Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Asian Banks Rush In Where Westerners Can’t Afford to Tread • Matthew Miller


CIMB Group Holdings, Malaysia’s second-biggest financial services company, is finding opportunity at home from Europe’s debt struggles abroad. In June the Kuala Lumpur–based lender completed most of its $250 million acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland’s equity holdings and investment banking businesses for Southeast Asia and Greater China. CIMB also is taking a stronger role in recent debt and equity fundraisings, serving as the principal adviser to last month’s $2 billion initial share sale by IHH Healthcare in Malaysia and Singapore.

Why Ryan Terrifies the Left

Why Ryan Terrifies the Left

Reagan, Kemp, and Mark Levin: Natural Rights and a challenge to moral superiority.
Paul Ryan terrifies the American Left.
Which precisely explains the tones of hysteria coming from the Obama White House.
The real question is why the Chicago Thugs have suffered such a public meltdown over Mitt Romney's choice of the young Wisconsin Congressman to be his vice-presidential running mate.
And there is an answer. Three specific answers, actually.
• Ronald Reagan: President Reagan today is an American hero. Poll after poll has Americans placing him in the pantheon of great American presidents, and occasionally at the top of the list.
The admiration for Reagan has become such a part of American historical bedrock that even President Obama and likeminded professional leftists have essentially given up the ghost. When they mention Reagan at all, it is generally to play a sly game of casting Reagan as a moderate, pretending to salute him while taking a shot at some Republican for not being more like Reagan. Obama played this game four times in one speech back in April, effusively praising Reagan while casting Mitt Romney as some sort of wild-eyed extremist.
No one is fooled.

Obama's $25 Billion Government Motors Lemon

Obama's $25 Billion Government Motors Lemon

 
As the Obama campaign continues to tout the GM bailout as an industrial policy success, the Treasury Department continues to revise upward the staggering losses inflicted on U.S. taxpayers.
On the day Government Motors, aka GM, announced it was recalling at least 38,000 of its vehicles — Impalas used by police nationwide and in Canada — due to a crash risk, a new Treasury report said it now expects to lose $25 billion on the bailout, $3.3 billion more than forecast earlier.
As the Detroit News reported, this loss was based on GM's stock price at the time of the report, which was 15% higher than the previous report. Because the stock price has fallen since then, the latest report likely understates taxpayers' real losses.
The monthly report sent to Congress last Friday covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM's stock price was $22.20 a share.
On Tuesday, GM fell $0.26, or 1.3%, to $20.21.
At that price, the government would lose another $995 million on its GM bailout. The report notes the government still has 500 million shares of GM and needs to sell those shares at $53 each for the government to break even on the bailout.

Muni Investors Vs. California Public Workers

Muni Investors Vs. California Public Workers

By Steven Malanga
In 2005 the city of San Bernardino borrowed $50 million using pension bonds in an effort to shrink its massive debt with the California Public Employees' Retirement Systems (CalPERS). Two years later Stockton floated nearly $125 million in pension bonds because it faced the same pressures as San Bernardino. Neither city reformed or reduced its pension benefits at the time in order to stop the continuing rapid growth of retirement liabilities. In fact, San Bernardino subsequently enhanced pensions.
Both cities are bankrupt today and their initial bankruptcy plans include suspending payments to bondholders, including to those who bought its pension obligation bonds. At the same time the cities are doing little to rein in pension costs. Stockton forecasts that its pension payments to CalPERS will nearly double by the end of the decade. In large part that's because CalPERS has threatened to tie up in court any California municipality that attempts to reduce its pension benefits to current workers.

President Obama's Smashing Success Story: Greatly Increasing The Power Of Government

Charles Kadlec
Charles Kadlec, Contributor

President Obama's Smashing Success Story: Greatly Increasing The Power Of Government

 
WASHINGTON - JULY 21: U.S. President Barack Ob...
U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. (Image credit: Getty Images North America via @daylife)
Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
The traditional measure of the success of an Administration’s economic program has been real economic growth, employment growth, the unemployment rate and the like.  Based on these criteria, the Obama Administration’s economic program has been a dismal failure:
  • Real economic growth during the recovery – now three years old – has averaged 2.2%, less than half of the historic average for post recession rebounds.
  • There are 1.1 million fewer people on non-farm payrolls today than when President Obama took office.
  • The unemployment rate has been above 8% for 42 consecutive months, the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression.
  • Passage of an $862 billion stimulus was promised to keep the unemployment rate from rising above 8%, compared to a projected 9% peak without the stimulus.  Instead, the unemployment rate peaked at 10% in October 2008, and exceeded 9% for more than two years.
  • Absent the stimulus, the unemployment rate was projected to fall below 7% during 2012. Yet, last month, it rose to 8.3%, in spite of 7.5 million people leaving the labor force, and therefore no longer being counted as unemployed.
  • If the labor force participation rate had remained unchanged, the unemployment rate would now be above 11%.

