A world in economic crisis

More on who should be the next IMF chief

Personally, I like the idea of Christine Lagarde getting the post. She has a well rounded career and she would bring a fresh face to the role. She has the respect in Europe as well.

However, there are some countries that seem to have other ideas about who should lead the IMF. As regards to the opinions of the Goose (Wayne Swan) from Australia, he is such a bad Treasurer that his opinions should not matter in the slightest. He is one person who has absolutely no idea about what is required in the top job. Put it this way, I would value the opinion of Paul Keating (a man I detest anyway) over that of the Goose.

If the person is chosen on merits then Christine Lagarde should remain the number one contender. Amongst the other names being mentioned is the failed politician UK Gordon Brown. It is well known that he aspires to this type of role, but, he does not have the support of the present leadership in the UK. On top of that Gordon Brown messed up the economy in the UK in both of his roles.

Socialism and pushing socialism through the IMF is not going to help the world’s woes. At present the IMF has a big problem in Europe. It really does need someone with credibility in Europe to head the group. Gordon Brown does not have that credibility. Christine Lagarde has the credibility. The people being pushed from Singapore and other countries do not have that credibility. There is one other new contender from Brussels.

Some of the issues that I have with the IMF structure includes the heavy socialist emphasis. The challenges of the eurozone has meant that there has been a need to catapult some of the present ideas. Keynesian economics will not work in a time of stagflation. This is the lesson that should have been learned from the 1970s and the 1980s when the stagflation was prolonged. There is a need for a different set of responses to the crises that occur.

For too long Europe has turned to socialism (which is not quite the same as Communism) in order to offer a raft of welfare benefits to their communities. What most of these governments have forgotten is that there is a need to have people working in order to gather taxes, and there is a need for business and industry in order to have people working. Policies such as high taxes on business do not work because in the long term employers make the decision to leave the marketplace. When this happens the consequence is a drop in tax revenue as well as higher unemployment which in turn leads to higher welfare benefits.

Europe also has another problem that desparately needs attention: open borders attracts the wrong kind of immigrants. This can be seen in countries such as Spain, France, England and Germany, as well as in Norway and Denmark. These immigrants see this as an opportunity to place their wives on welfare, and they soak up all of the other welfare state benefits such as free medical, free education etc. etc. If this is not kept under control, inevitably it leads to a break-down in the whole system. At the root of this problem is taxation, or rather taxation receipts.

Under Dominique Strauss-Khan the IMF has steered a number of European countries towards putting in place austerity measures that are supposed to bring about a restructure of their economies. Those governments can only be compliant if the people are compliant and stop their protests that cause disruption, and in the instance of Greece, become extremely costly in terms of property lost, as well as lives lost due to the riots. The Greek attitude has not been conducive to the necessary reform required.  Greece is the typical example of a country where the expenditure on welfare outstrips by a long shot the taxation receipts, but the lazy Greeks do not seem to understand the implications of their own bad welfare system.

I am not against some form of welfare buffer for the most vulnerable in the community. There is a need to protect such individuals. I am not against short term unemployment benefits for those who are able-bodied. I do think that government needs to have other structures in place that will help the unemployed find work. What I am really against is the expenditure of government funds on projects such as wind farms that are inefficient and will never deliver according to government expectations. The windfarms do not increase employment, but decreases employment in some sectors.

The watermelon policies and the claims regarding AGW or climate change need to be challenged, and governments everywhere need to stop wasting money on bogus research. This also means that I am against the use of IMF funds going third world countries, where such funds would only be wasted upon dead in the water projects whilst those third world countries continue to purchase arms and kill their own people.

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Finnish anti-Euro party gains in election – Portugal rescue package in doubt

Posted in European Union, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, unemployment, welfare state by Aussie on April 19, 2011

Now for the latest in the Euro rescue saga. Portugal is next to last of the PIGS nations to need a financial rescue package. Spain is still on the cusp, but has not needed to be rescued so far. However, the Portugal package is on the line, the Greeks are revolting (again) and the Finns are becoming more and more anti-Euro zone.

The success of the TrueFinns means that the Portugal rescue package is not a sure thing, since the TrueFinns have vowed to vote against the supplying of any more funds for these failing economies.

