Archive for Economy

Time For The Rich To Pay Taxes!

Posted in America, Britain, England, Equality, Modern World, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , on 22/07/2012 by floroy1942

Many parts of the world are suffering the biggest financial turmoil for many decades and yet there are tens of thousands of individuals across the globe who pay but a tiny fraction of the taxes they should. Of course, by that I mean the super rich! A band of selfish, greedy, self-important, conniving, shady, lying, cheating…. Oh Dear! Did I go too far??? I am sure many of the super rich will be quite upset at these words, but thank god for free speech and the right to express your opinions in a democratic world.

And These Are Just The European OnesNow to the nitty gritty! Why do I write such things about the super rich? The reason is a major study has taken place, much to the dis-satisfaction of those who are the subject of it, into tax-free havens and the huge amounts of money that are squirreled away in secret bank accounts on many of these secretive off-shore hide-aways.

It may astound you to know that the wealth hidden away at the end of 2010 is equal to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined i.e. $21 TRILLION! That is 21 times 1,000 billion dollars. This far reaching investigation is the work of James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, and was carried out at the request of the Tax Justice Network.

There can be little doubt that should you have lots of money it is easy to hide it away in many of the tax havens like Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg and Monaco and the off-shore havens like The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Virgin Islands. The more money you have, so the more your ability to employ the right people to move it around and avoid paying taxes.

…Except About His Tax Returns!

Being an average individual with a high moral code and set of standards, I find it distasteful to say the least that those among us with the most money get away with not paying taxes on their income while the rest of us ordinary folk get bled dry to pay for their excesses. I know for sure that I could not live with myself knowing that my tax contribution would put an end to ordinary people being thrown out of their homes for not being able to pay the mortgage while I sat in my castle counting my ill-gotten gains. It is without doubt one of the greatest injustices in the world today. I can well understand why Mitt Romney doesn’t want the world to know how much tax he has paid in recent years! It’s probably a fraction of what he should have paid.

You have to look at it this way, if all these privileged people paid the taxes they are supposed to, the current financial crisis would be over in  minutes. People would be back in work, homes would be secure and everyone would know their is some justice in the world.

So I have to ask, why cannot the governments of the world come together at the United Nations and put an end to this disgrace by shutting down all these tax-free havens? If there was nowhere for these people to hide their vast fortunes they would have no choice but to start paying taxes. If they did, the tax rates everywhere could be brought down to a realistic level for all, including the rich.

It is unfair on society that the majority must pay the lion’s share of taxes so the rich can make more money! Most of these people have more than they could spend in two lifetimes, and yet they are so greedy and heartless, they stand idly by and watch as hardworking people are thrown out of their homes, quietly rubbing their hands with glee at their massed wealth.

Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett

As most readers of this blog will know, I like to be fair, and in doing so, I have to mention that some super rich people do use their money for good causes. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft is one such person, who with his wife Melinda, formed the world’s largest transparent private foundation i.e. the Gates Foundation. It is dedicated to globally enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The billionaire Warren Buffet works with Bill and Melinda Gates, and there are other rich people who do charity work with their wealth, it’s just a shame there are not enough like them, for there are countless others who hide their money away and do everything they can to avoid the tax man. I have nothing against people getting rich, but I do balk at the idea of them doing it at the expense of everyone else.

Money, like power, has become the number one drug everyone is addicted to, and no matter how much some people have, they always want more. It is definitely time to change the rules so that all men, and women, pay their dues in today’s society. Will it happen? Not on your life because most government’s could not stand without the backing of these powerful people, and they are out to protect themselves at all costs.

Roy.

The Trouble With Barclay’s

Posted in America, Britain, England, Government, Modern World, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 03/07/2012 by floroy1942

What does it take these days to get a bank operating within its mandate, and in an honest and efficient way? This week revealed yet another scandal involving Barclay’s bank after the doubtful practices unearthed with many others over the past year. CEO’s have been falling like leaves in an autumn gale this last year and yet they never learn. Now the clock has finally ticked down to zero for Barclay’s, a British bank that has faithfully served the public since 1690, and resulted in a whole flurry of resignations by its top staff.

