Greece’s challenges are structural, not financial. Fiscal signs are symptoms. More money won’t solve Greece’s major structural challenges.
Greece has been here before. It was bailed out in 2010. In fact, the accompanying austerity measures has contributed to the current financial strain. Undoubtedly, a difficult journey lies ahead. But let’s be clear. The current crisis can’t be solved by loans with conditions to make further cuts.
The real choice in the recent referendum was between accepting loans with known austerity measures, or receiving loans later with conditions unknown. Indeed, the referendum means future lenders will impose worse requirements than those existing when the referendum was called. Already, Greece defaulted on 1.6 billion euros owing to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Do Greeks accept that despite the “no” victory, significant lifestyle adjustments lie ahead? This is a significant issue today.
Greece’s Challenges Show up in it’s Economic Performance
Let’s look at the Greek economy and some structural challenges: (more…)
Corporate taxes and corporate welfare destroy jobs long-term. Governments should lower taxes and stop picking specific firms to give hand-outs. This is a flawed strategy.
Burger King and Tim Hortons’ proposed merger ignited calls for more government involvement in failed corporate welfare programs. Happily, a few voices, mainly Republicans, pointed to the real issue that needs addressing: ineffective corporate taxation policies that’s nudging companies to relocate abroad, and causing them to retain significant cash outside the USA. Corporate taxes reduces retained earnings needed to create jobs. Government do not create jobs. They should provide the conditions for job creation.
Corporate Taxes and Corporate Welfare Destroy Jobs
Corporate taxes and corporate welfare detract from effective business performance. Long term they destroy jobs. Naive politicians want to boycott Burger King. They claim this transaction will shelter income from the USA’s corporate taxes. But they have mentioned the oppressively high US corporate tax rate of 35%. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine the US has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Go figure!
Burger King’s management has a responsibility to look after its shareholders’ best interests. This present decision is good stewardship. However, liberals will disagree because they wear anti business blinkers.
Politicians, particularly tax and spend liberals like President Obama, want more job creation and more taxes from corporations. These goals conflict. Sustained job creation won’t happen under current conditions in one of the highest global tax locations. (more…)
This idea is so preposterous, I checked several sources to ensure she made it. She did, to boot! Here is what Wynne said:
“We believe that we need to set up a structure so that people can save their own money, and they can make investments along with their employers in their future.”
Clearly Wynne believes she knows better than individuals. Maybe she forgot the Soviet Union died, and similar socialist policies failed wherever governments tried them.
Wynne’s Mandatory Pension Plan Is Another Tax On Business
Wynne’s mandatory pension plan is another tax on business. Employers will have to divert funds away from legitimate business costs to pay this tax.
Let’s look at the issue objectively. Wynne is unhappy people are not saving enough for retirement. Does she know that taking money from people stuck in the consumer spending frame of mind will drive them to more debt. It will offset possible benefits from forced savings? Does she believe merely setting up a pension plan will provide enough funds to retire? Who will decide how to invest these funds? Will Wynne guarantee returns on these forced savings?
Has Wynne looked at consumer spending lately? Does she understand that even if she gave people more money the probability they will save is remote? The solution is not to compel people to save while hiking the burden on businesses. No, Wynne needs to shrink government, eliminate taxes on businesses so they can create jobs. Most of all, she needs to lower personal taxes so people have more available funds, not less. Let’s understand that firms, not government, create productive jobs and do not need more indirect taxation. Governments generate waste.
Wynne says the people came up with this proposal. Why don’t these people take full advantage of their existing individual retirement savings? They have a choice, she says, and they decided not to save, but to spend. That’s why she proposes, as a good comrade, to force people to save for their retirement.
Wynne goes on to expand on this bad solution by telling us the government will not operate the scheme. What a reassuring thought! Does Wynne need evidence that governments squander funds directly and indirectly? The liberal government spent a billion dollars (indirectly) on a failed project to automate medical records. It frittered away almost a billion dollars to relocate hydro plants to get votes in the last elections. Come on Kathleen Wynne, what has the Liberal government managed well, directly, or indirectly?
Politicians spend people’s funds recklessly because only a few of us care enough to call them to account regularly. They forget that firms create jobs and do not need extra costs. Wynne and her like-minded cronies will add more expenses to firms as they grab money from the people. And they will find more creative ways to waste our funds.
I pray this sad proposal will disgust and outrage enough of us so these politicians quash it.