Libs, Progressives and Socialists

Libs, Progressives and Socialists
By Walter Williams



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  In Europe, especially in Germany, hoisting a swastika-emblazoned Nazi flag is a crime. For decades after World War II, people have hunted down and sought punishment for Nazi murderers, who were responsible for the deaths of more than 20 million people.
Here's my question: Why are the horrors of Nazism so well-known and widely condemned but not those of socialism and communism? What goes untaught — and possibly is covered up — is that socialist and communist ideas have produced the greatest evil in mankind's history. You say, "Williams, what in the world are you talking about? Socialists, communists and their fellow travelers, such as the Wall Street occupiers supported by our president, care about the little guy in his struggle for a fair shake! They're trying to promote social justice." Let's look at some of the history of socialism and communism.


There Ought Not to Be a Law

There Ought Not to Be a Law
By John Stossel



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  I'm a libertarian in part because I see a false choice offered by the political left and right: government control of the economy — or government control of our personal lives.
People on both sides think of themselves as freedom lovers. The left thinks government can lessen income inequality. The right thinks government can make Americans more virtuous. I say we're best off if neither side attempts to advance its agenda via government.
Let both argue about things like drug use and poverty, but let no one be coerced by government unless he steals or attacks someone. Beyond the small amount needed to fund a highly limited government, let no one forcibly take other people's money. When in doubt, leave it out — or rather, leave it to the market and other voluntary institutions.

The Paul Ryan Choice

The Paul Ryan Choice
By Thomas Sowell




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  Governor Mitt Romney's choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate is one of those decisions that seem obvious — if not inevitable — in retrospect, even though it was by no means obvious to most of us beforehand.
Anyone who wants to get a quick sense of who Paul Ryan is should watch a short video of a February 2010 meeting in which Congressman Ryan politely, but devastatingly, "schools" Barack Obama on the utter fraudulence of the statistics that the Obama administration was using to claim that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit. That video is available on the Drudge Report.
As a long-time member, and now chairman, of the Budget Committee in the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan is thoroughly familiar with both the facts and the fictions in the federal government's budget. In recent years, the fictions have grown much bigger than the facts. But, as Congressman Ryan reminded the president, hiding spending is not the same as reducing spending.

Ryan Speaks in Colorado

Ryan Speaks in Colorado

Ryan at Lakewood High School. Click to enlarge.

Paul Ryan came and spoke today in Lakewood, Colorado, very near my home. The high school gym was packed, with over 3000 present. Most of the folks there were local, but one couple seated next to me was from Durango and had driven six hours to get there.

Ryan Pick More Popular Than Biden's Selection

Ryan Pick More Popular Than Biden's Selection


Democrats, the media and "anonymous" GOP sources have been scrambling to tell the public that Romney's selection of Paul Ryan was a disastrous move by the presidential candidate. I always find it precious when the media gets concerned about possible negative consequences for a Republican. While Ryan has only been the vice-presidential candidate for a few days, with a lot of campaigning to go, initial polling looks good for Romney's pick. 

Fire in the Belly: Romney Ready for Surge

Fire in the Belly: Romney Ready for Surge


Today in Ohio, Mitt Romney showed that he is an entirely renewed, re-energized candidate in the aftermath of his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. For the first time this week, Romney has shown fire in the belly. First, he took on a heckler at an event in Wisconsin. Today, he went further, directly attacking President Obama on his horribly vile and polarizing campaign – a campaign in which Obama or his surrogates have attacked Romney as a traitor, a felon, a murderer, a racist, and a sexist.