Chairman Marcus Agius – What Say You Marcus?

First to go was the Chairman Marcus Agius, followed by chief operating officer Jerry del Missier, and now the CEO Bob Diamond is quitting. Its fine to hear that those ultimately responsible are losing their jobs, but is it enough? Firstly, even though they are leaving the bank under a cloud, I am sure they will all collect substantive bonuses running into millions of pounds, and secondly, which one of them will go to jail? Not one I’ll bet!

If we ordinary citizens carried out such a massive fraud, like fixing bank lending rates in an international market, we would be hung, drawn, and quartered and thrown to the dogs! But then again, this crew have money and influence so the chances of any of them ending up in jail are infinitesimal to zero.

CEO Bob Diamond – Hang Your Head In Shame!

It is a prime indication that the current generations are obsessed by money, and even those among us who have more than we could spend in two lifetimes, are gripped by a never-ending drive to make more and more. The banks were institutions where ordinary people like you and I could put our money to be held safe until we need it, but not any more. Like most other things, it has become a money-making machine without an ‘off’ switch.

Since 1763 there have been 39 different banking crisis across the world affecting many major banks, 11 of these have happened since 2002, although if you include the current Spanish bank crisis the total is 12, and all that in just ten years! Of course everyone knows that the banks were bailed out with public money in 2008 and 2009, so why are we still having scandals hitting the banking sector. Do these people never learn!

Jerry del Missier – Explain Your Way Out Of This One!

I have to say, that if I were a Barclay’s customer I would take out every cent I have with them and put it somewhere else. I do not wish to be associated with any bank that is knowingly ‘cooking the books’ and manipulating market interest rates for their own benefit.

One Of The Oldest Structures That Once Housed Barclay’s Bank – 1872

It is past time when governments should step in with very strict controls on all banking practices and carry out regular inspections of the books to make sure they get back to following the straight and narrow. When banks play silly games they are doing it with our money and if it should go badly wrong we are the ones that lose our life savings or pensions, not them. They just collect their massive bonuses and retire. Its enough that the last person on Earth you would trust is a lawyer, but now the banks come a very close second. Enough is enough I say, and send the perpetrators of this latest scandal to jail for a good few years as a lesson to all those other shady individuals who wish to gamble with our money.

Roy.

Why A Spanish Banking Crisis?

Posted in Europe, Government, Insanity, Modern World, Spain with tags , , , , on 18/06/2012 by floroy1942

More than enough people have been asking why and how the Spanish banks got in to such a state that they needed another bailout. Well, I can tell you from personal experience that one of the reasons is massive inefficiency.

My wife and I had cause to go to the S……… bank in Marbella to send money to a friend in Romania, and I was appalled at the sheer inefficiency of the service. If you wish to send money outside the country to someone who does not have a bank account of their own, you can only do it from certain banks, and then only if you have an account with them. In our town the only one that would do it without us having an account is the one ‘mentioned’.

We regularly send money to Romania, but to do it I have to show my passport and give them the special code of the place where the money is to be sent, one of the most popular being a Western Union office. A couple of years ago my details were entered into the banks computer and we made the transfer. Last year I had to renew my passport, but instead of just being able to update my information I found they had deleted it all. So with the new passport I had to start from scratch, meaning we had the approval process of one month to go through again. More time wasted. This finally worked for a short time, but when we went back last month they couldn’t find me in their computer again.

We were told that once they had sorted out the problem they would give me a call and we could make the transfer. Guess what? After a month we still didn’t get a call (surprise! surprise!). So off we trotted to the bank again to find out what the hell was going on. After waiting a considerable time, we got to talk to the lady who took another fifteen minutes to find my data, check my documents again and finally fill in the transfer form.

By this time a queue of at least twenty-five people had built up behind us at the cash desk, but we were told we would have to wait in line. If the service had been even adequate, she could have taken the money and we would have been out of there. Instead we spent another thirty-five minutes waiting in the cashier line. There were three positions but only two were manned and the cashiers themselves seemed to know only two speeds, dead slow and stop!  Finally a young man opened up the third desk and things moved to just above a snail’s pace.

