quinta-feira, 28 de abril de 2011

Cheiro do Dinheiro: Hipocrisia Alemã com o Irã

Iran Oil Fair Makes Mockery of Sanctions
Saturday, 16 Apr 2011 07:33 PM
By Ken Timmerman
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Hundreds of foreign oil companies are taking part in a major industry exhibition that opened in Tehran on Saturday, making a mockery of U.S. and European Union efforts to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas industry.

Organizers of the 16th annual oil and gas industry exhibition in Tehran expect to welcome more than 1 million visitors from Iran and around the region, and boast that they have attracted 460 foreign companies to attend.

“In this exhibition, [the number of] participating countries and foreign companies has increased by 20 and 22 percent respectively as compared to the previous year,” exhibition manager Hossein Porsan told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

Companies showing their wares – either directly or through their Iranian agents – came from Austria, Spain, Australia, England, Italy, Germany, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Brazil, Porsan said.

A coalition of European human rights organizations seeking a total trade embargo on Iran said the participation of European companies undermined European Union sanctions against Iran’s energy sector and blasted governments in Germany, Austria, and the UK for failing to stop them from showcasing their technology in Tehran.

The “Stop the Bomb” campaign condemned the participation of European companies, and called on the governments of Britain, Germany, Switzerland and Austria to investigate them for possible sanctions violations.

"Any deals with the Iranian energy sector directly support the regime itself, and the guilty Western companies are perpetuating the regime's violations of human rights, its nuclear program and the export of terror against the will of the Iranian people and in spite of powerful popular protests against the Ahmadinejad's government,” said Dan Coen, the director of Stop the Bomb-UK.

According to a recent report by Iran’s Central Bank, revenues from the energy sector continue to make up 50% of Iran’s state budget and 80% of its export income. Most of the Iranian energy sector is state-owned, with many of the companies directly controlled by the Revolutionary Guards.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have been designated an international terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department and since July 2010 are also on the EU list of sanctioned entities, making it illegal for European companies to do business with them.

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, noted the irony of the word “sanctionable,” which is “one of the few English words to have two contradictory meanings: legally punishable and ethnically approvable.”

That contradiction “appears to translate well into three European languages – German, Italian and Spanish – at least with regard to doing business with Iran,” he said.

The German government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a vocal critic of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its human rights violations. And yet, Germany continues to do a booming business with Iran.

Forty-two German governments were identified as participants in the Tehran oil and gas exhibition, according to the organizers, and Germany continues to be the most important business partner of the Iranian regime, exporting to Iran products worth 3.8 billion Euros ($5.5 billion) last year.

Earlier this year, Germany’s central bank helped Iran get paid for $12 billion of oil it sold to India despite intense pressure from Washington to stop the transfers. India paid the German Bundesbank for the oil, and the Germans then transferred the money to the Iranian-owned European-Iranian Trade Bank (EIH) in Hamburg.

The United States black-listed the EIH last September because of its involvement in weapons proliferation and banned it from using the U.S. financial system. According to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, the German government approved the $12 billion transfer to EIH as part of a deal with Tehran to win the release of two German journalists detained in Iran.

The two journalists had been arrested for interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who received international attention because she was sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery. German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle personally picked up the two Bild am Sonntag journalists in Tehran on Feb. 20.

“The results of the German Iran policy are disastrous. Despite EU sanctions, Germany is the most important Western business partner of Iran,” said German Stop the Bomb spokesman, Jonathan Weckerle. The Germany government has made “no serious efforts to put effective pressure on the Iranian regime.”

The Italian-Iranian Chamber of Commerce and the Spanish equivalent have both been promoting participation in the Tehran oil and gas exhibition, despite the European Union sanctions that include “restrictions on trade in key equipment and technology for, and restrictions on investment in the Iranian oil and gas industry,” the ADL’s Foxman noted.

Both Italy and Spain have also hosted Iranian trade delegations recently.

According to the exhibition organizers, 18 Italian and 7 Spanish companies are taking in the oil and gas trade fair that opened on Saturday.