Obama Campaign: Ryan 'Kisses The Ring' of Jewish Megadonor Adelson

Obama Campaign: Ryan 'Kisses The Ring' of Jewish Megadonor Adelson


The Obama campaign is in an utter tizzy about the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Yesterday, they sent out an email asking “why the hell” Romney would pick Ryan, and speculating that it was because Ryan was a corporate patsy who would serve the interests of back room fat cats. Today, they’re making that argument complete with a supremely offensive attack on Ryan’s visit to Las Vegas – and, in particular, his upcoming visit with Republican donor Sheldon Adelson:

Help SEAL Team 6, go straight to jail in Pakistan

Help SEAL Team 6, go straight to jail in Pakistan

Bin Laden informant stuck while U.S. money flows

Most Americans remember where they were on 9/11/2001.
I was performing eye surgery in Bowling Green, Ky. I walked out of surgery and into a patient’s room to find a scene of horror being played on the television screen.
I also remember where I was on May 2, 2011, when SEAL Team 6 infiltrated Osama bin Laden’s compound and killed him. Americans were very proud of SEAL Team 6 and of our entire military for finally capturing and killing this mass murderer.

Obama is ready to sign up immigrants

Obama is ready to sign up immigrants

Romney’s hands are tied on issue

More than 1.7 million illegal immigrants could become eligible for tentative legal status Wednesday when President Obama’s non-deportation policy goes into effect, and after initial fears that the program would backfire, immigrant advocates are urging young immigrants to sign up.
Activists say the policy is the biggest change on immigration in decades, and it has roiled the political landscape, solidifying Mr. Obama’s support among Hispanics and leaving presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney struggling to say what he would do.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration laid out final details, including relaxed education standards that set a low bar.

America is on a financial suicide watch

America is on a financial suicide watch

Distractions from debt problem a travesty

Someone should have to answer for the financial high crimes and misdemeanors that are bankrupting our nation and financially raping the futures of our children and grandchildren.
If a corporate officer did to the shareholders of a company what Barack Obama and his gang of soulless Fedzillacrats have done to the American public, he would be charged with any number of financial crimes and sent to prison.

Union thugs crying about Democratic convention

Union thugs crying about Democratic convention

Boycotting former friends over conference location

Labor leaders have had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, politically speaking.
So bad, in fact, that they decided to throw a temper tantrum and partially boycott the Democratic National Convention — holding their own “shadow convention” in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Inspired by the anger labor officials felt over Democrats holding their nominating convention in North Carolina — a right-to-work state that is proudly the least unionized in the country — the “shadow convention” focused on labor issues that union officials think are being overlooked by the Democratic Party.
It wasn’t always this way. Big Labor and Democrats used to have a nearly unbreakable bond. The AFL-CIO even was kind enough to draft for President Obama a list of things it wanted him to do, titled “Priorities for Day 1.” Topping that list was reducing financial transparency for what unions did with their dues money. The administration happily obliged.

Gross Folly

 

The world’s most successful bond fund manager is telling Americans that stocks stink. Is he wrong again?
“The cult of equity is dying,” writes Bill Gross, managing director of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), the hugely successful money management firm. His August Investment Outlook, which is extremely negative on stocks, has been the talk of Wall Street.
Some suspect Gross of talking his book, but it’s worse than that.
Gross runs the largest mutual fund in the world, PIMCO Total Return, with $270 billion in assets—almost all in bonds—and his antipathy to equities is nothing new. In September 2002, he wrote a piece in his newsletter headlined “Dow 5,000,” that said, “My message is as follows: Stocks stink and will continue to do so until they’re priced appropriately, probably somewhere around Dow 5,000, S&P 650, or Nasdaq God knows where.”

President Obama’s Ticking Greek Time Bomb

 

Developments in Athens suggest matters are spiraling out of control.
The last thing that President Obama needs before the November election is a Greek exit from the euro. Such an event would surely cause contagion to the rest of southern Europe, which would in turn roil global financial markets. Yet the evidence coming out of Athens suggests that such a Greek event could very well occur over the next few months, with all of its adverse consequences for the U.S. and global economies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Biggest D.C. Spy Scandal You Haven’t Heard About (Part One)

The Biggest D.C. Spy Scandal You Haven’t Heard About (Part One)

Why has the story of a 20-year illegal infiltration of D.C. on behalf of Pakistani intelligence gone unnoticed?
by
Patrick Poole

