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Opinions on European crisis


Off-Topic Discussions

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I see here many threats talking about USA internal affairs... lets talk about Europe this time¡
- How the people here thinks our politics in Europe are working in this crysis?
- Is the austerity the only way to correct that crysis, or so much austerity is making worse a dire situation?
- How see people in north of Europe the problems here on the South?
- Finally, a local one (I'm from Barcelona). How much known on the outside is the independence of Catalonia from Spain?

Have much curiosity to see opinions, so lets discuss. Obviously, people outside Europe can say teir word, of course.

Little edit to clarify.


Germany is doing a lot of smart things. Spain did well with moving toward solar power. I wish we would do that here.

Austerity is Gollum trying to keep the ring out of the lava. The solution is the same as it is here in America--tax the hell out of the rich, and also cut spending. Suffer in the short term and be ok later. Sadly, I don't think anyone will do this, here or anywhere. Because the rich own government.

Regarding Catalonia, my guess is most Americans don't know it's a separate country.


I'm with you on the austerity side, only austerity does not work. Here we have made MANY things wrong, but all the solutions can't be make the people poorer.
On the catalonia affair, is not independent... now. But when 1.5 million people on a region of 7 million goes to the street claiming to separate from Spain, it begins to be a creible possibility on the near future (I could have been more precise, sorry).


Not from the US (I'm from Edge of the World, also known as Chile), but still:

Alaryth wrote:


- How the people here thinks our politics in Europe are working in this crysis?

Well, I see Europe in a complicated situation regarding policies. On one hand, severe saving is required to fix deficits that have been building up for many years, yet cutting off social spending once it has been implemented is a nigh-impossible thing to do from a political standpoint.

Alaryth wrote:
- Is the austerity the only way to correct that crysis, or so much austerity is making worse a dire situation?

Austerity is one part of the solution, though I believe not the only one. I think European countries could use a private-public joint retirement system to coup with its increasingly older population.

Alaryth wrote:
- Finally, a local one (I'm from Barcelona). How much known on the outside is the independence of Catalonia from Spain?

50% of my blood comes from Catalunya, while 25% comes from the Basque Country (the rest is a mixture of Asturian and Scottish). I've always been possitive towards increased independence for said Spanish nations. I guess it comes from my grandparents always identifying themselves with those regions rather than with Spain itself.

That said, I am not sure the current scenario would be the best to start splitting up. Not for Catalunya, not for Spain as a whole. The inherent instability caused by such a split would stomp down credit ratings on both sides and considering the state of the debt (as I understand, Catalunya is also having its own deficit crisis) and the money its going to be needed to improve things, that would be quite negative.

I say take it easy for a decade and, once things are calmer, try to work a better deal. Perhaps something like the British Commonwealth would be nice.

Sovereign Court

Well, I think austerity DOES work, when done well. It is after all, what keeps most companies going, since a majority of companies do not generate profit contrary to the legends.

Problem is : France (my country) and probably a lot of Europe have been on an ever increasing bunch of lies pretending our economy was doing right, and we could keep overspending forever as other folks would pay for us ....

Hell, TWENTY years ago I remember my economics teacherS at uni telling me this was bul..... and saying someday the fallout would cost. A LOT. And the longer you wait, the worse it would be. Did any political leader have the guts to admit it publicly ? To do anything about it ???

Well ...

Now we have a left wing president, from a party with a shady track record (IMO), trying to solve our national debts problems, which is about the contrary of the platform he was elected on. Wonderful.

So he does tax the rich. Wonderful. The rich ... individuals. The few ones who have not already fled to Switzerland. Does he cut into the tax exemptions of big businesses (many in foreign hands...) HELL, NO, he does not.

And do his efforts stop the deficit ? Hell, no. He just aims at limiting it at something like 3% or 4% .... which is about 6 % too much if you really wanted to solve the problem.

So I will pay more tax, and I wish I would pay more ... if it meant in the end something would improve, but since the medicine is too mild, it won't work.

About Catalunya's independence from Spain ... Well I see why you could like it, but I think it is a really bad idea. You should negotiate for greater freedom, maybe privileges, regional rights, what have you, but I don't think beoing a small country in a big wolrd would help you.

Of course, it's just me. Feel free to contradict me, I welcome the debate.


One thing I worry as well is the election of radicals. A crisis, particularly one which hit hard on large masses of the population and lasts for extended periods of time, is like fertilizer for extreme political views to grow and take hold, and make the population more lenient to choose them.

When people start seeing that problems cannot be fixed quick enough, they tend to move away from the establishment and seek alternatives, even when often the problem is deeper than the establishment itself. Populism generally is the first thing to show up, which in turn leads to unstable political decisions and lost of zig-zagging (as most Latin American countries can attest to). Once that sets in, it becomes easy for the more problematic radicals to get a say, which are hard to move out once installed.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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Stereofm wrote:
Well, I think austerity DOES work, when done well. It is after all, what keeps most companies going, since a majority of companies do not generate profit contrary to the legends.

