Archive for the ‘EU’ Category

Today’s vision of hell, airline travel edition:

Friday, April 17th, 2015

From Airbus, the folks who floated the standing up flights trial balloon, this:

Could cattle class get any worse? Introducing BUDGET economy where airlines are squeezing an extra seat in every row
Airbus are increasing their seats from 10 to 11 seats in every row
The addition will see Airbus creating a fourth cheaper class called Choice
The change is to be launched in 2017 on the Airbus 380 model
Airbus state the move is to reflect 90 per cent of fliers using economy
Thankfully seat widths will remain at the standard 18 inches

“Thankfully” nothing – When the seats are so narrow that the little head pillows are shown narrow side up, you know it’s hell.

Those seats are not wide enough for the average adult, but the 3rd graders may do OK.

Pity the fool who gets the aisle seat, too. Those are narrow aisles.

As for BUDGET economy, a friend just told me that the EU countries are charging a US$500 travel tax on flights from the US. How’s that for “BUDGET economy”?

#DDay70 Interpretive dance?

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Yesterday was a very busy day, so I missed the TV broadcast of the D-Day commemoration. It came as a total surprise, then, when a friend asked “how did you like the interpretive dance?”

The rest of the conversation went downhill from there:
Me: Say what? Interpretive dance?

Friend: Yes.

Me: You’re pulling my leg.

Friend: Nope.

Me: Like they used to have in churches that were trying to be cool in the 1970s?

Friend: I’m not making this up. They did a very long interpretive dance thing.

Me: We are sooo doomed.

Sure enough:

Obama chewed gum, the Queen frowned, and the MSNBC commentators carefully ignored the dance part.

Where’s Mel Brooks when we need him?

Only the mindset who thinks the EU in its present state is a great thing would find this interpretive dance appropriate.

Gabriel Malor honored the veterans, appropriately,

Blogging on Latin America shall continue shortly.

Minimum Wage Laws Kill Jobs

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Prof. Steve Hanke explains Minimum Wage Laws Kill Jobs

In the 21 countries with a minimum wage, the average country has an unemployment rate of 11.8%; whereas, the average unemployment rate in the seven nations without a minimum wage is about one third lower – at 7.9%.

Read the whole article.

Captain Louis Renault goes to Cyprus

Monday, April 1st, 2013

“I am shocked, shocked!”
Mega-Rich Withdrew Money From Cyprus Before Looting

The real targets of the “haircut” are businesses, entrepreneurs and the middle class

News that the Cypriot President’s family moved 21 million euros to London days before the bank accounts of his people were looted as part of the bailout deal serves as another reminder that while the media portrays the victims of the Cyprus “haircut” as the mega rich and wealthy Russian oligarchs, the real victims are middle class families and small business owners.


In addition, as Reuters reports, “While ordinary Cypriots queued at ATM machines to withdraw a few hundred euros as credit card transactions stopped, other depositors used an array of techniques to access their money.”

Branches and subsidiaries of Cypriot banks in London and Russia remained open while banks in Cyprus were closed, allowing Russian oligarchs and other wealthy depositors to move their money.

When asked about the amount of money that had exited Cyprus before the bailout deal, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble refused to provide figures.

Take it away, Louis!

EU: Raiders of the lost savings UPDATED

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

They’re taking what’s yours

This should take no one by surprise at this point; in fact, Kudlow was talking about it on his show last week,
Cyprus bail-out: savers will be raided to save euro in future crises, says eurozone chief
Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.

The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, announced that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.

“If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be ‘Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?’,” he said.

“If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders.”


“If we want to have a healthy, sound financial sector, the only way is to say, ‘Look, there where you take on the risks, you must deal with them, and if you can’t deal with them, then you shouldn’t have taken them on,'” he said.

It would have been nice of him to have warned savers that their accounts could be raided. But I digress.

The president of Cyprus says it’s all temporary,

Which brings up this question,
Have The Russians Already Quietly Withdrawn All Their Cash From Cyprus? Yes, they have, never to return.

How’s that for “temporary”?

Hayek v. Krugman – Cyprus’ Capital Controls

Repeat after me: $19.2 trillion dollars is currently held by US citizens in 401k and other retirement accounts.

Do you really think the government doesn’t want to “help” you manage that money?

Cyprus: Steve Hanke follows the money

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Read his post, and check out the graph:

(click on graph for large version)

No wonder Putin’s unhappy.

This is not going to make you happy: The Government Generously Offers To Help You “Manage” Your Retirement Account. But I digress.



Today’s euphemism: Oligarch

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013




Old meaning:

one of the rulers in an oligarchy.