The range of products on show from British companies at the oil and gas fair included pumps, pipes, construction machines and specialized measuring instruments, according to the organizers. Some 18 British companies were present at the show.

Ban the Bomb’s Austrian unit lodged a protest with the Austrian government because of the participation of the state-run oil company, OMV, in the Tehran oil and gas fair. OMV is one of the largest European oil companies, and was the only oil major to take part in this week’s exhibition.

By far the largest overseas contingent came from China, which sent 129 companies to the show. China has resisted U.S. and European calls to limit its commercial involvement in Iran, and has abstained for United Nations Security council resolutions condemning Iran for its nuclear weapons development.

South Korea sent 18 to the trade fair, the Netherlands sent 8, France sent 6, Canada sent 4, and Japan sent 3.

Six American companies were identified by the exhibitors as taking part. However, Newsmax found that none of the companies named were actually American. Three were British, one was Chinese, and two were Iranian representative agents who apparently claimed to be able to import U.S. oil well logging products.

German political scientist Matthias Küntzel published a directory of “Who is Who in German Trade with Iran” earlier this year.

He said that Iranian government sources boasted of their ability to use German companies such as Basell, Linde and Uhde, as conduits for purchasing U.S. oil field development equipment.

More than 200 German companies were actively doing business in Iran, according to a listing he discovered that had been published by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Tehran.

German companies also were involved in providing technologies to Iran’s nuclear program, and in helping the Revolutionary Guards Corps track Iranian dissidents with specialized security equipment, Küntzel said.

“German companies and institutions are making a major contribution to sustaining the present Iranian regime,” Küntzel said.

terça-feira, 12 de abril de 2011

Plano para Déficit de Thomas Sowell

Plano de Thomas Sowell para conter déficit. Achei-o bem Distributivista: começa reduzindo subsídios de ricos. Só discordo do desprezo com a importância de cortar gastos com clínicas de aborto (Planned Parenthood). Defender a vida é mais importante que defender corte de gastos.

Another Spending Cut Plan
12th April 2011

Since everybody else seems to be coming up with plans on how to cope with the skyrocketing national debt, let me try my hand at it too.
The liberals' easy solution is just to increase taxes on "the rich." But, if you do the math, there aren't enough of "the rich" to cover the huge and record-breaking deficit.
Trying to reduce the deficit by cutting spending runs into an old familiar counter-attack. There will be all kinds of claims by politicians and sad stories in the media about how these cuts will cause the poor to go hungry, the sick to be left to die, etc.
My plan would start by cutting off all government transfer payments to billionaires. Many, if not most, people are probably unaware that the government is handing out the taxpayers' money to billionaires. But agricultural subsidies go to a number of billionaires. Very little goes to the ordinary farmer.
Big corporations also get big bucks from the government, not only in agricultural subsidies but also in the name of "green" policies, in the name of "alternative energy" policies, and in the name of whatever else will rationalize shoveling the taxpayers' money out the door to whomever the administration designates, for its own political reasons.
The usual political counter-attacks against spending cuts will not work against this new kind of spending cut approach. How many heart-rending stories can the media run about billionaires who have lost their handouts from the taxpayers? How many tears will be shed if General Motors gets dumped off the gravy train?
It would also be eye-opening to many people to discover how much government money is going into subsidizing all sorts of things that have nothing to do with helping "the poor" or protecting the public. This would include government-subsidized insurance for posh and pricey coastal resorts, located too dangerously close to the ocean for a private insurance company to risk insuring them.
This approach would not only circumvent the sob stories, it would also circumvent the ideological battles over whether to cut off money to Planned Parenthood or National Public Radio.
The money to be saved by cutting off agricultural subsidies to the wealthy and the big corporations is vastly greater than the money to be saved by cutting off Planned Parenthood or National Public Radio, much as they both deserve to be cut off.
If spending cuts are to be done strategically, a good strategy to follow would be that of General Douglas MacArthur in World War II. General MacArthur realized that he didn't have to attack every Pacific island held by the Japanese. He captured the islands that he had to capture, in order to get within striking distance of Japan.
In peace as in war, there is no point wasting time and resources attacking heavily defended enemy positions that you don't have to take.
Social Security and Medicare are supposed to be among the most difficult programs to cut without ruinous political consequences. However, it is not necessary to attack all the spending on these programs in order to make big savings.
Instead of attacking these programs as a whole, what is far more vulnerable is the compulsory aspect of these programs. If Medicare is so great, why is it necessary for the government to force people to be covered by Medicare as a precondition for receiving the money they paid into Social Security?
Many people with private health insurance would rather continue to rely on that, instead of being trapped in Medicare red tape. It is not a question of taking away Medicare but allowing people to opt out, saving the taxpayer from having to subsidize something that many people don't want.
It is not a question of forcing people off Social Security either. But private retirement accounts can offer a better deal.
Even someone who retires when the stock market is down is almost certain to get a bigger pension from a decent mutual fund than from Social Security.
By giving young people the option, while continuing to honor commitments to retirees and those nearing retirement age, the sob story defense of runaway spending can be nipped in the bud.