Portugal has opened its doors to the IMF and the European Commission, who will need to evaluate the economy and make recommendations. It is expected that Portual requires a package worth about $70 million Euros.

However, just like Spain, Ireland, Greece, and yes, even the U.K. unless these countries are willing to evaluate their social welfare criteria these packagaes are truly a waste of time. All of these countries need to re-evaluate their socialist system, because long term welfare policies do not work.

Greece has been a prime example of what has gone wrong. The lazy Greeks simply do not want to understand that the changes are necessary if the economy is to survive. Those changes include reforming social welfare payments in order to cut the government debt. However, I doubt that the Greek government has the will to make the deep cuts, especially in the face of protests from the Greek anarchists. The Greeks have shown themselves to be lazy and selfish in that they are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices for the good of the country.

For a different perspective on the same European economic woes, there is more here and here is a snippet to get a taste of what is in store if there is no change in a welfare system that is bankrupting countries left, right and centre:

Greece is now paying 19.7% on 2 year bonds and there is a real fear of government default. This will put even more pressure on the other PIIGS, who are either on or already over the edge. The question then becomes which economies are triaged. Greece, Iceland, and Ireland are all moribund. Portugal is in the middle of a political crisis, and Spain is teetering on the edge. We are seeing the slow motion destruction of the economic and social programs that helped these economies enter the 21st century. It is hard to believe where these countries ranked economically and demographically even 25 years ago.

A world in Turmoil, and Portugal heads for collapse

Portugal is the latest of the PIGS nations in Europe to head for collapse. Already we have seen Greece, Ireland and Spain reach the critical level, and now it seems that Portugal has finally admitted that it needs help. The implications for countries such as the UK is that the necessity to fund the rescue package will hit the pocket of every man, woman and child. However, if Portugal does not end its Socialist practices, and if Portugal does not cut the unnecessary spending, then there is no real hope.  (I will post something else on this subject when I learn more about what is happening).

However, the collapse of Portugal is small potatoes compared to some of the other crises in the world. Earlier this year, Christchurch suffered its second devasting earthquake in a matter of months. The first one in September left lots of damage, but there were no deaths or injuries. The epicentre was close to a town near Rolleston. It happened in the middle of the night, so that no one was around when a few buildings collapsed. Probably the worst damaged building at the time was the Anglican Cathedral. At least when we had a tour that included Christchurch, we saw the fencing around the cathedral indicating that there was a danger of collapse and people getting injured. However, when the shallow quake at Lyttleton harbour struck, it led to a devastating loss of life, widespread destruction and an economic disaster for New Zealand, as well as the insurance industry. The final death toll was more than 160 persons killed, with hundreds injured, including those who had limbs amputated. Several families have been left without a mother or a father.

Unfortunately, the earthquake in New Zealand has been overshadowed by the devastating magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami in Japan. Thousands have lost their lives and thousands have been left homeless, with many small towns being almost wiped out by a tsunami that was around 32 ft or approximate 12-14 metres in height.  It is this quake that will have financial aftershocks for Japan well into the future.

The problem in Japan is not so much the devastation to property and the wiping out of thousands of people, but the nuclear accident at Fukushima that followed the quake and tsunami. As a short background, the nuclear reactors at the Daiichi and Danii plants shut down as expected when the quake hit. The generators started so that the reactors could continue to operate and cool down. There was no damage at this point to the housing of the reactors. However, the tsunami was much larger than anticipated and the 14 ft wave took out the generators that were providing the emergency power to the Daiichi plant. The battery operated generators kicked in, but these only had 8 hours of life.  It was after these died that the real problems began at the Daiichi plant.  There was an explosion at the nr 1 reactor. The outer concrete housing partially collapsed, but the inner steel housing survived. The explosion was explained as being the result of a build up of hydrogen. This was followed by an explosion in the 2nd reactor, and then another in the 3rd reactor.  In one case, the one I believe was due to human error, the rods were exposed to air for 140 minutes, which has led to a partial meltdown of the core.  It is in this reactor, where it is believed that the containment unit was damaged.  The Japanese are struggling to bring everything under control again. This accident is on a par with the accident at Three Mile Island.

