The big news this afternoon was that the EU has reached a tentative debt settlement with Greece. And stocks took off, and gold and silver were smacked down.
As the news continued to come out, it appears that the Eurozone and Greece have agreed to a four month extension of the loan agreement, with some modifications, provided Greece can provide an 'acceptable' action plan by Monday evening.
There is some serious room for wobbles in this. The Greek parliament must agree to whatever action plan that the current government develops, and all eyes will be on the rollbacks of austerity.
The major concession it appears the Eurozone made was the relaxation of the virtually unachievable requirement for a 4.5% budget surplus that had been imposed on Greece, known as the Arbeit Macht Frei austerity program.
Most developed economies are not capable of sustaining a 4.5% budget surplus in today's global economy, much less one that is largely not a major exporting country, still teetering from the domestic shock and awe of wage and job cuts imposed by austerity.
Let's hope that a sustainable agreement is reached, but I have my doubts.
And let's see how things develop in Spain. And Italy.
The problem is that no matter what they have so far on the table, the basic weaknesses in the Eurozone as it is now conceived still remain. Until they find a way to make a currency union work without acknowledging that a 'one size fits all' monetary policy does not work in a varied economic region, there will be continuing crises.
As a practical matter, the inherent instability of a monetary union without a comprehensive fiscal union to ameliorate the problems created by inflexibility of one policy for all remains. This also speaks to the difficulty of a single country like the US holding the world's reserve currency without adhering to some external restraint like a gold standard.
Speaking of ongoing problems we will take a further look at the US economy performance next week when we see the second revision of the US 4Q GDP. I am wondering how long the government can keep kicking the existing arrangement down the road, until something comes apart at the seams.
We are now in the sixth year of The Recovery™.
There really is no recovery for most people, with over half of all public school students in the US now living at the poverty level. One of the great obstacles to the recovery is that the financial elite in the US has absolutely no rational idea of the depths of the problems and issues with which they are dealing. And at the end of the day, they do not care.
They are taking selfies in the mouth of the abyss.
I was almost flabbergasted at the reaction this morning on Bloomberg TV to the wage increase announced by Walmart. After all, if such a large employer of the underclass pays this much, $20,000 per year for a full time employee, then everyone will expect such princely wages, and this is going to lead to the decline of US industry, Western civilization, and capitalism as we know it.
After the bell, Moody's cut Russia to junk. The currency war continues.
Save your servants who trust in you, O Lord, from every threat or harm from evil.
Have a pleasant weekend.