AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s coalition government collapsed on Saturday when the two largest parties failed to agree on whether to withdraw troops from Afghanistan this year as planned.
The fall of the government in the EU member country, just two days short of the coalition’s third anniversary, all but guarantees that the 2,000 Dutch troops will be brought home this year and will eventually prompt new parliamentary elections.
The collapse, the fourth for a cabinet led by Balkenende in eight years, throws into doubt the scope and timing of planned budget cuts for next year as the Dutch economy battles to emerge from the global downturn.
( . . . )
A new government may prove difficult to establish, with opinion polls suggesting four or five parties may be needed to secure a majority coalition in the 150-seat parliament.
My Note –
Tis not the time for this . . .
How are the rest of us supposed to get along and get things done when the leadership around the world in just about any and every country, including the US are acting like they’ve never read a book on negotiations and all-win solutions in their lives? Do they know we’ve had enough of their stalemating bullshit while showing no interest in the needs of the people they are there to serve?
Stiglitz, Solow Back Brown Over U.K. Deficit Cuts (Update2)
February 19, 2010, 05:57 AM EST
By Robert Hutton and Kitty Donaldson
Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) — Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Solow are among 67 economists to support Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s argument that it’s too soon to start cutting the U.K.’s record deficit, a retort to 20 economists who attacked his position earlier this week.
The timing and pace of deficit reduction is at the center of the campaign for the general election that Brown must call within weeks. David Cameron’s Conservative Party seized on a Feb. 14 letter whose signatories included four former Bank of England policy makers supporting the position that cuts are needed this year to keep the confidence of the markets.
Two letters published in the Financial Times today disagree. Signatories for the first include Solow, 85, famous for his work on growth theory, and two former Bank of England deputy governors. It warns that “a sharp shock” now “would be positively dangerous.”
The second letter, signed by Stiglitz, 67, and economics professors including Robert Skidelsky, says that those who seek to “reassure the markets” are following the advice of those “whose mistakes precipitated the crisis in the first place.”
( . . . )
The 67 economists also undermine Conservative Treasury spokesman George Osborne’s Feb. 15 argument that there was a “consensus of economic opinion aligned with” his party.
“This puts an end to his claim,” Darling’s office said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s obvious to most people that government support is still needed until recovery is secured.”
A report released today showed retail sales dropped more than twice as much as economists forecast in January. Jobless claims jumped last month to the highest level since 1997.
(etc. – good article)
ON CONSERVATIVES AND EUROPE
“I know that people have been deeply concerned by recent developments on the British right, by the decision of the British Conservative Party to leave the mainstream right grouping in the European Parliament to join an alliance of the extremes and the fringes.” – Prime Minister Gordon Brown
HIGHLIGHTS-UK’s Brown speech to London conference
Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:16am EST
Mr. Brown’s game plan, named “Operation Fightback,” calls for securing an economic recovery before aggressive debt cuts; supporting new industries; protecting key public services; and pledging to “stand up for the many and not the few.”
“At every stage the Tories want to kick away the ladders of opportunity, because they are not the party of Britain’s mainstream majority and have policies that give most benefit for the few,” Mr. Brown will say, according to excerpts from his speech.
One of the comments on a US article about the state pension plans that are running short from having diverted the money when times were good to make their budgets look nice –
Matthew Yetter3:18 pm
The Constitution represents a contract between the people and our government. All officials in Washington swear an oath upon taking office that they will uphold and defend the Constitution. It clearly defines what the federal government can and cannot do.
One of the powers granted to the government is the levying of taxes. The 16th Amendment adds income tax to that.
However, the fact that our elected officials have forsaken their oaths of office and for decades now have increasingly acted in outright defiance of the Constitution effectively puts the government in breach of contract. They are now using the Constitution to hold us accountable for the taxes they choose to impose while simultaneously side-stepping our outright ignoring the Constitution with just about everything else. This is wrong. It is oppressive and flirts with outright tyranny
(Comment from this article)
My Note –
Why is it the first thing that Republicans cut from the budget is education and programs that help the poorest, the elderly, the children and those who are getting nothing more than crumbs in the first place? (see article below this note.)
