1. Athenian technocracy
2. Fun with tax season
3. Arresting the mayor
The deal gives those three groups — the “Troika” — a lot of power over Greek economic policy; Greece commits to “refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery, or financial stability, as assessed by [bailout monitors].”
That’s a huge concession by Greece’s left-wing ruling party, Syriza, but it gives them room to propose reforms different from those required by the current bailout agreement (provided, of course, the Europeans let them).
Here’s the announcement of the agreement, annotated (“On the plus side, you get to pick your own austerity.”)
Greece often gets cast as the irresponsible party here, but the Europeans are demanding it run a surplus for a decade or more, which is basically impossible.
During the crisis, capital controls were often mentioned as an alternative to Greece leaving the euro. Here’s how that policy works, in case four months from now Greece ends up needing it.
The federal government sent 800,000 people who got health care from Healthcare.gov inaccurate tax documents.
But there have been similar problems with state-level exchanges; California mailed 100,000 incorrect health coverage forms this year, or one in eight of all the forms it send out.
In other Obamacare tax news, the administration is opening a “special enrollment period” for people who, while doing taxes, discover they’re facing a penalty for not having health coverage.
The mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, has been arrested, “accused by President Nicolás Maduro of abetting what he called an American plot to overthrow the government.”
Maduro claims Ledezma tried, with the US and other conspirators, to arrange an attack on the presidential palace using an Air Force jet.
The State Department, naturally, denied the accusations, saying: “The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means.”
Maduro’s human rights record has worsened over the past year or so, imprisoning opposition leader Leopoldo López, cracking down on protests, and engaging in torture, according to Human Rights Watch; Daniel Wilkinson, Americas director at HRW, told the Financial Times: “We have never been this worried about Venezuela.”
Meanwhile, the collapse in oil prices has wrecked Venezuela’s economy; there is massive inflation (officially in excess of 60 percent, probably even higher in reality), a recession, and food shortages.
“Alejandro González Iñárritu is a pretentious fraud, but it’s taken some time to understand the precise nature of his fraudulence.”
“‘It’s crazy. It’s like saying that you’re really worried about your cocaine addiction, and so you’ve decided to just do all the blow you have on hand so that it’s not there to tempt you anymore,’ replied one political writer, who asked for anonymity in case that hastily constructed metaphor didn’t land.”
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