They Disagreed with Me!?

[Juncker] said we were ready to front-load EU funds at the disposal of Greece for the future and the Greek government didn’t take the offer, which convinced them that [the Greeks] weren’t interested in an agreement and it was ideological,” an MEP who was in the room told Politico after the meeting.

How dare they not immediately take our deal!? How dare they put patriotism against the wishes of their creditors!?

“He said, ‘We were so close, in fact, we were so close that it was just €60 million that we were arguing over.”

Another Government Has Shut Down

…at least partially, and again over Democrats’ intransigence with fiscal responsibility. Tom Corfman, of Crain’s Chicago Business:

The financial situation in Illinois has been dire for a number of year. What brings it to a head is the election of Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican with a strong agenda to change the state. At the same time, he faces opposition from the Democratic legislature and their constituents.

Indeed. Rauner won’t agree to any tax increases unless the Democrats agree to making the state more friendly to business: which means reducing Illinois’ regulatory environment, reducing spending (including on the Teachers Union’s schools), and reducing taxes generally, especially on businesses.

Obamacare….

…again. The claimed purpose of Obamacare is to get every American covered by a health plan.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, with its mandate that all Americans purchase insurance and requirement for businesses to offer employees insurance plans, many small companies provided coverage by directly reimbursing medical costs or for the cost of private insurance plans. Businesses do it because that’s a less complicated process than dealing with an official health insurance plan….

An IRS Rule (remember these guys and their rules?) that took effect on 1 Jul punishes those businesses for helping their employees.

US Access to Space

Last weekend, a SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the Space Station exploded while staging after launch. This follows an Orbital Sciences resupply rocket explosion last fall and a Russian resupply rocket failure last spring.

USAF General (Ret) William Shelton, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, is lamenting legislation barring the use of Russian rocket engines in our launchers, and his concern is sparked by those failures.

A Greek Exit

There is some concern about Greece’s current debt strait causing it to leave the EU, and there is additional concern about “contagion” spreading—that with the precedent set, other members might leave, also. Mark Dowding, BlueBay Asset Management’s co-head of investment grade and a senior portfolio manager, offered this, for instance:

If we get a Greek exit, you have to say the potential for other countries to exit the eurozone is suddenly no longer negligible. That would need to be reflected in bond prices.

Rents and Rental Ownership

New York City is going to do it, again.

Mayor Bill de Blasio appears poised to deliver on a campaign promise to freeze rents for more than one million tenants protected by New York City’s rent-stabilization laws.

Both landlord and tenants leaders said they expect the Rent Guidelines Board to approve the freeze, affecting one-year apartment leases beginning on or after Oct 1, on Monday….

Never mind that

…an annual report showed that landlord operating costs only rose 0.5% due to falling fuel prices. Excluding volatile fuel costs, overall costs rose 3.6%.

The Supreme Court Erred Again

Heads up: long post. I have some thoughts on the Roberts Court’s ruling concerning the IRS’ tax credits.

Chief Justice John Roberts again rewrote the Patient Protection Affordable and Care Act to suit what he thought it should say rather than staying within the bounds of what it actually says. In these comments I’ll leave aside Roberts’ guiding principles that health plans that are independent of the risk being transferred are, somehow, insurance plans; that possession of a health plan is a universal so good it must be mandated; and that the folks who need a health plan the least—the healthy—must also be required to possess such a plan. Those matters have been well addressed elsewhere. I’ll confine my remarks to his position on the IRS’ tax credits.

It’s Really Not That Hard

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s unexpected announcement in the early hours of Saturday that Greece will hold a referendum on July 5 on the bailout conditions creates a severe headache for ECB President Mario Draghi and the rest of the bank’s 25-person governing council. The ECB faces a choice between maintaining ample liquidity support for Greek banks and potentially undermining the ECB’s credibility as a rules-based institution, or forcing the closure of Greek banks and enraging Greece’s government and people.

But wonks and misconceptions do add to the artificial complexity of the thing.

We’re a Helpless Victim

That’s OPM Director Katherine Archuleta’s claim regarding the hack of her agency’s computer systems that now appear to expose as many as 18 million…what shall we call these, since OPM has laid claim to the victimhood in this failure…Americans.

I don’t believe anyone is personally responsible[.]

Fox News cited her further:

Archuleta said only the perpetrators should be blamed—she said current failures result from decades of meager investment in security systems, but said changes are being made and in fact helped detect the latest breaches.

Then there are these, via The Wall Street Journal:

Some Brag

…by this Texan. Except that, as Dizzy Dean said, “It ain’t braggin’ eff you can do it.”

Via AEIdeas:SomeBragTable