to pay members.
  2. It is using Greek Treasury bonds it holds in collateral (Which the Greek government cannot pay as it seems).
  3. Consider the previous statement, if payments are not met those bonds will get value $0.00, in addition, we saw that Greece has 600 million left and this Friday 1.4 billion in Greek bonds mature. So, how is this going anywhere else but to a really bad place?
  4. The loan drained the PPC insurance fund.

So these facts imply that IKA will have no more payment options in a month, whilst the loans could claim chunks of whatever IKA had as a foundation, which could now give added dangers to the PPC getting hit. Can anyone else see the dangers here? You see, if IKA had so many reserves left, the Greek government would not be out on a limb claiming it only had 600 million left. It seems that when we see a full list of everyone’s money in the Greek bonds, we will see a few names that had been quiet, then what?

So as we see no results from Ecofin, we should wonder what will happen this Friday. One set of 1.4 billion in Greek bonds matured on May 8th, the press has remained awfully silent there. I cannot find any actual news on what happened, there are mentions that the debts will be rolled over with new bonds, but that is also a clear misrepresentation. Many of the old bonds were at 6%, now the rollover, will mean that the new set will represent 1.6 billion, more important, if bonds are usually set to a 1% commission, who did all this and where EXACTLY did that 16 million go? That is quick money, but for whom? A fan/friend of the Varoufakis rock band? I actually have no idea, so perhaps someone else knows.

Any finally we see that ‘rock star’ (Varoufakis) back on the microphone stating “From the perspective [of timing], we are talking about the next couple of weeks” regarding the liquidity. Well, that is not the case, because the bills due before Friday, in addition another 1.4 billion bond, that 600 million will have melted like snow in the sun. As payments are now an issue on several levels form a multitude of places, this weekend could start the end of Greece in a very real way, which is only hitting harder as the ECB has raised the Greek ceiling again, now by an additional 1.1 billion. Giving the Greeks now a total minus cap of 80 billion, put that on top of the 300 plus debt they already have and we see the makings of a new level of approaching disaster.

Are you, the reader still thinking that my approach was extreme?

Now consider the 750 million due today. Greek repaid it, but it did so by using money which was already at the IMF, so basically, they extended their death line by one month. Yet in the Guardian it was stated as: “Greece moved to banish fears it was on the brink of insolvency and default on Monday, ordering the repayment of €750m (£535m) in IMF loans hours before they were due“, that news came on May 11th. However, the Financial Times gave us “Greece took the unusual step of raiding its holdings of the International Monetary Fund’s de facto currency to make a €750m payment to the fund on Tuesday, in another sign of the country’s increasingly desperate cash crunch” (at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ddb97ae8-f899-11e4-be00-00144feab7de.html#axzz3ZzefGf2r), so the consequence here is that any bond action will be a lot more expensive and under these conditions, the Greek debt goes up by something approaching another billion.

There is now another question, are the releasers of information guilty of manipulating the markets? The markets released pressure because of the initial news and panicked when the ‘true’ facts came out. Moreover, this gives us more clarity that Greece is still all about misrepresentation, an issue the creditors might find alarming on several levels. We cannot truly condone the way Greece went about paying the amount, but this game of extensions, deferment and delays has been made for too long, whilst we see from various sources that the reformation essential to the survival of Greece is being made, in addition, staff that had been fired earlier is now rehired, which means that the governments costs are going up again, no real income is reaching Greece. Add all this up and Greece seems to be working itself into a deeper hole with every passing minute.

The Greek people deserved better!

