The Greek Drama Continues

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How Europe’s Systemic Failure Will Impact the Globe

An exclusive from Phoenix Capital Research: The Greek drama continues.

The process thus far has been along the following lines:

  1. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras states publicly that he is confident that a deal will be met because Greece is willing to compromise.
  2. Tsipras then refuses to compromise behind closed doors with EU officials.
  3. Tsipras tells the media and Greek citizenry that the EU is evil and is attempting to enslave Greece.

This process has been maintained for over five years now. This only further illustrates one of my central themes: everything in Europe is about politics.

Europe as a whole is socialist in nature. You will never hear a discussion of “how involved should the Government be in the economy?” in most of Europe; it is just assumed that the Government should always be involved a large degree.

The question is whether it should be a lot (the public sector accounts for 30% of jobs in Germany) or almost entirely (the public sector accounts for 56% of jobs in France).

When more than one in three people are employed by the public sector in one form or another, everything is driven by politics.

The best example of this, of course, is Greece.

Greece has been and remains a fiscal basket-case for three simple reasons:

  1. The Government attempts to employ as many people as possible even if it makes absolutely no sense to expand the Government workforce.
  2. The Government pays WAY above what the work requires (on average public sector wages are 150% of private sector wages and most employees receive pensions equal to 92% of their salary at retirement).
  3. Greek culture not only embraces, but celebrates tax evasion (so there is little Government revenue to finance all those overpaid bureaucrats).

The level of fiscal insanity goes above and beyond anything you’re likely to see.

Consider the Greek metro system. It takes in €80 million in annual ticket sales… and spends over €500 million in salaries.

There is a word for an entity that spends over SIX times its annual revenues on employee salaries… it’s bankrupt.

This sort of scam is endemic in Greece. Anyone from pastry chefs to hairdressers and other services-based sectors can retire at age 50 and receive a pension equal to 95% of their salary.

Suffice to say, the Government payouts are extreme.

Unfortunately, Greek taxpayers don’t want to fund it. Greece has a population of 12 million. Less than 5,000 of these individuals report taxable income of more than €90,000.

Put it this way, less than 0.01% of the Greek population claims they make more than €90,000 per year in salary. This for a country that has over 60,000 individuals with investments of over €1 million… and those area simply the individuals willing to admit it!

The effort that goes into this subterfuge is staggering. In 2010, the Greek tax authorities began using satellite imagery to target Athens homes with swimming pools (a sign of wealth). Only 324 Greeks claim to have such homes in Athens. The satellite study found nearly 17,000 homes with pools before an enterprising Greek began selling pool covers that look like a normal lawn.

Simply put, in Greece we have a bloated bureaucracy that pays exorbitant salaries and pensions in a culture that goes to great lengths to hide its wealth/pay taxes.

Greece however is not the REAL issue for Europe. The REAL issue concerns the derivatives trades that are backed by Greek debt.

Modern financial theory dictates that sovereign bonds are the most “risk free” assets in the financial system (equity, municipal bond, corporate bonds, and the like are all below sovereign bonds in terms of risk profile). The reason for this is because it is far more likely for a company to go belly up than a country.

Because of this, the entire Western financial system has sovereign bonds (US Treasuries, German Bunds, Japanese sovereign bonds, etc.) as the senior most asset pledged as collateral for hundreds of trillions of Dollars’ worth of trades.

The global derivatives market is roughly $700 trillion in size. That’s over TEN TIMES the world’s GDP. And sovereign bonds… including even bonds from bankrupt countries such as Greece… are one of, if not the primary collateral underlying all of these trades.

Greece is not the real issue for Europe. The entire Greek debt market is about €345 billion in size. So we’re not talking about a massive amount of collateral… though the turmoil this country has caused in the last three years gives a sense of the importance of the issue.

Spain, by comparison has over €1.0 trillion in debt outstanding… and Italy has €2.6 trillion. These bonds are backstopping tens of trillions of Euros’ worth of derivatives trades. A haircut on them would trigger systemic failure in Europe.

In short, the EU’s worst nightmare is a debt haircut or debt forgiveness for Greece because it opens the door to Spain or Italy asking for similar deals down the road.

And that’s when you’re talking about REAL systemic risk.

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4.2 Near Springfield OR

M 4.2 – 14km ENE of Springfield, Oregon

Time
Location
44.082°N 122.837°W
Depth
9.9 km


Mover Mike Hit 2,000,000

After an incredible June, Mover Mike hit 2,000,000 page views. I have been blogging since 2004 and it is nice to see that more people are finding this blog. Sometimes, I have considered quitting, thinking why bother, no one reads me. However, conservative fiscally, Libertarian socially, this blog joins many others who don’t like the path the U.S. is on.

No longer can we discuss things rationally and heatedly.  Now it seems the play book says to ignore the message, savage the messenger. We are seeing that currently with Trump and we read that Hillary hasn’t answered the press questions in two weeks. AND…more and more people are considering leaving the country.

Mexico”sends” their unemployed to the U.S.. How long will 93,000,000 unemployed and under employed wait to move south? How long will the drought stricken  in the south west wait to move? What happens when the U.S. becomes like Greece and can’t feed the 43,000,000 on EBT?

Stay tuned, dear reader. I hope to cover it and provide some answers. Thanks for reading Mover Mike

MORE GREEK TRAGEDIES TO COME?

From To The Point News and Richard W. Rahn comes this article that says what I believe very well:

Greece and too many other countries have been trying to defy gravity by living the good life on borrowed money. In 2001, the Greeks entered the eurozone, which gave them access to low-rate loans under the pretense that Greece was richer than it was.