domingo, 10 de abril de 2011

Entrevista com Thomas Woods Jr.

Eu gosto de Thomas Woods, adorei a série que ele fez (disponível no youtube) chamada The Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization. Mas não gosto de sua forte defesa da escola austríaca de economia. Discordo dele completamente neste aspecto. Estou com Christopher Ferrara (que já escreveu um livro com Thomas Woods sobre Vaticano II): escola austríaca não trata do homem, pois eleimina a religião, a psicologia e o governo da formação humana. Além disso, free trade não é neutro em distribuição de renda, isso é uma bobagem extrema.

Em todo caso, aqui vai uma boa entrevista de Thomas Woods sobre a crise de 2008 do site Inside Catholic:

Brian Saint-Paul: Popular media is blaming the economic collapse on the free market and "laissez-faire capitalism." And yet these same commentators seem ignorant of what a laissez-faire economy actually involves. So first things first: What is free market capitalism?
Thomas Woods Jr.: Well, it's not nearly as scary as people think it is. Free market capitalism simply involves the free exchange of property between individuals. The idea is that you're free to enter into contracts with other people. These contracts are reached on a voluntary basis; both parties must consent to the terms. The system proceeds along the lines of mutual respect. In other words, the free market is civilized behavior, institutionalized: You can't initiate physical force against somebody else to make him do something -- you have to get his consent.
It's a system based on private property and free exchange. And that's really it.
So government intrusion into the economy -- say, pressuring banks to make loans they would not normally make -- is not a feature of a free market economy?
No, because that involves the threat of physical force. If the bank doesn't comply with the demands, then they can be fined, they can go to jail, etc. With a free market approach, people make deals on the basis of mutual respect. If they're deemed to be credit worthy by certain traditional criteria, they get the loan. But in a free market, they don't get a loan by asking the town bully to physically force the banker. That involves violence and the free market eschews all violence.
On a related point, a free market economy is not centrally planned.
Right, it doesn't have ideological commitments like, say, creating an "ownership society." It's nothing more than the summation of individual exchanges. So in the same way, it would be wrong to say that the free market 'poorly distributes wealth.' The free market doesn't distribute wealth at all -- there's no distribution mechanism whatsoever.
Again, we're talking about nothing more than the voluntary exchange of property titles.
In your book, you identify a number of culprits in the financial meltdown -- contributing factors to the disaster, but not themselves the main cause. For example, you argue that Democratic-led efforts to increase lending to low-income earners was not a primary cause. Could you explain?
I don't think the numbers support it. The scope of the sub-prime mortgage problem has been exaggerated. Of course, those things didn't help. In the effort to make homes more affordable to low income families, they did discard things like the traditional down payment requirement. We also saw the rise of 'liar loans,' where you could approach a lender and make up an income, and no-one would verify it. The Adjustable Rate Mortgage is another factor, though there can be some merit to that in some circumstances.
But when you combine these all together and make these loans available to people who would be called sub-prime, there's almost no way to limit it to that. More and more people began using these types of mortgages, so the ready availability of very easy mortgage terms spilled over into the non-minority, non-low income market. It gave an artificial stimulus to speculation in homes, and made it seem as if the quickest way to become wealthy is to buy several investment properties, because everyone believed they'd appreciate forever. And of course, you could buy them on easy terms.
So this seems to be a bigger contributing cause than the sub-prime issue because the default problem is much more severe among prime Adjustable Rate Mortgages than it is among sub-prime mortgages. These are the mortgages that are most likely to have been purely speculative, and this unsustainable wave of speculation crumbled at the first sign of a housing collapse. People just walked away from these mortgages. They had no stake in them.
So this was more of an issue with speculators than 'predatory lenders'?
Right. I hasten to add that I don't think speculation is a bad thing, but when you're in the middle of an asset bubble, people who don't belong in speculation get drawn in. They get caught up in a kind of mania where they think they can do no wrong -- not at the stock market, not at flipping houses. I think that's what happened here.
