Wolf Richter

Germany Special: Divorce, Remarry, Get Fired

The right of German religious organizations to terminate an employee for violating their moral codex, even in deeply private situations, has been affirmed by the Federal Labor Court. And they’re among the top employers in Germany! If you’re a divorcee and work for a Catholic hospital, you may get fired if you remarry. Heck, you may get fired for getting divorced.

Let’s Just Raid Social Security

Out of one side of its mouth, our political system talks about reforming Social Security to preserve it for a few more years, and out of the other side of its mouth, it proposes to expedite its demise. Where’s the duct tape?

Bailout Rebellion In Germany

“We’re on the way to a worldwide financial dictatorship governed by bankers,” said Peter Gauweiler, German Member of Parliament. “We don’t support Greece. We support 25 or 30 worldwide investment banks and their insane activities.”

Tokyo Tidbit: Yakuza Undergarments

The undergarment of the guys in the photo of “Yakuza: We Have to Evolve Our Business Model” (below) is a fundoshi, the traditional Japanese undergarment for men. Nowadays, it’s mainly used during festivals to show off machismo—to gird their loins for….

In the Bowels the Jobs Report: 15.4 Million Missing Jobs

The long-term problem in the horrendous jobs report is the strangely inconspicuous “Employment-Population Ratio” that has been nosediving for over a decade. It’s the definition of a comatose economy.

Yakuza: ‘We Have To Evolve Our Business Model’

“And we have to improve our image,” said Masatoshi Kumagai, one of the bosses of the Japanese yakuza, in an interview with French reporters. Yakuza are on decline, he said, and if they don’t change their business model, they might cease to exist.

Tokyo Tidbit: Disaster Specials

An earthquake struck Tokyo around noon on September 1, 1923, while people were cooking lunch over open fires: Over 100,000 people burned to death in the city “built of wood and paper.” Now, September 1 is “Disaster Prevention Day.” And it’s time to go shopping for foldable helmets.

The inexplicable American Consumer

Consumer confidence fell off a cliff and hit levels not seen since April 2009, and yet, consumers spent with abandon and made up the difference by piling on debt, at least for now. What gives?

Dear Ben, Please Print us More Money

We want you to prop up the stock market. Everybody knows it’s a Ponzi scheme that will collapse without your support. You don’t want us to end up like Bernie Madoff’s clients. No, Ben, we love Ponzi schemes. We get in early and get out before they collapse. That’s why we’re rich. The bad thing is that they sometimes collapse before we can get out. But you’ve bailed us out twice in the last couple of years….

Tokyo Tidbit: Permit Required For Deadly Pitfall

Birthday surprise for her husband: a woman and five friends dug a deep hole on a beach in Ishikawa Prefecture, put mattresses at the bottom, covered the hole with a plastic sheet, and sprinkled sand on it. Her husband would fall in and everyone would have a grand old time. The outcome was tragic. And they didn’t even have the required permit.