Bulgaria, which has a balanced budget, a growing economy, and a top income tax rate of 10%, fires a withering blast at neighboring Greece where the new government, instead of implementing structural reforms, invokes bankruptcy unless it gets more money. And in Spain, which is teetering on economic collapse, protests erupted in the streets as people resist reforms. So, Bulgaria put joining the euro on ice
My first experience with euros was mid-December 2001 when I travelled to Germany. Bank showcases were filled with euro feel-good agitprop. Euro bills and coins would enter circulation soon, and this was part of the campaign to persuade Germans to surrender their marks. People had apprehensions, but my business contacts were gleeful: the euro would become the dominant reserve currency in the world; oil would be priced in it.
I was making coffee this morning when President Obama’s voice ruined it. His words didn’t even sound unreasonable, as I was still half asleep. He advocated giving tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the US, rather than those that create jobs overseas. Mitt Romney also wants to hand out tax breaks and tax cuts, just different ones.
Jean-Claude Juncker was desperate. The Prime Minister of Luxemburg and President of the Eurogroup is the ultimate Eurozone infighter. “We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected afterwards,” he’d once said—now referred to as “Juncker’s curse.” But he, the longest-serving head of state in the EU, knows how to get reelected. So when he is desperate, even the German Constitutional Court listens.
I’m shocked and appalled that the Libor fiasco could even occur in our modern, highly ethical, and transparent financial sector. Banks misreporting anything…. unheard of. Nevertheless, it occurred. Not just once, but from get-go. And everyone and his dog, even Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, back in 2008 when he was still President of the New York Fed, knew about it.
I have written about the housing quagmire from different angles, and there hasn’t been a heck of a lot of good news. However, there have been spurts in home prices propagated by the media with enormous hoopla that later turned out to have been sucker rallies, with prices hitting new multi-year lows after each one. And now there is another wave of media hoopla about housing, but once again, something is off key.
The new Greek finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, until recently a professor of economics at the University of Athens, hasn’t learned yet the art of extortion that is required to accomplish anything at all during bailout negotiations. And so, at the meeting of Eurozone finance ministers earlier this week, he accomplished absolutely nothing. He wasn’t even able, unlike his predecessors, to get himself into the media with some wild threat about a “disorderly default” or destroying the entire Eurozone.
An awesome, powerful, lyrical appeal (with superb English subtitles) by the Japanese band FRYING DUTCHMAN (a play on the Japanese habit of interchanging Ls and Rs) to the people of Japan to open their eyes and minds: It slams the nuclear industry, the mainstream media, government bureaucrats, and politicians of all stripes. For my…
Do NOT try to do this yourself.
Hilarious explanation of QE and how it works: big industrial-strength printers all facing the windows.