The most devastating part about this kind of accident is that radiation is released into the atmosphere. This is what has happened at the Daiichi plant. At first the releases were small, and the over-reaction from the anti-nuclear lobby has been a joke, but the levels of radiation from the later explosions have been cause for concern in Japan, as well as in countries that have been importing Japanese food products. In Tokyo the levels of radiation are high enough to be considered dangerous to babies, and several farms outside of Fukushima have had traces of radiation discovered on their produce, meaning that they cannot sell their product on the open market.

As the exports stop for foodstuffs, Japan will suffer some economic consequences, but hopefully this will be short-lived.  It is too soon to tell how this will hurt the Japanese economy. At the same time, thousands of foreigners have fled from Tokyo and Japan out of fear of the impact of the radiation. Again, there will be some economic consequences to Japan because of this flight of foreign workers. This is all on top of the losses sustained because of the earthquake and Tsunami.

At the same time, the Middle East has broken out in a fever of revolution. It started in Tunisia, then Egypt caught the bug, followed by Morrocco, Syria, Bahrain and then Libya. Whilst I have concerns about some of these countries because there is a very real possibility of them falling into the hands of Muslim Brotherhood, there is one country that is a stand out, mainly because of the brutal manner in which its leader, Moammer Gadhaffi has attempted to put down the revolt.  As a result of the humanitarian crisis, the UN responded with sanctions against the regime in Libya, followed by Resolution 1973 which led to the bombing of Gadhafi’s military bases. That action saved Benghazi from a promised massive slaughter.

This turmoil in the Middle East might be just a hiccup, but it has consequences in the form of oil price rises. This is the 1970s redux.

Proposed Austerity Measures for Ireland

The BBC reports that the Irish Government is set to unveil new austerity measures as required by the EU-IMF rescue plan.

  • It will be a 4 year austerity plan targeting cuts of $15billion euros or 11% of Ireland’s output;
  • the aim is to bring down Ireland’s budget to 3% of GDP;
  • reform of the banking sector just falling short of nationalization;
  • the IMF recommends that Ireland should gradually cut the benefits to the long term unemployed;
  • the IMF also recommends that Ireland should reduce its minimum wage to be in line with the general fall in wage levels in the Eurozone;

There are some concerns about the proposed austerity measures. First the Cowan government could lose the support of the Independents plus some of his own party’s backbenchers. Second, the measures may prove self-defeating.

As expected, the stupid economist Krugman claims that the spending cuts will lead to a deeper recession. However, is this necessarily true?

European countries such as Ireland are in deep trouble because of their generous welfare state benefits. As a result of the generous benefits these countries have attracted immigrants from other parts of Europe as well as the Middle East and the sub-continent. These immigrants have a tendency to bludge on welfare instead of becoming wage-earners and tax-payers. They have a tendency to scam the welfare system. Like some of the long term unemployed who prefer being on the dole rather than worker, these people do need to have welfare benefits reduced in order to encourage them to seek out real work.  These Governments cannot continue to pay for their welfare state without a corresponding increase in taxes, either through increasing the tax rate or by the entry of more wage-earners into the tax system.

The Keynesian economics that lies behind the Krugman concerns have already failed in the past. Long term welfare payments will not get an economy out of its malaise. On top of that there is always the possibility that in the longer term these welfare payments will contribute to a return to the days of stagflation – high unemployment, high inflation and high interest rates.  Just like in the 1970s, such a return to stagflation would be a disaster.

U.K. moves towards working for the dole

Posted in unemployment, United Kingdom, welfare state by Aussie on November 8, 2010

BBC News – Ministers defend plan to force jobless to do work

Rowan Williams, the somewhat discredited Archbishop of Canterbury thinks that working for the dole is a bad idea. Like a good little Marxist, Rowan Williams believes that working for the dole is harmful.

However, personally, I disagree with the comments attributed to Rowan Williams, that requiring people to work for the dole would contribute to “a downward spiral of uncertainty or even despair”.  To the contrary, working for the dole helps people to achieve a sense of self-worth, rather than leading to feelings of despair. The self-worth comes from having the dignity of being able to work.