The seeds of the destruction that resulted in the closure of the banks this week were planted the day the Greeks adopted the euro. None of this should have been a surprise to anyone. The only thing for certain is that the Greeks will now suffer another major drop in their real incomes.

The open question is will the Europeans, the Americans, the Japanese and others who also have been living on borrowed money, growing at unsustainable rates, learn the lessons from the latest Greek tragedy, or will they too march off the cliff?

The United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Brazil and a majority of smaller countries again this year will have lower rates of economic growth than the size of their current deficits as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) — causing a continued growth in the real debt burden.

At some point these countries will have no choice but to cut expenditures or increase their real rates of economic growth to avoid becoming a future Greece. It is sad and striking how few countries, including the United States and most of the European countries, have real plans to reignite growth. Japan is in its third decade of little growth. Europe has stagnated for almost a decade, and the United States is only doing marginally better.

Many on the left and so-called establishment economists, including many who work for the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and politicians (plus, of course, the media) argue that the way to avoid a Greek-style debt crisis is to increase tax rates — while ignoring the basic fact that most tax rates on labor and capital in the major countries are well above the growth-maximizing rate.

They argue, because of demographics and politics, that it is not possible to cut government spending despite it also being above the growth-maximizing level in most countries. Or in National Public Radio parlance, spending cannot be cut because there are “too many unmet needs” — which, by definition, are infinite.

Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and other places demonstrate how fallacious the argument that more government spending is needed because they have shown that it is possible to have a higher per capita income than the United States while having lower taxes and less government. And they manage to accomplish this without oil and other natural resources that the United States has in abundance.

It is widely and correctly acknowledged that growth in regulations, particularly financial and environmental regulations, is serving as a major impediment to increasing economic growth. Yet, the Obama administration and its administrative agencies continue to crank out costly regulations at a record rate, without bothering in most cases to do serious cost-benefit analysis. The Republicans tend to decry the number and cost of the torrent of regulations, while doing little to stop them.

Note that the folks who turn out and enforce all of the regulations are salaried government employees. If the Republicans, who now control Congress, would cut or even eliminate many of the regulatory agencies in government, they could bring a meaningful slowdown or even a halt to these destructive regulations. No employees = no bad regulations.

Question: How many new regulations do we need? Almost all new regulations impose a cost on individuals, the economy and individual liberty. The Greeks and their fellow Europeans do not lack for regulations — so why are the folks in Hong Kong who have the greatest amount of economic freedom in the world so much better off?

There are plenty of examples from around the world of what policies promote economic growth and opportunity. Unfortunately, the ignorance of the voters in most of the major democracies makes them too receptive to politicians who promise a free lunch. More goodies for you to be paid for by someone else — or as Margaret Thatcher put it, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money to spend.”

She could have substituted the “welfare state” for socialism to better describe today’s Greece, Europe and the United States. Total government spending as a percentage of GDP is 52 percent in Greece, 35 percent in the U.S., 33 percent in Switzerland, and only 18 percent in Hong Kong.

Electing politicians who deliver (not just promise) less but more careful government spending, lower tax rates on labor and capital, fewer regulations whose benefits are unambiguously greater than the costs, and freer trade — along with a strong adherence to the rule of law and protection of private property — is the only way to guarantee not becoming a future Greek-like tragedy.

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.

2.5 Quake Near Moro, Oregon

M 2.5 – 7km SSW of Moro, Oregon

Time
Location
45.424°N 120.782°W
Depth
0.0 km


3.4 Quake Near Waldport, OR

M 3.4 – 20km WSW of Waldport, Oregon

Time
Location
44.333°N 124.285°W
Depth
19.6 km


Britain Headed Back to a Mini Ice Age

Siberian winter en.paperblog.com

Siberian winter en.paperblog.com

Martin Armstrong has this to say today:

“We have been warning that the danger is by no means global warming, but global cooling. The energy output of the sun has turned down. Now scientists are warning that what we have reported is crashing rapidly. The collapse in the energy output of the sun is so intense that climate experts are now warning that the amount of light energy released by the sun is dropping to levels “not seen for centuries”.

“The collapse in the energy output of the sun functions on about a 300-year cycle or roughly six waves of the ECM 51.6 year frequency creating the 309.6-year wave. The 1400s saw the Black Death and the start of Capitalism as serfdom came to an end and wages reappeared for the first time on any major widespread level since the fall of Rome in 476 AD.  Roughly, three 309.6-year waves brings us to the Black Death. The next wave takes us into the 1700s and the fall of Monarchy with the American and French Revolutions.

“It was time for the peak in global warming and turning this down sharply once again. The problem is that this seems to correlate with plagues and disease as well. So those looking for global warming, you better move south.

I was early moving south!

3.2 Quake in Yamhill, Oregon

M 3.2 – 26km NW of Yamhill, Oregon

Time
Location
45.483°N 123.453°W
Depth
52.5 km


2.8 Quake Offshore Oregon

M 2.8 – 168km WNW of Barview, Oregon

Time
Location
43.992°N 126.206°W
Depth
10.0 km

Mavis Davis Breaks Into the Detective Business

My First Murder: A Mavis Davis Mystery (Mavis Davis Mysteries Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

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From a former Judge, a Texan and a part-time resident of San Miguel comes a writer who has invented a new detective named Mavis Davis, a likable character, who was a probation officer and now a process server and detective waiting for her first client. In walks Carl. Carl owns a diner and had fallen in love with a new, mysterious waitress, Doris Jones who was just murdered. The police think she was killed by a serial killer, but Carl thinks otherwise and hires Mavis to find out the truth. There are clues throughout and red herrings. Mavis, is the focus, and this reader wanted to know more about her and why she hangs out with her boyfriend and cop, Ben. The office staff promise lots of mischief for future books. I want to read more about Mavis. She has guts.


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