“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.
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel set foot in the European Parliament for the first time since 2007 and addressed the only democratically elected European institution—by design, an emasculated one. There, she laid out her plans to bring European nations together to where their budgets and other matters would become part of her “domestic policy.”
Anecdotal evidence has been coagulating into numbers, and these numbers are now beginning to weigh down corporate earnings calls. It appears the toughest creature out there, the one that no one has been able to subdue yet, the ever wily and inexplicable American consumer, is having second thoughts about prescription drugs. And is fighting back. A paradigm shift. Causing “unprecedented concerns” in the industry.
In pursuing its dream, the EU has created a ballooning superstructure of governance manned by 41,000 bureaucrats and mostly unelected politicians. In 2011, they spent €129 billion of taxpayer money. But now, the European Court of Auditors released its audit report for that year—a damning document that outlines how up to 4.8% of the EU budget seeped through the cracks and disappeared.
Can your approval rating drop to zero? That must have been the question Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was brooding over as he digested two polls taken over the weekend: his approval rating had plunged 15 points from a month ago, to 19%, his lowest rating yet. Clearly, the yakuza scandal didn’t help.
Timing couldn’t have been worse. Or more opportune. A “secret” report by the German version of the CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, bubbled to the surface, asserting that the bailout of Cyprus would use money from taxpayers in other countries to bail out mostly rich Russians who have over the years deposited their “black money” in Cypriot banks that are now collapsing.