Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy, and this flood of Muslims, mostly illegals from Turkey and Albania, bring nothing to the economy except crime and a growing class of parasites and entitlement whores.
Athens Police are so overwhelmed by the Muslim scourge that they turn a blind eye when right wing nationalist groups like Golden Dawn intervene against the invaders.
Digital Journal This time the riots were against a film produced in the U.S. that denigrates Islam’s paedophile prophet Mohammed. Greek riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse Muslim protesters who clashed with officers Sunday during a rally. Usually the riots are about the government not giving them enough free stuff.
Around 1,000 Muslims hurled bottles and other objects at police that were trying to prevent the rioters descending on the U.S. Embassy. Protesting Muslims gathered in Omonia Square holding banners proclaiming “We demand an immediate punishment for those who tried to mock our Prophet Mohammed” Shouting “Allah is great” they assaulted police with bottles, stones and slabs of marble they broke from the sidewalks, as police tried to prevent the protesters approaching the U.S. Embassy.
Read more here.
By Neal Boortz
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan. Harvey, Illinois. Littlefield, Texas. Central Falls, Rhode Island.
What do all of these US cities have in common? Their debt problems are worse than Greece. Their municipal bonds have been downgraded below investment grade, meaning that their debt is now junk.
One of those cities mentioned above was Central Falls, Rhode Island. That name may sound familiar because this was the city that came to national attention when its school board voted to fire every single one of its 74 classroom teachers, plus reading specialists, guidance counselors, physical education teachers, the school psychologist, the principal and three assistant principals. They voted to do this because the schools were failing, and the taxpayers were paying too much for so little return. When the school board asked the teachers unions to spend more time with students in and out of the classroom, the teachers unions said that it wanted to be paid more for the additional work — $90 per hour instead of the $30 per hour they were offered. Perhaps it is union demands like that which have led to the current C rating – the lowest possibility before default – for Central Falls. At this point, it can’t afford its pension fund and has a deficit that could “be above 20% of budget in the current fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 due to state aid cuts and increases to pension costs,” according to S&P.
Along these lines, here are a few statistics from USA Today that should upset you:
* In California alone, pension costs have gone up 2,000% in a decade.
* Economist Price Fishback has just published a paper finding that America spends more on social welfare than socialist Sweden (though we spend it differently).
* In 2009, the federal payroll grew and the number of federal jobs paying over $100,000 a year doubled.
* Since the recession began, the private sector cut 8.5 million jobs (more than 7% of the workforce) while local governments cut 141,000 (less than 1%).
* The average federal worker earns over 70% more than the average private sector worker
We are well on our way, folks. The more this keeps up, the more likely it is that we will be like Greece … without the beaches.
By: Larry Kudlow
One day Team Obama announces a plan for enhanced rescission authority to impound wasteful spending, and the next day the House surfaces a plan for $200 billion in “stimulus” spending on transfer payments for welfare, even more unemployment compensation, still more Medicaid and a bunch of special-interest subsidies.
So are we to believe that President Obama will rescind the excess appropriations? Hardly. And since pay-go is dead, most of this new spending will not be offset. It will add to deficits and debt.
It’s the Greek disease. The welfare state run amok. Right here at home.
And in true class-warfare style, a small portion of the $200 billion is supposed to be offset by jacking up capital-gains taxes for investment partnerships. If passed, this would reduce investment, jobs and economic growth, and enlarge the deficit. Higher spending and investment taxing is a true austerity trap.
This business of raising the tax rate on investment partnerships would be a particularly onerous burden on American entrepreneurs. And it would put this country at a decided disadvantage to our competitors in China and elsewhere in Asia (outside of Japan).
Increasing the tax rate on the investment portion of these partnerships (i.e., the capital gains) would boost the penalty rate from 15 percent to 38 percent — and that includes the Obamacare payroll tax on investment scheduled for 2013.
So, instead of keeping 85 cents on the extra dollar earned from high-risk investment, the House proposal would drop the return to only 62 cents — a whopping 27 percent incentive rollback. And by the same amount, it would raise the cost of new capital, draining investment liquidity from the private sector in order to finance government transfer payments.
Nothing could be worse. This is spread-the-wealth in its most crass form.
And if all that weren’t bad enough, the House proposal would tax the so-called enterprise value of these firms by applying the same penalty-rate structure on the sale of all or part of an investment partnership. In other words, it would make real-estate, venture-capital and private-equity firms the only businesses in the country that are ineligible for long-term capital-gains treatment when they are sold in full or part.
One private-equity partner tells me that this would “tear apart the incentives for innovation that have been at the foundation of American enterprise since 1921, when the capital-gains differential vis-a-vis ordinary personal tax rates was first created.”
Compounding matters, we read in USA Today this week that private-sector personal incomes are at an all-time low, while government benefits as a share of income stand at an all-time high. I believe this is called redistribution.
