(Video) Nigel Farage on the EU: We’ve effectively been led by a group of ex-communists to a total disaster

June 21, 2012

Via The Right Scoop, the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is interviewed on the FOX morning show about the assertion by European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that the US is responsible for the financial crisis in Europe. Click the image to watch:

In one sense, Barroso is right: the poor decisions made under the Clinton administration (and then defended by Democrats under Bush) regarding the bundling of sub-prime mortgages and then selling them as federally backed investment instruments did infect the financial system and did cause major damage.

BUT… As Mr. Farage points out, the real problem in Europe is an artificial, unsustainable currency, the Euro, and the political union that foisted it upon nations not ready for such a project. That is the real, core problem of the EU and the debt crisis in Europe. That, and a failure of leadership from leftover lefties who think the answer is more cowbell.

Anyway, enjoy the interview. Farage is always a pleasure to listen to, especially when skewering the statist popinjays of the European Union in the EU parliament.

via Sissy Willis on Twitter


More European Union signs of Doom

May 30, 2012

We all know that Greece is a mess… No, wait. Scratch that. We all know that Greece is a hot, steaming, radioactive mess that threatens to mutate into a blob that eats the EU alive.

Everyone knows that.

But it’s even worse than you think when the tax system literally is run by the Mob:

“The basic question is that a German has to increase working from 65 to 67 and that is to pay for Greeks retiring at 50. The 17th of June is the perfect opportunity to say either ‘we’ll behave’ or ‘we’ll carry on cheating,’” he said.

Harsh words, but they are confirmed by many Greeks I know. A Greek member of parliament told me recently that tax reform was “almost impossible” to achieve because “our tax system is run by the Mafia.” I laughed and said that many countries had people who thought of their tax collectors that way. “No, no,” the parliamentarian insisted. “I mean that organized crime really runs the tax agencies for their benefit, taking a cut of the reduction in taxes they give out to citizens. Every person appointed to reform the system has been pushed out. Respect for authority is nil.”

Unless Greeks suddenly show a level of maturity and moral courage they haven’t shown since, well, Salamis, I don’t see how they avoid collapse, which could well take the Euro and the EU itself with them.

PS: Want something even scarier? While it may not sport a Mafia-run tax system, Spain looks like a far worse horror show ready to get underway.

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Commence Operation “EU crack up,” phase two!

May 8, 2012

Phase One was the unending financial crisis that began in 2008 and the Europeans’ unwillingness to anything that would really address the problem, instead choosing to keep feeding the beast of debt and taxation. Sickened by the failure of their political class (and made delirious by their own addiction to the teat of the State), European voters are responding by throwing the bums out and putting radical bums in their places: a hack Socialist demagogue in France, and communists and neo-Nazis in Greece.

Now comes word that Phase Two, the bailout of banks in Spain has begun:

It was only a matter of time before the next bank bailout began despite all those promises to the contrary. Sure enough, as math always wins over rhetoric and policy, earlier this morning the shot across the Spanish bow was fired after PM Rajoy did a 180 on “no bank bailout” promises as recent as last week. From Dow Jones: “Spain may pump public funds into its banking system to revive lending and its recessionary economy, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday, signalling a policy U-turn. The government had pledged to not give money to the banking industry that is struggling in the wake of a collapsed, decade-long, housing boom. “If it was necessary to reactivate credit, to save the Spanish financial system, I wouldn’t rule out injecting public funds, like all European countries have done,” Rajoy said in interview with Onda Cero radio stations.

Spain is Europe’s fifth-largest economy, and its economic problems are huge, but bailing out the banks won’t make much of a difference, if any; it will merely transfer the debt burden from Spanish banks to the Spanish government, which will have to borrow the money or seek its own bailout, further burdening both the already over-taxed Spanish public — as well as German patience. It’s robbing Pedro to pay Pablo, but the bill will still come due — and it will be enormous.

With the EU’s fragile unity already threatened by a likely clash between Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and France’s new President Hollande, will the added pressures of a potential Spanish financial collapse (which would make Greece look like a block party) push the European Union and the Eurozone to the breaking point?

My guess is for at least a partial breakup within the next year, as Greece and other fiscally profligate Latin states leave the Euro so they can devalue their currencies enough to restart growth, while Germany and the other “adult” states are glad to see them go.

But with the rise of political fantasists in Greece, France, and elsewhere, one wonders if that will be enough?

via American Power

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


April 13, 2012

Dan shows why we need to fight any VAT tooth and nail, unless the income tax is repealed altogether.

International Liberty

Why are taxes so much higher in Europe, consuming 46 percent of economic output compared to 32 percent of GDP in America? Is it because nations such as France, Greece, and Sweden have adopted the kind of class-warfare policies that Obama wants for the United States?

Surprisingly, the answer is no.

