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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, July 01, 2011

The big news, is that Domenique Strauss-Kahn has been released from house arrest with no bail demands, as the prosecution case against him is in a total state of collapse.
The maid lied, is the long and the short of it.. But the consiquences of this debacle has had far reaching effects..
Will his replacement as head of the IMF prove to be the right move..? As he was planning on stepping down anyway for the French elections.. he had plans for running against Sarkozy.. and those plans may well still be in the works.
For not only is that man one of the most astute economic minds on the planet, but he now has the sympathy of the entire French nation behind him.
It was staged. That implies there are those who planned this entire episode..
Begs a question..
Yet.. there have been questions raised in the minds of some Frenchmen.. not many mind you.. concerning the private lives of their elected officials.. However, while this attitude might well affect a British or North American Prime Minister or President, it remains to be seen how important this issue will become in France. The Continental attitude is not Calvanist, to say the least.. and while an investigation may well be launched, and a few slaps on the wrists delivered.. It may well be that the treatment he recieved at the hands of the American authorities will cancel out past indescretions.. simply because he will be found innocent of this latest incident..
Time will tell..

Not good news.. Growth in UK manufacturing activity slid to a two-year low.. output in other European countries also suffered a setback, suggesting that the global rebound is losing steam..
The Market/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index of factory output fell to 51.3 last month, just above the 50 reading that marks the divide between expansion and contraction..
This is not to be unexpected. The effects of a profligate economy.. which lasted nearly 40 years.. will take decades to put right..
Not a harbinger of doom here.. merely observing the light of the end of the tunnel is miles away..

And to aggravate the situation.. Work and Pensions Secretary William Hague has once again brought up the issue of immigration.. of how foreigners are taking jobs which should be filled by British workers..
Mind you.. business leaders immediately responded by suggesting British workers were less useful than foreign-born migrants who work harder..
Ian's is going public on concerns he has expressed to Cabinet colleagues which go to the heart of tension with the Liberal Democrats, on how migration should be restricted.. David said recently that he would have imposed tighter restrictions on people coming into the country if he were not in a coalition..
Is this yet the beginning of another move to distance Britain from the EU..?

And there's more to update this evening.. We mentioned a few weeks ago that the price of petrol, gas, in the US, could well put a roadblock in the path of their already fragile recovery..
Say your car takes 20 gallonsUS.. that's a hundred bucks.. and depending on the car you drive and how much it's used by various members of the family, you'll be topping up again in three days or so.. The question on many minds now.. at least 9.2% of the population.. is 'how?'
It's quite something to imagine.. the US.. the financial bulwark.. is five weeks away from defaulting on it's debts..
Both Senators and Congressmen have cancelled their scheduled 4th of July plans.. both Houses will be sitting until some bi-partisan agreement is hammered out..
Now.. both sides have agreed on about $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, including interest savings, but only if the remaining parts of the deal fall into place.. Republicans want far more in spending cuts..
The negotiations are aimed at cutting future deficits by more than $2 trillion.. not the $4 trillion originally sought by both sides.. "A couple trillion dollars is nothing to sneeze at," said one of the two officials who weren't authorized to comment on the negotiations..
Barack wants more than $400 billion in higher taxes on what he calls "millionaires and billionaires".. but much of it would affect individuals with income above $200,000 and couples above $250,000.. The biggest item.. limiting the value of itemized deductions for that income group which would raise $290 billion over a decade.. has failed to pass Congress before..
Now both sides are frantically courting potential votes in the House and Senate.. knowing that any compromise will need support from both Republicans and Democrats..
The stakes of the debate were underscored when a Standard & Poor's executive said the credit-rating agency would give the government its lowest rating should lawmakers fail to agree on raising the borrowing limit and cause a federal default..
The hole gets deeper, and deeper..
It's even hitting individual States within the Union now.. In Minnesota..In an echo of the debate unfolding in Washington, Minnesota hurtled toward a midnight government shutdown this morning.. in a dispute over taxes and spending that could force thousands of layoffs.. bring road projects to a standstill.. and close state parks just ahead of the Fourth of July weekend..
Though nearly all states are having severe budget problems this year.. Minnesota stood alone on the brink of a shutdown, thanks to Democratic Governor Mark Dayton's determination to raise taxes on high-earners to close a $5 billion deficit and the Republican Legislature's refusal to go along..
Republican Sen. Michelle Benson said she wasn't about to budge, either..
"If we don't start taking a different approach to how we manage our government, we're going to swing from one bad economic circumstance to another," Benson said. "We can't just keep throwing more money at government and hoping that makes things better."
Begs the question.. what if on the macrocosmic scale. the House and Senate take the same approach.. and the White House doesn't get it's borrowing ceiling raised..

Now to Greece.. at least for the time being, their fat appears to have been pulled from the fire.. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble..
Since the bulk of this bailout payment was coming from German coffers, politicians in Athens must have heaved a collective sigh of relief..
But again, it begs the ubiquitous question.. are we not throwing good money after bad..?
Now what could possibly be a viable solution, would be for the highly industrialised EU countries, to not only send the cash to build factories producing commodities aimed at, for the most part to begin, the domestic market, but to send German and French skilled workers, to teach the Greeks.. to give them their own skilled workforce..
Rather than handing overt trillions of Euro's to the government.. the EU and the IMF should be negotiating with contractors and those manufacturers still in business..directly.
While a portion of the loan would of course go to the government.. pay the salaries of civil service people and maintain essential services.. But it might be a better plan to allocate some of those monies for the development of private companies, with the EU and the IMF in partnership..
Unemployment is the most pressing of this world's problems, and that excludes no economy.. a pooling of the labour force in those countries which have them, and distribution of skilled workers to countries building factories built by the IMF and the EU.. could go a long was towards easing our problems..
Hoover did it.. Roosevelt did it.. Now it needs doing on a global scale.. with global agreement..

The Tankan Index.. a business sentiment survey used as a bellweather in Japan.. has indicated that Japan's big manufacturers have turned pessimistic about business conditions in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami..
Now these Tankan Surveys have an effect on Japan's monetary policy.. The business sentiment index plunged 15 points to minus nine in June.. but all going well.. the index for September quarter is forecast to rise to plus two..
However, while the problem persists, it's unlikely we'll see Japan take it's place as the second largest economy in the world, for quite a while..

Disturbing. A review by the government indicates that some 100,000 people with terminal illnesses die every year without properly planned care, so they are shuttled in and out of hospital..
Now.. there are Paliative Care Homes, but there are vast disparities in how much money is spent on services, with some patients receiving 30 times as much as others..
Many endure substandard nursing care and have no chance to plan where they wish to die..
This is such an horrific subject for this ageing population.. the thought that when one is unable to take care of one's self while a disease eats what remains of your life.. and having to spend that time in the confines of a hospital ward..
The review concludes that while some services were good, many of the up to 457,000 people needing good palliative care were getting a piecemeal service.. A total of 92,000 were simply “not being reached,” it added..
A sad reflection..

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