A week ago we joked that Greece was rapidly sliding into the “fourth world” (and had the photos to prove it). Well, today Equity Index provider MSCI took our joke and made it into something way too serious when overnight it made Greece the first developed nation ever to be downgraded into “emerging market” status. Not quite fourth world, but that too will come. However, what’s worse for Greece is that as we reported yesterday, the majority of Greeks have no way of learning about this following the governmental “temporary” shutdown of its one national TV prodier, ERT. Kathimerini followed up with news that ERT would be renamed to NERIT, the New Hellenic Radio Internet and Television – a state company owned by the public sector and regulated by the state, and relaunched by the end of August, however what matters to the public is that the vast majority of employees would likely be let go permanently.
However, the biggest news out of Greece is that the events in the 24 hours have pushed the depressed country right back into crisis mode, with political bickering front and center (the opposition leader called the uncoordinated move “a coup” even as coalition partners blasted the broadcaster shutdown while Europe washed it hands), while the economic contraction is set to accelerate once more following what is certain to be another escalation in daily protests and riots. And who can blame them – with that last civilizational “premium” – free TV for all – gone, what else is there to do?
Greece’s fragile government faced an internal revolt and fierce public protest on Wednesday over the sudden closure of state broadcaster ERT, hours after the humiliation of seeing its bourse downgraded to emerging market status. The twin setbacks, coupled with the derailing of a troubled privatization program, blew a hole in rising investor confidence that had prompted Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to declare the risk of a “Grexit” from the euro was dead and a “Greekovery” was under way.
Dr. Ron Paul has long been a leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, sound money, civil liberty, and non-interventionist foreign policies.
His last term in the U.S. House of Representatives ended earlier this year, so we caught up with the former Congressman to get his latest perspective on how successfully our national leadership is dealing with America’s economic challenges.
In Dr. Paul’s assessment, Washington is too committed to deficit spending and the debt-based economy – both operationally and philosophically – to expect it to embrace a more fiscally-responsible model without a forcing crisis (which he believes is coming): Continue reading »
“Since Mr. Krugman tells us all this spending and debt issuance/guarantees are not only good and necessary but in the long run, painless, why are we bothering with personal income taxes?
The US government will collect approximately $2.0bn this year in Personal Income and Payroll taxes. But why? Why are we even bothering with this when today’s leading economists and politicians are telling us that debts/deficits don’t matter and running up astronomical debts is a long-term painless process? It’s practically patriotic. So why shouldn’t we just add our tax burden to the list of items the Fed should be monetizing? Seriously. Why not relieve the burden on every tax paying citizen in the United States (about 53% of us according to Mitt Romney)? You want an economic recovery? Reduce my taxes to zero and see how fast I go out and start spending some of that extra income.”
Thought Experiment: Why Do We Bother Paying Personal Taxes?
“Stupidity combined with arrogance and a huge ego will get you a long way.”
- Chris Lowe
I will admit right up front, I am not a fan of the views of Paul Krugman. If Paul Krugman was to be given his way – and by and large he is being given his way – my children and grandchildren will be burdened in the future with paying back untold amounts of public debt just so his life and the lives of countless other Boomers can remain comfortable and embarrassment free today.
This is the essence of his grand plan for a US recovery – MOAR and MOAR debt.
Wow. Genius. Why I didn’t I think of that? Just keep borrowing and printing, borrowing and printing. Got it. Now that I understand it, do I get a PhD?
Who’s going to pay the money back? How will it effect future generations? How will it effect the markets? What will this do to civil society?
If you know someone that actually believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them the statistics in this article. When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us. We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions. 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars. Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars. Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars. At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted. Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas. Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high. The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth.
The following are 40 statistics about the fall of the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe… Continue reading »
As stock markets are poised to open or close around the world and we see exactly what damage has been done to the major indexes due to the Chinese fake-data scandals that have come to light coupled with the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting, we are waiting with baited breath: Buy! Buy! Buy! Or: Sell! Sell! Sell! Whichever way we turn, someone is bound to make money somewhere in the world out of all of this. Isn’t that why we are in this business?The Nikkei dropped by 7.3% at the end of the day and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped by 2.5%. Shanghai maintained a moderate fall at just 1.2% (if you believe that data now!). The Asian markets are down. How will the Europeans fare? They are already declining this morning. The CAC 40 is down already 2.32%. The FTSE 100 is down 1.94% so far this morning. The DAX is posting a 2.64%-decrease.
Plus, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US will announce its unemployment figures this morning and tell us what the damage is. The Federal Reserve didn’t manage to allay fears as Ben Bernanke publicly stated that he wouldn’t be pulling the plugs on the stimulus program, but which was later contradicted by the minutes telling the full story that if the recovery shows through, then we will be pulling money out by June. That’s too soon for some. Are we in for another rocky ride? Maybe. You can never tell, really. But, if we look back in history, then we can see the worst stock market crashes that have taken place and why.