If you owe the bank $1,000, You have a problem

If you owe the bank $1 billion, the bank has a problem. It’s The IMF That Has A Greek Debt Problem, Not Greece At All

There’s an old saying that if you owe the bank £1,000 then you have a problem, if you owe them £1 million then the bank has a problem. It is indeed an old saying so we should probably update it to £1 million and £10 billion to get the correct sense of scale here.

Greece owes the rest of Europe so much money, that it cannot repay it. Politicians don’t want to admit that they lent Greece money that it can never repay. What a shock; politicians are avoiding unpleasant budgetary issues. (That never happens in the USA, does it?)

It looks as though the IMF is about to stop covering for the politicians. And just in time for a raft of elections in Europe.

Grexit? Greece Is Back in the News (Sort of)

Greece would be back in the news, if the US media hadn’t lost its collective mind in November. Grexit? Greece again on the brink as debt crisis threatens break with EU

Greece has an unsustainable debt load. They have creditors, and want relief (need relief) from those creditors. But they don’t want to face the long-term hard choices. (They are politicians, and focused on the next election cycle – which for Greece could come sooner than expected.)

Once again, time is of the essence. Shored up by a third EU-led bailout, Athens was told this week that further rescue funds would not be forthcoming until it concluded a compliance review of terms attached to the €86bn (£74bn) aid package. In July Greece faces debt repayments of €10.5bn – once again raising the spectre of default because the country just does not have the money.

One of the largest creditors is the government of Germany. Angela Merkel faces her own elections in September. And the people of Germany are listening to the folks that say they should stop funding Athens. So, in order to hold onto power, she may do what she said she would not do, stop funding Greece.

Ahead of Germany’s general election in September, Berlin’s finance minister Wolfgang Schauble has also raised the stakes with growing criticism of Greece – a tactic that has proved popular with voters who might otherwise support Germany’s far right AfD party. Earlier this week Bild, the mass-selling newspaper, stoked passions further by suggesting the German government was warming to the idea of Greece leaving the euro – a notion Schauble has openly supported in the past.

Trump has tweeted in the past that Greece is wasting its time in the Euro, and should leave. (Which has been my position all along.)

$1.9 billion error in California’s version of Medicaid.

As one of the commenters on the story said, no one expects Progressives to be good at math. $1.9 billion error adds to California deficit projection

The administration discovered accounting mistakes last fall, but it did not notify lawmakers until the administration included adjustments to make up for the errors in Brown’s budget proposal last week.

Expanding Medicaid was a cornerstone of Obamacare. Said to be working smoothly in California. 1.9 billion dollars discovered in the fall. Before or after the election, I wonder. (Not that a few billion dollars would have changed voting habits on the Left Coast – where it is all about FEELINGS.) No one will lose their job over this error.

The 1.9 billion error is compounding the problem that CA is not collecting taxes at the rate they expected. Total budget shortfall is closer to $3 billion. [Hat tip to Small Dead Animals]

Why is it that Socialist and Communist Paradises Have to Wall Folks IN?

Venezuela is worried about people leaving, because starvation and violence. Venezuela Reopens Border With Brazil, Colombia Perimeter Still Closed

The border with Colombia had been closed on the orders of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to prevent 100 Bolivars from entering the country, which he said were being hoarded by “mafias” in the border city of Cúcuta, Colombia.

The border was supposed to be closed for only 72 hours, during which time banknotes were supposed to be delivered to banks and then removed from circulation. However, the border with Colombia has remained closed.

Brazil had to work through diplomatic channels to get their citizens OUT of the country, when Venezuela closed the Brazilian border.

For conditions in the country, see my previous post on the subject.

Life in a Socialist Paradise. Or Not

The collapse of Venezuela continues apace. Venezuela Set for Murderous 2017

Shortages of food and medicine. Hyperinflation. Violence. Welcome to the Socialist paradise – praised by one and all from Hollywood just a few years ago.

The Venezuelan Violence Observatory (Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia – OVV) estimated 28,479 “violent deaths” during 2016, a homicide rate of 91.8 per 100,000 residents. As a point of comparison the murder rate in the United States is under five per 100,000. The count included deaths from confrontations involving security forces, a mounting number.

The numbers are expected to get worse this year.

During 2016 living conditions in the country further, hyperinflation is spiraling out of control and while the minimum wage has increased, salaries have been eroded by the rising cost of products, leading to a proliferation of the black market.

Can you say “failed state?”

So who were the Hollywood Celebs that were in love with the Venezuelan government? Danny Glover, Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Harry Belafonte, Naomi Campbell, and Princeton University Professor Cornel West. Not to mention boxing promoter Don King.

Wonder why they aren’t down there now?

How Many Times Does Greece Have Break Their Promises Before People Stop Believing Them?

I’ve lost count of the number of times Greece has promised to do things for debt relief, and then not done them. 4 or 5? Greece Heads Into Another Economic Crisis: Time To Finally Exit The European Union?

So they went back on their latest sets of agreements by increasing pension payments, and declaring a Value Added Tax holiday. In other words, severely limiting their income. The creditors were not happy.

Insults started flying. The spokesman for the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers said the moves “appear to be not in line” with the agreement. The spokesman for Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s Finance Minister and chief beta noire of the Greek public, explained “In order to make the program successful, it is necessary that measures are not decided unilaterally or reversed without notice.” A member of Germany’s Bundestag complained of Greece’s “orgy of empty promises.”

I can’t understand 2 things. 1) Why the Greeks in the face of all the pain they have been through, have clung to the Euro. 2) Why the German population hasn’t voted out Merkel for having them fund the Greek bailout. (And they have funded an awful lot of it.)

McDonald’s Unveils Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide

You pass a law to raise costs. Business responds accordingly. Thanks To ‘Fight For $15’ Minimum Wage, McDonald’s Unveils Job-Replacing Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the nationwide roll-out of touchscreen self-service kiosks. In a video the company released to showcase the new customer experience, it’s striking to see employees who once would have managed a cash register now reduced to monitoring a customer’s choices at an iPad-style kiosk.

Of course a lot of small businesses just closed doors. Because while the Left may hate profits, they are needed to keep a business moving. [Hat tip Legal Insurrection.]