Martin Kessman of Nanuet, N.Y., has been eating at White Castle religiously since 1959, but now the 64-year-old, 290-pound, burger-stuffed stockbroker says he can no longer fit in the restaurant's booths. After two years of complaining, he's suing the burger chain under the Americans With Disabilities Act. "I just want to sit down like a normal person," Kessman says.
Though the possibility of a Grexit is now dangerously close to becoming a reality, there have been plenty of indicators throughout the years that the country has been inching toward economic peril. That is to say, the Greek economy has been in the tank for awhile although, admittedly, it's never been quite this bad before.
After Greece notably missed its Tuesday deadline to make a $1.8 billion loan payment to the IMF, nearly 60 percent of Greeks voted "no" on a eurozone bailout referendum Sunday. The results of that vote could lead to the nation being forced out of the eurozone and into a future of prolonged economic uncertainty that could have global repercussions.
To put the prospect of a Grexit in perspective, here are four charts that illustrate just how terrible, horrible, no good, and rotten the Greek economy really is. A helpful guide to reading the graphs: It's really, really not supposed to look like this. Jeva Lange
The cumulative change in the Greek GDP has decreased 25 percent consistently over the past two years.
After over a decade of growth, Greece's GDP has almost begun to decrease between five and ten percent per quarter.
In 2014, Greece's public debt burden reached almost 180 percent of its GDP.
Greek unemployment rates remains above 25 percent — far above the rest of the eurozone. Jeva Lange
A new YouGov poll asked Americans to rate their feelings — positive or negative — toward each state, and then correlated those results with participants' party affiliations. Not surprisingly, Republicans tended to prefer red states, while Democrats generally favored blue states.
There were, however, some interesting anomalies. For instance, several reliably Democratic states in the Midwest and New England received fairly high ratings from both parties, coloring them purple.
And then there were the states no one likes: a handful which couldn't net much approval from Republicans or Democrats. New Jersey led this pack as the least popular state in the union, apparently fulfilling its reputation as the "armpit of America." Bonnie Kristian
Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe today, largely, it seems, to deal with the fallout of some truly cringe-worthy images of Team Clinton literally corralling the press in New Hampshire over the weekend. But perhaps more interesting was what Palmieri had to say about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is drawing huge crowds and polling impressively well in New Hampshire.
"We're worried about him, sure," Palmieri said. "He's a force. He'll be a serious force for the campaign... I don't think that will diminish."
Of course we're worried about him. This is an election. And he is doing well. She'll have to make her case. But we knew this was going to happen... It's gonna be a slog, but I feel like she will win. [Palmieri]
At a holiday weekend event in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton warned that the U.S. must be "fully vigilant," since China is "trying to hack into everything that doesn't move in America." On Monday, China caught wind of Clinton's accusation and simply shrugged it off. The country apparently wasn't too concerned that the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination was spreading the rumor that it was "stealing commercial secrets, blueprints from defense contractors, stealing huge amounts of government information — all looking for an advantage."
Beijing's seemingly blasé response to the accusations was a departure from reactions past. Previously, China has been outraged at U.S. claims that it supports information hacks. This time, however, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying simply said, "China and the U.S. have taken a constructive spirit and approach to strengthening dialog and cooperation to jointly face various challenges in line with the interests of both sides in a way that is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region and the world."
Clinton's remarks come just three months after the U.S. government discovered a federal database breach that is believed to have disclosed 18 million Social Security numbers. The U.S. government suspects that China is responsible for the attack. Becca Stanek
This is perhaps "the most important bikini ever," said Meredith Lepore at Food and Wine. Each suit ($167) in the debut swimwear line from Spinali Design of France features a removable sensor to help sunbathers avoid overexposure to UV rays. The waterproof sensor monitors temperature and sun conditions, adjusts its calculations to the wearer's skin tone, then sends an alert to her smartphone whenever it's time to apply more sunscreen. The customer can also choose a "valentine" alert, encouraging her partner to rub on more lotion.
Beginning in September, the city of Chicago will level a 9 percent "cloud tax" for online entertainment services like Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu — basically, any "paid television programming" or "electronically delivered music."
Previously, the same tax applied only to IRL entertainment, including movie tickets and sports events. When applied to online services, the tax will be collected based on billing information, which locates users in Chicago's jurisdiction.
The tax expansion is expected to collect some $12 million annually, but it's a revenue increase that appears negligible in light of the city's tens of billions of dollars in debts and pension obligations. In May, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Chicago's credit to junk status. Bonnie Kristian
The overwhelming "no" vote pushes Greece closer to a potentially messy exit from the eurozone common currency union. It also sets up possible global market chaos and presents a fresh headache for the White House, which has had little success pushing for a deal that would prevent a Greek exit.
Some in the administration fear that if Greece leaves it could lead to the eventual collapse of the entire eurozone, a destabilizing event that could crush markets and damage a U.S. economy that is growing at only around 2 percent a year and is vulnerable to outside shocks. [Politico]
Edward Luce adds this at the Financial Times:
Although the Greek economy is only the size of the state of Oregon — and its population the same as that of Ohio — a full-blown default would weaken growth in America's main trading partners. In addition to dampening U.S. export growth, a Grexit could spill over into global markets. Nobody can predict how or to what extent. But the risk of Grexit contagion weighs on the U.S. Federal Reserve. The biggest question over its return to normal interest rates sits in the Aegean. [Financial Times]