A sovereign nation isn't like a corporation. Their employees and customers are the same people, so slashing services just depresses the economy (and thus the tax base) further. Deficit spending can break this depression cycle, but periphery EU nations have lost control if their own currency, and are thus over a barrel when it comes to the cost and conditions of deficit spending.


A Man In Black wrote:
Stereofm wrote:
Well, I think austerity DOES work, when done well. It is after all, what keeps most companies going, since a majority of companies do not generate profit contrary to the legends.
A sovereign nation isn't like a corporation. Their employees and customers are the same people, so slashing services just depresses the economy (and thus the tax base) further. Deficit spending can break this depression cycle, but periphery EU nations have lost control if their own currency, and are thus over a barrel when it comes to the cost and conditions of deficit spending.

Precisely. I'm not sure why people don't understand that economics of a country on a macro level don't work like a business or a person on a micro level.

"Well what we need to do is cut the fat, pay back our debt, that's how it works in my household" I hear this time and again and it's gibberish.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I think it is of course necessary to control the spending of a nation to prevent (read:reduce) mis-speding of tax money. But reducing the spending in order to lower taxes (mostly for the rich) is wrong, as tax money is spent on civil servants´ wages, who spend it for private consumption. And it is spent on infrastructure and building projects, which helps the construction economy, to give just two examples. So, intelligent spending of tax money is necessary, not austerity and saving money "at all costs".

(more later, I need to go)


Stereofm wrote:

Well, I think austerity DOES work, when done well. It is after all, what keeps most companies going, since a majority of companies do not generate profit contrary to the legends.

Problem is : France (my country) and probably a lot of Europe have been on an ever increasing bunch of lies pretending our economy was doing right, and we could keep overspending forever as other folks would pay for us ....

Hell, TWENTY years ago I remember my economics teacherS at uni telling me this was bul..... and saying someday the fallout would cost. A LOT. And the longer you wait, the worse it would be. Did any political leader have the guts to admit it publicly ? To do anything about it ???

Well ...

Now we have a left wing president, from a party with a shady track record (IMO), trying to solve our national debts problems, which is about the contrary of the platform he was elected on. Wonderful.

So he does tax the rich. Wonderful. The rich ... individuals. The few ones who have not already fled to Switzerland. Does he cut into the tax exemptions of big businesses (many in foreign hands...) HELL, NO, he does not.

And do his efforts stop the deficit ? Hell, no. He just aims at limiting it at something like 3% or 4% .... which is about 6 % too much if you really wanted to solve the problem.

So I will pay more tax, and I wish I would pay more ... if it meant in the end something would improve, but since the medicine is too mild, it won't work.

About Catalunya's independence from Spain ... Well I see why you could like it, but I think it is a really bad idea. You should negotiate for greater freedom, maybe privileges, regional rights, what have you, but I don't think beoing a small country in a big wolrd would help you.

Of course, it's just me. Feel free to contradict me, I welcome the debate.

I guess you are leaning quite to the right on economical topics, aren't you ?

As said government was elected four months ago, it's no wonder there was no miracle recovery during the summer months. The previous one didn't found a miracle cure in five years, either.

And he WAS elected on a platform of increased taxes for everybody, including the rich : one of its main slogans during the election was "justice in taxes". Increasing spending power was the motto of the previous government, not this one : and it didn't happen, in part because of the financial crisis.

3% is the threshold fixed by the Maastricht treaty at the inception of the euro, twenty years ago. A state is run in a very different way from a business, as it can print money. You can run with a deficit for centuries, it's no real problem : you just have to have a REAL central bank with a REAL economic policy going further than simple-mindedly fighting inflation (which isn't a serious problem when you are in an economic slouch). The german obsession about inflation (for historical reasons) has done a great deal of harm.

Yes, the very rich CAN flee the country if they feel like it. Are you suggesting that they should be exempted from sharing the burden, just to accomodate them ? Tax evasion is so bothersome, my dear...

Next year's fiscal law will only be presented by the governement next week. How can you already know what will or won't be in it ?


Hudax wrote:

Germany is doing a lot of smart things. Spain did well with moving toward solar power. I wish we would do that here.

Austerity is Gollum trying to keep the ring out of the lava. The solution is the same as it is here in America--tax the hell out of the rich, and also cut spending. Suffer in the short term and be ok later. Sadly, I don't think anyone will do this, here or anywhere. Because the rich own government.

Regarding Catalonia, my guess is most Americans don't know it's a separate country.

They also won't do it because the rich will just move to cheaper places easier to exploit, just like they are moving industries to Asia for cheap labor.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Icyshadow wrote:
They also won't do it because the rich will just move to cheaper places easier to exploit, just like they are moving industries to Asia for cheap labor.

The problem with that is that the cheaper places that are easier to exploit are crappy places to live.


A Man In Black wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
They also won't do it because the rich will just move to cheaper places easier to exploit, just like they are moving industries to Asia for cheap labor.
The problem with that is that the cheaper places that are easier to exploit are crappy places to live.

No place is crappy to live in when you are rich.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Icyshadow wrote:
No place is crappy to live in when you are rich.

You mentioned outsourcing destinations. China and Mexico are not super great places to live even if you are rich.


