Well, the news last night and this morning say Germany and France have issued an 'ultimatum' to Greece: reduce government spending or no new funds. Their action reminds me of some of the scifi movies where the guys with guns blaze away, and blaze away, and blaze away with weapons that don't have any effect or may make the situation worse. Greece has cut government spending repeatedly and then, because the cuts actually reduce economic activity, failed to meet deficit reduction targets because the tax revenue also fell. This is a downward spiral with no go end in sight. But something that intrigues me is the coverage of this Greek tragedy. The stories always allude to 'necessary' budget cuts without specifying those needed cuts. I have seen only a couple of stories which said anything specific on the matter and those were in bloggers who did not link to their sources. They said the demands included a 25% cut in the minimum wage (translate that to going from $7.50/hour here in the U.S. to just over $5/hour), cutting the pension benefits by 35%, and eliminating 100 government agencies throwing another large number of Greeks into unemployment. What effect do you think that would have on tax revenues and how likely do you think it that Greece will meet the next deficit reduction target? This piece in the Financial Times explains some aspects of the situation and confirms the numbers cited by the bloggers. Maybe they would like to make the proposed changes retroactive to all of the employees who have neither been paid (some for as much as 18 months) nor laid off (so the employer could escape paying unemployment and severance.) Here is the link I provided a couple of days ago.
This is an intriguing story I have been reading about for a little while now. Interesting that the number of states contemplating legislation to authorize gold and silver coins as payment of debts has gone from 3 three years ago to 13 this year.
I hear your sentiments on religion, Lois. I think my comments on history yesterday (that each generation reassess the interpretations in light of their own circumstances). I said before that I am not much of a gambler. Well, I am not much of a joiner either and churches are among the institutions I resist joining--vigorously. I remember a very apt line at the end of Angles and Demons where a cardinal asks Langdon to treat the church gently when he writes of it because religion is flawed 'because men are flawed.' What ever deity I believe in it isn't the deity of organized religions/churches--any of them.
A few weeks ago the news announced Sears Holdings planned to close 100+ stores across the country. It caused a furor because it came on the announcement that Chicago and Illinois had come up with a package of