Rarely has a city council received so much worldwide attention as San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. Yesterday, accompanied by booing and heckling and shouts of approval, they voted 6 to 5 to ban public nudity. A close decision, after months of hot debate. And protests, when it wasn’t too cold, by naked people outside City Hall. “Ban” in the San Francisco sense.
Moody’s, when it stripped France off its AAA rating, had a laundry list of laments that were a reflection of the awful details seeping from every crack in France’s picturesque veneer: relentlessly rising unemployment, declining production and orders, collapsing automobile sales, plunging home sales…. You’d think France is in a depression. Yet, third quarter GDP edged up by 0.2%. What gives?
The Eurozone debt crisis is exacting its toll. Convoluted undemocratic taxpayer-funded bailouts of bondholders and banks designed to keep the Eurozone together can’t kick the can down the road far enough. But the price has been huge, and people have expressed their anger in massive protests. Now, these efforts are also tearing up the fabric of the 27-member European Union: the first one out may be the UK.
Last week, the German Parliament passed a resolution that asked Chancellor Merkel to needle Russian President Putin about the resurgence of repressive, antidemocratic tendencies in Russia. It did not go unnoticed at the Kremlin. And it paved the way, so to speak, for her trip to Moscow on Friday—to re-cement their “strategic partnership.”
Young educated Greeks face a wall of unemployment. With little chance of finding a job in their field, they’re competing for any kind of job. Wages have plummeted. The economy has shriveled by 19.4% since 2007. Promises that education would open doors to a better future have evaporated. And Germans march around, telling Greeks how to run their country. Because the euro has become a religious dictum.
“Yellen and Cisco lift US stock futures,” the headline read enticingly in the morning. Priceless. Their pronouncements were driving up the markets. But by the time the markets closed, the manipulative power of Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen had dissipated; the DOW was down 1.45%. And across the Atlantic, the German Bundesbank issued a tough warning about the very policies Yellen was propagating.
Career Education, when it reported its quarterly results, shed light on an industry that had ruthlessly taken advantage of the American way of funding higher education, and that had preyed on gullible prospective students who were trying to better their lives. Then it handed the tab to the taxpayer. A perfect scam. Now the industry is in a vise between government crack-downs and reluctant students.
The jobs situation in France is turning into a private sector fiasco: temporary jobs, a gauge for the direction of that fiasco, got whacked again. But now the government lashed out against the media for pointing at the results of its economic policies.
Bailouts have become known for their so-called “unintended consequences”—however intended they might have been. And now, unintended consequences strike again. The ECB’s purchase of decomposing Greek debt—an under-the-radar bailout of banks and insurance companies—are making the favorite solution to the Greek crisis, namely another deep haircut, legally impossible, says Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann.
A hullabaloo erupted between France and Germany that both are trying to silence to death: it seeped out that the German Finance Minister broached an unprecedented topic with Germany’s Council of Economic Experts. Could they produce a reform concept for the troubled French economy? It revealed a threat that terrorizes the German government.