€urosclerosis: The Greeks have revolted

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal, Monday, 26 January 2015 AD

Syriza Victory in Greek Election Roils European Debate Over Austerity
Leftist Party’s Win Is Likely to Embolden Populist Movements Elsewhere in Eurozone
By Marcus Walker | Jan. 25, 2015 8:33 p.m. ET

BERLIN—For five years, Europe’s common-currency bloc has squabbled over whether the solution to its economic crisis lies in slimming the state and deregulating markets, or in more expansionary fiscal and monetary policies.

The battle lines just got messier, the way out even less clear.

Since the start of the eurozone’s debt crisis, the bloc’s wealthier countries—led by Germany—have largely prevailed in pushing economic overhauls, not stimulus, as the main way to nurse indebted nations to financial health. Now, eurozone voters are in open revolt against such fiscal strictures, while the European Central Bank just overthrew German monetary orthodoxy.

Sunday’s historic victory for the radical left-wing Syriza party in Greece’s elections is likely to embolden populist movements in other eurozone countries, including Spain, France and Italy, which reject German-sponsored austerity.

More at the original.

It was the subtitle, “Leftist Party’s Win Is Likely to Embolden Populist Movements Elsewhere in Eurozone,” which caught my attention: the Journal is suggesting that people in democracies all across Europe may decide, well, Hell, why should we pay our bills? It’s the almost inevitable conclusion of the silly Occupy movement, where people who have been living better than their production supported decided that they didn’t want to have to actually pay for past profligacy.

Well, no, the debt is not owed to taxpayers; the debt is owed by taxpayers, who would not have accumulated that debt had they paid enough in taxes to support the spending of the governments they elected. But, had they paid enough in taxes to keep their budgets balanced, then they’d have had less money themselves, and not lived as well. It was the financiers who provided than money for them to live better. That €40 billion gift would be the gift of the taxpayers not having to pay what they owe, but it would be a €40 billion theft from the people who had loaned their hard-earned money to the Greeks.

Of course, for the Occupods, owing money to people who actually earned money, well they’re the evil 1%ers, so it’s just Social Justice not to pay them back!

The sad part is that the austerity program was working for Greece, but the Greeks were apparently not nearly as interested in getting their government and their country on a sounder financial footing than they were in having more money in their wallets. That’s understandable enough, I suppose, but the real result will be that their government will go broke, and they’ll still have to live no better than their own production will support. Anyone who lends the Greeks money after yesterday’s elections is Just Plain Stupid, and deserves any losses he takes.

Related Stories from The Wall Street Journal:

€urosclerosis: The Greeks are revolting!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Syriza Poised for Victory in Greek Election
Vote Results Could Determine Country’s Future as Eurozone Member
By Nektaria Stamouli and Alkman Granitsas | Updated Jan. 25, 2015 12:25 p.m. ET

ATHENS—Greece’s radical leftist Syriza party was poised to win a historic victory in national elections Sunday as exit polls showed voters rejected a ruling party that had implemented Europe’s harsh austerity medicine.

Syriza appeared to win between 35.5% and 39.5% of the vote, trouncing the incumbent New Democracy party, which managed to secure just 23% to 27% of the vote, according to the exit polls, which were issued immediately after voting booths closed.

If Syriza is able to secure more than 150 seats on its own, it won’t need coalition partners and will have a freer hand in implementing its program—something that could lead to ruptures with Greece’s creditors.

The polls also showed that voters backed a handful of smaller parties—ranging from the extreme-right Golden Dawn party to the centrist To Potami party—making it unclear whether Syriza would win an absolute majority in Greece’s 300 seat legislature. According to the polls, Syriza was projected to secure between 146 to 158 seats, depending on the final outcome.

The elections are expected to have lasting repercussions for both Greece and the eurozone. Syriza, which emerged as the main opposition party in mid-2012 at the depths of the nation’s debt crisis, has promised to tear up the austerity program that Athens pledged in exchange for a €240 billion ($269 billion) bailout from international creditors.

Since first seeking a bailout in 2010, Greece has undertaken a broad sweep of revamps and cutbacks that have helped fix its public finances and nudged the economy back to growth following six years of deep recession. Those cutbacks have come at a cost: Some 25% of Greeks remain jobless, while a quarter of households live close to the poverty line.

Syriza has promised to change all that: pledging immediate relief to the poor, rolling back unpopular taxes and negotiating a debt write-down with the country’s creditors to free up spending on social programs.

There’s more at the link, but this is no surprise: Greece, like most of the democratic European nations, have been living beyond the means supported by their production, for decades. While the PIGS — Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain — are closer to eventual default than the more productive eurozone members, France and Germany have their own problems; France threw out the more sensible government of Nicolas Sarkozy almost two years ago, voting for the Socialist François Hollande, but it turned out that that socialist government hasn’t helped very much.