The scheme which is about to be unveiled is designed to catch the cheats – those on long term unemployment that prefer to receive benefits rather than working full time. It is also designed to encourage some unemployed into the habit of a work day. It is being designed to help those who really do want to work, to have something on their resume.

Dealing with unemployment is a very thorny problem at the best of times. There are many who give up their search for work because there does not appear to be anything available for their particular skill sets. Most countries have schemes to help the unemployed find work. However, there are some drawbacks to those schemes, especially in the way that some people are excluded from receiving that help. (I know this from personal experience).

Whilst I disagree with the Archbishop of Canterbury, I can actually relate to the difficulties associated with being unemployed, especially during a period of high unemployment caused by Stagflation. My personal experience occurred in 1976 when I was a new graduate, landing in a situation where firms were not employing Commerce graduates. At the time the top five accounting firms were taking in very few graduates… the jobs were not there. My own experience was that it was very difficult having to deal with the Commonwealth Employment Service (the name in 1976) especially when their officers persisted in sending people to job interviews when the people did not meet the necessary criteria. My experience on that score was humiliating, but the CES officer was to blame because he lacked the ability to match up the clients to each other. Getting temporary work in a factory was far less humiliating than going for an interview where I was clearly not the right person for the job!! In this respect I think that the Archbishop of Canterbury has no real idea about what causes humiliation for job seekers.

The welfare state, whether it is in the U.K., Australia or elsewhere needs to be curbed. There are simply too many people dependent upon the state. This dependency causes a drain upon the public purse. If people are cheating the system by finding ways to stay unemployed, and even working on the side whilst claiming benefits, then they deserve to be flushed out of the system. 

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Et Tu France

Posted in France, Islamist welfare cheats, welfare state by Aussie on April 25, 2010

I have written before about the welfare cheats in the UK, especially those cheats from a certain theocratic religion. However, I have only hinted at the type of welfare cheating that exists, which I might add also happens in Australia, and not always by that same group.

One story that is being highlighted recently is a case in France where a woman has been fined for wearing the burka when driving a car. The French are becoming very strict about this kind of thing whilst the British have adopted a more dhimmi attitude (how shameful). By adopting this dhimmi attitude the British have become guilty of enabling welfare cheats to flourish. How does this work, and what has this got to do with the burka woman driving a car?

Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs received the following from one of her French readers:

Bonjour Pamela et amis ,en effet cette affaire relance plus fort encore le débat sur la burka chez nous! Nicolas Sarkosy a dit vouloir une loi sur la burka totale et les français approuvent!(nous n’oublions pas que Barak Obama a déclaré à ce sujet chez nous ,que les gens doivent etre libres de s’habiller comme ils veulent)mais ,Nicolas Sarkosy ne sera pas le toutou de Barak 0bama .De plus ,après enquète sur cette femme voilée , il s’est avéré qu’elle fait partie des 4 femmes qui ont 12 enfants de son mari ,algérien naturalisé par mariage, et qui fait parti d’un groupe islamique radical ! Ils ont fraudés en déclarant qu’elles étaient “méres isolées” pour toucher plus d’allocations ! donc le mari va etre poursuivi pour escroqueries ,bigamies, et Mr Hortefeux a demandé qu’il soit déchu de sa nationalité Française,j’espère que cela sera , cela va faire grand bruit ! Ces gens là nous empoisonnent notre vie ,et il ne faut surtout pas faire preuve de faibles se avec eux ! c’est une gangrène qu’il faut vite éradiquer sinon le monde entier sera perdu !

From French reader Kate (google translation):

Hello Pamela and friends, in fact the case even stronger stimulus debate on the burka with us! Nicolas Sarkozy said he wanted a law on the burka and the French Total approve! (We must not forget that Barack Obama has said about it here, that people should be free to dress as they want) but, Nicolas Sarkozy will not be the dog of Barack 0bama. In addition, after investigating the veiled woman, it turned out it was one of four women who have 12 children of her husband, Algerian naturalized by marriage, which is part a radical Islamic group! They have defrauded them by saying they were “single mothers” to reach more benefits! So the husband will be prosecuted for fraud, bigamy, and Mr Hortefeux asked whether stripped of his French nationality, I hope it will, it will make some noise! Those people we poison our lives and it is important not to show low be with them! is a gangrene that must be quickly eradicated if the world will be lost!

