Monday, July 30, 2012

The majority of Germans think their country would be better off without the euro, a poll suggested Sunday, as the economy minister reiterated doubts over whether Greece can stay in the single currency.

The Emnid poll for the Bild am Sonntag mass circulation weekly showed 51% of Germans believed Europe's top economy would be better outside the 17-country euro zone. Twenty-nine% said it would be worse off.

The survey also showed that 71% of Germans wanted Greece to leave the euro if it did not live up to its austerity promises.
The Bild is a tabloid, yes; but that doesn't necessarily imply that the poll is worthless.

THE WHITE ELEPHANTS that dragged Spain into the red: "Europe has already bailed out Spanish banks, now Spain's regions are clamouring for money from central government - and one of the reasons for this is their lavish spending on white elephant building projects, such as the airport at Ciudad Real, south of Madrid."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

THAT'S GOOD: the University of California - Santa Cruz has launched the biggest online archive about the Grateful Dead.

Monday, July 23, 2012

To all of you who believe that criminality comes out of poverty how do you explain that in most of Asia it does not? And most of humanity lives in Asia.

Have you ever been to India, the country with the largest number of poor, destitute people in the world, have you seen how safe it is?  How do you explain that?
That's easy: it's not poverty that begets crime, as the usual belief goes. It's crime what makes a country poor. Insecurity, and the cost of law enforcement —in financial as well as social terms— prevents wealth creation.

DANIEL LACALLE: Markets expect a full blown Spanish bailout.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

GREAT CARTOON at The Economist (click to enlarge):


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Wednesday announced fresh austerity measures that should help Madrid cut its budget deficit by €65 billion ($79.62 billion) through to 2015, and said the euro-zone's fourth-largest economy may not grow at all next year.

The measures were swiftly welcomed by the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm, but market participants said they could slow the country's recovery from recession and may not save the country from needing a full-fledged financial bailout on top of recent European agreement to support its struggling banks with up to €100 billion.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm often asked if I think America is trending toward becoming a European-style social democracy. My answer is: "No, because we already are a European-style social democracy." From the progressivity of our tax code, to the percentage of GDP devoted to government, to the extent of the regulatory burden on business, most of Europe's got nothing on us.

In 1938—the year my organization, the American Enterprise Institute, was founded—total government spending at all levels was about 15% of GDP. By 2010 it was 36%. The political right can crow all it wants about how America is a "conservative country," unlike, say, Spain—a country governed by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party for most of the past 30 years. But at 36%, U.S. government spending relative to GDP is very close to Spain's. And our debt-to-GDP ratio is 103%; Spain's is 68%.

At first blush, these facts seem astounding. After all, Spanish political attitudes differ dramatically from our own. How can we be slouching down the same debt-potholed, social-democratic road as Spain? There are three explanations, all of which point to a worrying future for America.
Keep reading.

HOW ECONOMISTS get tripped up by statistics.

MEXICAN PRESIDENT ELECT Enrique Peña Nieto... gay, wife beater and perhaps responsible of the death of his first wife? Wow. Grain of salt, though.

Euro-zone finance ministers meeting here Monday gave Spain an extra year to bring its budget deficit back in line with the bloc's rules and promised €30 billion would be available by the end of July to start a big bailout of the country's banks.

The concession on the deficit is designed to avoid provoking a further downward plunge of the already sickly Spanish economy. On Monday, annual yields on 10-year Spanish government bonds crept above the 7% mark, a level deemed unsustainable. 

It also came as European officials wrangled over last month's agreement of euro-zone leaders to allow the bloc's bailout fund to directly boost the capital of struggling banks in the region. In dispute is whether governments of beneficiary banks would have to make good on any losses suffered by the fund on its investment in the banks.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

HAPPY 4th of July!

I love this video...

Monday, July 02, 2012

TEN shocking secrets of flight attendants.