It’s simple: today’s voters don’t want to pay the bills run up by their parents so that their parents could live better. Once Greece exits the eurozone and reinstates the drachma as its currency, well maybe they won’t go quite as far as did Zimbabwe in trying to get out of debt, but unless the new government does what it has promised not to do, austerity will be forced on Greece, as no one will lend them any more money.

Back in 2012, Standard & Poors raised Greece’s credit rating to junk bond status (CCC), from SD, or selective default.

Would you lend money to a country in which the voters can just decide not to pay you back?

From Around the Blogroll

Yesterday, I used the snow blower for the first time since getting it back from the service people. It started fine, ran for a minute, and then cut off, and I couldn’t restart it. What the heck, I was saying to myself. It acted like it wasn’t getting fuel, and then I realized: the service people had shut off the valve underneath the fuel tank, so once I used up the gasoline in the fuel line, it was out of fuel. I did enjoy putting more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

And if the forecasts are correct, I’ll get a lot of use out of the snow blower over the next couple of days.

Now, on to the blogroll

Rule 5 Blogging: Women in Combat in History

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Uma Thurman in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week, a look back on some older photos, because, regardless of how we imagine things, armies have been using women in dangerous roles when they needed women in those roles.

Yugoslav fighters, members of the patriot forces, during training at an Allied camp in Italy on February 29, 1944. Click to enlarge.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Women in Combat in History’ »

Democrisy! The Democrats are just terribly upset about Senator Joni Ernst’s shoes.

Thanks to this story from Donald Douglas, I found out that the left are just totally obsessed with the shoes worn by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) for the Republicans’ rebuttal to President Obama’s supposed State of the Union address:

I particularly liked this response:


The Republicans, huh? And how long ago was it that the Democrats got their hearts all a’flutter over Wendy Davis pink tennis shoes, and even decided to nominate her to become Governor of Texas over them?

Patterico noted Representative Justin Amash‘s (R-MI 3rd) response:

The essential error of the Obama presidency is an unfounded belief that greater government power—in our pocketbooks, in our private lives—will make America more prosperous and free. President Obama’s faith in concentrated power was on full display in tonight’s State of the Union address.

Working families feel squeezed by higher health care costs and tuition bills. Those fortunate enough to hold steady jobs haven’t seen a raise in years. They worry about their children’s future and their country’s.

The president seems to have only one answer for them: enlarge the size and scope of the federal government. To help middle-class Americans, the president demands more than $300 billion of tax hikes and a new round of stimulus spending. To rein in education costs, the president creates a federal education entitlement, the type of which led to skyrocketing tuition in the first place. To fix our health care system, the president touts the same law that has caused prices to rise and stripped families of access to their doctors. To make the financial system more stable, the president threatens to veto reforms to Dodd-Frank, his law that made banks bigger than ever. And to protect Americans’ privacy, he offers yet another report instead of reining in his own spies.

Higher federal taxes, more federal spending, and greater federal control of our lives haven’t worked over the past six years. Our country is beginning to turn the corner not because of government but in spite of it. Instead of faith in Washington, let’s put faith in Americans to determine their own lives. Let’s give liberty a chance.

Exactly right!

Beneficial and Professional Assistance

Beneficial and Professional Assistance

Divorce is never easy. When going through such a painful process, it is extremely important to have a professional lawyer to provide guidance and assistance in what to do and when. A lawyer can be a trusted guide who is available to talk and willing to fight the right battles when necessary. A lawyer can be exactly when a man needs during an extremely painful time in his life.

A Listening Ear

People love to give advice when an individual is going through a difficult ordeal. This is true of when a man is going through a divorce. When looking for a lawyer, be sure to find an individual or a firm that puts listening as one of the top priorities. Lawyers who listen can be worth retaining since they put a priority on hearing what a client or a potential client has to say. In a world where so many people make conclusions on a limited amount of information, it certainly helps to have a lawyer who listens and wants to know more about a situation before giving advice. Although questions will be asked about difficult circumstances, the reason for probing questions is to provide more information that can help a lawyer give better recommendations.

Solid Answers

When the listening time is over, a lawyer who has taken the time to listen can provide solid answers that can bring peace of mind. After all, a man who is going through a divorce is going through a lot of stress. He needs guidance and assistance in how to proceed. A lawyer who listens carefully to the situation of a man and understands it can give thoughtful feedback that can help him greatly. A lawyer can talk about what specific paperwork needs to be filled out. Numerous individuals and firms can be helpful to men who are experiencing a divorce. Reading information about a firm or an individual can be insightful. Cordell & Cordell Reviews is an example of real people who have provided feedback on their services.