Islamization Watch: (hat tip the Winds of Jihad)The incident has now reached ministerial level.

On Friday, the Interior Minister requested the Immigration Minister look into revoking the French nationality of the driver’s husband as information he possessed showed the man was a polygamist married to four women with 12 children.

“Each of these women benefit from single parent benefits and … each one wears the full veil,” Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in the letter seen by Reuters, adding he had asked the local authorities to look into possible benefit fraud.

“I would appreciate it, should these factors prove true, if you could study whether this individual could be stripped of the French nationality,” Hortefeux said, addressing Immigration Minister Eric Besson.

According to the woman’s Algerian-born husband acquired French nationality in 1999.

This is a situation that is widespread and is not just confined to France, the UK or even Australia and it is not necessarily confined to the one group of people either. The situation is this: In Islam it is ok to have up to 4 wives (maybe even more than 4). When these people emigrate they become aware of the fact that polygamy is not acceptable. In fact in the USA polygamy amongst Mormons is also not acceptable and generally polygamy has been outlawed. These people know that polygamy is not acceptable and therefore, in order to keep their wives and multitude of children, the women pretend to be single mothers. The man does not live with the 4 women together, but sets them up in separate living arrangements. In this way the women have been collecting welfare for their children. By doing this these families are creating a strain upon the public purse.

No government can continue to sustain this form of welfare cheating. This is the kind of situation that causes governments to have high budget deficits that are not sustainable in the long term. In the particular case that is cited here, the women had an Algerian husband who had been naturalized as a French citizen in 1999.

My question here is: How many in the UK, France and Spain have families in this situation? How many of these families are exploiting the welfare benefits like what was happening in this case.

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Can the Eurozone ministers stem the debt crisis?

Posted in Greece, unemployment, welfare state by Aussie on April 16, 2010

Eurozone ministers seek ways to stem debt crisis | The Daily Caller – Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

The current debt crisis in Europe continues to be a problem. The real problem in the crisis is Greece. They are now waiting for a billion dollar bailout from the IMF and the European zone. Wow!!

The Greek government said Thursday it would hold “systematic negotiations” on the standby loan package with other members of Europe’s currency union at the two-day meeting in Madrid.

But arriving at the Madrid conference center Friday, Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the eurozone finance ministers, said, “There are no indications that Greece will ask for help today.”

The Greek government said its request for more details on bailout loans was not a signal that the country would seek aid. Officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF will visit Athens on Monday to fix details of a standby loan offer that aims to reassure markets that Greece won’t default on its mounting debt.

“Today is not the day for a decision on Greece,” Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado told reporters before going into the meeting. “A decision on Greece was taken some days ago.”

Investors are demanding high interest rates for Greek bonds because they believe Greece could be unable to repay debt despite recent efforts to cut a massive budget gap.

Finance ministers from the 16 nations that use the euro agreed Sunday to give Greece some €30 billion in individual loans if the country can no longer borrow on the market.

The announcement initially calmed markets — and saw the interest rate gap, or spread, between Greek 10-year government bonds and their benchmark German equivalent fall.

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Future Shock – what US citizens can expect when the health system fails

Posted in unemployment, United Kingdom, welfare state by Aussie on March 27, 2010

Hospital wards to shut in secret NHS cuts – Telegraph

It is no secret that the NHS in Great Britain is in a very disastrous if not perilous conditions. With an increase in the number of immigrants who are sucking at the government teat, and with an ever increasing aging population, the NHS is showing the strain and is beginning to collapse. According to the Telegraph, the Brown Government has secret plans to close hospitals and to shed thousands of jobs across the United Kingdom. Well, how’s that British Socialism working out Mr. Brown?

According to the Telegraph, the secret plan is to cut the health budget by at least $20billion and this will be achieved by closing hospitals, sacking staff and scrapping those hip replacements. It would seem that if such a plan was implemented that it is the elderly who will bear the brunt of these cuts. The Telegraph reported:

“In Wednesday’s Budget, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, repeated that the £20 billion would come through “efficiency savings” and not key services.