Isn’t it possible to stop the legislators taking their continuing upgrades in pay and benefits, take their staff numbers down to something reasonable and combine attorney pools to one for the state rather than eighty three pools of lawyers in every department across the state?
Why can’t the oil companies pay a little more for the licenses, leases and royalties where they are drilling our precious national resources from our common natural assets, along with other users and abusers and profiteers using our natural resources to pad their own pockets and suit their lifestyles?
Don’t they owe anything back to us when most of these corporations pay a lower percentage in taxes than any of us and give less back to our state infrastructures even while using them for their own benefits and profits? Most, if not damn near all of them send their profits out of the United States so they won’t even have to pay taxes on them. How long are we going to put up with their raping, pillaging and plundering the national resources, the landscape, the tax base and the communities every where they go?
Big budget gaps
States are looking at a total budget gap of $180 billion for fiscal 2011, which for most of them begins July 1. These cuts could lead to a loss of 900,000 jobs, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com
( . . . )
Already, states laid off 44,000 workers in the 12 months ending in January, according to federal labor statistics.
In California, for instance, (Republican) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing deep cuts to health care, education, the state workforce and social services programs. The governor is looking to Washington D.C. for $6.9 billion for its fiscal 2011 budget, on top of the $6 billion in stimulus funds it is using.
While many Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill back another federal bailout of the states, Republicans have said they don’t think it’s the best way to create jobs. . .
Still, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said in testimony Friday that providing aid promptly would probably have a significant effect on employment and economic output.
“Without further aid from the federal government, many states would have to raise taxes or cut spending by more than they would if aid was provided,” Elmendorf said. “Such actions would dampen spending by those in government and by households in those states, and more state and private jobs would be lost.”
Not only would state workers be impacted, but government contractors and suppliers would be too, Shure said. If the states curtail their spending, the companies that do business with them will likely downsize too.
( . . . )
(One of the comments on the above article)
Dale SvecFeb 15
The States have hired all these brilliant money managers that all seem not so brilliant any longer. Start dealing with the budget problems by cutting state employees that FAILED at their jobs.
Reduce State and Federal employees. They are a drain on the economy as they are NOT productive jobs- they do not add to the economy.
Anyone that has any clue as to how the economy works could see that the increasing State budgets could not be supported much longer even in the best of times. If the States cannot hire prudent, educated, and conservative money managers then they should suffer the consequences- not the tax payers from other States.
I do not mind if my state raises my taxes to balance the budget- BUT, only after firing everyone involved in the budget decisions over the last 4 years (and banned from being rehired in any position).
Learn to make money more safely and more conservatively with higher returns. Anyone can achieve financial security.
My Note –
Amen to that. But, nooooo – they are keeping the same money managers, investment account managers, the same number of highly paid attorneys and financial brokers while paying them the same exorbitant fees and salaries as they have for years. The whole damn bunch ought to have to give back the fees they charged since they’ve managed to lose so much money for every state, county, city, pension fund, taxpayer, future taxpayer and public resource budget they’ve managed.
Why are they still getting paid when their way of doing it failed?
Consumer prices rise 2.6%
By Blake Ellis, staff reporterFebruary 19, 2010: 11:23 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Consumer prices rose from a year ago amid climbing gasoline prices but the pace of price increases slowed, the government said Friday.
(but they don’t want to call it inflation – my note)
The Consumer Price Index, the government’s key inflation reading, rose 2.6% during the past 12 months, according to a report from the Labor Department. In December, prices rose 2.7% from the previous year.
( . . . )
Overall consumer prices were boosted by rising energy prices. Gasoline prices rose 4.4%, pushing the energy index up 2.8% in January, the ninth-consecutive month of increase.
Fuel oil and natural gas prices rose as well, while electricity prices fell. Higher prices of dairy products and fruits and vegetables boosted the food index up 0.2% in January.
