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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is this the beginning of the end..?
As fears grow that Greece will default on it's next round of interest payments.. the word is that that country will be bankrupt by October..
An interjection here.. the markets clawed their way back into positive figures yesterday, and this morning in early trading the FTSE is up almost 38 points..
But this Greek situation is not going to allow investor confidence to recover.. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Sarkozy, and Greek Prime Minister Panandreou will meet this afternoon to discuss this problem of over-extension..
Moody's has downgraded two French banks because of their exposure to this Greek debt..Credit Agricole was cut from Aa1 to Aa2 and Societe Generale from Aa2 to Aa3..
A third bank, BNP Paribas, was kept on review for a possible downgrade.. All three banks' ratings have been on review since the 15th of June, and Moody's decision had been widely anticipated by the markets..
Moody's said all three banks were strong enough to absorb the losses emanating from any Greek debt default..
But, this has led to widespread speculation on the future of the Euro, and in fact, on the future of the EuroZone itself..
As we stated years ago, this European experiment was fraught with dangers.. with all member States tying their economies to the weakest member..
And there is still Italy and Spain to be considered.. while the major problem of Greece remains..
There are some saying that talks over the next few weeks could allow Greece to have the next tranche of bail-out money.. but with that country looking at debts totalling 130 to 140% of it's GDP.. there are real concerns that once again, handing that country more loans is simply forestalling the inevidable..
The question remains.. what can Greece concievably do to reduce it's debt load without driving up inflation and putting the Greek man on the street in an untenable position.. It would seem that this great experiment in an united Europe is heading for failure..
The President of the EU.. Jose Manuel Barroso.. says the entire future of the EuroZone is now in question..

Here in Britain.. Unemployment figures released this morning indicate those out of work rose by 80,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to July..The jobless rate now stands at 7.9%..
Youth unemployment also rose sharply, by 78,000 to 973,000..
The total claiming Jobseeker's Allowance rose by 20,300 in August to 1.58 million..
And perhaps even more disturbing.. the number of people in employment fell in the three months to July.. by 69,000 to 29.17 million..
This is a trend the government is having kittens over.. as our tax base decreases.. so does our ability to maintain social services..
The sad fact is, that in some parts of the country, unemployment has topped those figures seen in the last 'recession'.. indicating that those areas are already presaging that which will be seen throughout the Kingdom in the very near future..
And to add to our problems.. the Trades Union Council is meeting over the next few days, and it's leaders are calling for serious strike action in the coming months.. This could indeed be our 'winter of discontent'.. as literally hundreds of thousands of public sector workers prepare to walk off the job.. The issue for these people, is pensions.. The government has legislated higher pension payments for public sector workers, and this does not sit well with Union leaders..
Unison.. Unite.. the GMB.. and the Fire Brigades' Union.. will consult members about co-ordinated industrial action starting in November.. This will affect such services as garbage collection.. even filtering down to grave diggers.. all the services the public needs to maintain a functioning society..
Now, as the government has warned, this will not bring the public in line with the cause of the workers.. The pensions these public workers are fighting for are on the whole, much more than those outside the umbrella of the TUC..

And in the US.. Another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty last year, the Census Bureau reported yesterday.. and the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the Bureau has been publishing figures on it.. And in new signs of distress among the middle class, median household incomes fell last year to levels last seen in 1997..
Economists pointed to a telling statistic.. It was the first time since the Great Depression that median household income, adjusted for inflation, had not risen over such a long period.. that, according to Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard..
Katz said..“This is truly a lost decade.. We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”..
More as the day progresses..

And in India.. People are sick and tired of MPs for causing frequent disruptions of parliament and point out that they take salaries for work not done. The little over month-long monsoon session that just ended saw unceasing bedlam in both the houses over a variety of issues, ranging from the frivolous to the Anna Hazare anti-corruption campaign..
With only 11 bills passed and 14 introduced during the Aug 1st through Sep 8th sitting.. the number of Bills, especially those relating to important economic reforms, awaiting parliamentary passage on their way to becoming the law of the land has risen to an astromical 86..
Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman M.H. Ansari has decried the loss of productive time of parliament to frequent disruptions.. He called it 'a sad commentary on the right and duty of members to participate meaningfully in the proceedings of the house'..
The middle class is disgusted.. and rightly so..
'So many hours were lost... so few bills passed, I wonder what is the point of having a month-long session for work which can be done in a week and a half,' asked Aashish Khanna, a law student of Delhi University..
India boats the second best growth figures among the industrialised nations, and it, as a market, is something that deserves close attention..

It's typhoon season in the Far East.. and with more rain in the forecast, Thailand has been hit hard..
More than a million people have been displaced by flooding.. and Bankok itself is now in danger from the rising waters..
And the Camper Countdown continues..

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