Documents produced by several of the SHAs show how the cuts are, in fact, expected to fall on hospital services.

In the South East Coast region, which covers Surrey, Kent and Sussex, up to £1.6 billion must be saved.

A document marked “restricted” and circulated among SHA board members suggests 10,000 of the region’s 100,000 NHS workers may lose their jobs. “The new financial environment demands that the trend in workforce growth must be reversed,” it said, adding bosses must reduce employee numbers by 10 per cent “or further”.

The document said staffing in the acute sector, covering hospitals, “can be expected to decline faster and further” than elsewhere.

Job losses will be “starting in the coming year”, it states. Mr Brown has repeatedly promised Labour will not start making significant cuts to public spending until 2011. A spokesman for the South East Coast SHA said the document was a discussion paper and not a final plan.”

When one sees a story like this regarding the NHS, one has to wonder how this could happen in the first place. Is it a matter of mismanagement? Is it because people are constantly running to their GP for the slightest thing? Is it caused by new technology? Or maybe it is because of the high level of immigrants within a certain immigrant population that eschews having productive employment so that they will be able to help bring down the economy of the U.K. in order to force a revolution from within, and then introduce sharia law.

If the government in the U.K. requires what looks like really harsh measures then the country is screwed. The present government is not able to cope with the demands that are being placed upon the welfare system. Of course, one possible solution to the problem would be to enforce stricter immigration laws. The U.K. can do without immigrants that have no intention to work because they want to suck off the government welfare teat. It is time that the U.K. government actually began to turn off the welfare benefits to the immigrant population. This is an action that needs to be taken against all immigration populations rather than singling out a class of immigrants.

There is no real excuse for allowing the budget deficit to get so far out of hand. It is because of PC attitudes that the British government has failed to act in order to weed out the welfare cheats, or those who manage to live off welfare without ever having contributed to the U.K. economy. It is as if the exponential growth in the U.K. immigration has been hand-in-hand with the growth in demand upon school and health services. Perhaps a case could be made for people being asked to pay more towards health and education in Great Britain, yet I can imagine the stink that would be created by those same welfare moochers.

The unchecked growth in the welfare state in the United Kingdom is definitely cause for concern. If the U.K. goes ahead with such deep cuts then the growth in umemployment could push the U.K. economy over the edge. As it is the U.K. will spemd a long time getting over the spendthrift policies of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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The Selfishness of the Greeks – Strikes, anarchy and setting fire to property.

Posted in Greece, Uncategorized, welfare state by Aussie on March 17, 2010

The World From Berlin: ‘There is No Alternative’ to the Euro – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

Approximately 20,000 selfish Greek workers had a general strike to protest the austerity measures introduced by Papandreou. The measures that were introduced included:

  • higher taxes;
  • pension freeze;and
  • wages cut for civil servants;

and are meant to help cut the burgeoning Greek budget deficit. The Greek budget deficit is now running at 4 times higher than the amount allowed within the euro zone rules. However, it seems that the Greek workers who have been well fed at the public teat are none too happy that they might have to cut down on a little bit of that food, so that Greece can become a neat trim country once again.

The strikes were organized by the trade unions (no surprise) who have made the claim that the austerity measures will hurt the poor and disadvantaged. However, is that the truth? Or is it something that is pushed by the Communists that control the Greek trade union movement. Over 20,000 people took to the streets in Athens where there was the usual round of violence that takes place when Greeks decide to go on strike. There was the usual burning and looting that took place. Did they ever think that there is a cost involved when they consistently destroy other peoples’ property?

Despite this displace of Greek selfishness, the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, had this to say about the Euro zone and its predicament:

“We must use the instruments of financial and economic policy that are available to us in the euro zone in a more resolute way. For member states with insufficient savings measures, and outsized deficits, resources from the EU Cohesion Fund must be made available.”

“The prospect of emergency aid that comes bound up with conditions, such as tough financial and economic corrective measures, will see trust (in the euro) rise in financial markets. It will avert any worsening of crises and, in the future, it will make it unnecessary for European markets to go to the IMF.”