Ever been to Mexico or China yourself?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Icyshadow wrote:
Ever been to Mexico or China yourself?

Mexico yes, China no. I'm not saying either country is a hellhole, just that they're not places you live unless there is some inherent quality of either Mexico or China that has you there. If someone is just moving to improve their quality of life and has basically no restrictions on their movements, those are not countries you'd pick.

Let me put it this way. For an American, moving within the US is much less hassle than immigrating internationally would be for anyone. California has a top-bracket state marginal income tax rate of 9% and change. South Dakota has no state income tax at all. There's a similar difference in property taxes, sales taxes (7.25-9.75% in CA, 4-6% in SD), all the way down the line. Where's the massive migration of rich Americans to flyover states?


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I can only speak for Italy, and in my opinion the US should lend us a handful of ICBM (not sure about the yield of the warhead in such a case, i think around 10 megatons?).The main target should be of course the government building.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Gandal wrote:
I can only speak for Italy, and in my opinion the US should lend us a handful of ICBM (not sure about the yield of the warhead in such a case, i think around 10 megatons?).The main target should be of course the government building.

I realize this is a joke but a 10 MT explosion would entirely obliterate a 3 km radius circle and cause third-degree burns up to 18 km away. Even a 300-400 KT explosion (which is what US ICBMs use) would have just-assume-everyone-here-is-dead-or-dying circles of 4-5 km radius. So, uh, unless you have a grudge against Rome in general...


Not against the whole city, but Palazzo Chigi is in it, and just to be sure....


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The economic crisis is what the leaders of the world use after the war on terror and the global warming to justify ever more intrusive policy changes and new laws. Thing is, you can't get a healthy, prosperous country to agree to massive, risky changes that will benefit you as a politician, or the people who provided you with economic means to get to your current position. So, to do that, you need to shake up the economy. And how to do it? Well, bail out companies that can't pay their bills through tax money. Force spending on massive green projects you already know won't work (monorails somewhere in rural mid-west, electric cars, solar energy, and so on), regulate away things that do work (nuclear power, a relatively free market), and so on. When governments complain about not being able to pay their bills, make sure other countries' tax payers "volunteer" to pay those bills, thereby removing significant amounts of money from the economies of those countries too. Set up huge "financial mechanisms" to "protect the euro". Ah, yes, the euro. Designed from the start to become exactly what it has become: A financial straight-jacket that prevents countries from solving their own problems, thereby becoming a justification for a thorough centralization of the EU states. Make sure the worst administrators and control- and regulation-happy people become untouchable in their fortresses in Brussels. Eventually, you will have destroyed the economy of Europe so profoundly that the people will vote for the Strong Man you have had in mind for so long. Does any of this feel familiar to you?

P.S. The very rich in China live lives of luxury beyond anything available in the West. It's always been that way. The Soviet Union had the exact same situation.


In the age of smartphone cameras, it seems less and less likely that these massive conspiracies exist.

Someone paid $50,000 to sit and listen to Romney talk at a dinner. They still posted a video of him saying stuff that has hurt him in the election.


People have high-level security systems in this day and age as well.

They won't let all the conspiracies slip through their fingers so easily.


Alot of Europeans think that the US has interest in creating and maintaining the European crisis. (in order to weaken the EU as political entity and in order to distract from internal US economy problems) They point to the fact that the US based rating agencies have been the primary and main actors in this drama.

To make it clear. Personally I am not that opionion. I dont even think that there is a real crisis in Europe. Its mainly based on hype and media made. which will be replaced by the next hype soon.


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Well, the rating agencies (and the lenders, who get the high interest rates) may have a motivation, but they don't actually represent the US. Even most of the banks doing the lending aren't US banks.

It may speak to the problems with letting your fiscal policy be held hostage by unaccountable private businesses.

Liberty's Edge

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A Man In Black wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
No place is crappy to live in when you are rich.
You mentioned outsourcing destinations. China and Mexico are not super great places to live even if you are rich.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you've never partied (or spent any time at all) with rich people in Mexico. Or know about the many American expats living well there on their pensions, retirement money and whatnot.

The nasty parts of Mexico, the ones really screwed up by violence, are mostly on our border. That's where the cartels and Zetas have the most power, and the government has the least.

I actually have hung out with some seriously rich people in Mexico. They seem to be enjoying their lives quite nicely. Great climate, wonderful beaches, not bad at all. I could see myself thinking I had a good life were I rich down there.

I don't know much about China, but I'm sure people living in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and the like, if they're rich, probably think they're living well and their location is great. An old girlfriend of mine lived in Jakarta (her parents were "bodyguards and bulletproof Mercedes" rich), I don't think they thought their home wasn't "super great".

You're talking about rich people. They can move about and find what they think is "super great". The rich Mexicans, when they come up to shop at the Galleria, wonder how we live in such a homogenized wasteland where you couldn't tell Dallas from Des Moines with the identical "Denny's - Bridgestone - Furniture Store - Fast Food - Best Buy" repetition in just about every city here. "Super great" is in the eye of the beholder.

