Wednesday, 7 December 2011

PIGS Breakfast

The usual 'austerity'  has been delivered, this time to the Italians, by a seriously technically and intellectually under-powered government.   The strong impression that an EU blueprint was handed to Monti and he thought  merely to give it an Italianate tweak is hard to avoid.

Rise in petrol tax, cuts in pension rights, rise in property taxes, retrospective tax grab at savings repatriated to Italy, VAT hike.   Yawn.  "Salva Italia!" ?  What for?  So Church and Mafia and  State elites can go on exploiting the captive people - the not awfully well-paid employees, the elderly on pensions and fixed incomes, and with spoiling the life chances of the young through under-funded education and training and long-term unemployment? 

The trade unions are calling a national strike; but there's a bit of a problem with timing as today is St Ambrogio, tomorrow is the Immaculate Conception and then it's virtually the weekend so nobody's counting Friday and everyone has gone skiing, or to the Alto Adige to the Christmas markets, or to the near abroad for 5 days (Vienna was already packed with Italians when we left on Tuesday evening).

The minister for Pensions wept crocodile tears in Parliament as she hacked at the incomes of the old and poor, but nothing was said about the cost of useful things like food going through the roof with the fuel hikes.  Or about people who have worked and contributed for 40 years from virtual childhood (staying at school and tertiary education is quite recent in Italy) suddenly facing five more years.  There are zillions of technical studies on limiting pensions in equitable ways but she showed no sign of knowing them, never mind understanding them.  To add injury to insult the old and poor are  also having their greater need for health services and treatment met with cuts to free medicine.

When asked why property taxes were not being levied on the Church at all,  never mind raised like other people's,  Monti acknowledged they hadn't discussed doing that.  Well, he wouldn't, would he, getting himself on the telly waving the Pope off on trips and going to mass with the missus all the time?  So there's tax  introduced on prima casa  and rises on seconda casa,  but nothing on prima and seconda chiesa.

No cuts  to the admirals and the generals either - probably wasn't discussed.  And the only nod to encouraging growth is easing payroll taxes - for the South of course: wouldn't want the special status of the corrupt South disturbed would we?

This isn't technical governance - these people couldn't find their bottoms with both hands  in broad daylight - this is maintaining the political status quo which delivered Italy to its current public indebtedness, while creeping to the Brussels statist agendas.  Just wait until we all get back from the early December holidays next week (not to be confused with the Christmas holidays of course, they go on until 6 January next year) and then we'll see how Monti and his perben'isti mates get this disgrace of iniquity and inequity through.


There is a general strike on Monday next and another of state employees probably on 16 December (they have to give prior notice because of essential services being maintained).  The spread has risen above 400 again. [Now hovering in the 390s.]


lilith said...

They should have taken your advice.

hatfield girl said...

Sometimes, L, I wonder if you might tease people. Nevertheless (such a lovely word) these 'technocrats' are not nice people. It's as if the chattering classes and the Fabians were back. You know the sort - public servant or university, some private income, well-educated but not necessarily clever, full of ethical self-belief, behind the times with their technical training, bullying bastards if given the slightest chance over the rest of us.

Sighs. Takes up pen of protest. Wishes it were sword - no, kalashnikov.

The thing to wear in Vienna is very tight riding trousers, in beige, scrumptiously polished brown boots to the knee with fiddly bits at the top which I coudn't really kneel down and examine closely, and the tight, darkest green long coat, with high-necked whitest blouse under. Unfortunately one needs shining blonde hair and at least a couple of attentive, well, swains. Mind you, the look wouldn't work in WC1.

Caronte said...

Yes, an Imposta on the Prima Chiesa - as you beautifully put it, I hope it catches on - would have yielded at least 6bn euro out of Monti's 24bn fiscal package. But he is a bigot and did not even think of it.