“There is no alternative to the monetary union. The euro has established itself as the second most important currency in the world, and as a currency in which to invest. Part of the reason for this is that the European Central Bank has worked to gain the trust of financial markets. To keep from losing this trust, the crisis must be overcome quickly. In fact, the monetary union can only gain more trust by working to resolve this crisis.”

“If we succeed in strengthening the competitiveness of the currency and if we succeed in setting the financial and economic policies of member states on the right course, then this crisis will be seen as the point where things changed for the better. That possibility exists — and we must embrace it.”

Even the centre right and the left-wing pundits have noted the laziness of the Greeks, as well as their unwillingness to tighten their belt in order to bring their country’s budget deficit under control.

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

A short time ago a visitor to Athens conducted an experiment. He bought a newspaper at a kiosk and asked the kiosk owner for a receipt. The kiosk owner gave the hapless customer the money back, saying that he had never given out receipts in the past and he would not do so in the future. The incident shows what Papandreou faces in his mission to clean up the national finances.”

“For weeks it has been an open question whether (Papandreou’s) political desire to save the country will affect the government’s relationship with the large unions, which are traditionally close to the ruling (left-leaning) Pasok party. Now the first ruptures are starting to appear. They are not between the government and the unions, though: They are between the leaders of the union and the union members. During the past week one of those leaders — a member of Pasok who had previously supported the government — was attacked during a speech and had to be brought to the Parliament House for safety.”

“Still, there are signs of hope. Many Greeks are struggling against the changes because they work for the civil service. But those who do not live directly off the state still make up the Greek majority. Papandreou can count on them.”

Left-wing Berliner Zeitung writes:

When the state is bankrupt it can no longer pay pensions or wages. Unimaginable as that may be, it’s true. When the Greek premier told his people the unadorned truth, a revelatory shockwave went through the nation. All over the country yesterday, unions — who certainly have something to do with the unrealistic tax policies that account for the miserable state Greece is in — went on strike. But against whom? Or what? “We are fighting here for the honor of the trade union movement,” was one answer. For honor! Even though it is clear that these strikes do nothing but worsen the nation’s decline.”

“A tendency toward self-harm in times of great upheaval is common. And the fact that the Greeks don’t want to pay for their country’s problems, when they are not actually responsible for them all, is also understandable. Even Prime Minister Papandreou said he understood the people’s discontent. But he also told the truth: there is no money. Despite this statement — or perhaps because of it — he remains well loved. They see that he must clean up corruption and they believe he represents their interests. It would be a piece of good luck if the right person were in the right place at the right time — this time.”

I would have to argue against Berliner Zeitung, that the Greeks are not actually responsible for the problems. That is simply not true. For decades the Greek Government has done nothing about the situation of government employee bloat. It has done nothing about ensuring that the level of wages remains reasonable and within reach for employers. It has encouraged the feeding at the public teat. The Welfare State, and Greece is a prime example of what goes wrong in a welfare state is doomed to fail. A government cannot sustain pension payments and the like if there is not some underlying workforce that is paying taxes at a proper level. In the long term the higher taxes hurt everybody. In the long term the economic disaster is inevitable. The behaviour of the Greek unionists goes to show the selfishness of their position. Whilst the previous government did something that was shady due to the deals it made with Goldman Sachs, the fact is that the systemic failure of the Greek economy has been a failure for a very long time.

Update:  utility workers and nurses go on strike.

they should be thankful that they have work, instead of acting so selfishly. The nurses held a 24 hour strike, and the utility workers stopped for 48 hours. I am sure that was really good for Greek business.

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Everything Old is New Again

Posted in ALP, Australia, Gough Whitlam, welfare state by Aussie on March 15, 2010

There is something strange going on at the moment. For the first time in my lifetime, the USA is on the brink of being forced into Marxism. I am not going to beat around the bush, and I will name the beast as Marxism. What is so strange is that this is like deja vu, but only as it relates to Australian politics. The issue is precisely the same one that was controversial in Australia in 1973 – universal health cover. There were other issues, such as the out of control spending of the Whitlam government, that also seem to be reflected in everything that is going down in the USA. Or so it seems, because it is like “everything old is new again”, just like in that song…..