Jobless claims rise unexpectedly
By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporterFebruary 18, 2010: 9:47 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance climbed unexpectedly last week.
There were 473,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Feb. 13, up 31,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised 442,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
( . . . )
The Labor Department said employers shed a modest 20,000 jobs in January — an improvement from the 150,000 that were lost in December — and that the unemployment rate fell to 9.7%.
Continuing claims reflect people filing each week after their initial benefit week until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved into state or federal extensions, or people whose benefits have expired.
The 4-week moving average for ongoing claims fell by 24,000 to 4,585,750 from the previous week’s revised 4,609,750.
(CNN) – The vast majority of Americans believe Congress is not tackling the nation’s jobs problem, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday found that 84 percent of Americans think Congress has not done enough to create jobs, and only 14 percent said they are satisfied with lawmakers’ efforts so far.
In February 2009, Brazilian authorities raided Whirlpool’s offices in Sao Paulo and Santa Catarina state to look for evidence of a global price-fixing cartel for compressors used in household refrigerators and freezers, vending machines and water coolers. Agents seized computers and records from the offices.
Embraco operates as a separate company, supplying compressors for Whirlpool’s brands as well as other appliance makers. Embraco has annual sales of about $1.5 billion and is estimated to control as much as 25% of the global market for refrigerator compressors. In Brazil, Embarco supplied compressors for more than half of the refrigerators sold in the country last year, according to market data.
( . . . )
Just days before the a Brazilian court formally suspended the investigation, Whirlpool announced that Periquito would relinquish his executive duties at the end of 2009. Michael Todman, who was president of Whirlpool’s North American operations, replaced Periquito, who is a native of Brazil. Periquito had been international president since 2007 and joined the company 14 years ago.
Whirlpool provided few details about the investigation pursued against Periquito and other Whirlpool employees. But in September the company said its compressor unit, Embraco, would pay $56.5 million over five and a half years to end an antitrust investigation by Brazilian authorities.
In a deal between the company and Brazilian authorities, prosecutors agreed to suspend proceedings for charges against Periquito and an undisclosed number of other Whirlpool employees after three years if they comply with court-imposed conditions that include making payments to a charity and periodically reporting to authorities. The employees were not required to admit to any wrongdoing.
(etc. – from)
CHICAGO (Dow Jones)–Whirlpoool Corp. (WHR) disclosed Friday that its former international business president, Paulo Periquito, who was targeted last year in a Brazilian criminal investigation of alleged anticompetitive business activities, will receive more than a year of salary and other benefits as part of a severance package.
The household appliance maker announced Periquito’s retirement as international president on Dec. 16, but he remains chairman of Whirlpool S.A., the company’s Latin America subsidiary, until his term ends April 30.
Under the terms of the company’s transition agreement with Periquito, he’ll continue to receive his monthly salary until his chairmanship ends. In addition, he’ll receive severance benefits consistent with Whirlpool S.A.’s practices for other outgoing executives in Brazil. Those benefits include a $600,000 contribution, about 1.01 million Brazilian reals, to a Brazilian government-run severance indemnity fund on behalf of Periquito and a lump sum payment to Periquito of $846,475, or roughly 14 months of his base salary, according to regulatory filing from the Benton Harbor, Mich., company.
Periquito, 63, and his spouse will receive life and medical insurance coverage from Whirlpool for the rest of their lives. He’ll also have the continued use of a company-owned car with a driver through April 2012.
By Bob Tita
- FEBRUARY 19, 2010, 1:14 P.M. ET
My Note –
Add it to the list of what were once powerful national assets as US corporations who are now worthless enterprises running around the world playing by whatever “anything goes” set of rules they want. Its no wonder the United States is now in this mess. Between companies ignoring every decent principle of growing a business on a solid foundation of corporate responsibility and profits, along with continuously rewarding failure while dismissing thousands of employees who were conscientious and doing their jobs – there is no way we could engage an economic war to win. It is just that simple.
– cricketdiane, 02-20-10