But there is worse. Monti could have challenged and reversed an earlier decision by Berlusconi's government, and charged TV companies - including RAI and Berlusconi's Mediaset - about 16bn euro for digital TV bands that B. presented them for free (with him being the first beneficiary of such an outrageous liberality). But God knows what pact Monti had to strike with B. to guarantee/buy his non-belligerance. So he did not challenge this cosy result of a glaring conflict of interests, in spite of his background of Commissioner for Competition in Europe. Not a technician but a bent politician in the worst Italian tradition.

hatfield girl said...

Of course, C, to avoid property taxes on a principal residence the thing to do is buy a church and live in that. After all, lots of churches are lying about not doing anything except fall down and some of them have lovely views.

Chief of men said...

Read micheldeanjou blog july 2011.It may look familiar.

dearieme said...

What's the point of generals and admirals if they can't seize the opportunity to grab a few Libyan oil wells when the opportunity presents itself? Pah.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"The strong impression that an EU blueprint was handed to Monti and he thought merely to give it an Italianate tweak is hard to avoid."

Well what else did you expect? Who put him in there? What's his history and background?

And "What For?"

For the EU of course. It's nothing to do with Italy, it's all about saving "the project".

If Italian (or anyone else's) democracy or people need to be sacrificed, they will be.

Forgive me if I sound bitter, but I fear Mr. Cameron won't lift a finger in our interests, either.

Elby the Beserk said...

HG. Look wouldn't work in Frome either. L & I were in the local - rather good - Community Hospital, follow up for me, I had Pneumonia or Pleurisy at the beginning of Nov, and sat opposite us was Wynetta Slob. I kid you not. Dead ringer, down to the claret track suit. No, your Vienna look sounds just fine, but skip it in Frome.

One thing that has been observed is that all the top technocrats taking over here, there and everywhere, are all ex Goldman Sachs' employees. Our real rulers.

Interesting article in the WSJ re the total Horlicks Merv has made of the BofE.

And as for Cameron. Pah.

Nomad said...

You live in interesting times HG. Hope you have the baked beans in!

If I dressed like that in Vienna (one of my very favourite cities) I think I would receive quite a few odd looks as I munched my way through the morning Sachertorte and gluhwein!!

hatfield girl said...

Elby, Why is everyone so slobby in London (I don't really know Frome)? The unpolished shoes (or unscrubbed for trainers), clothes that have never seen an iron, scarves that have had their necks wrung, no clothes brushes evidenced, colours ranging from sludge to dirty. And most garments a size too small, too short (in sleeve or leg) too tight. What is the matter with everybody? Why don't they get their hair cut properly? They look AWFUL. Doesn't it make them miserable? People don't look so bedraggled in other European cities even though we're all feeling the crunch. Not even in Berlin where looking crumpled is an art form. The Viennese were looking wonderful. Even the horses had sweet little ear muffs.

hatfield girl said...

Nomad! There you are - wherever that is.

The interesting times aren't really for the country-dwellers. It's the urban sprawl that's going to get it, I fear. High food prices on poor quality, ugly housing, no work, expensive transport, deteriorating schools, closing hospitals, culture clashes up close and personal, a sort of growing dreariness. Italians don't really do dreariness - there's going to be trouble.

hatfield girl said...

I was under the impression that north African oil had been grabbed in quite large part by Italy (again) D, though not so much by the generals. The admirals did their bit but mostly it was the geopolitical convenience of the peninsula as a base that did it.

hatfield girl said...

Yacht, Mr Cameron should take our chance and leave the EU forthwith. It's not that there are no advantages to membership, it's that there are no advantages for the UK to membership. What is the point of trying to belong to something designed to run counter to your every interest and inclination? Of course it is in UK interest for Europe to be peaceful and straightforward to deal with, a close and growing market for UK goods and services, but there's no need to join in with the hopeless goal of changing its values and direction. That's just pride.

Caronte said...

You must have meant PIIGS, why are you leaving Ireland out?

They also call it GIPSI, which is no improvement from the viewpoint of political correctness.

dearieme said...

Add Belgium and it's BIGPIS. We must all pray that neither Slovenia nor Slovakia get in trouble.