 

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Just before the joke

 

That is how I feel at this time, after a week of hospital, the first thing I did (actually the first thing I did was to get a bacon and egg roll, which I missed beyond life), was to take a look whether that Greek (Tsipras) had gotten a clue and a few vowels. So as I look at the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/mar/31/euro-falls-greek-progress-unemployment-inflation-live-updates), one of the initial views I get is: “Samaras says Tsipras imagined he’d get money without terms but ended up getting terms without money“, which is very apt. It was a statement by @MacroPolis_gr (Twitter id). It is interesting that I made similar views 10 days ago, just slightly less poetic. Just above that we get: “He pledged to end the ‘pillaging’ of the middle classes, and revealed that a new clampdown on unpaid taxes had already delivered €100m. But his speech lacked clear details about the reform plan that Greece is putting together in negotiations with its creditors over the last few days“, moreover, 100 Million is just a joke in the sight of what is required and it seems clear that many parties are not willing to give a single Drachma to help Greece out at present. Theatrics and fake images are no longer enough, in addition, the 10 days of absence shows that not only is there a lack of progress, the words of Jeremy Cook take us one step further: “On every agenda item of what the austerity and bailout program needs, Greece disagrees. The program calls for a VAT increase on the tourism sector, the Greek government has said no. Pension reform has been shot down and public sector wages will remain protected“, so there is no decrease in spending, no increase in taxation and the cost remain untouched. There is a clear need that something has to give, and Tsipras as the spokesperson seems to be steering towards the Euro collapse, whilst he could be suddenly play ‘possum’ in the last 5 minutes of the deal stating: ‘what would you like?‘, at that part, is he relying on the initial ‘too big to fail‘ part as I had predicted it, or is he willing to be the first one to collapse it all? At that point, when 85% of the 8 million retirement funds dwindle down below 70% of value, who will be blamed? The Germans (as they seem to do), the troika group, or are the Greeks willing to consider that electing Tsipras was a massive mistake in a long line of huge mistakes? So as we see more razzle dazzle misrepresentation from Tsipras as he claims to remain within 1.5% shortage of GDP, the question becomes…. how?

That answer is not given in any way shape or form.

When we see the quote from Mark Mobius “Templeton’s #MarkMobius tells the Greek press ‘Greece will stay in the euro zone. The stock market is cheap and we are buyers.’“, in my view this means ‘As long as I am making profit in other markets seeing Greece leave the Eurozone will be detrimental to my bottom line, which is profit‘. Is my view wrong? Am I not seeing right, or are we facing iterations of cadaver devouring? You see, the bond of a place that will not pay back is a worthless bond, so why give such a place billions. You see, in my view if these ‘moguls’ are so iteratively happy on Greece remaining in the Eurozone, let them pay Greece from their profits. They only need 5 billion for now, but guess what, it seems that those ‘investors’ are just like all other investors, unwilling to pay for the bag of potatoes, which is no longer worth the potatoes. That gives us the issue, Greece willing to play, but not pay, investors very willing to pay, but not play. You see investors (they call themselves grown-ups) have no sense of humour, especially when their profit is in danger. So here we are looking into the mouth of the claimants, Tsipras and Mobius, all just playing the tune to their needs and the Greeks are just about to get marginalised in the scheme of things.

Now, you might want to conclude that I am just imagining things and that would as always be fair (never just accept the word of anyone), yet in my view as stated before things do not add up, in the last light as Greece is under so much pressure, we see a Prime Minister showing close to zero effort in obtaining that what is essential for the current continuation of Greece, yet he does not seem to take any clear effort to truly fight for his nation (as I see it). Yet, consider the other information when we look at the data as I presented it roughly 10 days ago, we saw the Australian Financial review reporting: “The country’s cash shortfall is projected to hit 3.5 billion euros in March, according to Bloomberg calculations based on 2015 budget figures“. If that is true the the shortfall is already a fact and the news on the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32113699), quoting: “The reforms are needed to unlock a new tranche of bailout cash for Greece, which could run out of money in weeks“, is that so? In addition, when we look at Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/24/us-eurozone-greece-cash-exclusive-idUSKBN0MK1PT20150324), which is a week old, states in the title ‘Greece to run out of cash by April 20 without fresh aid – source‘, the quote “Greece will run out of money by April 20 unless it receives fresh aid from creditors, a source familiar with the familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday” is fair enough and the article is a week old, yet it seems that one states shortfall as per today, out of cash within 3 weeks. It seems to me that several parties are already dragging their feet and dragging the point of no return as far forward as possible, yet the ones needing to get things done are dragging their heels too, so how is any of it a good idea?

