2011/06/29: BBC: Auditors criticise EU farm payment system
The EU's main audit body says agricultural subsidies - the biggest item in the EU budget - often go to people who do little or no farming.
A new report by the European Court of Auditors complains of deficiencies in the Single Payment Scheme (SPS), which distributed about 29bn euros (£26bn) of subsidies in 2009.
It says payments "have become divorced from current farming conditions". The EU is considering how to reform its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
2011/06/24: MHudson: Privatizing Will Make Life Worse
This article was published in the NYT more than 20 years ago, forecasting precisely what has happened.
One way or another, the debt-into-equity conversion represents a foreclosure on the mismanaged
economies of the third world. But behind the rhetoric of today’s privatization, one must always ask,
Qui bono? Who will benefit from the prospective economic changes? In my opinion, it will be the
rich and the creditor banks who benefit from these schemes. For the people in general, and for
public-employee labor unions, privatization means that life may well be more expensive in the future.
2011/06/23: DerSpiegel: Save the Euro!
There are plenty of ideas going around for how best to save the euro. But most importantly, politicians must finally tell their voters the truth: We must help the Greeks and it will be expensive -- for everybody involved.
2011/06/21: VoxEU: Mr Keynes and the moderns by Paul Krugman
Keynes’ General Theory is 75 years old. In this column, Paul Krugman argues that many of its insights and lessons are still relevant today, but many have been forgotten. A broad swath of macroeconomists and policymakers are applying old fallacies to today’s crisis. As the nostrums being applied by the “pain caucus” are visibly failing, Keynesian ideas may yet make a comeback.
2011/06/14: AJC:B: Ga.’s farm-labor crisis going exactly as planned
After enactment of House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.
It might almost be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
The resulting manpower shortage has forced state farmers to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.
2011/06/22: WSJ:RTE: Bernanke’s Scary View of Employment
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said a truly frightening thing at his just completed press conference, even if he wasn’t breaking new ground.
He said the U.S. economy is "still years away" from what is considered a level of full employment, meaning an unemployment rate somewhere in the range of 5%. It stands now at 9.1%.
2011/06/20: BBC: Greek debt crisis: Straw says eurozone 'will collapse'
Jack Straw has predicted the collapse of the eurozone and urged the UK to consider the "alternatives" as the Greek debt crisis worsens.
The Labour MP and former foreign secretary said the euro was facing a "slow death" and the 17-member eurozone "cannot last" in its current form.
He was speaking as MPs discussed the prospect of a fresh bailout for Greece.
2011/06/16: TechDirt: Russia's 'Crime Of The Century' Highlights Importance Of Anonymous, Public Whistleblowing
About a month ago, a few people sent in this horrifying story from Foreign Policy magazine, written by lawyer Jamison Firestone, concerning how one of the partners in his Moscow-based law firm helped uncover a massive crime by government officials -- who stole approximately $230 million and dumped it into real estate around the world -- and was then arrested, tortured, blamed for the theft and murdered in jail for attempting to alert government officials of the corruption and crime. It's a horrific story for anyone who believes in the rule of law. Barron's has a similar story that focuses more on crime itself, and additional evidence that implicates Russian officials -- even as Russian officials continued to blame the whistleblower who had actually alerted authorities to the suspicious behavior before the full theft had even taken place. That article also mentions that many of the same government officials were apparently involved in a similar heist of $107 million a couple years earlier.
2011/06/14: EUO: Ministers attempt to defuse ECB-Berlin row
European finance ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday in an attempt to resolve the now quite public dispute between the German finance ministry and the European Central Bank over a second bail-out for Greece.
At issue in the session will be the question of the degree of participation of private sector involvement.
2011/06/14: BBC: UK CPI inflation holds steady at 4.5%
The UK Consumer Prices Index (CPI) annual rate of inflation held steady in May at 4.5%.
It follows a jump to 4.5% in April from 4% in March.
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation - which includes mortgage interest payments - was also unchanged at 5.2%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
2011/06/01: VoxEU: The ECB’s stealth bailout by Hans-Werner Sinn
The Eurozone crisis lingers on. This column argues that the Eurozone payments system has been operating as a hidden bailout whereby the Bundesbank has been lending money to the crisis-stricken Eurozone members via the Target system on the order of €300 billion. Urgent corrective action is needed, the author argues, as the scope for this sort of transfer is limited. If markets sense the end of the line, the Eurozone may face a crisis like the one Britain faced in 1992.
2011/06/09: VoxEU: Professor Sinn misses the target by Karl Whelan
In a recent Vox column, Hans Werner Sinn of the prestigious Institute for Economic Research claims that the German Bundesbank is effectively propping up banks across the Eurozone’s periphery. He adds that doing this risks a major crisis. Here, Karl Whelan of University College Dublin argues that Professor Sinn’s analysis is incorrect and that his policy prescriptions are extremely unhelpful and even dangerous.
2011/06/09: NYT:Economix: The Banking Emperor Has No Clothes
In a major speech earlier this week to the American Bankers Association’s international monetary conference, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner laid out his view of what went wrong in the financial sector before 2008, how the crisis was handled 2008-10 and what is needed to reform the system. As chairman of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the only senior member of President Obama’s original economic team remaining in place, Mr. Geithner’s influence with regard to the banking system is second to none.
Unfortunately, Mr. Geithner’s speech contained three major mistakes: his history is completely wrong, his logic is deeply flawed, and his interpretation of the Dodd-Frank reforms does not mesh with the legal facts regarding how the failure of a global megabank could be handled. Together, these mistakes suggest that one of our most powerful policy makers is headed very much in the wrong direction.
2011/06/09: CBC: Trade deficit doubles to nearly $1B
A drop in exports helped push Canada's trade deficit with the rest of the world to $924 million in April, more than double the $417 million level of a month prior.
Exports declined by 1.9 per cent, far more than the 0.6 drop seen in imports. And the export dip came on the heels of a 4.8 per cent gain the previous month.
They used to be a given, but Canada has now posted a trade surplus in only two of the previous 15 months.