"Super great" (and, thanks, I feel like a thirteen year old girl every time I type that) is in the eyes of the beholder, and, like the post you're trying to dismiss correctly points out, if you have enough money, the environment changes to suit you. Who cares if peasants are living in thatched roofed houses and peddling con with mayo and cayenne pepper in the streets, if the wall around your hacienda keeps the polo field, the 30 car garage and the Olympic sized pool safe from the unwashed masses, that's pretty "super great".

Of course, if you're talking more dangerous or more oppressive, well, this place is pretty nasty in both of those respects as well. 5% of the world population, 25% of the world's prisoners. A lot of those not so "super great" countries don't lock people up for the petty crap they do here. And, trust me, the rich we're talking about make the rules in those nations.

Sorry, but you don't get to define "super great". I doubt you're a girl in eighth grade, for one, and you have no idea what everyone's definition of "super great" is anyway.

And, again, since you seem to be unaware, quite a few American retirees and expats seem to think Mexico, for one, is "super great" enough to have left the U.S. pretty much permanently, so, please, stop thinking you know something about everything, or that if you say it, it must be so.

And, to pound this home again, there are a lot of people who don't think this place is "super great". Our culture is vapid, our people, by and large, are shallow, unintelligent, uninformed morons content to go through life working meaningless jobs, go home to cookie cutter homes, eat uninspired processed crap they think is food, watch mindless, completely valueless "entertainment" and "news" on their televisions, listen to formula crap "popular" music scientifically designed to be comfortable and forgettable so they can sell essentially the same song over and over (ever actually listened to Kate Perry? Hasn't Nickleback basically put out the same song with a different title twelve times or something?).

There's nothing "super great" about the U.S. (or, by extension, as they are more or less our cultural twin and are responsible for Nickleback, Canada). We're "super mediocre". Mexico kicks our ass when it comes to cultural "super greatness" and regional variety.

Yeah, so, you know, stop thinking you know what it's like to be rich, or how the rich think. Or what their definition of "super great" is. China and Mexico are s~$%ty places to be poor (the U.S. isn't, not really), and don't really have much of a middle class to speak of, but, dude, until you've been to a country like that and had a crapload of money to live on, don't think you know. I've spent extended time in Mexico just living and kicking around, with enough money to be thought of as well off, and it was about as freaking "super great" as it can get.

Sorry, if I could have typed "super great" more, I would have.


Alaryth wrote:

I see here many threats talking about USA internal affairs... lets talk about Europe this time¡

- How the people here thinks our politics in Europe are working in this crysis?
- Is the austerity the only way to correct that crysis, or so much austerity is making worse a dire situation?
- How see people in north of Europe the problems here on the South?
- Finally, a local one (I'm from Barcelona). How much known on the outside is the independence of Catalonia from Spain?

Have much curiosity to see opinions, so lets discuss. Obviously, people outside Europe can say teir word, of course.

Little edit to clarify.

I take my queues from Krugman as I find him to be a credible commentator and, as such, I lean towards Keynesian economic principles. Just as our choking reflex is something that can kill us, the knee-jerk reaction in society is to clamp down on spending when times are bad. This may be good for the individuals, but governments cannot do this without undermining the individuals. Government austerity is, simply put, an attempt to hang oneself.

So says this American, at least.


Some interesting posts so far. Just a pair of little things.
- I don't believe in great conspiracy theories. I prefer to thing that we here (at least in Spain, surely in many other places) have been unlucky with our rulers. Politicians and bankers extremaly coward and short-sighted that only can think in the inmediate benefict. Our spanish governments, either with Aznar, Zapatero and now Rajoy have been incompetent in all economic affairs.
- I am not a Catalonian independentist from Spain. I have my doubts in that question. I really feel spanish, but some jerk reactions from the spanish center made feel some simpathy for the independentist. I would prefer to remain in Spain, but with a huge change in actitude from many people. That seems extremally improbable, though.

Edit: Is always interesting to see the opinion outside people have of a situation, all over the world, of course.

The Exchange

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Hudax wrote:

Germany is doing a lot of smart things. Spain did well with moving toward solar power. I wish we would do that here.

Austerity is Gollum trying to keep the ring out of the lava. The solution is the same as it is here in America--tax the hell out of the rich, and also cut spending. Suffer in the short term and be ok later. Sadly, I don't think anyone will do this, here or anywhere. Because the rich own government.

Regarding Catalonia, my guess is most Americans don't know it's a separate country.

Cut spending? Hell No. Resources are public property. They need to be used to the benefit of the whole populace - not sold off to pay for El Presidente's friend's new casino or the privatization of public property. If anything Nationalize the infrastructure and employ people in the government to do the job of building and maintaining the infrastructure. Take 25% of the produce of all companies accessing public resources for personal profit. That pays for further growth of publicly owned government and the employment of more citizens to build and maintain the infrastructure. All that private owned energy can be sold overseas and the People get 25% of the Produce meaning they get income that sustains growth and development.


houstonderek wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
No place is crappy to live in when you are rich.
You mentioned outsourcing destinations. China and Mexico are not super great places to live even if you are rich.
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you've never partied (or spent any time at all) with rich people in Mexico. Or know about the many American expats living well there on their pensions, retirement money and whatnot....