To cut this short, it was a very frustrating hour and fifteen minutes waiting around at the whim of a bank that doesn’t have a clue on what the word efficiency means. The money clutched in my hot sweaty little hand waiting to be sent was my money, and on top of that I had the €3 admin fee in my hand as well, so if I am taking my money into the bank, paying their expenses for doing the transfer, why am I given so much hassle???  With most banks, why can I only do if I have an account with them?

I am sure that most people will not believe this but it is a verifiable fact that Spain has 109 different banks, only 9 of which are inter/national. This means that there are 100 regional and spanish city banks. The UK for example has only 9 banks, while France has 24, and these figures include regional banks that come under the main banking groups.

In Spain however, the 109 are independent banks all trying to make money from the Spanish people. Personally I fail to see how such a system has developed, because it seems that apart from the regional banks, cities like Seville, Malaga and San Sebastian all have their own local banks, but it goes down to town level too. To a foreigner it is without doubt a chaotic system especially when you consider that many of the smaller banks do not provide a full banking service at all.

One thing we all need to remember is that the Spanish way of doing things is to say the least, chaotic. The banks in Spain cry about their ‘toxic debts’ and cite that as the reason for the banking crisis. True, there is a massive slump in house purchases and many economic problems over the last three years, but their attitude to solving them is crazy to say the least.

Families who bought property during the ‘good old years’ are being thrown out on the street because they can no longer keep up with their mortgage payments. When this happens the house is repossessed by the banks and is added to the massive number of houses that cannot be sold (currently estimated at 215,000) because no-one can afford them. Surely it makes more sense for these people to stay put and pay off their mortgage at a reduced rate until things get better. In this way at least the banks would have some form of income from their holdings instead of the property standing empty with no-one wanting to buy, and thereby generating no income whatsoever. In our area alone there are places that have been repossessed and are still waiting to be sold after three years. 

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Spain is sinking deeper and deeper into crisis and how they are going to extract themselves is still a mystery. It will not change until someone in the government decides that the lazy individuals in the country need to get up off their asses and start working efficiently. Government, local council offices and the law all need a swift kick up the backside and some rapid instruction on how to do things in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Otherwise, I see more dark clouds on the horizon. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great country and most of the people are great, but the leadership and know-how needs to come from the top. For decades this has not been happening because most of those in charge are too busy lining their own pockets. Come on Spain – Get off your backside and start marching forward!

Roy.

And Still The Greeks Avoid Taxes!

Posted in Budget Cuts, Europe, Government Spending, Modern World with tags , , , , , , on 08/06/2012 by floroy1942

It would seem some people never learn, for even when they end up to their necks in the mire through their own stupidity and greed, and with their country on the verge of total bankruptcy, they continue to make the same mistakes. I am of course referring to the Greek habit of not paying their taxes, which is the main cause for the massive debt they are now suffering.

In my 23/10/2011 post The Shocking Truth Behind the Greek Debt, I explained why the Greek people ended up in a crisis that has shaken the very foundations of Europe, and yet the latest news is that nothing has changed.

She Tells It As It Is!

It bugs me somewhat to think that the Greek people were very angry at the remark made by IMF head Christine Lagarde when she said the Greeks were avoiding paying taxes. Indignation was rife and she received many angry complaints, but the simple truth is – she spoke the truth!

For decades, very few people in Greek society have paid the level of taxes they should, in fact the rich have not paid any at all, and the latest estimate is that the country will run out of money completely by the end of July!

An Economy Based On Deceit

Government officials are now scrambling for ideas in an effort to collect taxes from people, but some just haven’t got the money, and many businesses are using ‘cash only’ methods in an effort to forestall paying taxes on their income. Despite the recent bailout of 130 billion, the government still faces a shortfall of 1.7 billion because tax revenue and other sources of potential income cannot be collected.  Nikos Maitos, an official in Greece’s financial crimes investigation unit said, “One repercussion of the crisis is that people are harder to find, and when you do find them, they don’t have money.” Harry Theoharis, a senior official in the Greek Finance Ministry is quoted as saying, “You can’t flog a dead horse”.

The government has stated that it is owed a total of €45 billion in back taxes and the outlook is that only a fraction of that will ever be recovered.

