You Mean They Actually Have to Live Up to the Agreements They Made?

Greece has never really left the news, except that Americans have mostly been ignoring it in favor of more entertaining stuff. Greece fails to reach bailout deal with eurozone finance ministers

Depending on the article you read, Greece has either gotten, a deal, won’t get a deal, or will have any deals pushed off until after the German election in September.

Some people want Greece to do more. Some think that isn’t realistic. But this quote caught my eye.

Brussels wants all previously agreed reforms implemented.

Greece has been bailed out 3 or 4 times. In each case they have made promises, such as raise taxes, or sell nationalized industries to private concerns. They have done some of this, but not nearly all of this because it is hard. And in some cases they have passed laws that will do the hard stuff later this year or next. (Of course they can always change their minds which leaves some people feeling like it is another dodge.)

Why the delay related to Germany’s election? Because Angela Merkel would like to be re-elected. And the average German-in-the-street isn’t happy about all the money she loaned gave to Greece. And if she admits it was a gift and not a loan…. She is already facing a pretty tight election.

Meanwhile, in the Socialist Paradise of Venezuela…

Venezuela is teetering on the brink. Venezuela’s oil production is on the brink of collapse – Business Insider

If oil production collapses in the country, they won’t have a dime. They are already in a really bad way.

The inflation rate, according to the IMF, will balloon to 720 percent this year. Food shortages have been common for quite some time, but are deepening and wearing down the population. Three out of four people surveyed by the WSJ reported involuntary weight loss last year. Hospitals have completely broken down.

No food, no medical care. (What? I thought health care was a right. How could this happen in a socialist paradise?)

So why is oil production declining? Because the .gov used the oil money to buy and keep power, and spent none of it on maintenance. But there is a funny thing about oil equipment… it breaks down.

Crude oil production is down 18 percent since 2015 and is expected to decline 10 to 15 percent this year. Venezuelan oil refineries are also breaking down, unable to obtain spare parts.

The litany of decay goes on from there. Unpaid bills. Oil sent abroad, not kept for domestic use. The security services of the country are getting restless too. (They have families who can’t eat after all.) As Margaret Thatcher would have said, they have reached the point where they’ve run out of other people’s money.

Venezuela: No pretense at justice

Apparently, the .gov of Venezuela has decided to do away with civilian courts. Venezuela Tries Protesters in Military Court ‘Like We Are in a War’

Sounds like martial law has been declared. What a surprise, a Socialist Paradise dictatorship does away with the rule of law in order to remain in power.

President Nicolás Maduro, beleaguered by a second month of protests against his rule, has prosecuted political rivals under terrorism laws and expanded his powers by emergency decrees. His backers on the Supreme Court have even tried to dissolve the national legislature, which is led by the political opposition.

I wonder why the continuing stream of Leftists (Bernie Sanders, call your office) stopped going there/saying nice things about Venezuela.

God Bless Wolfgang Schaeuble

Everyone in the EU is talking about how debt relief is being readied for Greece. Everyone except Wolfgang Schaeuble, the finance minister of Germany. Germany says no debt relief being prepared for Greece | Reuters

Greece is once again complaining about the terms of their last bailout. They took the money and made promises, but the promises are “hard.” So they don’t think they should have to abide by the promises. (And the money is gone – no giving that back!)

The German finance minister, has a different view. You see Greece has never lived up to any of the sets of promises made after any of the bailouts. (I can’t even remember right now if it is 3 or 4 bailouts.) Other countries were bailed out, and it seems they are doing OK.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in Durban, South Africa that the European Union needed to “exert pressure on national governments to implement … much-needed reforms.”

“Those countries which received help under European assistance programmes, and therefore had to actually implement unpleasant reforms, and those countries which have kept to the agreed rules are among the most successful countries in the EU today,” he said.

“The problem is therefore not with the rules, but with the lack of implementation of them.”

At least there is one man in Europe who is still willing to tell uncomfortable truths.

Puerto Rico: The New Greece

Another bankrupt government. This one a little closer to home. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/06/us/puerto-rico-insolvency-business-owners-anxiety.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Another government borrowed money that they really had no chance of paying back. And the population went along with it. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Faced with a $123 billion debt it cannot pay, Puerto Rico filed for a kind of bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, a move that sent shivers down the spines of everyone from bond holders fearful of staggering losses to street sweepers and public employees whose already meager paychecks are likely to dwindle.

The story – being in the New York Times – paints how bad everyone has it because of the eeeevil bankers. Or something. There is only limited discussion of the way the island ended up in these straights. For example, when the current governor, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló, took office, it wasn’t clear how much debt there was.

When he took office, Mr. Rosselló said his first task was to determine “how deep the rabbit hole went.” He expected a $3 billion deficit, and instead found a deficit of $7.5 billion

That is a pretty glaring lack of information.