This dragging thing is all the rage amongst economic players. The BBC gives us “Mr Varoufakis said that tensions between the two countries ‘must stop’, adding: ‘Only then can Greece, with support of its partners, focus on implementing effective reforms and growth-orientated policy strategies’“, no no no! The tension does not need to stop, Greece only needs to stop blaming Germany and get on with it. There was no debilitating ‘tension’ there is only a group of debilitated Greek officials who are not doing what they are supposed to do. The additional quote: “However, the reforms as initially proposed do not appear to have been specific enough to win the approval of the lenders, formerly known as the ‘troika’“, shows that Greece has been dragging its heels, as specific plans were clearly required, so what game are the players Tsipras and Varoufakis playing?

Is that such a weird question to have?

When we see ‘To Vima’ (at http://www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=690574), we see the following: “Mr. Tsipras called for the opposition parties to support the government’s efforts in the current negotiations with the country’s creditors and partners. The Prime Minister outlined his government’s “red lines” and argued that he would not accept any further pension and wage cut, or the implementation of any recessionary measures. Mr. Tsipras further stated that he would not accept the deregulation of collective dismissals, any increase of the VAT in food or medicine, nor would he agree to the further “selling off” of public assets“. I personally agree with selling off public assets, that makes sense, if Greece is to move forward at any stage, selling of its assets will only mean that thy will make money for the new owners. The no recessionary measures is a boast that cannot be continued, either they do it now, to a strong extent, or the Drachma will force it onto the entire population beyond its debilitating extent.

Yet what could be done?

That is the question when we see the Financial Times from two days ago (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a45d78e2-d627-11e4-b3e7-00144feab7de.html), here we see: “Without fresh funding, Athens risks running out of cash before meeting a €450m loan payment due to the International Monetary Fund next week. The credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Greece late on Friday to a “substantial credit risk”, citing “uncertain prospects of timely disbursement from official institutions”“, now we have ourselves a ball game.

So, this gives the clear insight that Greece is already short by half a billion long before the 20th April deadline. The article shows a few more gems and you should definitely read it. I especially like the Greek officials and their ‘hope’ for a partial disbursement off the $7.2 Billion which could tide Athens over until they would be able to reach what they call ‘a full deal’. Is it not nice on how they make no steps in any direction and still they want cash?

So as we look at the Greek expressions we see the old time favourite “I’ve lost my eggs and baskets”, meaning in this case, I have no money and I cannot fathom why not. You see, the situation turned into “a whore’s fencepost“, which implies that things only get out of hand when it is more than a brothel’s walk away.

But we must not forget that there are other players on the horizon too. That part seems to be a lot clearer when we see the response from Mark Mobius. When we look at some other quotes like from CNBC, we see “Amid the turmoil, hedge fund managers are again eyeing Greece for bargain shopping, but the political uncertainty has kept them from aggressively investing there“, so hedge funds are all about the stability, yet these ‘stable funds’ require clarity of profit, that much can be ascertained from Paulson and Co. So as we see the quote “Paulson, which manages $17.8 billion overall, still holds longstanding equity positions in two major Greek banks, Piraeus Bank and Alpha, according to recent investor materials“, we can only guess on how large the ACTUAL amounts are. All that at what percentage? 6%, 7% or even more percent? That interest needs to come from somewhere, so as the Greeks think that they move forward by 2019, the truth seems to be that they are taking care of interest and principle of whatever is out there right now. So as we question the claim by Mark Mobius, my questioning his statement comes in part from this “Alden’s main fund fell 9.6 percent in January thanks in part to losing Greek positions, according to the person“, so if shares are so cheap, why did Alden still lost close to what amounts to well over 150 million? 9.6% of 1.7 billion is a lot more then I will ever make in my life, so why was Mark Mobius so blasé? What is he fishing for and what are the current Greek officials not telling the people that voted them in?

 

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