"Mexico es super grande" says world's richest man.

Apologies, Spanish speakers, for the mangling of your tongue.

I have a theory that NAFTA was involved here, but I can't be sure.


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Big conspiracy theories? Perhaps. It's down to an old saying for me: Saying you don't believe in conspiracies is the same as saying you trust your government completely. I don't. Not now, not ever. We do know the very rich spend a hideous amount of money to get new laws that they like. We know they have contact networks that span every relevant actor on the financial world stage. We do know they meet outside surveillance, such as meetings on the luxury yacht of a friend and the like. We do know that for example laws "relaxing" free speech, the principle of mere conduit, laws allowing for imprisoning people on nothing but suspicion or bypass the need for things like search warrants, these things have spread like a wildfire across the West. We know that the US has pushed entire packages of laws into other countries via diplomatic contacts.

But to think that they have a coordinated plan for this, or that they do these things in pursuit of personal profit, or that they are actually lying to us about the reasons for the economic crisis?

Yeah, you're probably right. I need to get my head checked.


I have always seen countries more like families than corporations.

And families still need to handle their spending in times of crisis. The key is separating the essential from the non-essential. You don't stop feeding your kids if you are out of work, but you can switch to a cheaper brand of cereal.

Unlike families, though, once it goes really bad, there is no higher struture to depend on. Which makes the whole deficit thing all the more dangerous.

I am not intimate enough with how social spending in Europe is structured to give an informed opinion, but I have the feeling that it might be very inefficient or out of synch with its productive capacity. Considering countries there have the lowest GINI Coefficients in the world (a measure of how much more money do the rich earn in comparison to the poor), I really don't think it has anything to do with taxes. Sure, asking the rich to pay more will indeed pour some much-needed extra cash in the treasury, but it won't fix the problem. Worse yet, it may only serve to extend it, as the focus will be in the wrong area.


Sissyl wrote:
Big conspiracy theories? Perhaps. It's down to an old saying for me: Saying you don't believe in conspiracies is the same as saying you trust your government completely.

This is a false dichotomy.

The Bilderberg group is less influential than you imagine. They are influential, but they don't control everything. Major politicians meet with them because even if they weren't members of this group, individuals in it are still influential. When you are trying to run a government, guess what, you're going to meet with influential people.

The Bilderberg conspiracy has it's roots in 19th century antisemitism.

Show me a congressman in the US who got re-elected, who voted against their district on a major issue that was deeply cared about by that district.

Money does influence politics, not as much as people think, but more than it should.

I agree there are free speech issues and concerns. I agree, Dick Cheney and people like him aren't good for the country/world and he is doing things to undermine rights. I don't think he's doing these things because he's evil and hates freedom, but rather he thinks they're necessary steps to fight an enemy he perceives to be real.

The difference is you see conspiracy.
I see misguided ideals and philosophy.

It's a subtle difference, not the black and white difference you make it out to be.

Sovereign Court

Smarnil le couard wrote:
=

I guess you are leaning quite to the right on economical topics, aren't you ?

As said government was elected four months ago, it's no wonder there was no miracle recovery during the...

Hi Smarnil,

Oh yes, I am quite on the "right" side, though I WOULD like to call it,the "realist" side against the "doctrinal" side. (I don't actually believe in any doctrines). Basically, I don't like platorm based candidates, I like pragmatics. Hell, he is politically dead, but I voted for Bayrou.

I fully agree the right side governments were inefficient cowards and helped dig our graves. Their actions were bul..... and they were crap managers.

I agree Mr Hollande has an hellish problem to solve, few of which is his own fault. Now, he wanted the job, so he HAS to. Or, he is yet another crook.

But what are the root causes of this ?
Over spending ? yes, somewhat ?
Lack of forecast ? yes, definitely ?
Cowardice on our political parties .... ooooh, don't get me started.

So what does mr Holland do ?
Raise the taxes for the rich ? yes, somewhat, though only a tiny few are really concerned.
Raise the taxes on the "evil" corps ... MMM... actually, no. There are so many tax loopholes here, and so many of them are so conveniently overlooked.
Raise the taxes on capital ... well tell me again : How come works of art are exempt from the French wealth tax "ISF" ? How come so many of our "deputies" (congressmen for our US readers) have invested in this to "protect our culture" ???

And how come when one honest congressman challenged this, about 80 % of our congress voted against it ?

So maybe, I am not so much on the right side, than on the "work honestly and share equally the burden of our past stupidity" side;

Feel tired tonight, but I'd gladly talk more about it tomorrow. hope I haven't offended you or anybody else, as that is not my intent.


Conspiracies or not, things are not looking bright for the mid-class or the poor.


Stereofm wrote:

Hi Smarnil,

Oh yes, I am quite on the "right" side, though I WOULD like to call it,the "realist" side against the "doctrinal" side. (I don't actually believe in any doctrines). Basically, I don't like platorm based candidates, I like pragmatics. Hell, he is politically dead, but I voted for Bayrou.

