EVERYTHING ALRIGHT AFTER ALL: Pensioners, Nannies and Personal insolvency will save us.

EU Commissioner for Greece Horst Reichenbach told Austria’s Passauer Neue Presse newspaper this morning, “I am optimistic as never before about Greece”.

When asked why, he replied:

“The segment in the finance ministry which is responsible for pensions has greatly improved.”

As a result of this, it may well be that Greece can now monetise its pensioners by leveraging them several times, and offering them a new life as a credit derivative obligation. It is a miracle. Greece is saved.

But Herr Reichenbach was less optimistic about the banks there.

“The financial problems of Greece’s banks pose great difficulties. The banks now need to be re-capitalized so that the economy can prosper,” he said. Ah. So, not a miracle after all then?

To the UK’s granny tax can now be added the nanny tax. The FT headlines today – that’s right, headlines – on the news that getting cash in hand is to be investigated in affluent households. Apparently, anyone caught doing it will be told to go and sit on the Naughty Step, and might even be sent to bed with no cocoa.

Ben Bernanke has meanwhile told the American media that “Consumer spending isn’t fully recovered. In terms of debt and consumption, and so on we’re still way low relative to the patterns before.” This is the start of a smart move by Uncle Ben to reposition debt as a good thing. Pretty soon, when the US deficit hits $17 trillion, Obama will thus be able to tell the nation that in terms of debt, America has never been healthier.

Reuters, the FT and Bloomberg were respectively responsible for printing this crap today. Three years ago, Channel 4 said “The internet is for Opposition”. They could now go further, and add “The MSM is for collaboration.”

Internet access is still intermittent. More posts when possible.

39 thoughts on “EVERYTHING ALRIGHT AFTER ALL: Pensioners, Nannies and Personal insolvency will save us.

    • My local garage refuses to accept cash. When buying petrol an eftpos card or credit card is required. I always pay cash. I told the garage attendant I would take my business elsewhere if I couldn’t pay with cash. He wasn’t fazed.
      At the same garage I have seen a14 year old buy a bottle of soft drink with a credit card. I guess I’m getting too old.

      An Asian business friend of mine has been prosecuted twice for bringing over the $10,000 limit cash money into Australia. He has a criminal record because of this. He now can’t get a visa to enter the U.S.

      A blow for freedom exists in the Asian shopping areas in most Australian capital cities. Most Asian grocers have a little sign up…… CASH ONLY!

    • Some years ago when I worked in insurance we were advised that the handling of any amounts of cash by our clients is now considered suspect under money laundering regulations. Banks and all financial institutions have, by law, to report any and all deposits or withdrawals of cash by their clients that are considered to be “unusual”
      I believe all western nations now have these laws in force
      I have heard of people who have been interrogated by the police because they tried to pay for an airline ticket in cash.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_Laundering_Control_Act

      • There are also people who get pulled aside when boarding a flight at airports and asked if they’re carrying more than £X or equivalent in cash with them. If so, they are asked to provide evidence of its source under threat of confiscation under money laundering laws. I believe this happens even travelling between EU member states despite the Single Market Treaty providing for the free movement of capital across Europe.

      • You are liable to confiscation if you try and get on a plane with more than £2,000 you cannot account for. I saw a wonderful episode on Border Control, I think, where a Thai girl tourist getting on a plane at Heathrow for BKK was quizzed about how much she had. My guess is she had been an escort girl. She equivocated and dissembled, admitting to having £2K cash. Then they did a thorough search and she had over £25K. The customs guy was ecstatic since they get a bonus from the haul. But in the end she showed them a savings acount book from a Thai bank with more than that in it and they had to admit it was possibly her own money. on the other hand they caught a local British pakistani getting on a fligt to Dubai with £5K. The questioned him and after a few calls said he had not paid his income tax or national insurance. he was allowed on he flight but ciustoms held the money. on return he could claim it back when he settled his tax and NI affairs.

      • @OAH: Yeahbut… http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Foreigntravel/BringinggoodsorcashintotheUK/DG_173289

        Govt website. There’s no mention of having to provide evidence under €10k cash or other currency equivalent:

        You only need to declare cash if you are entering or leaving the UK from outside the European Union (EU) and carrying cash of 10,000 euros or more, or the equivalent in other currencies.

