A gentle reminder to Greece, the Ex-Im Bank, et al.: If your deadline was June 30, you're now past your deadline
June 30, marking as it does the end of the first half of the calendar year, is a popular demarcation point for all sorts of things -- the end of many organizations' fiscal year and the end point for all sorts of other agreements. And since we've grown accustomed lately to kicking off the DWT day with news of the mess in Greece, let's start by remembering that yesterday was the deadline for its big, big, big IMF loan payment, and since there was no relevant agreement, and no whisper of another bailout, we can say that Greece is now officially in default.
However, does that tell us what's happening, or what's going to happen? Well, no, though it seems fair to say that there aren't a lot of organizations or countries with official standing that seem inclined to stick up for Greece. Meanwhile, everyone can stake out whatever position they like in answer to these questions, since we're in territory now where we've never been before. In Greece attention is focused on the referendum still scheduled for Sunday, where Greeks get to vote yes or no on, well, something -- presumably accepting or rejecting terms for remaining in the Euro Zone, though nobody quite knows what, short of making that scheduled payment, could actually keep Greece in the Euro Zone.
Or, for that matter, what exactly would be the straw that breaks the back of whatever needs to get broken to once and for all bring about Greek exist from the Euro Zone, which some economists continue to say would, despite the massive short-term hardships likely to result, offer at least some hope of allowing Greece to escape the chokehold of the predator-creditor class.
Never mind that Illinois and Puerto Rico are eerily close to being in the same situation. Here's some of what the NYT is reporting this morning about Greece, where the banks remain closed [UPDATE: no! this is what everyone has been reporting, but it turns out that the government ordered 1000 bank branches around the country to reopen today, to massive lines -- "to help desperate pensioners without ATM cards cash up to 120 euros ($134) from their retirement checks," according to the AP], though that shouldn't stop rich Greeks from sucking out any funds they haven't already sucked out of the country. (Okay, we're actually going to take a look at the situations in Illinois and Puerto Rico later today.)
Tsipras Signals Greece May Accept Bailout Terms
By Suzanne Daley and Niki Kitsantonis
July 1, 2015
nytimes.com caption: "Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece gave an interview on Monday night in Athens."
ATHENS — The Greek government has indicated to its creditors that it is willing to accept many of the terms of a bailout package that it had earlier rejected, if they are part of a broader deal to address the country’s funding needs for the next two years, officials said on Wednesday.
The development raised the prospect of progress in resolving a financial crisis that has sent shudders through global markets and deeply strained European unity.
In a letter sent on Tuesday to the creditors — the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other eurozone countries — Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece was “prepared to accept” a deal set out publicly over the weekend by the creditors, with small modifications to some of the central points of contention on issues like pension cuts and tax increases. Mr. Tsipras linked Greece’s acceptance of the terms to a new package of bailout aid that would need to be negotiated.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, declined to answer questions about Greece at a news briefing on Wednesday.
But finance ministers from the countries using the euro were scheduled to confer later on Wednesday to continue discussions on Greece. They had turned aside a last-minute plea for help Tuesday night from Greece. However, they had suggested that there were grounds for optimism about progress in getting negotiations back on track before a referendum scheduled for Sunday in Greece on whether to accept the terms being sought by the creditors. . . .
MEANWHILE, WHAT ABOUT THE EX-IM BANK?
June 30 is, of course, a popular deadline, so today is the day after for a whole bunch of things, including the Export-Import Bank, which you'll recall is a major Right-Wing Hate. As of today, its charter is officially kaput, and in right-wing circles that counts as a win of sorts. Here's how Carl Hulse explains it in this morning's NYT "First Draft":
Republicans Notch a Win, if Temporary, Over Export-Import Bank
nytimes.com caption: "Representative Jeb Hensarling has prevented the House banking committee from producing legislation on the Ex-Im Bank."
Conservatives declared victory on Tuesday after preventing the charter of the Export-Import Bank from being renewed before a June 30 deadline. But it was a peculiar sort of Washington win.
None of the bank’s 420 employees were expected to be furloughed for now. The reason? It needs to keep track of the $112 billion in outstanding loans and guarantees intended to lift exports.
What it won’t be doing is accepting loan applications or moving ahead on any of those that had not been approved before the deadline.
Backers of the bank expect to win the charter’s renewal in the fall. Still, those who portrayed the bank as a case study in “crony capitalism” can savor success — however short-lived — because they successfully blocked an extension of the charter for the first time in 80 years.
Federal agencies are hard to shut down, and they often narrowly escape such brinkmanship. Aware of the coming push for renewal, conservatives called on the bank to begin liquidating its assets and for Republican leaders to do what they can to preserve the win.