From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/oct/04/ben-bernanke-us-economy-faltering
Federal reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that US economic recovery is “close to faltering”, and that a “disorderly” default in the Greek debt would have a serious impact.
In testimony to Congress, Bernanke was repeatedly quizzed about the impact of the European crisis on America. He said the US was an “innocent bystander” in the eurozone debt standoff and that US banks were not heavily exposed to Europe’s most troubled economies.
But he warned that Europe’s economic woes were already having a negative impact on US stock markets. “Unless the European situation is brought under control, it could be a much more serious situation for the US economy,” he said.
Bernanke also warned that political warfare in Washington was a threat to the US economy. He told the Joint Economic committee that the recent row over raising the debt ceiling had been very unhelpful at a time of increasing economic uncertainty. “It’s no way to run a railroad,” he said.
In written testimony and during a question-and-answer session, Bernanke told Congress that the Federal reserve had acted forcefully to support growth and was prepared to take further action if necessary.
His comments, alongside news that European finance ministers were working on plans to support the region’s banks, cheered US investors. After Europe’s stock markets closed down US stock markets rallied in late trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 153 points at 10808 having fallen 253 points earlier in the day.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/oct/04/ben-bernanke-us-economy-faltering
How come taxing the peddlers of superstition is never part of austerity programs? Could it be because religion is just one of the tools the rich use to oppress the working people and the poor and are afraid they might turn on them if they get treated like common people?
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/04/greece-orthodox-church-economic-crisis
Property tax levied across Greece will not apply to the church, whose financial status is coming under closer scrutiny as debt crisis continues
Guardian Weekly, Tuesday 4 October 2011
The Greek church and its monasteries will not have to pay the deeply unpopular property tax that the government introduced in September in an effort to fulfil Greece‘s austerity targets. “The church will be taxed on any assets used for business purposes,” a finance ministry spokesman said after news of the tax caused an outcry.
Places of worship and charitable organisations will be exempt from the tax. But the borderline is fuzzy and the accounts of the Orthodox church are opaque. Church “institutions are governed by public law, which gives them substantial fiscal advantages. They must publish their accounts, but generally don’t,” says Isabelle Depret, a religious studies specialist at the Free University of Brussels.
Church funds are taboo in Greece. “Its income is liable to taxation, but there are two major stumbling blocks,” says Polikarpos Karamouzis, who is a professor of the sociology of religion at the Aegean University in Rhodes. “There is no accounting system to detail its actual income and no one really knows quite how much land it owns because there is no land register.” This situation suits both the church and the state, “because politicians are reluctant to upset the Orthodox authorities”, says Stefanos Manos, an independent MP and one of the few policymakers to have demanded separation of church and state.
“The Greek church is a national church,” Karamouzis says, “which means there is a political connection between the church and the state, for the state awarded it these privileges. Its spiritual role is closely linked to its political function, muddying the distinction between its congregation and Greek citizens, a source of confusion which politicians use in their quest for votes.”
Priests influence public opinion so politicians would rather not upset them. In 2010 the Holy Synod, a committee of 13 bishops, published a text circulated to all parishes condemning the “troika” – representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European commission and the European Central Bank – as a “foreign occupation” force.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/04/greece-orthodox-church-economic-crisis