And then comes a study from the Harvard Business School that states: “Stimulus Surprise: Companies Retrench When Government Spends.” What a shocker. (Hat tip to economist Don Luskin.)
House Democrats apparently don’t read newspapers from Greece or the United States. And they sure don’t read Harvard B-School studies.
Examiner Columnist Larry Kudlow is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Greek-disease-in-the-House-95119989.html#ixzz0pFxlB7Mp
King Barack the Verbose
He is less accountable than the older kind of royalty.
One of the chief characteristics of Barack Obama’s speechifying is its contempt for words as anything other than props of self-puffery. Consider, for example, his recent remarks to the graduating class of the United States Military Academy:
“America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of cooperation — we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice.”
“Steering those currents”? How could even a member of the president’s insulated, self-regarding speechwriting team be so tin-eared as to write that line? How could the president be so tone-deaf as to deliver it in May of 2010? Hey, genius, if you’re so damn good at “steering currents,” why not try doing it in the Gulf of Mexico?
As for many great “thinkers,” for Barack Obama and his coterie words seem to exist mostly in the realm of metaphor rather than as descriptors of actual action actually occurring in anything so humdrum as reality. And so it is that, even as his bungling administration flounders in the turbulent waters of the Gulf, on the speaker’s podium the president still confidently sails forth deftly steering the ship through the narrow ribbon of sludge between the Scylla of sonorous banality and the Charybdis of gaseous uplift.
Two years ago this week, then-Senator Obama declared that his very nomination as Democratic-party presidential candidate (never mind his election, or inauguration) marked the moment when “our planet began to heal” and “the rise of the oceans began to slow.” “Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute,” remarked Charles Krauthammer the other day, “you mustn’t be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides.”
Poor old Canute has been traduced by posterity. He was the Viking king of Denmark, England, Norway, and bits of Sweden, which, as Joe Biden would say, was a big (expletive) deal back in the 11th century. And, like Good King Barack, he had a court full of oleaginous sycophants who were forever telling him, as Newsweek editor Evan Thomas said of Obama, that he’s “sort of God.” So one day, weary of being surrounded by Chris Matthews types with the legs a-tingling 24/7, Canute ordered the footmen to take his throne down to the shore and he’d command the incoming waves to stay the hell out. Just like Obama, he would steer the very currents. Next thing you know, Canute’s got seaweed in his wingtips and is back at the palace wringing out his Argyll socks. “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings,” he said, “for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”
In other words, he was teaching his courtiers a lesson in the limits of kingly power. I’m a child of the British Empire and, back in my kindergarten days, almost all the stories we were taught about kings went more or less the same way. Generations of English children learned of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex back in the 9th century. Another A-list bigshot: Winston Churchill called him “the greatest Englishman that ever lived.” One day, during a tumultuous time in the affairs of his kingdom, he passed a remote cottage and called in on the local peasant woman to rest a while. Unaware of who he was, she went off to milk the cow and told him to mind the cakes she’d left on the hearth. He was a big-picture guy preoccupied with geopolitical macro-trends and he absentmindedly let the cakes burn. She took him to task (“You’re happy to eat the cakes but too lazy to keep an eye on them”) but, upon realizing he was the king, begged a thousand pardons. “No, no,” he said. “Entirely my fault.” And there in the rude hovel he humbly turned the woman’s loaves for her.
In the age of kings, we were taught that kings were human, with human failings. Now, in the age of citizen-presidents, we are taught that government has unlimited powers over “heaven, earth, and sea.” Unlike Canute and Alfred, the vanity of Big Government knows no bounds. Tim Flannery, the Aussie global warm-monger who chaired the Copenhagen climate circus a few months back, announces with a straight face that “we’re trying to act as a species to regulate the atmosphere.” Never mind anything so footling as the incoming tides, but the very atmosphere! How do you do that? Well, first, take one extremely large check. Next, add several extra zeroes to it. Then, toss it out the window. “He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws”? Hah! That’s chickenfeed compared to the way things are gonna be once heaven, earth, and sea are forced to submit to a transnational micro-regulatory regime.
Almost every problem we face today arises from the vanity of Big Government. Why has BP got oil wells 5,000 feet underwater in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico? Because government regulated them off-land, off-coast, and ever deeper into the briny. True, BP went along. Its initials stand for “British Petroleum.” You may not be aware of that if you’ve seen any of their commercials in recent years: “BP — Beyond Petroleum.” They were an oil company ashamed of their product, and advertising only how anxious they were to get with the environmental program. And a fat lot of good that did them. BP, not to mention its customers, would have been better to push back against government policies that drive energy suppliers into ever more unpredictable terrain in order to protect the Alaskan breeding grounds of the world’s largest mosquito herd. Instead, we’ll do the opposite. There’ll be even more government protection of “the environment,” and even more government regulation of the oil industry, and BP will be drilling for oil in that Icelandic volcano.