Most mainstream commentators are blaming the crisis on a lack of regulation over the markets.
If we're going to argue that the mortgage market itself needed to be regulated, then what about Ben Bernanke? He told us himself that his own regulators looked into the mortgage market and found it to be perfectly healthy -- in fact, healthier than ever. So what do you do when the regulators miss it? You need to have something else.
Second, the Federal government wanted banks to be making these loans. Banks were only doing what every layer of government and the Federal Reserve itself wanted. So what regulator would dare stand up to the entire political establishment? Such an individual would be driven out of town, denounced, etc. "Aren't you just a heartless monster who doesn't want poor people to have affordable homes?" -- that would be the claim. It would require a regulator of superhuman courage and integrity to say something other than what the regime wants to hear.
Finally, the apparent risks financial institutions were taking with these mortgages didn't actually seem substantial at the time. That was due to the myths of the housing bubble: home prices always increase, a house is the best investment you can make, and you can hardly ever go wrong flipping a house. These myths made it seem as though investments in housing weren't all that risky. Houses continued to appreciate, so the banks weren't left with some unsellable thing that had dropped 50 percent in value. The Federal Reserve's own economists said that this was not a housing bubble and that these high prices are sustainable and based on real factors.
So the investment was made to seem safe because of what the Fed was doing in pumping up the housing market.
Ok, but that's housing. What about the financial markets?
The short answer is that the entire system, from the Federal Reserve on down, encourages risky behavior. The Fed can create money out of thin air. When it floods the economy with it, people naturally use it in a riskier way than they would in other circumstances.
I like the example that Peter Schiff uses. He says imagine a Kindergarten class where the teacher gives pixie sticks and soda pop to all the kids, and then leaves the room for a few minutes. When she comes back and finds the classroom trashed, who do you blame? So the Fed ought not be doing these things, and we shouldn't have the implicit presumption that Alan Greenspan will come riding to your rescue if things go bad. Many investors seemed to believe this. There is built into the system an institutionalized degree of moral hazard.
Then there's the Too Big To Fail doctrine, which encourages risky behavior. And finally, we have deposit insurance which means that nobody cares about the soundness of banks anymore. They care more about which plasma TV they're going to buy than they do about the place where they're putting their money. Instead of having a hundred million people keeping their eyes on the banks, the responsibility falls to a small number of regulators in Washington, D.C.
So the "breakneck deregulation" we've heard so much about is largely a myth?
Most of the alleged deregulation people complain about is completely phony. Suppose you have a government monopoly like the post office and say, "Ok, we're going to deregulate the Post Office. From now on, the Post Office can charge $100 for a stamp." That's not really deregulation. Full deregulation would say, "We're going to deregulate the mail business so that no-one is prevented from entering it by regulatory barriers." Now that would be real deregulation. Try selling $100 stamps in that arrangement and see how that goes for you.
What we've had in recent years is phony deregulation. Banks are allowed to engage in riskier behavior than they were before, but the government will continue to guarantee their deposits with deposit insurance. How is that deregulation? In effect, you can do riskier things but the public is still on the hook for your errors. Real deregulation would say that you can do risky things, but you're on your own. We haven't had that. We've had the worst of all possible worlds.
Your book describes the leading role the Fed has played in the crisis. First, what is the Federal Reserve? Most don't realize the planning role it plays in our economy.
The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States. It has some regional banks, but it's by-and-large a centralized system. It serves a couple purposes -- it can act as the lender of last resort to institutions in financial trouble. But more significantly, it can increase and decrease the supply of money in the economy. Of course, as people have been saying for years, maybe we don't need a Soviet-style Commissar in charge of money and interest rates. If we believe in the free market, why should we have an institution whose manipulation of the supply of money can artificially push interest rates one way or the other? Why don't we trust the free market to set the interest rates as we do any other price?