Paperwork Chaos

According to reports, the Greek government has begun enforcing a 1995 law that allows tax inspectors access to the bank accounts of suspected tax evaders. The banks however have so far obstructed 5,000 requests for information since 2010, and are delaying the hand-over of other documents by up to 10 months, and then dumping such a huge pile onto the tax department that trying to get the necessary information is next to impossible. So, you see, considering the whole European financial mess started with the banks in  2008, they too have not learnt any lessons in Greece.

To add to the country’s woes, the rich are moving their capital out of the country as fast as they can, for they too are ducking paying tax on the largest proportion of their wealth, which is a bit sick considering before the current crisis they never paid any at all! 

The Underground ‘Honesty’ Barrier

Among the people there is anger that salaries have been cut by as much as 50% due to the austerity measures, but if you read my last post on the subject, you will realise that the salaries earned before the crisis were out of all proportion with the rest of the world. Cleaners employed by the Greek Rail Company earning €60,000 a year, and on top of that, no-one buys a subway ticket in Athens because there are no controls, meaning millions travel for free every month. 

Any country run on these lines is doomed to irrevocable failure, and from all accounts, the crunch is going to come soon. The sad thing is, when it does come it will likely drag the rest of the continent down with it, and eventually we will all suffer. Whether the Euro will survive this is without doubt questionable. Greed will eventually be the undoing of man!

Roy. 

For those interested, the following link will take you to my previous post on this subject:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/the-shocking-truth-behind-the-greek-debt/

 

Doctor’s Sick Note System in Urgent Need of Reform

Posted in Benefits, Britain, Conservative Party, England, Health, UK with tags , , , , , on 20/11/2011 by floroy1942

A new government proposal to reform the current system of doctors handing out sick notes for long and short-term illness is on the cards, and it’s well overdue. For decades people have been able to go to their local GP and obtain the necessary piece of paper that allows them to take time off work and still get paid, either by their employer or the government.

There is Evidence Enough

While many sick notes are legitimate, there are millions that are nothing more than an excuse for the work-shy to lounge around and live off benefits. This has to stop, and the government is looking at ways to curb this criminality. For it is criminal when a person lives off the back of the tax payer when capable of doing a job of work and paying taxes. But such is the decline in moral standards these days, that many people are always looking for something for nothing, while fully capable of going out and earning it for themselves.

Doctors’ Dilemma

Many family doctors find it hard to keep up with the ever-increasing flow of patients in their surgeries, and most I’m sure just sign a sick note without a proper examination these days. It is therefore difficult to lay the blame at their door.

It is a medical fact that many incapacitating illnesses are difficult to diagnose, or in fact disprove, like certain back-pain for example. Wily work dodgers know this and are adept at working the system.

Dept. For Works and Pensions

According to information released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), around 140 million work days a year are lost to sickness, which is costing a massive £15 billion in lost economic output in the UK annually. The bill for short term illness has to be paid by the employer, but those with long-term sickness must be supported by the state. The DWP figures indicate that the cost to employers comes out at around £9 billion, while the state pays out a massive £130 billion annually in sickness benefits.

Now, as I have previously said, many claims are legitimate, for we cannot all be healthy all the time, but the government hopes to employ a method that will hopefully cut back on those who ‘milk’ the system.

The proposal is that a local GP will only be allowed to issue sick notes for a period not exceeding four weeks, after that the claimant can be made to attend an independent panel of doctors by his/her employer to certify their illness. If you are genuinely sick you should have nothing to fear, but those ‘trying it on’ will hopefully have a tougher time. To me, this seems an excellent idea, considering some 300,000 people a year drop out of work to live on benefits long-term.

Many people may require some months ‘on the sick’ after perhaps a car or work-related accident, and the honest ones will be back at work as soon as they are fit enough. They deserve applause, but for the scroungers it is nothing more than an excuse to get out of working for a living. With luck the new system will ‘winkle out’ these parasites and get them back to being productive members of society once again.

Disability Need Not Stop You Working

Some people are getting benefits because they are permanently incapacitated in one way or another, but that does not preclude them from doing some form of work that suits their affliction. Just because a person is in a wheelchair does not stop them from working. There are many jobs suited to such people, and they should be integrated back into society and given the opportunity to contribute.

