Green shoots in the US Economy and the Perfect Storm

There is a lot of talk in the media about so-called "green shoots" in the US economy after (Helicopter) Ben Bernanke first mentioned how he was seeing these "green shoots" of economic recovery in mid-march. I think it is a little early to be considering any form of "new growth" unless Ben was referring to the enormous growth in the US government spending (and the Fed's own balance sheets). I do not know that much about gardening but what I do know is this: when all the plants in my garden have been dying for months now and then they are suddenly dying a little bit less - I would not yet call this a sign of "green shoots" or that anything in my garden is "blossoming". I do have to say that it feels like perfect orchestrating by the US government: fool the fools (in the market) that recovery is on its way and then let them capitalize the banks.

On a weekend get-away in Luxembourg these past couple of days, we ran into a nice cartoon(contest) exhibition with a "green economy" theme (environmental). A few of these reminded me very much of the current crisis and of these much debated "green shoots". Green Shoots on the US dollar

By Zarko Luetic from Croatia

The financial crisis has sometimes been referred to as the "Perfect Storm" and right now we might be in the "eye" of the storm. The drawing below at least visualizes the much-needed "deleveraging" of the financial system. Banks - Perfect Storm

By Dirk de Graef from Belgium

  • Enjoyed this post? Please share it with others:
  • del.icio.us Favicon
  • Digg Favicon
  • Facebook Favicon
  • Google Favicon
  • LinkedIn Favicon
  • Reddit Favicon
  • Technorati Favicon
  • TwitThis Favicon
24 May 2009 • Economy, Finance, InvestingComments (0)Permalink

There are limits to being social

I consider myself to be quite social yet I do not believe I am a socialist. When someone is in need, there should be help. From family, from firends, from other humans, from society and the government. When someone loses his/her ability to work in an accident, that person should be taken care of. When a rich banker is cut on this multimillion dollar bonus because he screwed up, then screw him (or her). When that same banker can not be blamed for his company screwing up because he/she worked in the one department that was actually not making any bad investments and is still turning a profit (without government involvement), he/she can still say bye bye to his million dollar bonus. Or any bonus whatsoever.

How the United States has turned into one of the most socialist countries in the world in less than a year, I still can not understand. Do not blame the Democrats, the Bush administration started this all. Knowing that this form of socialism is of the most unfair kind in the world (Socialism for the rich), can really get my blood boiling.

The Netherlands have always been an outrightly socialist country. Though day-to-day warmth and kindness in the society or sometimes a lot harder to come by. The amount of government interference and rules can literally drive a person crazy. This has left the country in a state where it is more than often considered to be "OK" or excusable to live off other people. Those who know how to "play" the system well enough, - and do not have any moral hesitations in doing so - can get away with living their life in this country without making any effort to stand on their own.

I have learned to be quite tolerant with this kind of behavior. I do not like to see it legitimized though. The TV commercial from one of the health insurance agencies in the Netherlands talks about a guy named Jan Willem Bos. Jan Willem has a job (lucky him) but Jan Willem has a lot of stress. He is scared of losing his job because of the Great Recession. Jan Willem is so stressed that he can not go to work anymore. Jan Willem's boss does not know what to do with that. But that is ok, because Menzis (the health insurer) will take care of that.

Jan Willem gets to ride his bike around the city and sits down reading a newspaper. Jan Willem looks like a loser. To be honest, Jan Willem's behavior makes him a loser. Jan Willem is afraid of losing his job and therefore thinks it is ok to not do his job anymore. Not exactly the appropriate behavior for an employee? Definitely not something that we should be promoting in a TV commerical. Jan Willem should be fired right away. Jan Willem's boss should probably be fired as well because he obviously can not explain to Jan Willem that it is NOT OK to refuse to do your work. Jan Willem should feel lucky that he still has a job. That he lives in a wealthy country and that he probably only has to work 36 hours a week with a zillion holidays. Menzis should be scolded by our government for spreading such harmful propaganda. What if everyone suddenly feels like Jan Willem? And the worst thing about it: in this country Jan Willem can not be fired anymore. Since Jan Willem expressed his fear of being fired and now has mental issues - firing him is virtually impossible. Or at least not without a huge severance pay. I am all about being nice (and social) to each other. But here I have to draw the line. Jan Willem and Menzis have both crossed this line.

  • Enjoyed this post? Please share it with others:
  • del.icio.us Favicon
  • Digg Favicon
  • Facebook Favicon
  • Google Favicon
  • LinkedIn Favicon
  • Reddit Favicon
  • Technorati Favicon
  • TwitThis Favicon
16 May 2009 • Personal, PoliticsComments (0)Permalink
Page 1 of 1 pages