The Fed is a non-market institution whose interventions in the free market, far from stabilizing it (as it supposedly does), actually destabilizes it.
And that explains the boom/bust cycle?
Friedrich Hayek is the Nobel Prize-winning economist people should be listening to, not Paul Krugman. Hayek argued that the source of the business cycle in the economy is the central bank's manipulation of interest rates. (Before someone objects that there were business cycles before there was a Federal Reserve system, I'll simply note that I address that in the book.)
Hayek's argument was that interest rates can come down in two possible ways: First, people save more, and rates come down because banks have more money to lend. Second, the central bank could force them down artificially. Hayek's point is that there are dramatically different economic consequences that flow from these two choices. When they fall voluntarily, the market coordinates production successfully, because when I save more, I'm implicitly telling the economy that I'm putting off some of my consumption for right now. And it so happens that when interest rates are low, businesses take the time to engage in future-oriented projects. This is how the market coordinates production across time: When people defer consumption for the future, that's the time when it's most profitable for businesses to engage in future-oriented projects.
Secondly, the fact that I'm saving and not consuming releases resources that then provide the material so that businesses can complete their investment projects. So this is all sound and good.
But if interest rates are brought down through artificial means, the public has not indicated that it intends to defer its consumption. So you have businesses involved in long term projects or engaged in product development at a time when people are demanding more products at the present.
Furthermore, forcing down the interest rates by flooding the economy with money does not create any additional resources. You have the same resource pool that you had before, but you now have more investors drawing from it, trying to complete their investment projects. They soon discover that the necessary resources don't exist in sufficient quantities to do that.
Why is it that Hayek and the Austrians find themselves in the minority position, while Paul Krugman and the Keynesians represent the establishment?
There's a mutually reinforcing aspect to this. First, Austrian economics has not been taught, so therefore the next generation won't teach it. I think it's getting a lot more exposure now, because it has so much explanatory power with regard to what's just happened.
Second, Austrian economics does not tell the government what it wants to hear. I know this will shock people, but in my view, the government is not necessarily committed to the pursuit of truth alone. Rather, it will promote economists who say what it wants to hear. Politicians want to be told that you can spend your way to prosperity; you can print your way to prosperity. They don't want to hear about the limitations that exist.
There are some criticisms of Austrian theory, of course, but I find them to be poorly thought out. They're often thrown out casually by people who are annoyed with the Austrian view, but who may not have really studied it. Paul Krugman, for example, is contemptuous of the theory, but when you read his material on it, it's clear that he doesn't understand it.
We've had bailouts and stimulus packages, and possibly more of both in the future. Where are we going to be in 20 years? Will we reach a point of economic collapse? Wind up as the newest Euro-style state?
It seems to me that the best-case scenario is a kind of European third-way stagnation: high unemployment, anemic growth (if any), and a whole bunch of people scratching their heads and wondering why this is happening. That could be our fate.
Of course, it could be worse. It may turn into something like what Japan endured in the 1990s and beyond -- though at least Japan had some domestic savings as a cushion. Or there could well be a complete collapse of the system, with the dollar destroyed. This is all conditional, because it depends in large part on what the government does. Its cure is almost sure to be worse than the disease.
I'd love to think that if a collapse came, people would say, "Obviously, intervention doesn't work, so let's try what the Austrians have been suggesting." But I think instead a demagogue would rise up to say -- as usual -- that the problem is not enough government involvement, and that he's going to rescue us.
That's the most likely outcome.

