Recent comments by Mook

Antipodes wrote:

Greece should have left the EU five years ago. It is not too late...

This weekend's events make me wonder whether the Troika have had a come-to-Jeebus moment in re: sunk costs over the past few days.

I learned many negotiations ago that if your best alternative to a settlement is actually better than your best negotiated outcome (e.g. you want to break a contract rather than throw good money after bad), your most effective approach is to start from an unreasonable position and get more unreasonable from there.

josap wrote:

Per LL: what can't be paid, won't be paid.

The mouseover text for this icon.

Fair Economist wrote:

This isn't an attempt to deal, this is trying to come out with something too nasty for Syriza to assent to, so the hardliners can blame Syriza for stopping negotiations.

That's it, exactly. On the Guardian's live coverage page, Karl Whelan says as much (emphasis mine):

  1. The inclusion (in brackets so not agreed) of the temporary exit option shows that this is still the German position.
  2. This document is going to heads of state. It is not credible that this is not the agreed German government position i.e just Schäuble's.
  3. No haircuts inside euro but a "possible restructuring" if Grexit is a huge sweetener designed to boost support for Grexit in Greece.
  4. The offer of restructuring outside the euro but not inside has got nothing to do with the provisions of the Treaty.
  5. Germany has an effective veto on ESM loan agreements. German strategy appears to be to set conditions that won't be met and force Grexit.

These "negotiations" have always been more about politics than economics, but now it's just nakedly political. I can't even express in words how fervently I hope this blows up in the Troika's faces.

barfly wrote:

they are not the real constitution
everybody knows they're fake rewrites with whatever the corporations want

Our federal government has gone one better, barfly. They've given the corporations everything they want without ever having had to change a word of the Constitution.

sporkfed wrote:

Until every euro of Greek debt has been transferred from the banks onto the taxpayer, wherever they may be, the deal isn't done.

Most of that mission was accomplished three years ago.

It's mainly about asset-stripping at this point.

CR wrote:

However, French President François Hollande later said, “There is no temporary Grexit. There is only Grexit or not Grexit.”

Leave it to the French leader to be able to wax philosophical about it.

I think the word especially fitting given that the process to disabuse Tsipras of said notion consists basically of non-stop abuse.

barfly wrote:

one of my favorite words

Doh! And I use that word fairly often myself, too.

Need moar Lets take a coffee break obviously.

"The situation is extremely difficult if you consider the economic situation in Greece and the worsening in the last few months, but what has been lost also in terms of trust and reliability,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters as she arrived.

Translation: We're doing everything we can to disavow this fool of the notion that the voices of his country's people matter.

KidPsych wrote:

I’m ‘Quite’ Worried About a Bond Market Bubble – Greenspan

I remember the days when something called 'default risk' was a primary factor in bond valuations.

Mary wrote:

So. Where would the discerning merican adolescent to turn for ahh experience to educate his or her taste, or palate, in beer. In 1980?

Personally, I was 5 at the time ... but I'll indulge you by telling the board what you're waiting to hear from somebody anybody, which is that at 16 I basically drank whatever was put in front of me. And so?

josap wrote:

EU official says #Greece needs to do more on product and labour market reform. And needs to pass more laws this wk to show they're serious.

Thread music! YouTube - Take The Money And Run - The Steve Miller Band (Lyrics + HQ) 

Rob Dawg wrote:

The Greeks on double secret probation? The jokes write themselves.

I take it you'd be in favor of the :paddle: icon as well? Wink

Hey, Ken! If you're out there, pleeeeease find it in your heart to let the commentariat donate icons instead of tiles.

GDD9000 wrote:

Germany pitches ‘five-year Grexit’ in leaked document 
You just knew Wolfie was gonna throw a spanner in the works...

Again, Master just wanted to remind Dobby of what awaits him if he has to take him back into the cellar.

Rickkk wrote:

New Poll Shows Donald Trump, Jeb Bush In Dead Heat

Hey, if you're gonna put the car over the cliff, why nudge over it at 5 mph when you can go full Thelma & Louise?

Rajesh wrote:

Schäuble also said he rules out any debt restructuring since it is not permitted according to European Union treaties.

Schäuble clearly doesn't understand how Calvinball is supposed to be played!

Outsider wrote:

They want blood? Firstborns? Lifetime supply of dolmades?

Master simply wants Dobby reduced to being thankful for whatever Master deigns to provide him.

Mary wrote:

Stella Artois


I have to assume that Anheuser's acquisition of Stella in, what, 1990-something led to change(s) in the beer (use of cheaper grains, different equipment in the scale-up, loss of local institutional knowledge, all of the above). 'Cause I've found it completely unpalatable every time I've tried it ... whether in the US or EU, from a bottle or the tap, what have you ... and I can't imagine it's always tasted that way and people just never noticed for the first 60+ years of its existence.

Think I'll crack a Dead Guy in another couple of hours myself. Beer

RiF wrote:

You keep that reality stuff to yourself. Don't be dark!

Speaking of dark, does anyone know where the high beams on this Wright Model B thing are?

Even though their hours were cut, their pay and benefits stayed the same.