No offense intended, nor taken. Everybody is entitled to his opinions, and sharing them is the whole point of forums.

Bayrou's 2007 platform was already about a coming debt crisis. Nobody can deny that he had some foresight.

Basically, Hollande's 2012 platform is quite close. We shall see how its implementation will turn out in the long run. The fiscal bill for 2013 will be presented tomorrow : then, we shall talk about tax loopholes yet to close and other technical niceties.

The exemption of art objects was put in place in the 80's to slow down the flow of art objects leaving for other countries crammed full of billionnaires (USA and Japan at the time). It's a textbook exemple of a fiscal incentive (taxes used to orient behaviour). I don't think that it can be seen as a clear example of a law taken by the elite to fulfill their own interest, as you imply.

Stereofm wrote:
I fully agree the right side governments were inefficient cowards and helped dig our graves. Their actions were bul..... and they were crap managers.

You bet. I wish our former president had done a quarter of the things he said he would (or better still, that he said he HAD). A little communication goes a long way in politics, but shouldn't be the main focus.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Speaking as a Brit...

Quote:
- How the people here thinks our politics in Europe are working in this crysis?

Hardly.

Quote:
- Is the austerity the only way to correct that crysis, or so much austerity is making worse a dire situation?

It's important to get your debt in order, but in the end the debt is a symptom, not a cause. The cause is a loss of competitiveness in Southern Europe, which was allowed to get to this juncture by the pretence, vie the euro, that Southern Europe was the same economically as Germany. Once it became clear that it wasn't, pushed by recession and crisis in the US, we ended up with the euro crisis. The necessity then is to regain competitiveness, but that is politically difficult as it attacks vested interests and causes unemployment at a time of hardship. No politician wants to do that. The US copes better because it allows transfers betwen rich and poor states via federal spending, which profides a buffer in bad times, but this is impossible in the current EU.

Quote:
- How see people in north of Europe the problems here on the South?

My perspective is as a British Eurosceptic, so I can't really talk to that. I am beginning to wonder what the whole EU set-up is bringing to the party, however. Certainly the current direction could be very damaging to UK interests.

Quote:
- Finally, a local one (I'm from Barcelona). How much known on the outside is the independence of Catalonia from Spain?

Heard about it. Actually, transfers from rich areas to poor areas, as I mentioned above, is probably necessary under the single currency set-up. If people begin carving out their share of the loot even more than they are now - i.e. Catalonia not subsidising the rest of Spain - you are looking in microcosm at the sort of arguments which are already toxic to the health of the euro area. Germany is criticised (reasonably or unreasonably) for not opening the cash spiggot but I'm wondering how the economic (I appreciate there are other arguments) case for Catalonian independence is very different to that.

Sovereign Court

Also, there is another big argument : why the hell Europe is such a big Danaide barrel full of loopholes that allow for so many tax exemptions ?

Why the hell don't we have a protectionist policy like the US and China do ?

Europe was historically strong because it adopted industry before the others did. (Not the only reason, but a fairly strong one).

Now Germany is doing well. Good for them. Why did the rest of Europe let its own industry die ?

Why are we so excited about the iphone5 when we should be concerned about the latest Nokia ?

Maybe we should go for Eurocentric policies, and give the finger to the rest of the world for once.

Sovereign Court

Smarnil le couard wrote:

I don't think that it can be seen as a clear example of a law taken by the elite to fulfill their own interest, as you imply.

Maybe not in the start, but Hell is paved with good intent. And there are so many lawyers looking for loopholes.

Also : WHO can really afford to buy a masterwork paint in our country now, if not the elite ?

Ever think about the DOM-TOM tax exemptions too ?


Man, I wish I lived in Europe. Even the crappy parts. Maybe then I'd know what the flip you guys are on about.

Sovereign Court

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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Quote:
- How see people in north of Europe the problems here on the South?

My perspective is as a British Eurosceptic, so I can't really talk to that. I am beginning to wonder what the whole EU set-up is bringing to the party, however. Certainly the current direction could be very damaging to UK interests.

When Churchill suggested the whole thing there was this whole idea about not invading each other and engaging in massive wars which drag in the rest of the world and kill absurd amounts of people.

That seems to have worked out pretty well.

More generally, I'm thinking that the whole situation is incredibly complex because we've spent years living on debt, encouraged by absurd bankers who got rich from juggling debt and politicians who got elected by promising wands of CSW when they could only afford CLW. Yet ultimately we're responsible for our own debt, and our own idiocy.

So, basically, we're indebted due to our own knuckleheaded idiocy and our venal, corrupt, self-serving institutions.

Institutional reforms and a massive transformation of social attitudes would be enough if we weren't already deeply in debt.

As it is... who knows?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Stereofm wrote:
Why the hell don't we have a protectionist policy like the US and China do ?

There are plenty of Euro protectionist policies. PDO and subsidization of part-time/jobsharing, for example.

Quote:
Why are we so excited about the iphone5 when we should be concerned about the latest Nokia ?

Because Nokia phones suck.


Nokia did not get on the smartphone train quickly enough. Too bad, so sad. Then again, a company willing to provide mobile networks for the Iranian government without removing a little something called lawful intercept capability... Let them rot.