Although it may be difficult to describe the pain that is experienced when one goes through a divorce, men can get dependable answers and assistance when they choose to retain a lawyer or a law firm. Lawyers can get lasting results and are dependable with the commitments they make. When in need, contact a lawyer who specializes in divorce.

Two more years

In two years from now, the worst President in my lifetime — and my lifetime includes Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter — will leave office forever.

I don’t know how good President Obama is at golf, but I would like to see him practice it more and more and more. I want him out on the golf course, every day, for the next two years, because the less that he’s in the office, supposedly doing his job, the less harm he can do to us.

Sounds like a great place to eat!

I haven’t been to Colorado since the summer of 1972 — and that was just passing through — but if I ever return, this looks like a great place to stop and eat. From CNN:

I bet they don’t get robbed!

The CNN interviewer was doing her damnedest to try to rattle Shooters Grill owner Lauren Boebert, but couldn’t. More openly liberal MSNBC tries the same thing:

Open carry is perfectly legal in Colorado, no permit required, and, quite frankly, the Second Amendment says, in effect, that open carry is perfectly legal, anywhere in the United States, by anyone legally allowed to own a firearm. The Fourteenth Amendment states that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” which ought to mean that only persons actually convicted of crimes for which the penalties include the loss of civil rights should be legally barred from owning firearms. The courts, which are supposed to protect our rights, haven’t always done a very good job of that.

Unable to be a halfway decent President, Barack Hussein Obama reverts to what he does best: campaign.

The tasks of running for President and actually being a good President are two very different things, and Barack Obama has shown us, very clearly, that being very good at the former doesn’t mean that a person will be any good at the latter. From The Wall Street Journal:

Obama to Propose Tax Increases on Investments, Inherited Property
President Expected to Outline Tax Measures in State of the Union Address
By Carol E Lee, Colleen McCain Nelson and John D McKinnon | 

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama will call on the new Republican-led Congress to raise taxes on investments and inherited property and to create or expand a range of tax breaks for middle-income families, laying out an opening position in a debate over taxation that both parties see as a potential area of compromise.

Mr. Obama will outline the measures in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. He will propose using revenue generated from the tax increases—which would fall mainly on high-income households—to pay for a raft of new breaks aimed at boosting stagnant incomes for low- and middle-income households.

Those initiatives include tripling the child-care tax credit and creating a new credit for families in which both spouses work, senior administration officials said on Saturday.

The administration plans to consolidate and expand education tax breaks. It would also make retirement savings programs available to many more people, for example by requiring many employers that don’t currently offer workers a retirement plan to enroll them automatically in an individual retirement account. The administration says its proposals would make retirement saving programs available to 30 million additional people at the workplace.

More at the link.

This is nothing more than a campaign document, because the chances of the Congress passing a tax increase on the most productive Americans are vanishingly small. William Teach asked why the President didn’t propose these things while the Democrats still controlled the Senate, and part of the answer is that all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives, but the other part is that he didn’t want o make things any rougher on Democratic candidates in conservative states than necessary; even as election day approached in 2014, the Democrats had some hopes of retaining the Senate, and never anticipate the real butt kicking that they received.

So, why, if the President is seeking any compromise at all, as he supposedly is, would he push a plan which won’t make it out of the House Ways and Means Committee?  The answer is that he isn’t really seeking compromise, nor is he going to make any serious attempts at leading by any means other than executive orders and judicial nominations. Rather, he wants to give Democratic candidates in 2016 some talking points, trying to somehow revive the silly Occupy movement and class warfare.

But even a cursory look at what the President is supposedly going to propose tells us that it’s not even being advertised truthfully. It is, supposedly, supposed to benefit the middle class, but extending the earned income tax credits to families without children doesn’t benefit the middle class in the slightest; it is a benefit solely to lower-income people. Increasing the child care tax credit could help some middle-income families, but there is no reason at all to provide welfare for the middle-class. Two years of “free” community college tuition? What we need are stronger training programs in high school, and a greater push for them; Michael Bloomberg noted that becoming a plumber1 is probably a wiser career choice for most people coming out of high school.2 But nothing is free; education costs money, and has to be paid for somehow.3

The President does not expect any of these proposals to ever be passed, and I would certainly hope that they are not; the last hing we need is to add to the complexity of the tax code or to take more money from people who have earned it to give to those who have not.
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  1. Mr Bloomberg used plumbing as an example, but his reasoning would hold just as true for electricians and carpenters and other skilled tradesmen.
  2. The Editor’s wife is a registered nurse, who earned her Associates in Science in Nursing at a community college.
  3. Thanks to the complete ineptness of the Carbon County tax collector, who told my mortgage company that my property taxes were up to date, leading my mortgage company not to pay them on time, I had to pay, personally, $2,008.63 in school district taxes on December 22nd, giving your Editor a very good lesson in just how free free public education really is.