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Elliott R. Morss  

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  • The Greek Drama Continued - How About A Little IMF Debt Relief? [View article]
    As I indicated in my piece, the IMF got off the "austerity train" back in 2011. And since then, the IMF technicians have been talking about a very substantial second round of debt relief. I am somewhat surprised how heavily they are pressing their point now.

    Sometimes, the views of the IMF's technicians differ from what the IMF politicos want to do. However, it appears Lagarde is now agreeing with the technicians.

    The problem with implementing a Grexit is the complete incompetence of the current Greek government. They should have been laying plans for this as a fallback strategy but I very much doubt this has been done. For example, new currency notes cannot be printed up overnight.

    One bright light is that while the IMF said it would not lend Greece and more money until it pays down its debt to the IMF, it said it would provide technical assistance to Greece if asked. If I were in the Greek government, I would have asked the IMF to help with a Grexit plan several months back.
    Jul 15, 2015. 06:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Greek Drama Continued - How About A Little IMF Debt Relief? [View article]
    Current Events: The split between the IMF and Eurozone widens as the IMF insists on large Greek debt writeoffs NOW - http://bit.ly/1JOJSKS
    Jul 14, 2015. 09:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Greek Drama Continued - How About A Little IMF Debt Relief? [View article]
    Freedom:

    I approach this issue differently: who in their right mind would buy Greek debt back in 2007 - 2009 when it was very clear Greece was in trouble?
    Answer: European banks.
    Why? Because European bank regulators were allowing banks to count sovereign debt as part of their reserves AS IF THEY WERE EUROS. And of course the banks say "sure, let's by Greek debt with a return of 5% or more.
    Jul 14, 2015. 09:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Steps In The Greek Drama [View article]
    Jeffrey:

    I am not claiming the European Union is needed today to keep European nations from starting a 3rd world war. I merely said that was why it was created by Monnet in the first place.

    A little off the subject. But the US should re-institute the draft. Until we do, US wars will be media side-shows fought by soldiers from low income families.

    With a draft, parents with money and clout would ask tough questions before letting their kids go off to war.
    Jul 10, 2015. 11:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Steps In The Greek Drama [View article]
    Rali:

    It is hard to feel sorry to the "investors" in Greece going back to 2007. The writing was on the wall and they lept foolishly for a high interest rate return.

    The lenders since then were just trying to cover for the foolish private investors, mostly European banks.

    Another site that publishes my pieces just put up a cartoon asking what the Greek people should do in the referendum. I said the following in reaction to the cartoon:

    "I was thinking about the Greek situation today. Your cartoon is OK as far as it goes, but there is much more to be said. Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis have given the Greek people very little information about what would happen if they turned down the bailout offer. They have also said no to Greece exiting the Eurozone. The people have no way to grasp any of this. This government appears to be based on slogans with no real understanding of the predicament they are in and how to get out of it.

    My own view, initially stated in 2011, was that they should leave the Eurozone. I also tried to explain why and how. I feel sorry for the Greek people. They have been yanked around and provided with rhetoric instead of explanations.

    Their decision will not be an informed one.

    But it will not be the end of the world. Greece will ultimately survive and go on living life in their way.
    Jul 2, 2015. 09:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Steps In The Greek Drama [View article]
    jyard01:
    Consider the 1990 - 2000 period. Your data suggest GDP in constant prices increased 20%. Over that same period, the value of the drachma fell from 93 DM to 194DM. My point is that exchange rate changes took care of discrepancies in "productivity" between Germany and Greece. And everyone was happy.
    Jul 1, 2015. 10:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Steps In The Greek Drama [View article]
    sleek:

    In an earlier piece, I said "In all the years I have been covering the IMF, I have never seen such a long list of policy changes being demanded of any country. The general categories include: fiscal reforms, pension reforms, health sector reforms, Social Security reforms, government performance reforms, and economic system reforms. In order to achieve these objectives, the Greek government has agreed to foreign technical assistance in more than 20 different fields." In essence, the IMF was trying to make Greece "as efficient" as Germany.

    Not surprisingly, it failed. Greece has "a different culture."
    Jul 1, 2015. 09:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Steps In The Greek Drama [View article]
    SilverD:
    "Kicking the can" is certainly an oft used government strategy....
    Jul 1, 2015. 09:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Steps In The Greek Drama [View article]
    Jeff:
    Keep in mind the European Union was created in hopes that uniting the countries of Europe would keep frictions among them from starting another world war. And at least so far, that has worked. The problem was creating a currency on top of that requiring every member to use.
    Jul 1, 2015. 09:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Next Steps In The Greek Drama [View article]
    manya05:
    I think you have it just right.
    Jul 1, 2015. 09:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The IMF's Changing Role In The Greek Crisis [View article]
    James and Subrabhama:

    Thanks for your informed comments. There is NO site like SA for quality and considered comments.

    A couple of points:

    I used to work on the IMF staff (Fiscal Affairs Department), I rest assured, there are a number of Fund staffers extremely distressed by the meandering Fund positions.

    Going forward: Given what James has correctly said about growing Greek unpaid debts to the Fund, will the Fund help Greece manage its inevitable default and with it launching its own currency.
    Jun 19, 2015. 09:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Are Your Pension(s) Safe? Why It Is Worth Keeping An Eye On Them [View article]
    Gents:

    Thanks for your comments.

    But let us not get lost in the details.

    There is considerable corruption and a lot of BS being peddled by the pension management industry. And whether it is the pension provider (defined benefit) or the pension recipient (defined contribution), investment performance matters.

    Consequently, both providers and beneficiaries should keep an eye on what is being done. CalPERS is the "poster boy" for my points.
    Jun 17, 2015. 08:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The IMF's Changing Role In The Greek Crisis [View article]
    dunnhaupt:

    The term "default" has great legal and financial significance. The financial institutions who insure debt prefer "rollover". That way, they avoid having to make insurance payments. For more on this and its applicability to the Greek situation, see http://bit.ly/1BiE5tR.

    Should Greece try to negotiate debt reductions with the EU? My own view is no, they owe no favors to the EU. Let the institutions foolish enough to have purchased Greek debt suffer the losses.
    Jun 17, 2015. 09:32 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Are Your Pension(s) Safe? Why It Is Worth Keeping An Eye On Them [View article]
    My understanding is there are two types of retirement plans: Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution. Under the former, performance does not matter. However, under Defined Contribution, your benefits will depend on performance. Increasingly, companies and governments are moving to the latter to avoid any performance shortcomings.

    The largest retirement fund in the US is the Federal Retirement Thrift and all its assets ($422 billion) are in a Defined Contribution plan.
    Jun 16, 2015. 06:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Regulating Banks Will Never Work: Greece As A Case Study [View article]
    June:

    I completely agree with you on Presidential choices. See http://bit.ly/1dtvnhU.

    You forgot to mention Larry Summers.
    May 25, 2015. 04:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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