Two years ago, the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), Ghulam Nabi Fai, was riding high in Washington, D.C. circles. In March 2010, he hosted a pricey fundraiser in his own home for Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), the powerful chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia and co-chairman of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.
In 2004, Fai testified before Burton’s subcommittee. Internal KAC documents show that in just 2007 alone, he had 33 meetings with members of Congress, congressional staff, the Bush administration’s National Security Council, and the State Department. He led congressional delegations to the disputed Kashmir region, and over the years nearly three dozen different members of Congress of both parties attended or spoke at Fai’s annual Kashmir Peace Conference held on Capitol Hill. KAC’s events were even broadcast live on C-SPAN.
One thing that bought Fai so much access was that Fai and the KAC board of directors generously spread campaign contributions all over Capitol Hill to members of both political parties. However, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the bulk of contributions by Fai, KAC’s board, and Fai’s associates went to Burton and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Egypt: There Goes the Army; There Goes the Free Media; There Goes Egypt

 - by Barry Rubin

So can you write “Arab Spring,” “free elections,” “democracy in Egypt,” and such things 100 times? This just might be somewhat in contradiction to the fact that:
Muslim Brotherhood President al-Mursi has just removed the two commanding generals of the Egyptian military. Does he have a right to do this? Who knows?There’s no constitution. That means all we were told about not having to worry because the generals would restrain the Brotherhood was false. Moreover, the idea that the army, and hence the government, may fear to act lest they lose U.S. aid will also be false. There is no parliament at present  He is now the democratically elected dictator of Egypt. True, he picked another career officer but he has now put forward the principle: he decides who runs the army. The generals can still advise Mursi. He can choose to listen to them or not. But there is no more dual power in Egypt but only one leader.  The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which has run Egypt since February 2011 is gone. Only Mursi remains and Egypt is now at his mercy.

Our Not So Best and Not So Brightest


Our Not So Best and Not So Brightest From Eliot Spitzer to Elizabeth Warren to Fareed Zakaria — what is wrong with our elites? Do they assume that because they are on record for the proverbial people, or because they have been branded with an Ivy League degree, or because they are habitu├ęs of the centers of power between New York and Washington, or because they write for the old (but now money-losing) blue-chip brands (Time magazine, the New York Times, etc.), or because we see them on public and cable TV, or because they rule us from the highest echelons of government that they are exempt from the sorts of common ethical constraints that the rest of us must adhere to — at least if a society as sophisticated as ours is to work?

Capitalism v. Socialism

Capitalism v. Socialism
Posted by Ashton Ellis
 
I’ve written before that the importance of Paul Ryan’s brand of conservative reform is that it puts federal policy on a fundamentally different trend line than its current course under President Barack Obama.
From Ryan’s perspective, the American future post-reform looks like one where there’s more money in everyone’s pocket, less going to the government, and a fiscally sustainable social safety net.
As for President Obama, all you need to know is contained in his campaign’s “Life of Julia” web ad.
If Ryan is true to form, then during his time as Mitt Romney’s running mate he’ll accentuate the choice facing voters this fall of an American future that is either growing thanks to a resurgent capitalism or declining under the weight of a galloping socialism.  Perhaps he’ll do so along the lines described by Harvard economist Robert Barro in the Wall Street Journal:

The Obamacare Quagmire

The Obamacare Quagmire

The law will hurt the very people it's supposed to help.
Now that the Supreme Court has held President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) constitutional, mounting evidence suggests that the statute’s most ardent defenders may well come to rue the day. During the legal struggles over the ACA, its defenders both on and off the Supreme Court took for granted the proposition that the law would deliver on its major promise, which was to extend affordable coverage to the over 47 million people who now lack healthcare insurance, without disrupting the protection that others currently enjoy.
Unfortunately, these bold pronouncements failed to take into account the old and powerful economic law of unintended consequences. Sometimes these are positive, which is why the selfish actions of ordinary individuals in competitive markets prove socially beneficial. Adam Smith said that each individual “is led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.” But those unintended consequences often turn bad in connection with the many forms of government regulation that limit the scope of contractual freedom, which the ACA does in a big way.
 Epstein
 Illustration by Barbara Kelley
The result may turn into an Obamacare quagmire. Public officials, at both the federal and the state level, are grappling with the Herculean task of implementing the law. Its internal complexity and flawed design make it a program that was built to fail. The most recent evidence of the ACA’s administrative breakdown comes via the New York Times in a story by Robert Pear—no enemy of Obamacare—who reports that the fine print of the ACA could leave the dependents of millions of low-income employees without coverage from either their employers or the ACA’s insurance exchanges.

