The Corner

Awkward

The Greek finance ministry was on the defensive on Thursday after a new budget watchdog released an internal report warning that debt was ”out of control” just as officials held critical talks with creditors. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who had enough troubles this week explaining Greece’s reform delays and target slippage to auditors from the EU, the IMF and the ECB, attributed the error to inexperience.

You couldn’t make this stuff up, well, then again . . .

 

Meanwhile Open Europe looks at a proposal that was reportedly floated a day or so ago by the boss of the Eurozone’s bailout fund as a (partial) solution to the problem posed by the Finnish insistence that any funds advanced by Finland to Greece be adequately collateralized. The idea was that some or all of the collateral should take the form of yet-to-be nationalized chunks of Greek banks, a plan so evidently absurd that I thought it would be dead before I could post on it. I might have been wrong. Open Europe believes that it may survive long enough to be presented when Eurozone finance ministers meet on September 16. Open Europe notes that the plan “has one slight snag”:

The collateral offered would be worthless in the event that the Greek state failed to repay the bailout loans. 

Oh.

Greek banks have almost solely survived on using Greek bonds and state backed bank debt to obtain loans from the ECB. If the state fails to repay its bailout loans, which would mean Greece had defaulted, these huge amounts of state debt and guarantees which help support the banking sector would unwind and the banking sector would collapse.

If the Finns accept this, I have a very nice bridge to sell them.    

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
Immigration

The Merit of Merit-Based Immigration

Having chain-migrated his way into the White House and a little bit of political power, Donald Trump’s son-in-law is shopping around an immigration plan. And if you can get past the hilarious juxtaposition of the words “merit-based” and “Jared Kushner,” it’s a pretty good one. As things stand, the ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More