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There are ideological stakes as well, which we can't forget.

Spain and Portugal can't be left alone because of those stakes.

When you read about coordinated European policy, all I hear is a dismantling of the current social system.

by Upstate NY on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 12:00:42 PM EST
Hmm. I suppose that this has nothing to do with attacking Left governments in Europe.  After all, the map below shows the Left governments in Red, the right in Blue, and the weird ones are grey.  And clearly it's not the case that the countries being attacked as in danger of  sovereign debt default are red, and the states leading the attack against them are blue.  Oh.  Actually is basically is.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 04:29:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK should be blue too.


Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 05:04:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cute.

But, like it or not, Labor is the Left party in the UK. As much as people want to see the LibDems as some kind of turn to the Left, the truth is that they are the same that Obama was.  A revolt of the middle classes whose goal isn't to create a social democracy, but to secure their position in society.  

That antiwar shtick is great, but it doesn't make you a Leftist.  It makes you a liberal.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 06:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like it or not, New Labour (with Brown as Chancellor) did things like the infamous 10p tax reform which resulted in poor people paying more tax at the expense of the middle class. They were also atrocious on civil liberties, and had all kinds of tax incentives directed towards the middle class and of no use to low-income people.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 07:19:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's true, but Brown has been a major proponent of stimulus spending to fight the recession, which leaves him on the wrong side of the narrative in the press right now.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 09:49:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like it or not, I call it the way I see it.
If the "Left party in the UK" has become a Right party -it has- then I'll call it a Right party.

New Labour is in no way a leftist party. It's very close to Thatcher, which was extreme right.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 04:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may all be a pack of lies, but here are some of the Lib Dem positions on social issues:

Your Money

Under this Government millions of people on low incomes are forced to pay hundreds of pounds in income tax every year, keeping pensioners on the breadline and meaning that for many people in low paid jobs work simply doesn't pay. Even a person working full-time earning minimum wage has nearly £1000 taken in income tax. At the same time we have a tax system that lets big business and the very rich treat tax as if it is optional.

...

We propose to raise the threshold at which people start paying income tax from current levels to £10,000, cutting the average working age person's income tax bill by £700 and cutting pensioner's income tax bills by £100. These plans will mean that almost 4 million people on low incomes will no longer have to pay any income tax at all.


Jobs
Thousands of people are losing their jobs every day as the recession takes hold. People losing their jobs are worried about how they will pay their bills and mortgages and how long it will take them to get another job. They are shocked and frustrated when they walk into a Jobcentre to find that they will have to wait 12 months for the chance to get extra training or professional support to find a job.

...

Young people have been hit hard by this recession and they need encouragement, support and practical help to improve their skills and enhance their work readiness. We need to keep young people within reach of the job market and we will do this by paying any young person completing an internship or work experience £55 a week for three months. At present only young people from better-off families can afford to build up their work experience; our proposals will mean up to 800,000 young people from all backgrounds will be able to take these opportunities.

Education

Too many children are still leaving school without the knowledge and skills to be successful. Finding a good school is a struggle, lessons don't always stretch the brightest or support those who need more help, and classes are often too big for teachers to control.

...

For those youngsters leaving school, university is getting more and more expensive. To get a degree, young people are saddled with thousands of pounds of debt when it is tough enough to get a job, get on the housing ladder and make ends meet.

Liberal Democrats are the only party which believes university education should be free and everyone who has the ability should be able to go to university and not be put off by the cost.



The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 04:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the LibDems win a plurality and form a minority government, would they be grey?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 02:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You coloured that map yourself with your own interpretation of what "right" means, correct? Nice try.

Wikipedia has a map illustrating voting in the EU Council by EU-wide political party:

That's better.

Why did you put Austria and Slovakia in the "weird" category?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 07:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You coloured that map yourself with your own interpretation of what "right" means, correct? Nice try.

Hey, don't hate me just because I like crayons.

I did it on the quick.