Legalize Competing Currencies

– by Ron Paul


Ron Paul
I recently held a hearing in my congressional subcommittee on the subject of competing currencies. This is an issue of enormous importance but unfortunately few Americans understand how the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department impose a strict monopoly on money in America.
This monopoly is maintained using federal counterfeiting laws, which is a bit rich. If any organization is guilty of counterfeiting dollars, it is our own Treasury. But those who dare to challenge federal legal tender laws by circulating competing currencies − at least physical currencies − risk going to prison.

Strange Bedfellows: More Authoritarian Linkages to Paper Money ..

 – by Staff Report


A New Book ... Three authors [Prof. Dr. Margrit Kennedy, Bernard LIETAER and John Rogers] with decades of experience have teamed up to provide an up-to-date, state-of-the art field guide to the emerging movement of regional currencies. People Money describes a global movement of people creating their own currencies to support regional business and strengthen their communities. These currencies operate legally alongside Bank Money and Government Money, giving people new choices in an age of transition from outworn financial structures to an era of sustainable abundance ... The currencies profiles include: Brixton Pound in London; The Business Exchange in Scotland; Blaengarw Time Centre in South Wales; Community Exchange System in South Africa; Chiemgauer in Germany; BerkShares, Equal Dollars, Ithaca HOURS and Dane County Time Bank in the USA; and many others. – Amazon
Dominant Social Theme: It is the era of alternative money schemes and only supporters of totalitarianism would suggest the free-market circulation of gold and silver.
Free-Market Analysis: Since we started looking, we keep coming up with linkages between those who espouse Greenbackerism, fiat credit systems, Georgism, etc. and various sorts of green eco-facilities and the United Nations in particular. You can see some of our articles here:

What Did Rand Paul Gain?

 – by Anthony Wile


Anthony Wile
Mitt Romney has picked the youthful warmonger Paul Ryan to be his running mate.
From my point of view, this leaves the junior senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, standing near the altar like a jilted bridesmaid. Not a very pretty picture.
And now what has Rand Paul got?
I'll tell you in four words at the end of this article.
No peeking.
First, the bigger picture ... So far Rand's gamble – endorsing Romney – doesn't seem to be paying off. And there may be a salutary lesson in this.

The Last American Martyr

  by


William Leddra, executed for Quakerism, March 14, 1661
And still the indomitable Quakers kept coming. Among the most determined to bear witness was William Leddra. Again and again, Leddra had visited Massachusetts, had been whipped, starved, and driven out, only to return. Now Leddra was being dragged into court in his shackles, having been chained to a log of wood all winter. He was charged with sympathizing with the executed Quakers, with using "thee" and "thou," with refusing to remove his hat — in sum, with being a Quaker. Promised his life if he recanted his faith, Leddra answered: "What, act so that every man who meets me would say, 'this is the man that has forsaken the God of his salvation!'" When a magistrate asked Leddra if he would agree to go to England if released, the prisoner coolly replied, "I have no business there." "Then you shall be hanged," retorted the magistrate. Leddra appealed to the laws of England, but the court held — as might be expected — that England had no jurisdiction in the case, and pronounced the sentence of death.
Still chained to the log, Leddra calmly wrote shortly before his execution:

Millennial Communism

  by


The key to the intricate and massive system of thought created by Karl Marx (1818–83) is at bottom a simple one: Karl Marx was a communist. A seemingly banal or trite statement set alongside Marxism's myriad of jargon-ridden concepts in philosophy, economics, history, culture, etc. Yet Marx's devotion to communism was his crucial point, far more central than the dialectic, the class struggle, the theory of surplus value, and all the rest. Communism was the goal, the great end, the desideratum, the ultimate end that would make the sufferings of mankind throughout history worthwhile. History is the history of suffering, of class struggle, of the exploitation of man by man. In the same way as the return of the Messiah, in Christian theology, would put an end to history and establish a new heaven and a new earth, so the establishment of communism would put an end to human history. And just as for postmillennial Christians, man, led by God's prophets and saints, would establish a Kingdom of God on earth (and, for premillennials, Jesus would have many human assistants in establishing such a Kingdom), so for Marx and other schools of communists, mankind, led by a vanguard of secular saints, would establish a secularized kingdom of heaven on earth.
In messianic religious movements, the millennium is invariably established by a mighty, violent upheaval, an Armageddon, a great apocalyptic war between good and evil. After this titanic conflict, a millennium, a new age, of peace and harmony, a reign of justice, would be established upon the earth.

