Links of Interest
EU Warns of Democracy Ending in Greece, Spain
Democracy could “collapse” in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless the debt crisis is controlled, the head of the European Commission reportedly has warned.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso recently detailed his “apocalyptic” vision in which crisis-hit countries in southern Europe are jolted by military coups or popular uprisings as interest rates soar and public services collapse because their governments run out of money, the London Daily Mail reported.
Greece, Spain and Portugal are facing dire problems with their public finances. All three countries have a history of military coups. Greece has been hit by a series of national strikes and riots this year following the announcement of drastic cuts to public spending.
John Monks, former head of the TUC, told the Daily Mail that he had been “shocked” by the severity of the warning from Barroso, who is a former prime minister of Portugal.
In an interview with the Brussels-based magazine EU Observer, Monks said: “This is extremely dangerous. This is 1931, we're heading back to the 1930s, with the Great Depression and we ended up with militarist dictatorship. I'm not saying we're there yet, but it's potentially very serious, not just economically, but politically as well.”
Fed dodges bullet as House drops audit idea (My note: A real shocker right? Hell, these politicians would sell their grandma's soul for a buck and a bit more power)
The Federal Reserve scored a political victory on Wednesday as Democrats mulling financial reform backed off measures that would expose monetary policy to audits and make the head of the New York Fed a political appointee.
The U.S. House of Representatives had approved a bill in December that included a provision, championed by Texas Representative Ron Paul, that would have opened the Fed's interest rate policy to congressional audits.
But in a statement on Tuesday, House Democrats participating in negotiations over a final financial reform bill signaled a willingness to live with a narrower Senate audit provision that does not cover monetary policy.
"It is disappointing to see both the removal of the provision about the president picking the New York Fed president and also the prohibition of bank employees serving as Fed presidents," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "This would have been a big change toward taking away the banks' control over the Fed."
The U.S. central bank appears to be emerging largely unscathed by the regulatory reform efforts. It successfully fought off a Senate push last month that would have stripped it of its oversight of smaller banks, and is poised to emerge as the most powerful financial regulator when reforms are complete.