As explained by Veronique de Rugy, the United States actually has a more “progressive” tax code than European nations. The corporate tax rate is higher in the United States than in any European country, and the double taxation of dividends and capital gains also is far above the European average. Western European nations tend to impose higher tax rates on personal income, so the overall tax burden on the “rich” is roughly comparable on both sides of the Atlantic.

Since the United States and European nations impose somewhat similar tax burdens on upper-income taxpayers, what accounts…

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Sweet! If the Euro collapses, US taxpayers could be on the hook for $1 trillion! Oh, yay!

December 15, 2011

You know what they say, don’t you? A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re taking about real money.

James Pethokoukis posts about the risks for the US taxpayer in the Euro crisis, pointing that, contra Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (1), the US bailout of Europe is on. I’ll refer you to Pethokoukis’ article for the details, but the gist is this: the International Monetary Fund, to which the United States is far and away the largest contributor, has already loaned Portugal, Greece, and Ireland (three of the five PIIGS countries) roughly $100 billion, of which our share is $20 billion. Petty cash these days, you say? Hah! We’re not done yet…

If the two biggest PIIGS, Italy and Spain, come to the IMF trough, their needs may exceed the IMF’s reserves, so the EU has agreed to loan hundreds of billions to the IMF, which the IMF could then re-loan to Spain and Italy (2) — loans totaling as much as $1.3 trillion. (They don’t call them “PIIGS” for nothing.) Since this is a loan to the IMF, the US taxpayer would be on the hook to European lenders for roughly 17% of that amount in the event Italy and Spain default, or as much as $220 billion.

Makes you wince, doesn’t it? But wait, it gets better!

The Fed is hedging their bets via currency swaps with the European Central Bank. Supposedly, in the event of a default by the borrowers, the ECB could limit US exposure by buying dollars, even if it meant devaluing the Euro through printing as much needed. But that assumes the Euro and the ECB even survive a real crisis. If they don’t, we’re on the hook for it all.

I’ll let James summarize:

U.S. taxpayer exposure is $220 billion via the IMF. That’s scary enough. But then you have the Fed. Lachman notes that the counterparty to the potential $600 billion in swaps is the ECB and that “one must suppose that the European Central Bank would be able to buy whatever quantity of US dollars that it might need to repay the Federal Reserve.” Unless there is a complete euro collapse and then there might not be a ECB to repay anybody. So in addition to a global depression and 20 percent U.S. unemployment, America [‘s exposure] would be nearly $1 trillion.

The insanity of it all becomes clear when one realizes this is like nothing so much as giving an alcoholic another bottle of booze and trusting himself to go on the wagon later. Really. This time he’s serious.

European nations have loaned Greece billions time after time, and yet the Greeks continue their profligate social spending and never reform. And the problem is spreading, as Italian and Spanish finances near collapse. But, instead of recognizing the desperate need to find an orderly end to the Euro so that debtor nations can devalue national currencies as much as needed to grow their way out of debt via exports, they keep trying to save it by buying their way out of debt with more debt. This only delays and makes worse the inevitable end: massive defaults, bankruptcies at major banks, and social chaos.

Now we’re getting into the act in a potentially very big and very harmful (to us) way. And on top of our own horrendous debt.

There is no easy way out of the international debt crisis, but surely the way to start is to stop being stuck on stupid.

Footnotes:
(1) Sure, Ben, we won’t bail them out directly. We’ll just do it through our seat at the IMF. That makes all the difference in the world. And I bet you’ll respect us in the morning, too.
(2) Anyone else reminded of a shell game?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why America is exceptional, a graphic example

November 19, 2011

I wrote in the last post of how Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, captured the essence of American exceptionalism in the ideology of liberty that ties this nation together and makes it so different from almost any other place on Earth.

Well, coincidentally the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey examining the views of Americans and West Europeans on the role of the State and the individual. I think you’ll find the results interesting:

The difference is stark, wouldn’t you agree? Forget the Continent, where statism rather than liberty has been the rule and where the “Anglo-American system” (i.e., classical liberalism) is often held up as a bogeyman, but we’re almost polar opposites from our British cousins, from whom we inherited almost our whole political tradition.

And we’re seeing that play out in our national political drama, as time and again the majority of Americans have opposed the vast expansion of the federal government under Obama. When a truly large demonstrations took place here, it was against massive federal borrowing and the expansion of the state via ObamaCare. When people took to the streets in Europe, for example in France when the government proposed mild entitlement reforms, it was to demand an even bigger state and more “free stuff.”

The percentage preferring liberty to being coddled by the government is too low for my tastes, but it’s still a hopeful sign that we can largely avoid going down the same drain as the EU.

It also shows, in this case via social science rather than oratory, just how unusual we are.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Morning, Euro-panic edition

September 12, 2011

From Walter Russell Mead, on the creation of the Euro:

Creating a monetary union without a true federal government is looking more and more like the biggest European policy mistake since Britain and France let Hitler have the Sudetenland.

Visit his blog to find out why.

Looks to be a rocky Monday out there.