“This is no time to be complacent. Massive economic problems are erupting all over the globe, but most people seem to believe that everything is going to be just fine. In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the U.S. economy is performing. Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer. Just look at what is happening in Europe. The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced. Just look at what is happening over in Asia. Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control. One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off. We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time.”
“Unemployment has reached a new high in the euro zone and inflation remains well below the European Central Bank’s target, underscoring just how severe a challenge EU leaders face to revive the bloc’s sickly economy.
Joblessness in the 17-nation currency area rose to 12.2 percent in April, statistics agency Eurostat said on Friday, marking a new record since the data series began in 1995.
With the euro zone also in its longest recession since its creation in 1999, consumer price inflation was far below the ECB’s target of just below 2 percent, coming in at 1.4 percent in May, slightly above April’s 1.2 percent rate.”
“The last thing a country in recession should do is raise taxes. Well, Spain is in a depression, not a recession yet the EU requires Spain to raise the VAT and lower pension benefits within a year. “
One year. That is the time that the government has to undertake major reforms. The European Commission has published today the document with recommendations to the European Council on the National Reform Plan. Includes advice on pensions, taxes, government spending, administrative reform, etc.. There is virtually nothing that Brussels (and the governments of EU members) does not create the need to change, accelerate or deepen.
On Wednesday Brussels gave Spain more time to reach a budget deficit of 3%, but warns that to achieve this, it is still necessary to continue with the fiscal effort.
Brussels calls for “a systematic review of the tax system by March 2014.” Normally, these words have meant raising taxes on consumption (VAT or special) to relax the pressure on other that penalize wealth creation, such as income tax or social contributions. But in the current document there are only requests to raise taxes.
Simmering Feud Between France and Germany Erupts Into Verbal Warfare; France Tells Brussels to Shove It
“The simmering feud between France and Germany erupted into a heated political exchange following Pressure on Hollande to take bold action to revive the French economy, calling for new pension and labour market reforms.
“The commission’s list of recommendations for Paris, which it expects to be delivered in return for allowing France two extra years to meet its budget deficit targets, covered all the hard issues the socialist government faces: cutting public spending; restoring badly diminished competitiveness, opening up restricted markets, reforming the tax regime and loosening tight labour market regulations.”"
“As more and more countries within the European Union struggle economically, the euro – the union’s common currency – becomes more embattled, with its founder now even predicting its demise.
German Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine, who was responsible the euro’s development and launch, is now calling for the end of the single currency in order to let southern Europe recover. He says if not, the current fiscal course is “leading to disaster.”
“The economic situation is worsening from month to month, and unemployment has reached a level that puts democratic structures ever more in doubt,” he said, according to the Telegraph, one of Britain’s largest dailies.
“The Germans have not yet realized that southern Europe, including France, will be forced by their current misery to fight back against German hegemony sooner or later,” he said, adding that much of the current fiscal crisis has come in large part from Germany’s squeeze on wages, in order to gain export share.”
Via Natural News
“The Greek economic depressionary catastrophe continues to merrily chug along. Hours ago, Greek Elstat reported that February unemployment rose to a new record high of 27.0%, with the January number revised from 27.2% to 26.7%, up from 21.9% in February 2012, and almost as if unlike the Greek BLS is not even trying to fudge numbers anymore and wants to show a deteriorating situation (or, as it was called in the Old Normal – “reality”). “
Via Zero Hedge
“Spain’s underground economy is reportedly 19% of GDP. Is it? Who knows? Whatever it is, Visa has its eyes on transaction fees while holding a carrot in front of the Spanish government regarding more taxable income.
Via Mish-modified translation from Libre Mercado, please consider Visa recommends Spain further limit the use of cash transactions. “
The black market economic activity is beyond the control of the Treasury, and is one of the major objectives of the government during the current crisis to try to raise tax revenues. In 2010, Spain decreed the obligation to report all transactions greater than $ 3,000. In 2012 a ban was placed on cash payments in excess of 2,500 euros.
Visa Europe now recommends that the Government of Mariano Rajoy further restrict the use of cash to combat the underground economy and, thus, increase tax collection. Visa suggests a measure similar to that adopted in Italy, where the limit is set at 1,000 euros.
“While GBP jumped and the world celebrated the UK’s recent avoidance (for now) of a triple-dip recession (defined on GDP as opposed to reality), the situation in the island nation appears to be going from bad to worse. As Carney takes over the reigns of this once mighty nation he faces a country deeply divided. As the BBC reports, while London real estate prices smash old records, a stunning one-in-five households borrowed money or used savings to cover the costs of food in April. This is the equivalent of five million households unable to fund their food via income alone. Over 80% of these people are concerned about rising food prices (just as print-meister Carney is about to go ‘Abe’ on them) and almost 60% find it difficult to cope on their current incomes. The director of the consumer group ‘Which?’, noted that “many households are stretched to their financial breaking point,” as “families face a cost of living crisis.” While equity and real estate prices hit all-time highs, the opposition sums up the country’s feeling, “this incompetent government needs to wake up to the human cost of their failed economic policies.”"
Via Zero Hedge
“While near record low sovereign bond spreads and near record high equity prices have been taken as vindication by the European elites that all is well and ‘we just need a little less fauxsterity’ to be done with this crisis; the data, as it so often does, says the exact opposite. European unemployment just broke above 12% for the first time ever and European youth unemployment remains miserably above 24%. And while 1-in-4 under-25s unemployed is a bad enough statistic in terms of likely emergence of social unrest, the individual countries are in general deteriorating once again at a faster rate. French youth unemployment has risen for 13 months in a row to a record 26.5%; Spain (at 57.2% of under-25s unemployed) is catching up fast to Greece’s stunning 59.1%; but perhaps the most concerning for the broader economies is the fact that Italy’s youth unemployment has now topped that of Portugal at 38.4%. The only nation to see a drop in its youth unemployment was Ireland – which fell back modestly to January levels. Not a rosy picture, but then again, it doesn’t matter…”
Via Zero Hedge