In no particular order:
• Remember the famous Fox Butterfield headline in the New York Times: “Crime Keeps on Falling, But Prisons Keep on Filling”? Well yesterday the Times outdid itself with an early edition headline on the Greek crisis:
“Trillions Spent, But Crises Like Greece’s Persist.”
Gee: I wonder if there’s a connection? Maybe someone can ask Fox Butterfield. One wonders what the Times headline will be when it finally runs out of money and Carlos Slim buys the remaining husk from the Sulzbergers for a dollar. (The headline was changed in later editions and I can’t find a hot link to the original.)
• Did Greece blink this morning? There is talk crossing the news wires that Greece may cancel or postpone its scheduled referendum on the proposed bailout terms, probably because the leftist government has figured out that it may lose the referendum and thereby lose what little bargaining leverage it has left. Reuters reports just now:
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has told international creditors Athens could accept their bailout offer if some conditions were changed, but Germany said it could not negotiate while Greece was headed for a referendum on the aid-for-reforms deal.
In exchange for the conditional acceptance, the leftist leader, who has so far urged Greeks to reject the bailout terms in a referendum planned for Sunday, asked for a 29 billion euro loan to cover all its debt service payments due in the next two years.
With queues forming at many cash machines a day after Greece became the first advanced economy to default on the IMF, and signs that supplies of bank notes were running low, Tsipras has been under growing political pressure to reach a deal.
Global financial markets reacted remarkably calmly to the widely anticipated Greek default, strengthening the hand of hardline euro zone partners who say Athens cannot use the threat of contagion to weaker European sovereigns as a bargaining chip.
• Greek citizens might be figuring out something simple: A guaranteed government pension check isn’t worth very much if you can only get 60 Euros out of the bank. Maybe people in Illinois will figure this out . . . some day.
• Speaking of Illinois, last night Chicago managed to scrape together $634 million due to the teachers’ pension fund, but Mayor Rahmbo suggested that thousands of layoffs in the Chicago school system may be required:
In the same email containing the Ruiz statement, CPS officials said 1,400 positions “will be impacted beginning Wednesday.” They declined to answer questions about what that meant. . .”School will start, but our ability to hold the impact of finances away from the classroom, that’s going to change,” Emanuel said. But the mayor declined to say whether such a breaking point would lead to teacher layoffs or increased class sizes.
Like Greek pensioners, I’m sure Chicago citizens will be just delighted that their retired teachers have it easy while their kids are packed 40 to a classroom.
Where did the money come from to make the payment? The Chicago Tribune notes ominously:
Both Emanuel’s administration and CPS did not respond to questions on what funds, what borrowing or what combination of the two the district tapped to fulfill the payment. In a brief statement, interim schools CEO Jesse Ruiz would only say that borrowing was involved.
Maybe they got the money from the European Union—yet another public union sucking the productive economy dry.