Dark Archive

France and Holland are set to levy a 75% tax on citizens who earn more than €1M a year, discouraging the threshold-rich from continuing to make money by taxing them to the point that their lives are indistinguishable from a middle income earner, no matter how much harder they may work than that average French middle income earner...

Earn €4M to break a cool million (take a very substantial pay cut essentially), or earn less than a million to get about 700K (no pay cut)--I'd be very tempted to figure out how to earn €999,999.99 a year so I could keep more than half of it.

I'm trying to imagine living off the 25% I pay in taxes in the US (which would equate to a fast food manager's salary), but doing the same work (I probably put in 90 hours a week, often work weekends, get called in the middle of the night, etc.).

I think I'd rather be a non-producer, keep more of the money I make, and have more free time for myself and my family.


To use a US reference, because its one of the few I can find and makes for a decent comparison...

Texas has increased it's state budget every year since 1994 (including when adjusted for inflation). It's also had some of the best economic growth during the recession, in the US.

Greece and Spain have been enforcing austerity measures. They haven't been able to stop their downward spiral.


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Renrut Werdna-Bizzaro wrote:

France and Holland are set to levy a 75% tax on citizens who earn more than €1M a year, discouraging the threshold-rich from continuing to make money by taxing them to the point that their lives are indistinguishable from a middle income earner, no matter how much harder they may work than that average French middle income earner...

Earn €4M to break a cool million (take a very substantial pay cut essentially), or earn less than a million to get about 700K (no pay cut)--I'd be very tempted to figure out how to earn €999,999.99 a year so I could keep more than half of it.

I'm trying to imagine living off the 25% I pay in taxes in the US (which would equate to a fast food manager's salary), but doing the same work (I probably put in 90 hours a week, often work weekends, get called in the middle of the night, etc.).

I think I'd rather be a non-producer, keep more of the money I make, and have more free time for myself and my family.

You know that's not how money at that level works, right?

First, it's a marginal tax. It's not a 75% tax on citizens who earn more than €1M a year. It's a 75% tax on income above €1M a year. You never take a pay cut by earning more. Every euro you earn adds to your income, it just adds less as you make more.

I'm not sure what imagining living off 25% of your salary has to do with anything. By the time you would be taxed at this rate, you would have after tax income far above a fast food manager's salary. I'd like to imagine living on €700,000+ a year, but I don't know what I'd do with it all.

Finally, if you're making millions, you're not making it by going to your job everyday and working hard. You can't just cut back your hours. Your money is probably coming from investments or ownership. If you are employed, as an executive in some large corporation probably, you can't just cut back to a fraction of your time and still keep your job. If you own a business (and are still actively running it) cutting back cuts your business's growth, damages your reputation and may ruin it entirely. You've got to stay on top of it.

Sovereign Court

A Man In Black wrote:
Stereofm wrote:
Why the hell don't we have a protectionist policy like the US and China do ?

There are plenty of Euro protectionist policies. PDO and subsidization of part-time/jobsharing, for example.

That sounds rather small scale.


HD, I thought we were friends. Then I saw what you said about Dame Perry. You take that back, you!

houstonderek wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
No place is crappy to live in when you are rich.
You mentioned outsourcing destinations. China and Mexico are not super great places to live even if you are rich.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you've never partied (or spent any time at all) with rich people in Mexico. Or know about the many American expats living well there on their pensions, retirement money and whatnot.

The nasty parts of Mexico, the ones really screwed up by violence, are mostly on our border. That's where the cartels and Zetas have the most power, and the government has the least.

I actually have hung out with some seriously rich people in Mexico. They seem to be enjoying their lives quite nicely. Great climate, wonderful beaches, not bad at all. I could see myself thinking I had a good life were I rich down there.

I don't know much about China, but I'm sure people living in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and the like, if they're rich, probably think they're living well and their location is great. An old girlfriend of mine lived in Jakarta (her parents were "bodyguards and bulletproof Mercedes" rich), I don't think they thought their home wasn't "super great".

You're talking about rich people. They can move about and find what they think is "super great". The rich Mexicans, when they come up to shop at the Galleria, wonder how we live in such a homogenized wasteland where you couldn't tell Dallas from Des Moines with the identical "Denny's - Bridgestone - Furniture Store - Fast Food - Best Buy" repetition in just about every city here. "Super great" is in the eye of the beholder.

"Super great" (and, thanks, I feel like a thirteen year old girl every time I type that) is in the eyes of the beholder, and, like the post you're trying to dismiss correctly points out, if you have enough money, the environment changes to suit you. Who cares if peasants are living in thatched roofed houses and peddling con with mayo and cayenne pepper in the streets, if...


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Like Aralyth, I'm a Catalan. However, I do support the movement towards independence. Please allow me a little rant to explain why I feel what I feel. 