I am glad to see an administration with the balls to tackle this problem that has festered unchecked under the previous Labour government. It is way past time!

Roy.

Age Challenged (politically correct) Exodus

Posted in Britain, England, Immigrants, Modern World, Old Age Pensioner, Senior Citizen, Spain, Teen alcohol abuse, Teen Violence, Teens, Travel, UK with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/03/2010 by floroy1942

Good-bye Britain

It would seem those with the most common sense, and can afford it, are leaving Britain in droves. And why not? Statistics published today by the Home Office reveal that people over the age of 55 are emigrating as fast as they can get their bags packed. The main reasons are, fear of crime (but Gordon said…….), the weather, and the ‘creaking economy’. The Home Office graph shows the sharp rise in emigration since Labour came to power. No surprises there!

Only this last week Gordon Brown was castigating the Conservative Party for stoking people’s fear of crime in an effort to win the election. According to our erstwhile ‘I’m in touch with the people’ Prime Minister, this was all a pack of lies! Could it be then that all the emigrants are Tory voters who were conned by David Cameron?

Drunken Violence

Take a walk through the centre of any town or city of a Saturday evening if you dare. The drunken teenager culture so prevalent in English life today means you will more likely end up in the casualty department of your local hospital rather than back at home. When you consider that you are not even safe in your own home there has to be a point when people say enough is enough! But not to worry folks, it’s all Tory propaganda!

English Winter

No-one can fault people for wanting to get away from today’s dull, grey and wet English weather and exchange it for a life in the sun, you would be mad if you loved English weather! Like me, most over 50’s will remember when summer’s were real. First the awakening of Mother Nature after her winter sleep with the woods (we had them then) carpeted with snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells, followed by three months of balmy warm weather slowly moving into autumn and harvest time as the leaves turned all colours of brown. Not any more, climate change has taken care of that. Now the British people, and others, are faced with major storms, snow and ice, and not to forget the annual flooding that has become a main feature of English weather.

Spanish Winter

As far as the ‘creaking economy’ is concerned, life must surely be better somewhere else. Gordon Brown, along with the aid of the bankers, has driven the country into debt to the tune of billions of pounds, and its anybody’s guess as to when the economy will recover. But immigrants are still given thousands of pounds in handouts which they should not be entitled to (some to pay for the £2 million houses they are living in) just so Labour has their votes.

John Bull

Quite rightly, most people in this age group feel that Britain has lost its national identity and is unrecognisable from the country they grew up in. They have seen the gradual erosion of the British way of life, sucked out by the Labour Party since it came to power. In those far off days crime was so low that it wasn’t even necessary to lock your door when you went away on holiday. My grandparents never did, but try that today and you will find your house empty when you return.

The Home Office figures reveal that a staggering 42% of people over 55 wish to leave for sunnier climes, and 38% hope to do it in the next 5 years. The most favoured places for ex-pats are France, Spain and Cyprus, with many considering, or have moved to, Australia and New Zealand. It is certain that the unexpectedly high exodus of the moment is but a drop in the ocean compared to what it will be in five to ten years time. By then I fully expect the percentages to increase dramatically as people get so fed up with it all they do not even wait for retirement.

It all goes to prove that this once mighty and proud nation is finished. Ethnic Britons might just as well get out and leave the land to the immigrants and their ‘masters’, the Labour Party. History has shown that the glory of any nation is but transitory, and now it is the turn of Britain.

Last One? Turn Out the Lights!

I once joked, ‘Will the last Englishman to leave the country please turn out the lights’. Little did I realise the time for ‘lights out’ was so close. Sometime within the next twenty years the immigrant population in the UK will be high enough for them to take over completely and when that time comes I can see a mad scramble for the boats.

There will be many who think I am mad because of my views, but Hear Ye!, many people thought Enoch Powell was mad when he made his famous speech in the House of Commons, and he turned out to be right! History will prove one of us right!

I shouldn’t be so gloomy, after all at my age it hardly matters. Does it?

Roy.

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