        And as far as the EU itself is concerned…that is already adequately covered by the Single Market Treaty (SMT), yet people are being pulled aside and interrogated under threat.

        What we have here is yet another example of the State signing treaties and then deciding it doesn’t quite like what it’s signed and adopting policies which essentially violate those treaties. That is exactly what happened back in 2001+ with the old HMC&E who confiscated cigs from Brits returning from the EU who had more than 800 for personal consumption. The HMC&E argument was that if you had more than 800, you had to prove you were not going to sell them (ie prove a negative). They even printed leaflets clearly stating that 800 was your max limit! It was a blatant violation of the SMT under one Gordon Brown but he only called off his jackboots when the EU issued him a final warning of prosecution. Soon after the HMC&E was folded into the Inland Revenue.

    • It hasn’t ceased to be legal tender. What is happening is that the well -to-do are paying their staff cash in hand to domestic staff that basically do not exist on the books and and thus evading their obligations as employers and helpinmg the employee avoid paying tax.

  1. They have all crossed over to the dark side. Obviously there is more light there. As a default, let us return to the mechanism which states that whatever a politician says, the exact opposite will happen.

  2. Channel 4 haven’t got a clue. It wasn’t that long ago when Mr Snow was whining about people who logged onto naughty Internet sites and “withheld their unique identification” (IP Address to you and me) “by downloading and using a special piece of software” (TOR to you and me). Snow managed to dress up his piece of non-news into a new and astonishing revelation.The obfuscation MSM wallows in to hide the truth is phenominal.

  3. “The segment in the finance ministry which is responsible for pensions has greatly improved.”

    I nominate this as pure, unadulterated bollocks. What does it actually mean ? Have the pensions section in the finance ministry voted themselves a pay rise and bigger pensions ?

  4. John the granny tax is mickey mouse but it does foretell a more radical attempt at ‘simplification’ in 2016. I believe the Treasury hopes to combine NI and income tax as recommended by the Mirlees report at that time. (This is traled between the lines in the FT.) This would mean the basic rate of tax for pensioners would rise from 20 to 25 percent, a 25 percent increase. The pensioner on £40K pounds a year’s tax would increase from £6K to £7,500 a £1,500 increase. Combine that with attempts to cut back WFP, free TV licenses and bus passes and you will have a real assault on the elderly. Obviously, they have to pay part of the adjustment and you can’t hit them too hard all at once, so I would expect more stealth attempts especially after the next election.

    • It’s amazing this is happening in Germany. But I’ve seen it for years in Brazil where people from favelas walk the streets with back-sacks searching for bottles and aluminium cans to earn a few coins.

      • @BT
        the situations are a little different. The plastic bottles Chris speaks of are deposit bottles and have anywhere between 10 and 35ct deposit. Collect ten of those and you get a nice cream cake or pack of coffee at the local supermarket.

        Builders are the worst for it. Bottles scattered everywhere. I would bag them up and take them in and get an evening’s shopping. Nobody was the wiser because the place looked clean. (That was here in NL by the way, not when I lived in Germany).

        Complain to WordPress about having to login to post comments every time. Google will have you signing in to do a search next! It is not as if you can edit your comments afterwards as you can with Disqus.

      • @Gemz: They may be slightly different, perhaps the amount of cash earned is different. But the idea of earning a few coins or euros is essentially the same for both sets of people. In Brazil, they are often organised …some use a hand cart with two wheels and 3-4 large drums on a flat platform for different types of plastic bottles/tin cans. I also regularly see large donkey pulled carts in the NE with drums on the platform which is used to collect waste food from restaurants to take home to the fazendas for the pigs. This model carries two people.

  5. Sky has just reported comments by the venerable Mike Weale.
    “I look at how different age groups have done since the crisis; it seems to me that the burden has been disproportionately on young people.
    Even for people in their 20s who are in full-time work wages have been squeezed more than those of old workers.”
    Don’t quite recognise the economy he is talking about! In my part of the world we are losing mature jobs with decent disposable incomes and replacing them with ones stacking shelves in supermarkets for minimum wages!

    Of course the older workers and retirees are going to be hit, the demographics can’t be ignored!

    • @Mac: I’ve also heard Mr Wheale spouting this nonsense. It makes me wonder if this is just another round of BoE propaganda…
      Has he forgotten that savers are mostly older people and have suffered a ~60% cut in savings income since 2008? Has he forgotten that CPI in no way captures true price inflation and hits older people far more than younger people?