Eeexelent! Smithers, I'm in an exceptionally generous mood today. I've decided to replace each of my workers' 40-hour workweeks with not one, but two 32-hour-per-week jobs here at my company, without changing their pay or benefits!

RiF wrote:

You're more valuable to the system as product than as potential consumer at that income level. And that level is going to continue to rise. The era of mass consumption is over, and the era of mass consumption is just beginning.

And with the rise of communicable diseases among the prison population, I'm sure we can fit a "consumption" triple entendre in there somewhere.

josap wrote:

The appellate judges added that "probation is a common sentence in offshore tax evasion cases," citing a statistic that roughly half of defendants convicted since 2008 have received probation instead of prison time.

I think I'm going to go out and bludgeon a random stranger on the street for no reason, then at my sentencing, argue that I deserve probation because only half of all assault convictions ever result in prison time. Facepalm

Finance_Fan wrote:

Foreign cards are not restricted to the capital control limit of (allegedly) EUR 60 (more like 50). Track down who in your network has a foreign card, and ask if you can keep them on hand in case of an emergency such as a sudden, unexpected expense or a plane ticket to visit a hospital outside Greece. There is an atmosphere of helping each other out more than ever now, you’re unlikely to be turned down. Better safe than sorry.

So an entire country is now following the operating principles of college students during Beach Week?

Seems sustainable.

ResistanceIsFeudal wrote:

Only terrorists need cash anyway.

Steve Citizen, we notice you are making deposits in small amounts at random intervals in the name of your 7-year-old son. It's obvious you are engaging in an elaborate scam to avoid Federal anti-terrorism reporting requirements on cash transfers. Would you come with us, please?

If you pay all cash, the terrorists win. Or something like that.

Finance_Fan wrote:

Looks solid. Just happy to see less cash buyers.

Because LEVER UP BITCHEZ! You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Damn you all to hell!

Belmont wrote:

Well someday I hope to get back to discussing the US instead of all these lesser lights. This isn't a bar game to connect our economy to Kevin Bacon through Greece ya know

Why don't you share some pithy thoughts with us about Sacramento housing in June? That'd certainly be on-topic, and I suspect you'd think it more relevant to the global economy too.

Lobbyist Ben Dover wrote:

New washer technology is a big step backwards. I don't think they clean very well.

But as it turns out, the modern clothes they're cleaning don't stand up to repeated washings very well either. Winning!

yuan wrote:

a bold plan to "swap" ECB bonds owed by the country for lower interest rate paying loans.

How the No one 17 and under admitted can anyone call that "bold" with a straight face? It's another round of can-kicking and perpetuating the fiction that the debt still has something close to its face value.

"Bold" would be that plan with an added clause at the end "...for half the value of the outstanding debt; the other half will be written off."

100 comments on this thread in under an hour?

It's almost feeling like the old days of Dooooooooooooooom!!! around here recently.

ResistanceIsFeudal wrote:

How about buying up all the cake first, jacking the prices, then laughing at them and suggesting their moral failings and bad choices are responsible when they complain of being hungry later because they can't afford the cake?

Almost, but you left out the part where they initially loan the peons the money to buy the overpriced cake from them.

Rajesh wrote:

I don't know why the Greek government is asking for a loan. They could just buy stock futures for the Shanghai index and ride to permanent wealth with the Chinese.

Serves Varoufakis right for not subscribing to poic's newsletter!

energyecon wrote:

Thank you sir, may I have another! 

Oooh. Me likey. The symbolism of Greek letters on a :paddle: icon alone would make this worthwhile.

Anonymous Bosch wrote:

The exercise seems to be to pauperize everyone but a handful of risk-frenzied bank$ter$.


In fact I just thought of yet another icon for HCN ... :billyclub:

Mouseover text: "The beatings will continue until asset-stripping is complete."

sum luk wrote:

that "wisdom" has been supplanted by the wholly fairy dust notion that all of this unsuccessful credit can be shifted to the ultimate balance sheet, with no consequence for future growth.
... it would be so much easier to take this seriously if it hadn't already been going on for thousands of years.

For the first 2,950 years of the 3,000-year history of moneylending, lenders whose borrowers couldn't pay back their debts had to write those debts off. If they made enough such loans, they would go broke themselves. Tears would not be shed.

Today, the private banks who envisioned, "underwrote", and made the loans that the Greeks can't pay back are holding less than €1 of every €6 in outstanding debt. The other €5 has been successfully shifted to the balance sheets of governments and supranational entities around the world.

How is that "same old, same old" in the world of lending?

arthur_dent wrote:

Debt is a claim on future wealth: lenders expect to be paid back.

The problem is the expectations of lenders have morphed from "we lend to those whom we expect to pay us back" to "we lend, and if our borrowers can't pay us back, we're going to demand to get paid back some other way."

Increasingly that "other way" includes enlisting elected governments to give them bailouts and/or threaten their borrowers with economic ruin.

It's gotta be harder to do all that then to conduct proper due diligence or underwriting, but it's just so much more satisfying.

From an earlier Twitter link:

Schauble: "Greek debt sustainability is not possible without a haircut."