The map above is problematic too, because it uses representation in the EU council which may be a different part of the executive (like a president) than the part that forms domestic policy (the PM).

The problem with Austria and Slovakia is that they have split coalition governments.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 07:30:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the crayons but the dychotomous thinking...

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 03:58:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... the political systems are not so strongly biased to two party rule as in the US and UK ... and if you judge by deed rather than by rhetoric, the UK under New Labor is more a center-right government governing under centrist rhetoric, with occasional outbreaks of center-left rhetoric directed to convincing the left wing of the electorate that they are the LOTE.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 02:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And clearly it's not the case that the countries being attacked as in danger of  sovereign debt default are red

Isn't Italy included in the PIIGS?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 07:27:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't Italy included in the PIIGS?

Yes.  But notice that the focus has been on Portugal and Spain.  That's all the more confusing when you look at the debt ratings.

Italy's two steps below Spain, yet you don't here nearly as much hand wringing about that country.  Why?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 07:34:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because we all know what happens when you let the Italians run things anyway, so it's been priced in.

(I kid, I kid.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 09:47:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also notice that, according to Eurostat, Italy's debt to GDP ratio, at 115.8%, is higher than Greece's (115.1%)

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 02:47:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See Eurostat's Provision of deficit and debt data for 2009 - first notification [PDF] (April 22, 2010)
Euro area and EU27 government deficit at 6.3% and 6.8% of GDP respectively

Government debt at 78.7% and 73.6%

...

Twelve Member States had government debt ratios higher than 60% of GDP in 2009: Italy (115.8%), Greece (115.1%), Belgium (96.7%), Hungary (78.3%), France (77.6%), Portugal (76.8%), Germany (73.2%), Malta (69.1%), the United Kingdom (68.1%), Austria (66.5%), Ireland (64.0%) and the Netherlands (60.9%).

...

Greece: Eurostat is expressing a reservation on the quality of the data reported by Greece, due to uncertainties on the surplus of social security funds for 2009, on the classification of some public entities and on the recording of off-market swaps. Following completion of the investigations that Eurostat is undertaking on these issues in cooperation with the Greek Statistical Authorities, this could lead to a revision for the year 2009 of the order of 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points of GDP for the deficit and 5 to 7 percentage points of GDP for the debt.



The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 04:03:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog
"We have to have fiscal federalism or else Italy will go the same way as Greece, it is absolutely essential." Bossi said this without adding that with fiscal federalism, the cost of which no one has bothered to work out, we will go the same way as Argentina. It's hard to choose whether to declare bankruptcy immediately or to delay? The rating agencies downgraded the Greek government bonds to the status of trash. There is no longer a market for Greece's debt and the Country's bonds are completely unsaleable. The only ones buying them are the Greek banks, ordered to do so by the central Government.
Without access to debt, Greece can only plead for charity from other Countries in order to avoid bankruptcy and default on its public debt repayments, with its subsequent exit from the Euro.
This charity, which is inadequate in any event, has been slow in coming, and the aid required in order to avoid immediate bankruptcy is estimated to be 45 billion Euro. Greece needs to find 160 billion Euro over the next three years just to fund the interest payments on its maturing government bonds and its annual deficit between income and expenditure. The 45 billion Euro loan will be partly funded by the International Monetary Fund, to the tune of 10/15 billion, and the remainder by a number of European Countries, amongst them Germany with 8.4 billion and Italy with 5.5 billion (almost triple the amount contributed by Holland and more than Spain's 3.7 billion).
86% of all Germans are against the loan. They don't want to pay the price for other Countries' free spending. Tremorti, instead, is very enthusiastic, but the opinion of the Italians is unknown, mainly because no one has even bothered to ask them what they think. Before handing over any of the German people's money to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, Ms. Merkel is demanding some sort of assurance that Greece will balance its books. Instead, Tremorti is in a hurry to hand out the loan for fear that the fire will spread. Indeed, Greece is very close by. Our public debt currently stands at approximately 1,800 billion and during the first few months of 2010 it increased by more than 30 billion, while Italy's unemployment rate is comparable to that of Greece. Our import/export balance for 2009 stood at minus 280 million Euro, while in 2008 it was plus 10 billion. Our tax revenues are declining month after month, our public debt is increasing continuously and our debt to GDP ratio is the worst it has been in the past ten years at 52.3%.
The Greek and Italian figures are very similar indeed. In some areas theirs are worse and in other areas ours are worse. If Greece eventually fails, the Euro will totter. If Italy eventually fails, the Euro will sink altogether, together with all our creditors. For the time being, our huge public debt is also our saving grace.
In 2010, Tremorti will have to move 450 billion Euro worth of government bonds and pay out 70/80 billion in interest (equivalent to 4/5 annual budgets) on the bonds already issued. The Greeks are absolute amateurs by comparison.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 05:46:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
aye, that's a conundrum i ponder daily...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 09:10:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so can one hope that the UK and the US are next in line? That ould maybe help shake the Washington/Brussels consensus loose...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 05:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were Greece actually to default I suspect that all eyes would turn to Wall Street, because the spectacle there would dwarf all others, as in the fall of 2008. Even better, coordinate action so as to make all of the CDSs written around Greek debt worth far less than they are right now.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:47:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "left" in those countries has been captured by their financial sectors, City of London and Wall Street respectively.