Like a large (and growing) sector of the Catalan people, I consider myself Catalan by birth, culture, language and heritage, and Spanish by legal imposition. Lots of people around me and my family who weren't independentists, now they are. The reasons for this need to be recognized as a free, sovereign nation with its own state should not be attributed to merely economic factors, though. They are a part of it, undoubtedly, but in my opinion the current crisis is just the last straw. We've been overtaxed for decades, with a ridiculous imbalance between what we contribute and what we get in return, and yet most Catalans preferred to reach a solution to the widening rift between Catalonia and Spain via negotiation and agreement. But even the calmest, most thoughtful and moderate people have limits to what they are able or willing to endure. The problems between both nations go back centuries, but in the recent years the Spanish government (especially the right-wing, closet-Francoist Partido Popular) has ramped up its attacks against the Catalan people and language, engendering widespread feelings of catalanophobia among Spaniards with clear electoral purposes. 

Catalans are insulted and threatened in some rancid Spanish media on a daily basis, our language -a language as old if not older than Spanish and equally rich in its literature (and I say this as a philologist, so I'm not saying that lightly) which we hold dear as a symbol of who we are and how we think, is constantly endangered by aggressive interventionist policies from Madrid, with the intention to wipe off any differential element (the most common Spanish attitude towards Catalan, in my experience is perplexity: lots of people apparently think that we speak Catalan just to piss them off). We endured a 36-year dictatorship that oppressed brutally our rights and our idiosyncracies, my own 
parents and grandparents risked being beaten by the police if they were caught speaking in Catalan, their mother tongue. The sad thing is that after 30 years of pretended democracy, certain attitudes have not changed in the least. The aggressive, patronizing views of Spain towards Catalonia is very much the colonialistic rage of a faded once-glorious empire that, after 4 centuries of decadence, refuses to lose the few jewels it still has in its clutches. 

We've seen our language endangered, our identity insulted, the decisions made by our Parliament trampled and our otherwise-thriving economy 
destroyed, and in Spain they still think that we've gone crazy overnight. We're not crazy, and this didn't happen overnight. A million and a half people demonstrated peacefully and democratically asking for their right -the universal right of every people to self-determination- to be respected. As a believer in democracy, I think that the Catalan people should be allowed to speak in a referendum and decide who and what they want to be, and the world should accept the result, whatever it may be.

And I want to make abundantly clear that I have nothing at all against Spain and the Spaniards, just like I have nothing against the British, the Americans or the Japanese. On the contrary, I admire certain aspects of each of those nationalities. However, that doesn't make me want to be British, American or Japanese. I'm Catalan, simple as that.


Interesting. I am a bit leery once you get to what happened to parents and grandparents- as a black man in America, I know how important that is to remember what happened to ones forebearers, but I also know how less than ethical people can use such experiences to rubber stamp the most egregious of practices), but so long as everything is being done peaceably, go for it.

Authrym wrote:

Like Aralyth, I'm a Catalan. However, I do support the movement towards independence. Please allow me a little rant to explain why I feel what I feel. 

Like a large (and growing) sector of the Catalan people, I consider myself Catalan by birth, culture, language and heritage, and Spanish by legal imposition. Lots of people around me and my family who weren't independentists, now they are. The reasons for this need to be recognized as a free, sovereign nation with its own state should not be attributed to merely economic factors, though. They are a part of it, undoubtedly, but in my opinion the current crisis is just the last straw. We've been overtaxed for decades, with a ridiculous imbalance between what we contribute and what we get in return, and yet most Catalans preferred to reach a solution to the widening rift between Catalonia and Spain via negotiation and agreement. But even the calmest, most thoughtful and moderate people have limits to what they are able or willing to endure. The problems between both nations go back centuries, but in the recent years the Spanish government (especially the right-wing, closet-Francoist Partido Popular) has ramped up its attacks against the Catalan people and language, engendering widespread feelings of catalanophobia among Spaniards with clear electoral purposes. 

Catalans are insulted and threatened in some rancid Spanish media on a daily basis, our language -a language as old if not older than Spanish and equally rich in its literature (and I say this as a philologist, so I'm not saying that lightly) which we hold dear as a symbol of who we are and how we think, is constantly endangered by aggressive interventionist policies from Madrid, with the intention to wipe off any differential element (the most common Spanish attitude towards Catalan, in my experience is perplexity: lots of people apparently think that we speak Catalan just to piss them off). We endured a 36-year dictatorship that oppressed brutally our rights and our idiosyncracies, my own 
parents and...


In Sweden, our social democrats actually instituted a non-marginal progressive tax. Legions of people refused to take salary increases because they would lead to getting LESS money remaining after taxes. Worst of all, there was no upper limit to this progressivity. Our national icon, Astrid Lindgren, children's book writer and creator of Pippi Longstocking, made som much money they really DID tax her over 100%. Yes, you read that right. For every 100 swedish krona she earned, she had to pay more than 100 in taxes... Being a verbal and smart woman, she wrote to the newspaper about how it's called per cents because there are only a hundred of them, about how the government apparently did not have anyone who could do middle school maths. It was called the Pomperipossa tax, and swedes today are quite aware of this incident of twenty years ago. The entire system was changed to respect marginal earnings, but don't tell me it's not possible to find progressive tax systems that refer to total earnings in Europe.

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