New meaning:

Russian mobster.

Russian oligarchs stung by Cypriot bank tax

But it’s not just Russia that is affected by the proposed bank account tax in Cyprus. Oligarchs in Ukraine also like to transfer money to Cyprus and then re-invest it back home. Just like in Russia, Cyprus has been the largest foreign investor in Ukraine. In 2011, the country invested more than $10 billion, according to Ukraine’s statistics agency Derzhkomstat. That represents one-fifth of the total foreign investments in the former Soviet republic.

More than 90 percent of all Ukrainian foreign investments in 2012 went to Cyprus. If ownership changes in the Ukraine, a company with a postal address in Cyprus simply gets replaced by another one in Cyprus.

Which brings to mind another term: money laundering.

Here’s the latest on Cyprus,

Cyprus’s Sham-Wow

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Yesterday the plan was to scalp all bank accounts over €100,000 by 10%, and everybody else by 6.75%.

But now, the Cyprus’s government, just like in a Sham-Wow ad, right when you think has sucked up all the sanity, doubles the offer, and proposes a new plan to ease the burden of that tax on small savers:

According to two European officials familiar with the talks, the new proposal being floated by the government would see smaller depositors, those with up to €100,000, taxed at 3% rate—down from 6.75% as initially envisaged. Savers with €100,000 to €500,000 would be taxed at a 10% rate; and those with over €500,000 taxed at 15%, one official said.

Because the “small savers” are the ones who take to the streets, storm the banks’ doors, and riot.

Maybe the EU ought to be worrying about Putin, who’s not happy,

The deposit levy would be felt sharply by Russian financial institutions and companies which have large footholds on the island. According to Moody’s Investors Service estimates, Russian residents and institutions could lose around $2 billion if Cyprus goes ahead with this latest unconfirmed proposal to raise taxes on deposits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly criticized a proposed deposit tax in Cyprus that could cost Russian financial institutions an estimated $2 billion as “unfair” and “dangerous,” his spokesman told news agencies Monday.

“Mr. Putin said that such a decision, if adopted, would be unfair, unprofessional and dangerous,” said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

We all know what happens when Vladdy is not happy.

Putin is nothing if not professional; he might even say “This is the business we have chosen”:

Spain: Go elsewhere, young man (and woman)!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

As the country hopes for a huge bailout, Spanish newspaper El País has an article in Spanish inciting Spaniards of all ages to legally look for work anywhere in the world, since Spain’s unemployment rate is a mind-boggling 25%.

By “anywhere in the world”, I really mean anywhere, including Communist China. The only continent they don’t mention is Africa.

¿Hora de hacer las maletas? Un repaso a las oportunidades que hay fuera
El mercado laboral no levanta cabeza y emigrar es una salida cada vez más habitual.
Europa es el primer destino recomendado a los profesionales españoles.
Le siguen América Latina y EE UU. China ofrece oportunidades para los más arriesgados.

Time to pack your bags? A review of opportunities abroad.

  • The labor market is not recovering, and emigration is the most frequent alternative.
  • Europe is the preferred option for Spaniards.
  • Latin America and USA follow. China has opportunities for the most daring.

English-speakers in engineering, tech, and health-related professions are in demand. The article says that recruiters from Norway, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom, France and Switzerland are hiring Spaniards. Singapore, Israel are also hiring. The Latin American countries are ranked by most-restrictive (Brazil and Chile) to least restrictive. The only country they do not recommend is India.

They have a world map showing the local unemployment rates, and jobs in demand.

This is terrible in two ways: Spain had briefly recovered from the centuries-long diaspora of its best and brightest, most of which were not schooled but found education and opportunity in other lands (as my grandparents did). Now the brain drain is striking twice as hard, with Spanish engineers looking for work elsewhere, even unemployment among engineers is “only” 8%.

The article goes on to compare entrance restrictions among countries, and advises anyone contemplating China to look in medium-sized cities, settle for much lower pay, and, if you are going to live there while job hunting, to give yourself six months to learn the local language and have 4,000-5,000€ to live on.

It ends by saying,

Now all you need to do is to gather your courage and pack your bags. These countries offer a better job future than Spain. Without a doubt.

Back to the future, again.

Nigel Farage goes to it

Friday, November 18th, 2011

While the Crisis Ensnares [the European] Central Bank in Desperate Bid to Save Euro, the man who said, “If the EU ever had any intention to democratize itself it would have done so in the Constitutional Treaty,” has his say in the European Parliament:

Arrivederci, democrazia.

Countdown to failure.

Daniel Hannan; You can have the euro or you can have democracy – you can’t have both