Remember that in the US, Obama was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Robert Rubin (former exec at Goldman Sachs) inspired Hamilton Project.  The idea was to kill economic populism in the Democratic Party after the victories in the 2006 midterms.  

The UK is similar.  Unions have been abandoning Labour for a while, at least since the abolition of Clause 4 and the end of block voting by affiliates of the TUC casting votes for their members en masse.

Zapatero is arguably the foremost socialist politician in all of Europe today.  He's no Gonzalez, and he's pulled back from the movement towards neo-liberalism.  

Not to mention that I think that the comments from the finance minister Salgado, about speculators attacking Greece, rattled the masters of the universe in London and New York.....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zapatero is arguably the foremost socialist politician in all of Europe today.

He's also waaay beyond his depth in this economic crisis. As is his new Economy minister Elena Salgado.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 05:12:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
a dismantling of the current social system.

SOP neolib anglo capitalist panacea.

social fabric-ripping race-to-the-bottom me-firstism.

...until the plebs show them new boundaries?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 07:00:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Will the Plebs have any awareness?

My listserv this morning reports that Middlesex U. in the UK is shuttering a very well-regarded Philosophy program, putting noted humanists and critics out of work. Will the Plebs receive an education that produces anything like critical analysis?

by Upstate NY on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 09:18:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i hear ya...

my hope is in the new medium of the internet providing self-educational possibilities galore.

reality alone will do it eventually, if history is guide.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 09:24:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think new media can do it.

But I'm an academic.

I once asked my teacher of Postmodern thought how the hell any of it occurred to anyone.

He said, none of it occurred to anyone. This development is a gradual one and has taken about 3,000 years.

I realize that this makes academics a self-perpetuating entity in a closed circuit, but I was outside that circuit at one point, and was sucked in by the in-ness.

Good luck, everyone. Signing off, the human race.

by Upstate NY on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 09:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The destructive, self-serving nature of an inequitable system will very rarely occur to a beneficiary of that system. But, as the system proceeds, there are fewer and fewer beneficiaries and more and more victims. The question becomes one of whether they will see and reject the inequitable system or be mis-directed off against an identifiable sub-set of victims that is conveniently suitable for demonization in the interests of the benefactors of the system.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:56:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many goons with Gatling guns can you hire to guard your mansion?
by Upstate NY on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 11:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how long before they turn on you? Lloyd Blankfein does not come across as a very credible employer of physical violence.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 11:11:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Upstate NY on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 09:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Go and sign!

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 09:58:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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