As I continue my topics, I hope to be able to find information off the Internet that will shed light on the Whitlam years in Australia, and I hope without the hysterics that surround some of the situations that arose at the time. I remember the Whitlam government because I was on the brink of adulthood and I was studying economics and related subjects during the Whitlam years. I remember the whirlwind of spending – health, welfare, education, regional development… and the list goes on. I remember the scandals that erupted, and the final one – the Kemlanhi affair – that in the end helped to bring down the Whitlam government. I remember the fuss when the Opposition parties in the Senate withheld Supply, which brought on the last crisis that culminated in the sacking of the Whitlam Government by the Governor General. I remember the public servants getting their knickers in a twist with all of their protests over the “sacking”. In fact, who can forget when each year the ABC gets its lather going by remembering this “incident” with their rose coloured glasses firmly planted on the face.

From the political point of view, the one thing that is overlooked by the Australian lame stream media is that the people did speak, and give their view at the ballot box. Gough Whitlam was defeated in the election that followed the sacking by the Governor General. Malcolm Fraser had formed a caretaker government until the ballot could be held, and “we the people” spoke, with a resounding landslide victory against Gough Whitlam and his government.What the ABC and cronies do not tell however, is that in some areas of Australia the news was not greeted with anger, but with joy. In fact when I heard the news I was “dancing in the streets”, happy in the knowledge that Whitlam had been sacked and was no longer causing havoc as far as the Australian economy was concerned. Most of my neighbours were equally happy with the news, and so despite what the Australian lame stream media continues to portray about these events, there is another untold side to the story on the sacking of the Whitlam Government. We did get rid of the closest thing we had to a Marxist takeover in Australia since the second world war.

Even though we managed to get rid of Gough Whitlam, it would seem that people soon forget the kind of devastation that comes from these Marxist policies. Also, younger people who have had no knowledge of what really took place are on the voting rolls. They only have the version of events as depicted by the Australian lame stream media. They are unaware of what in fact took place, and why it was that the majority of the voters kicked Whitlam out. As a result, we find ourselves in a similar predicament today. Kevin Rudd seems to be intent upon having a reputation as a big spender that is far worse than that of Gough Whitlam. He has spent unnecessarily on a “stimulus”, providing money for pork projects and schemes that are both foolish and wasteful. (these projects include the insulation debacle, as well as the solar panel debacle that is still brewing and about to blow up). Under Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard Australia had prospered. Yes we had some hard times, especially in the 1980s, but with the introduction of the GST the Australian budget went into surplus – then the Rudd Government was elected and the surplus very quickly disappeared due to the wasteful policies that have been implemented.

From the analytical point of view there is much study to be done. One of the things that marked the Whitlam years, and also the Fraser years (a lag effect) was stagflation. We had high unemployment, high interest rates and high inflation. The stagflation was prolonged (which explains why it affected the Fraser years) which meant that it took Australia a long time to recover from the excesses of the Whitlam government. Some of the measures taken by the Fraser government and then again by the Hawke-Keating governments were painful at the time. We had very high interest rates. During that period we could get a high interest yielding term deposit account for something like 17% p.a.  It also meant that the mortgage interest rates were high. By 1986 we saw interest rates reaching more than 19% p.a. which was extremely painful for new homeowners (we purchased our first home just before the interest rates rose steeply but after the period where some homeowners had their interest rates frozen, so yes we got hit by the high interest rates).

For the first time since the failure of the Whitlam Government Australia has a government that could be described as Marxist. This time the policy pursuits include the attempt to foist cap n tax (or crap and tax) upon us. The thing is that initiating legislation that will set up hedge funds for the selling of greenhouse licenses is going to do zip for pollution. On top of that AGW has already been proven as a fraudulent theory, but Rudd will not give in and let it go.

During the Whitlam years Australia had its battle over healthcare legislation and health insurance takeover. You could say that the doctors did have a minor win on the subject because a complete takeover did not happen. However, what we have is in my view disgusting. We do not need government determining how much can be paid to doctors for their fees. The artificial fee that is imposed actually makes it more expensive to see a doctor or get a medical service than if the government had no say in the subject. It really is a joke, and yes the out of pocket expenses are quite high, especially when the government refuses to recognize a procedure such as the thin prep which is better than the Pap smear for detecting cancer.