The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter as households spent more freely, setting the stage for gains in employment that may help the recovery broaden and accelerate.
Greece has agreed with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to take additional austerity measures expected to yield “around €23 billion” ($30 billion) as a precondition for financial assistance, a Greek official familiar with the talks on aid said
Bild wonders why German taxpayers are bailing out a Greek Billionaire?, while Business Insider report that a Greek Mayor Starts Hunger Strike To Protest Austerity Measures.
The government there has not been as much improved as one might hope, and the ruling elite that took over did maintain certain advantages as before, such as not paying taxes. Tax revenues thus not being sufficient to maintain infrastructure and other social amenities at the level expected by the Greeks as European citizens, the difference needed to finance the lifestyle to which voters had become accustomed was borrowed abroad. Thing is, every German and Frenchman and other European has been perfectly aware of this forever. The French and Germans are famous for levying hefty taxes on any large moving financial object. The ruling elites are heavily taxed to the point where it is practically illegal to be as rich as, say, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. Thus, when the European debt crisis eventually arrived, triggered by the US mortgage credit crisis, ironically, the Germans and French were in no mood to send money to Greece’s ruling elite to save their bacon, and still aren’t. Faced with a threat to its credit rating, rather than change the tax laws to tax themselves and end the fiscal crisis that is at the bottom of the PIIGS debt crisis, the Greek leadership instead decided to cut expenses and impose “austerity,” that is, extract even more from the Greek middle class, such as it is. That didn’t go over so well with voters, and soon the Greeks were out on the streets as my friend was so many years ago. It’s a tradition there that does not exist here.
No bio, some books worth reading – The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves – Matt Ridley .
Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance -Nouriel Roubini, Stephen Mihm