In the European Socialist order of things, “austerity” doesn’t have a whole lot to do with cutting waste. If you are short on funds and want to improve your solvency and your ability to do business world-wide, you…
In the article “France and Spain Act to Rein In Budgets“ that appeared in the New York Times June 16th, there are unintended moments of hilarity as we read about how France and Spain are dealing with lowered credit ratings and budget shortfalls:
PARIS — “Under pressure from anxious lenders, the French government took steps on Wednesday to help reassure markets about its creditworthiness, announcing that it would raise the retirement age and increase income taxes on the rich to help rein in its budget deficit.”
Yeah, and that’s not all, darn it!
“The French government also announced other revenue generating measures like an increase in income tax on high earners; the top rate would rise to 41 percent from 40 percent on earnings over 69,783 euros.
“In addition, companies would have to pay higher social charges to cover medical and unemployment coverage for employees; some tax loopholes would be closed; a tax on home sales would rise; higher taxes would be applied on stock options and dividends; and taxes on capital gains and investment income would increase slightly.”
When you can’t get your economy to grow through sound free-market principles you just keep a-gougin’ until there’s nothin’ left to take – and then you throw a sop to the international credit-raters by raising the nationally mandated (remember, the government is in charge here) retirement age from 60-62.
Wow, that would certainly be of great comfort to me! Get a couple more years out of some of these geezers and the whole express train will be right back on track!
Of course the unions are unhappy as all get-out:
“…the French government’s plans have already caused angry reactions from the opposition Socialist Party and labor unions, which demonstrated against the proposed measures before they were announced. The main unions are planning a day of demonstrations and strikes on June 24.”
Spain? Stick a saber in it. Unemployment is 20%, and the brain trust there is resorting to publishing esoteric “stress tests” that will somehow magically get outside investors to trust the economic system again. There is also word of trimming guaranteed (re: Government) severance pay for unemployed workers from 45 days a year to 33. Whether the unions will put up with such malarkey is unclear – they are planning their own strikes, but not until September.
Since Barry O. seems to have so much free time these days, I was hopin’ maybe he could fly on over for a meeting with our continental brethren and set them straight. After all, the national debt in France was 78% of its gross domestic product last year, while ours was an inconsequential…94.27%?
Forget I even brought it up.