quarta-feira, 6 de abril de 2011

Big Business Não Paga Impostos

Do Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4f1ab962-5ca5-11e0-ab7c-00144feab49a.html#axzz1Ik3unSuF

GE tax affairs put Immelt in political spotlight

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Published: April 1 2011 23:27 | Last updated: April 1 2011 23:27
On the day that he announced that Jeff Immelt would chair a new White House advisory committee on jobs and competitiveness, Barack Obama said that General Electric and its chief executive had “something to teach business all across America” about competing in the global economy.
America had to return to the principles of inventor and GE founder Thomas Edison, the US president said at a GE plant in Schenectady, and “nobody understands this better than Jeff Immelt”.
But today, about two months later, the White House has been forced on the defensive about the choice after reports about GE’s aggressive tax planning strategies and accusations that the group – which made $14.2bn in profits last year – did not pay a cent of tax in 2010.

Indeed, the picture of GE painted by a recent article in the New York Times seemed to exemplify critical remarks by Mr Obama in his State of the Union address this year, when he derided the “parade of lobbyists” who had “rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries”.
“Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no tax at all,” Mr Obama said. “But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.”

Mr Immelt himself defended GE’s practices in a speech this week, saying that like all Americans, the company sought to minimise its taxes and that it would return to a normalised rate after the first quarter of this year. GE dismissed the accusation that it had not paid any US tax in 2010 as “particularly distorted and misleading”.

The White House has steadfastly defended the choice of Mr Immelt, though it acknowledged this week that Mr Obama shared the “What the heck?” sense of frustration felt by many average Americans that one of the country’s largest corporations could escape the tax man.

“The president did not create the jobs council so that he could have a lot of people who agree with him on every issue sit around a table and tell him how much they agree with him on every issue,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

A White House official said that deliberations over proposed changes to the tax code, which would close loopholes and bring down the overall tax rate, were being led by Treasury secretary Tim Geithner. The special tax breaks that have benefited GE were passed by previous administrations, the official added.

The choice of Mr Immelt seemed a good one in January, a time when the White House was working hard to mend fences with the business community. Perhaps no other large American company’s drive for profit – in areas like infrastructure, clean energy, and advances in healthcare – seemed more aligned with Mr Obama’s own policy goals.

But the choice was problematic from the start for some on the left and Tea Party activists on the right, who accuse GE of being a big outsourcer of jobs oversees, on the one hand, and a shameless beneficiary of “corporate welfare” on the other.

“The thing I was baffled by is that under Immelt’s helm, GE has increased global employment but closed 25 factories here. Yeah, they have brought back a bit of work but it’s a trickle,” says Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “If this was part of strategy to do outreach to the business community, maybe it checked that box. But in terms of having the nation’s leading outsourcer as your chief adviser on jobs, that was a failure.”

Gary Sheffer, a spokesman for GE, pointed out that only a very small portion of the company’s revenues come from US government work, about 4 per cent. GE strenuously denied claims that it is an “outsourcer” of jobs, saying it planed to add 16,000 high-tech jobs in the US over the next two years. Excluding businesses it has sold, such as NBC, its US work force has expanded over the last ten years, Mr Sheffer said.

This week, MoveOn, the Democratic activist group, and former liberal senator Russ Feingold have called for Mr Immelt’s resignation from the jobs council.

Andy Stern, a former labour leader who frequently advised Mr Obama during his first two years in office, said the controversy, which coincides with a debate on Capitol Hill about deep cuts in government spending, drove home the need to make US tax policy more fair.

“The question is, can America afford Medicare when it has its most successful companies not contributing to the well-being of American working people?” he said, adding in defence of Mr Immelt that it would not have been responsible for the chief executive not to take advantage of the tax code on behalf of GE shareholders.

domingo, 3 de abril de 2011

Fotos que Tirei em Auschwitz

As primeiras oito fotos são de Auschwitz I, sendo que a quarta mostra "a parede da morte" do Bloco 11 (Não se pode tirar foto na cela 18, onde há um memorial a Maximiliano Kolbe) e a sétima exibe a camera de gás do campo de concentração. As outras seis são de Auschwitz-Birkenau II, nas quais a antepenúltima era um crematório.

