Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday musings

Well the Greek Prime Minister backed down from his proposed referendum on the Euro bailout package.
Well, that sure was a shocker wasn’t it?
Now he is under so called intense pressure to resign and let someone else take over the leadership of the country. The possible new leader, if one does emerge, will go through the same drawn out steps as his predecessor. Thereby we have another chapter being added to the ongoing soap opera that is called the Greek Euro crisis. Want to bet this goes into the New Year?
By the way, did you know that the Greek Constitution guarantees lifetime employment with no possible dismissal for civil servants? And you wonder why everybody wants to work for the government, pay little or no taxes, have a fat pension paid for by the rest of society? The same rest of society that hovers at the 80% rate of non paying taxpayers?
Let’s face it, the only things that make money for Greece are shipping and tourism.
There is nothing else of any value to the world from that country.
Also did you know that the European community cannot toss the Greeks out of the Euro union because by law only if a country wants to leave is it able to do so. So the German taxpayer will continue to subsidize the Greeks. However do not think that this is all one sided, for when the Euro works, it makes exports from industrialized countries like Germany cheaper and earns the country much money in terms of export sales. So the hesitation of the German government is one where they want to have the Greeks reform and rebuild rather than continue sucking money from them ad naseum.
Tens of thousands are marching in Italy to demand the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi because of his inept appearing attempt to handle the Italian financial crisis. And crisis is absolutely the right word. Greece is a pimple of a problem really when compared to Italy. It is the 7th largest economy in the G20 and the banking community has flatly refused to accept any idea of a money bailout because the amounts owed are out of sight. That is the problem that causes many world Leaders to have restless nights. Take the stock market ripples that Greece has caused and multiply it by, say, 100 and then you will get an idea what Italian default will cause.
I would instruct my money manager if I were you, not to invest in any European bonds for a long time right about now. I actually would look more to natural resources that the world needs, like potash (for fertilizer) that many emerging countries must have no matter what the cost in order to feed increasing populations in order to avoid possible civil unrest.
On the more mundane things, snow is forecast to fall this Saturday night, 3 cm apparently. That should, based on previous experiences, cause mass insanity to grip the driving masses who will forget to drive at less than Nurenberg Ring speeds in the city and forget that brake pedals are used to slow and stop the vehicle rather than as a launching pad for an unguided missile.
Which does brings up an interesting observation of mine. In 2006 the City population was 179,000 and now in 2011 the number is 205,000, an increase of 26,000+ in 5 years! I realize that for a larger metropolis that this is a minor number indeed but for this City it is significant in many ways. The most obvious is the increased tax base for the corresponding increased demands on city services, of course that, according to critics of the civic administration is never enough. Another is the fact that city traffic streams remain busy all the time now! It used to be that one could drive from our house to the other end of the City in 20 minutes but now 45 minutes is doing well indeed. There is an increasing amount for new trucks and luxury vehicles driving the streets where you saw basic Chevys before. Money is flowing into this province and City and largely fueled by our exports with over 75% going abroad and the rest to the United States. This is important because with the States in its economic slump, the amount of imported products by the Americans drops drastically as Buy American sentiment swings to the forefront.
Unfortunately that sentiment is short sighted and will lead to costly trade retaliation if it continues to grow.
Monday is election day in the Province and all indicators point to return of the governing Saskatchewan Party and a possibly diminished number of member Opposition New Democratic Party followers. If so this would be an affirmation of the free enterprise philosophy espoused by the Sask. Party as compared to the socialistic dogma promulgated by the NDP. This I believe bodes well for the next ½ decade for the Province at a minimum.
Some interesting ideas have emerged and should merit further discussion and possible implementation. One is the idea of setting up a Heritage fund paid for by resource wealth that would be at arms’ length from use of the government of the day and used by future generations when resource revenue diminishes as resources dwindle. Another is funding for the First Nations in the Province. The NDP proposed entering into negotiations with the First Nations about resource money sharing. The Sask. Party believes that all people of the Province should share in the benefits rather than a select group. Well, maybe it is an idea that might work if, and this is a huge caveat, the First Nations commit in no uncertain terms to never again approach the Provincial Government for another extra penny for self government. As it is a large amount of funding does flow from the Federal Government with repeated abuses accompanying it. In other words, someone draws a line in the sand and says you either sink or swim if you want to. Bailouts and payouts cease.
That idea might be a non- starter I think.
But still, food for thought.
The month of November is termed Movember as it is a month designated for men to grow mustaches in support of prostate cancer for men. As in the case of breast cancer, way too many men have lost their lives to this insidious killer. Any and all support to the worthy initiatives is well appreciated.
On the negative one reads of too many charities across the country that seem to have lost sight of their objective and direct more and more of funds received into administrative positions rather than that of research and treatment.
I made it through my birthday in fine form. I would like to take a moment to thank those (and I was surprised by how many!) that sent cards and e mails. The last time I got such traffic was when I forgot payment of my utility bills one month and received a raft of reminder notices!
I received a Tablet on my birthday (Android, an Asus EEE Transformer) and my goodness, quite a machine. For those that are not familiar with Tablets, they are a cordless handheld screen mini- computer that instead of using a mouse and keyboard to type in commands and access information relies on a touch sensitive screen to accomplish the same. It is ideal for e mail, web surfing, reading books, and in my case it has an attachable keyboard that doubles battery life and allows access to a word processing program and a spreadsheet program, both that handles and allows modifications on Microsoft Word and Excel files. In the available applications you can get things like voice translations, mapping, educational tools and a myriad of other interesting and indeed fun items. This will be quite useful in Argentina when if there are no English TV stations for night viewing, we will be able to watch movies on. Also this will also allow me to continue to post my blog and photos while there.
Next weekend in Canada is Remembrance Day weekend and take the time to stop what you doing in your life for a minute to reflect. Think about the veterans that fought in way too many wars and the few that are still with us. Sadly the number is starting to increase with the most recent conflicts of the last decade. While the second World War may be foremost in some minds, remember that that ended 66 years ago and today’s’ generation now has memories of Bosnia, Afghanistan and the like. Whether young or old, our veterans deserve our thanks and appreciation. Buy and wear a poppy and also protest to your MP in Canada about the funding cuts to the Veterans Affairs Department and what that means to the veterans themselves.
They deserve better.

Take care out there,

No comments:

Post a Comment