Schauble: "There cannot be a haircut."

"Ah," said Arthur, "this is obviously some strange new usage of the word agreement that I wasn't previously aware of."

dilbert dogbert wrote:

make sure the downstream flow is with gravity to maximize the electron speed.
All cords in a straight line as those electrons are moving so fast they will skid off in the turns!!!!

Remember, electrons are moving at light speeds ... so real pros know to account for relativity effects.

For instance, the faster an object is moving, the greater the length contraction in its direction of travel. So make sure to build a little extra slack into those cables or you'll risk those electrons spilling out short of their destination!

ResistanceIsFeudal wrote:

Because of economic turmoil in Greece and China, more people who can't qualify for home loans are financing houses despite a tight credit market, so demand is keeping rates low. Makes perfect sense to me.

New Keyboard

And that's before one even considers the inherently flawed assumption of "overly tight", which I'm sure is using as its basis for comparison the fog-a-mirror, 110%-LTV, everyone-gets-a-NINJA! era of the early-to-mid-2000s.

Rob Dawg wrote:

"Back in Frankfurt, Wolfgang Schäuble has said the IMF is correct that Greece needs a haircut make its debt sustainable; but alas this isn’t possible under European rules."
The same rules that say they cannot be kicked out?

Fortunately, a little dispute about which rules apply to whom, when, is what makes a rousing game of :calvinball: !

(Yet another icon HCN desperately needs.
Icon: A simplified version of this.
Mouseover text: "No, that's what we did last time, remember?")

Just because I haven't done it in a while:

$1,097.13/mo. = 30yr FRM @ 4.04% on $228,700 (today's median home price)
$1,097.13/mo. = 30yr FRM @ 7.00% on $164,907

Mike_PNW wrote:

pretty sure the creditors are going to be the ones out $300 billion here.

New Keyboard

The fiction of value attached to the Greek debt will be perpetuated until the asset-stripping is complete.

GDD9000 wrote:

So the idea here is that if Greece tries REALLY hard, it too can enact the types of reforms that helped Spain and Ireland reach escape velocity. Do I have that right?


The idea here is that the hoi polloi cannot be seen to influence the orderly transfer of wealth from debtors to creditors, from poor to rich, and that any attempt to do so will have drastic consequences.

I wish I were even slightly joking.

I know nussing! NUSSING! "The people have soundly rejected a package containing €9 billion in additional austerity measures!"

Eeexelent! "Yes, yes. I know ... let's offer a deal where they'll only have to implement €12 billion worth instead."

Gaaw-aawl-ly! "Ummm ... excuse me, sir? Isn't €12 billion actually more than ..."

Eeexelent! "Silence, minion! Or I'll banish you to Athens to fend through dumpsters with the proles!"

GDD9000 wrote:

This is so pathetic I don't know whether to laugh or cry :
Greek crisis: Government agrees reform measures - live updates | Business | The Guardian


Greek media are also reporting that Greece’s reform plan could include €12bn of cuts and tax rises -- several billion euros [more] than previously expected.
And that’s because of the deterioration in the Greek economy, which plunged back into recession this year.

Enikos has the details says:

'The report said that instead of growing by 0.5 percent this year, months of uncertainty and almost two weeks of capital controls meant “there are estimates of a recession of about 3 percent.
'It is estimated that the measures of 8 billion euros that Greece had presented for 2015 and 2016 will have to be increased by 2 billion euros per year, raising the total to 12 billion euros for the two years,' Kathimerini reported.

Remind me of Einstein's definition of insanity again?

Outsider wrote:

I have seen the collective. I do not want to be under their thumb.
Of course, the elite minority isn't fun either.
Is there a Choice #3?

I remember reading something about a form of democratic republic that some guys in Philadelphia threw together a couple hundred years ago. That sounds promising! I wonder if anyone's ever tried it?

adornosghost wrote:

Against 135 trillion in real assets-----
What could go wrong?

"Here, hold my global economy and watch THIS!"

vtcodger wrote:

Could you identify Comcast in a police lineup?

He's the one who shows up there for ten minutes some time between 1 and 6pm on Thursday.

ETA: Shakes Tiny Fist of Fury Dawg!

Blackhalo wrote:

Yeah, but now, it's more leverage ^X rather than just old run of the mill, leverage.

$1 quadrillion in notional derivatives ain't gonna write themselves, yo!

Blackhalo wrote:

I'm not sure that's representative of the full 30 years, as issuing debt, to a different bank, and using that loan as collateral for borrowing the loaned money back, and then some, to use for the lucrative (for the money managers) proprietary trading, seems to be the thing now. An then you have QE, on top of that, buying up all the loans until they are worth something...

It was at least as far back as c.1985 when banks first started getting away from the pure fractional lending business (e.g. using in-house funds to speculate on underpriced options, which was a key contributor to the Crash of '87). Every additional activity since then - both by them and by the Fed - has been a case of dressing up leveraged OPM in different clothes.

I mean, yeah, in the past decade they've taken its uses to new and creative extremes, but it all comes back to Galbraith's observation that they're all just new ways of disguising leverage.