      • A whole generation as a scapegoat, that’s a new one. More divide & conquer. Has anything official been declared to specify in which yrs you need to have been born to fall into this group of evil doers, as I was born in 1957 do I have to go & buy a bell & walk around chanting: ” Unclean, unclean “, or do I get the right to persecute these awful people or in the case of my being qualified, blameless individuals.

      • @Stevie,

        you have to do that because you are a sculptor. Dangerous beasts that should be kept on short chains ;-) ;-) ;-)

        Complain to WordPress about having to login to post comments every time. Google will have you signing in to do a search next! It is not as if you can edit your comments afterwards as you can with Disqus.

  6. @ oldasiahand
    I,m glad that I am not the only scynical one. For simplification read abolish Nat Ins contributions, both for employees and employers.
    a] Base rate tax @ 22.5% b] higher rate tax @ 45% c] corperation tax @ 22.5% and d] abolish VAT, [hurrah] but bring in Point of Sales Tax @ how about 22.5% and e] to round it off with a fuel tax levy set @ 45%
    Raise all allowances for Direct and InDirect tax by the CPI, after harmonising them at one level.
    Universal State Pensions will be one rate for all, but any means-tested or otherwise benefits to be phased out. Also a Universal benefit for all claiments, after paying minimum of two years deductions on any earninings.
    There you have it simple, tax efficient tax raising system. Just one problem a] will they get back in power or b] leave it fo a super coalition of Con/Lib/Lab to do. In the National Interest of course. [I was going to say in the best possible taste]

  7. Pingback: John Ward – EveryThing Alright After All : Pensioners, Nannies And Personal Insolvancy Will Save Us – 24 March 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  8. “The banks now need to be re-capitalized so that the economy can prosper”
    Actually not! What the banks need, much more than capital, is to relearn how to lend, instead of just following the credit rating agencies into supposedly absolute risk-free terrains where the regulators have wanted them to go.

    • They can’t lend (certainly not to each other) because all the collateral with any value has been hoovered up by the central banks. Without the ‘correction’ that they are all ideologically unable to contemplate, it is hard to see any change here and the serpent, having already eaten its own tail, is still jolly hungry.

  9. But Herr Reichenbach was less optimistic about the banks there.

    “The financial problems of Greece’s banks pose great difficulties. The banks now need to be re-capitalized so that the economy can prosper,” he said.

    I wonder what they will dream up next. They have been re-capitalizing Greek banks for years now, simply pouring money like hot water into a sink that someone has forgotten to put a plug in. An hour later, the water is still flowing and the poor people are puzzled as to why it isn’t full yet. I am sure that as a central banker Herr Reichenbach would understand how you can easily re-capitalize banks, but not understand fundamental issues of plumbing used as analogies for the situation he is seemingly unaware of.

    Complain to WordPress about having to login to post comments every time. Google will have you signing in to do a search next! It is not as if you can edit your comments afterwards as you can with Disqus.

  10. The MSM collaboration is astounding, and I suppose an indication of just how far behind the curve the sheeple are, as they are still selling newspapers. I won’t even pay for online access, it’s all bollocks and I certainly ain’t paying for it!

  11. JW

    I am waiting for a US Presidential hopeful to quote that ‘economic genius’ (irony), R. Reagan, who came to power on a ‘balanced budget’ promise and left power with the US government debt circa 350% higher, and after a few years in power he said in response to a question of the rising debt that it was big enough to look after itself.

    As an experienced ad man JW I am surprised you did not predict Greece’s default as ‘after the 22nd March’ ala up to 50% discounts etc that plaster our shop windows to entice the naive and protect the shop owners.

    Then your career as a forecaster would have been safe.

  12. How long poor Reichenbach has been in Greece? couple of months ?
    i ll tell you what , he has been bamboozled by greeks the like of Venizelos
    and he doesnt know the truth from lies anymore.
    Give him few more months and he will have no interest in the truth like everyone else in this country .

  13. “one assumes her maths are good enough to know that she’d be peeing at a Tsunami by setting 700 billion euros aside to bail out Spain.”

    John: that’s a difficult metaphor to get my head around, I’m not exactly sure what position Ms. Merkel would have to assume, “farting to stop a hurricane” for example, is much easier for my small brain to understand. Please remember the limitations of your readers……Thanks

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