What We Can Learn from a Great Economist

  by

Although Leland Yeager calls himself a fellow traveler of the Austrian School (p. 100), rather than a full-fledged member of it — he is a fellow traveler of the Chicago School as well — no reader of his essays can fail to note one respect in which he resembles two quintessential Austrian economists, Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. Like them, Yeager is a scholar of enormous learning, a fact in evidence in each of the 28 essays of his collected here. As an example, few of his colleagues, one suspects, would know that "Thomas Hobbes … suggested that one might test whether a piece of abstract philosophizing means anything by seeing how readily it could be translated from the original language into another" (p. 267, n. 2).
Often, his own views emerge from the critical comments he makes on other writers. Yeager insists, against Robert Clower and Axel Leijonhufvud, that Keynes was a Keynesian. The writers whom Yeager opposes take Keynes to be an advocate of monetary-disequilibrium theory, stressing especially the difficulties in adjusting prices to changes in the demand to hold money.
Yeager mordantly comments,

Stagflation is back, ready or not

Irwin Kellner

Stagflation is back, ready or not

Commentary: U.S. revisiting economic woesWASHINGTON, N.Y. (MarketWatch) — The dreaded combination of stagnation and inflation has returned, bringing with it new challenges for policy makers, investors, business people and consumers.


date report forecast previous
Aug. 14 Retail sales 0.2% -0.5%
Aug. 14 Retail sales ex-autos 0.4% -0.4%
Aug. 14 Producer price index 0.2% 0.1%
Aug. 14 Core PPI 0.2% 0.2%
Aug. 15 Consumer price index 0.2% 0.0%
Aug. 15 Core CPI 0.2% 0.2%
Aug. 15 Empire state index 6.0 7.4
Aug. 15 Industrial production 0.4% 0.4%
Aug. 16 Weekly jobless claims 370,000 361,000
Aug. 16 Housing starts 760,000 760,000
Aug. 16 Philly Fed -8.0 -12.9
Aug. 17 UMich consumer sentiment 73.0 72.3
Aug. 17 Leading indicators 0.0% -0.3%
But it is a real challenge to deal with both at the same time, which is what policy makers must do when confronted with stagflation. This is because fighting one problem risks exacerbating the other.
While neither unemployment nor inflation is uncommon, every so often, both rise together to alarmingly high levels. Take the period from 1973 through 1975, for example.

How Europe is rocking the startup world

Young Euros used to happily settle for life-long government or corporate jobs. European tech entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky explains how the crisis has changed all that.

Interview by Jack D. Hidary
martin_varsavsky
Martin Varsavsky.
FORTUNE -- Martin Varsavsky is one of Europe's leading technology entrepreneurs. He recently spoke to Fortune about startup trends in the UK and Europe, his take on Facebook (FB), David Cameron's startup initiative, US venture capital and other tech business. Varsavsky started Jazztel, Spain's second-largest telecom firm and Ya.com, now a division of France Telecom. He is currently the CEO of FON, a company which he founded. Investors include Google (GOOG), BT, Index Ventures, Atomico, and Sequioa. Martin, how vibrant is the startup tech scene in Europe? Where are the bright spots and what are the challenges? Quite a number of European tech startups are expanding globally including Spotify, Rovio, Hailo, Fon, Oanda and others, following in the footsteps of Skype.
Young people in Europe have traditionally opted for lifetime government or corporate jobs. The European crisis, however, is changing all that. Governments are maxed out in debt and corporate payrolls are shrinking. The three hottest startup cities in Europe right now are London, Berlin and Stockholm but there is startup activity all over the map.

Three Reasons Paul Ryan Makes the U.S. a Better Investment

Maybe U.S. financial markets have a chance after all. That's the message many of us take away from the news that Representative Paul Ryan will join Mitt Romney on the Republican presidential ticket.
To see why the bulls should be snorting, start by recalling the pattern in past elections. Candidates talked a lot about jobs. Then they patted themselves on the back for having covered "the economy."
But jobs don't cover the economy from the point of view of investors. To investors, job creation is a second-order effect. Market participants care first about interest rates, exchange rates, bond prices and the one great factor that affects all three: the long-term solvency of a bond company called the U.S. government. Yet the issues that affect that solvency are rarely taken up in the months before a general election. Even discussing Social Security has traditionally been considered the political equivalent of stepping on a "third rail."

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