It’s the same in Europe. Greece’s problem isn’t so very difficult to diagnose. Like many Western nations, its government has spent tomorrow today. As in New York and California, public-sector unions have looted the future. This is the entirely foreseeable consequence of government policy.
So what’s the solution? The international bailout (including a hefty contribution by U.S. taxpayers) is a massive subsidy to the Greeks to carry on doing all the stuff that’s got ’em into their present mess. The European motive for doing this is to “save the euro” — a currency whose very existence is a monument to the unbounded narcissism of government. The euro notes are decorated by scenic views of handsome Renaissance, Gothic, and classical edifices — just like the White House on U.S. currency. The only difference is that the European buildings do not exist in what we used to call the real world. They’re entirely fictional. That’s Big Government: Even if you don’t build it, they’ll still come. If you invent a currency for a united Europe, a united Europe is sure to follow.
The princelings of the new ruling class rarely have to live with the consequences of their narcissism. Nancy Pelosi can monkey with your health care, but hers will still be grand. Greek bureaucrats can regulate your business into the ground, but they’ll still have their pensions and benefits. And, when the cakes are burning to a crisp, King Barack the Verbose won’t be in the peasant hovel with you but off giving a critically acclaimed speech about how the world works best when we all get an equal slice of the pie.
By Matt Welch
Via commenter Smoovev comes the latest example of well-respected former war correspondent Chris Hedges advocating political violence in America:
Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. They know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.
Greek rioters have killed three so far.
Hedeges’ recent apocalyptic tear (which has resonance for at least some libertarians, not to mention Pagans) includes urging on sabotage two months ago, and calling corporations “little Eichmanns” last week. And this is no fringe character here–Hedges continues to receive respectful hearings in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Vancouver Sun, et al, and just last week he was named a finalist for the L.A. Press Club’s Online Journalist of the Year. You will search in vain for any mention of Hedges by the scores of journalistic commenters who have been warning for more than a year now (inaccurately, in my opinion) about impending political violence, inciteful right-wing rhetoric, and borderline sedition.
By: Irwin M. Stelzer
Don’t look now, but we just loaned almost $7 billion to Greece. That’s our share of the International Monetary Fund bailout of that country.
Don’t worry; We can always borrow the money from China, or raise taxes in the likely event that Greece proves unable to repay the IMF and the eurozone countries that are contributing to enabling Greece to refinance the loans coming due this month and the rest of this year, and next. A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
It is hard to tell whether the bailout of Greece is farce or tragedy.
Farce, because some of the workers taking to the streets to protest the cutbacks in government spending don’t want their retirement ages extended from the current level of 50 years, and the wealthy want to continue evading the tax collector. The New York Times reports that residents of a wealthy Athens suburb admitted to the taxman that they own 324 swimming pools, while a satellite survey of the neighborhood shows 16,974 such privately owned facilities in which the rich can escape the heat of a Greek summer.
Tragedy, because the decision to bail out the munificent Greek welfare state, in return for promises to be more frugal in the future — promises the bond markets simply do not believe — creates moral hazard.
What is good enough for Greece is certainly good enough for Spain, which also is finding it difficult to borrow still more money, and Portugal, and even Italy. I say “even Italy” because unlike Greece, which owes billions to foreigners, Italy’s government debt is held largely by Italians.
So if Greece defaults, it will create huge problems for the German, French and other banks that hold its sovereign paper, whereas if Italy defaults it will only be cheating its own citizens out of their money. That would have a much smaller effect on the world economy than would a Greek default, which would force many European banks to wipe assets off their balance sheets, and impair their ability to lend to companies only now emerging from the recession.
So far, we have benefited from Greece’s problems. Whenever there is a financial crisis of this sort, there is what investors call a flight to safety. That means get your money out of the threatened region — in this case Europe — and buy U.S. Treasury bonds and notes. That keeps the prices of those securities up and, the flip side, interest rates down.
Which is just what the Fed and the administration want so as to make it easier for consumers to find mortgages they can afford, and for businesses to invest.
But the Greek crisis, and those likely to follow in already-downgraded Portugal and Spain, are not entirely good news for America, itself deeply in the red. There but for the grace of printing presses go us.
Faced with a similar inability to pay off the enormous debt with which the administration has burdened Americans for generations to come, we can always print our way out of the problem. That, the Greeks cannot do, since long ago they gave up their drachma for the euro, and with it the power to devalue their currency so as to increase their international competitiveness.
Of course, if we do run the presses — inflate our way out of our debts by repaying with debased dollars — we will pay more for all those imported goods, and cheat those who have frugally saved for their retirement by making their savings worth less. Inflation is a medicine with serious side effects.
Examiner Columnist Irwin M. Stelzer is a senior fellow and director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Economic Studies.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Greece_s-crisis-may-become-our-crisis-92978884.html#ixzz0nLTSxmTj