Moral e Big Business

Buffett says Japan quake a 'buying opportunity'

US billionnaire investor Warren Buffett said Monday that a massive natural disaster would not hamper the future of the Japanese economy and could prompt a new bout of stock buying. "I'm not looking at Japan's economic future differently from 10 days ago... extraordinary events offer (a) buying opportunity," he told reporters.
Buffett, the chairman of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, was visiting South Korea to attend a ground-breaking ceremony for a local unit of Israel's Iscar Metalworking Companies, 80 percent owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
Japan's Nikkei index lost around 10 percent in the week following the devastating March 11 quake and tsunami.
Buffett, however, urged against selling Japanese stock -- markets were closed in Tokyo on Monday -- and said Japan would recover relatively quickly, Yonhap news agency said.
The disaster, which has left 8,649 people dead and 13,262 missing, could cost the Japanese economy up to $235 billion, the World Bank said Monday.
Growth, however, should pick up in subsequent quarters "as reconstruction efforts, which could last five years, accelerate", it said.
Buffett, known as the "Oracle of Omaha" for his investment savvy, said Berkshire was seeking further acquisitions worldwide including South Korea following its $9 billion purchase of US lubricant maker Lubrizol.
"We're looking at a number of big businesses in Korea, the US, the UK. We hope to find good companies wherever they may be. Basically, it's the bigger, the better," he said.
The tycoon also played down military and nuclear threats from North Korea, saying the communist country "isn't a big threat" to the firm's investment in the capitalist South.
Buffett was scheduled to meet with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak later Monday. 

Perda de Poder Significou mais Poder

 Ótimo texto de George Weigel, retrata que a queda do estado papal foi ótimo para a Igreja Católica. A Igreja se dedicou aquilo que interessa: Cristo.

Ele diz: "The victory of the Risorgimento seemed a defeat for the papacy. In fact, it led to a rebirth of papal power and, ultimately, the defeat of Communism".

Acesse para ler todo o conteúdo: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/262329/italy-150-george-weigel?page=1

sábado, 2 de abril de 2011

Passeata contra Dívida - Reino Unido

Blog Daniel Hannan - 31 de março 201

Imagine that you were reviewing all your household expenditure: your utility bills, your mortgage, your car, your mobile phone, your annual holiday. What would be the single biggest item? If you are in work, there is no doubt: it would be your consolidated tax bill. According to the ONS, the average household pays 33.5 per cent of its income to the state, not including the taxes which businesses are obliged to pass on to their customers and employees. The average figure, of course, takes account of pensioners, students, benefits claimants and the nearly 40 per cent of the population who pay no income tax. In a working household, the figure would be far higher.
Few of us realise it, of course, because the costs are disguised and distributed. Income tax and national insurance are confiscated at source. VAT is built into the advertised price of what we buy. So, in effect, are duties on alcohol, petrol, tobacco and air travel. One of the reasons that council tax arouses so much controversy is that, for many people, it is the only time they feel they are making a direct payment to the state. For a fuller sense of quite how much most of us pay, watch this superb clip from the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
The same is not true of grants, subsidies and benefits: everyone knows exactly what they’re worth. Their recipients are therefore much more easily roused than those who are footing the bills. The same person may, of course, be in both categories. Many higher rate taxpayers become incandescent about losing their £20-a-week child benefit entitlement, while uncomplainingly handing over hundreds of pounds a week in the diverse forms of taxation that sustain the social security bureaucracy.
Economists refer to the phenomenon as “dispersed costs, concentrated gains”, and we saw a physical manifestation of it at this event on Saturday. Where, though, are the far greater numbers who would stand to gain from a reduction in the size of the state? Where is the British tea party? Part of the problem, of course, is that people with jobs generally have better things to do than protest.
None the less, even those on the state payroll ought to be worried about our ballooning debt. If, for example, you teach in a state school, take a quick dekko at the chart below (hat-tip Peter Hoskin at Spectator Coffee House) and ask yourself whether it is feasible to carry on borrowing on this scale.
I was pleased to see a Facebook group planning a Rally Against Debt on 14 May. Congratulations to the organisers, and good luck.