Eurozone summit meeting regarding Greece is underway

The European finance ministers have agreed to punt the Greek question to the Eurozone leaders who began their meeting in Brussels a little over 30 minutes ago. By Greek question, I am referring to whether they decide to loan Greece as much as 74 billion euros ($82.6 billion) or show them to the Grexit. France and Italy oppose a Grexit; Germany favors it.

The dispute is not so much about the money as it is about resolving two competing considerations: (1) whether Greek officials will make a good faith effort to comply with the terms of the loan and (2) whether the eurozone will begin unraveling and eventually collapse if the leaders of the eurozone decide not to loan the money. There is no easy answer.

As Paul Krugman said Friday in the New York Times, the unitary currency and hard money loans (i.e., austerity) constitute a major structural impediment to an improving economy.

What turned Greek debt troubles into catastrophe was Greece’s inability, thanks to the euro, to do what countries with large debts usually do: impose fiscal austerity, yes, but offset it with easy money.


The main point, however, is that the ratio of debt to G.D.P. is up because G.D.P. is down by more than 20 percent. And why is GDP down? Largely because of the austerity measures Greece’s creditors forced it to impose.


Greece, unfortunately, no longer had its own currency when it was forced into drastic fiscal retrenchment. The result was an economic implosion that ended up making the debt problem even worse. Greece’s formula for disaster, in other words, didn’t just involve austerity; it involved the toxic combination of austerity with hard money.

As I’ve said before, I think Greece would be better off in the long run, if it were to print its own currency and reject the austerity measures.

The Guardian is providing live coverage of the summit meeting of the leaders of the Eurozone. You can follow it here.

Tsipras surrenders to the Troika

According to Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has surrendered to the Troika by “offering to implement more stringent austerity terms than those rejected by voters last weekend by a resounding margin in the Greek referendum.” Apparently he was hoping the Referendum would produce a “Yes” vote that would permit him to save face by claiming that he did the best he could but had no choice except to concede defeat and call for a new election. He never wanted a Grexit and isn’t willing to lead the country in that direction.

The problem is it may be too late to avoid a Grexit. The banks are running out of cash, small businesses are collapsing and the people are hurting, especially pensioners and people who need life saving medication like insulin.

The Greek proposal is being presented to the Parliament this afternoon. It will probably pass, although Tsipras’s party, Syriza, is splintered. Even if the MPs approve it, the Troika may reject it as might the member nations.

Tsipras outsmarted himself and created a helluva mess. He’s probably going to be hiding out in Honduras desperately needing lawyers, guns and money.

Over Easy: Owed on a Grecian Earn(ings)

Urn said to have inspired Keats, in British Museum, the Portland Vase
One Grecian Urn said to have inspired Keats, in British Museum – the Portland Vase – although Keats used several models

(Picture courtesy of Curto on

Morning, pups, being a bit silly but a congratulations is due to the Greek voters for saying no to robbery by banksters, and I’m hoping all of this works to increase their well-being.   Of course, austerity was preventing that well-being and calling the EU on its abuse is praiseworthy.   While the proposed plan Tsipras has offered does reduce pensions and elevate taxes, it is a plan to work with and not one imposed by the EU.   The Greek people have a right to be proud.

How do you feel about what has happened to the EU and to Greece in their mutual experience?

The poem itself;   Ode on a Grecian Urn, by John Keats;

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
       Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
       A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape
       Of deities or mortals, or of both,
               In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
       What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
               What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?


Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
       Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
       Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
       Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
               Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
       She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
               For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!


Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
         Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
         For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
         For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
                For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
         That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
                A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.


Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
         To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
         And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
         Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
                Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
         Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
                Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.


O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
         Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
         Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
         When old age shall this generation waste,
                Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
         “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

While I will be checking back in here later in the day, tomorrow I will be out for much of the time my Saturday Art post is up, so hope you have a good visit but I’ll be away for most of it.