Toronto city hall spent $75,000 on 30 chairs! How could a responsible individual or group justify using taxpayers’ funds to buy 30 chairs at $2,500 each? Type of chairs, history, ambience, are irrelevant. The only concern must be the source of funding–we, the people. Firing the person responsible does not deal adequately with the underlying cause: a toxic system, a prodigal mindset, disregard for people’s finances.
Mayor Rob Ford does not condone this decision. That’s refreshing. However, can he change the embedded intrepid bureaucratic culture? I don’t think so. The system thrives on complexities and ineffectiveness. Canadian government folks get good wages and benefits, including outstanding pensions, yet they perform ineffectively. Where is their incentive to become more value conscious?
Toronto city hall did what governments do
Toronto city hall is government. And governments waste money, among other reasons, because they look at the ‘top line’ and are not accountable for waste. When they want money they tax, or borrow, and then tax to cover the borrowing. With funds they get, they spend without regard to value received. Sometimes they are embarrassed by stupid behavior, and someone might resign with a great severance package. Where is the accountability?
Unlike a ‘top line’ organization–Toronto city hall– a firm must look at its “bottom-line” to ensure its income covers its expenses. It does not have a captive nonchalant group of citizens from whom to extract taxes at will. Sadly, several charities operate like governments. They spend irresponsibly. Then they appeal to people’s emotions for more ‘top line’ funds, and get more, to boot!
I do not know anyone who believes governments can be responsible stewards of tax collected. Do you? We accept the status quo. Meanwhile, governments spend large sums with total disregard for the public.
‘Top line’ focussed organizations, governments and charities, coerce or demand more funds from their target groups with impunity, and without fiscal accountability. Besides, governments create complex survival systems. That’s why we have no choice but to accept embedded governmental waste.
We must demand that they stop providing non essential services. When they refuse, we must insist that they outsource these non-essentials to the private sector, with private sector workforces for better accountability.
Will McGuinty and his gang suffer consequences? Of course not. He prorogued parliament, akin to rebooting his computers and wiping out ‘unsaved files.’ He rode into the sunset to draw his pension with his legacy of lying, cheating, driving up debt, taxes, and budget deficits firmly entrenched. Where is the accountability? It does not exist in the public sector.
Harper Government Wants Performance Improvement
It took seven years in office, expanding government, and wasting billions, for the Harper government to start talking performance improvement in the public sector. How many government departments operate effectively and efficiently if judged by the private sector’s performance criteria? How many government ministers would be tolerated by efficient and effective private sector organizations?
The public do not associate efficacy with governments. No doubt, that’s why we tolerate so much waste and asinine decisions from elected officials. Public service unions have been able to secure pay and benefits hike because unlike the private sector, governments have access to unlimited funds. They tax, spend, borrow, tax, and repeat the cycle. Unions press for more, and more, and sometimes do less work. Still, many governments accede to unions’ demands. To be sure, higher public service wages merely add to overpayments to ministers and other politicians.
When will society wake up and realize that governments do not create productive jobs? When will folks start to demand accountability from politicians? Our country cannot continue to pay civil servants at current levels, especially with their defined benefits pension plans. Many companies realized years ago that defined benefits plans are unsustainable in the long term.
Minister Clements needs to realize that providing an edict about performance appraisal in itself achieves nothing. Who sets the standards? Who monitors whom? Is this a charade as depicted by the famous British TV series Yes Minister?
Will unions and bureaucrats decide to invest time in performance appraisals procedures rather than in doing their jobs well? What’s the incentive for public sector unions to get their workers to be more effective? Will any Canadian government challenge unions, eliminate all closed shop arrangements in the country, and downsize the public sector substantially? Governments should sell areas it has no right to be in such as Canada Post and the CBC. As well, it should contract out needed government activities to carefully screened effective private sector firms.
I close with this positive experience and pray it will snowball. This morning, I visited Service Ontario, Woodlawn, Guelph branch to renew my health card and driver’s licence. As I observed the operations, and from the service I received, apologetically, I commented to the person serving me that I was surprized a government department operated so effectively. The employee smiled and said the office was outsourced and employees were not part of the public sector. I should have known!
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO should teach US senators effective resource management. They might stop wasting tax payers funds gained from their excessive taxation policies.
Isn’t the United States the bastion of capitalism? The country where folks aspire to the American dream? It’s sprouted corporations like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Whole Foods, Walmart. However, today it seems to be sputtering. Many home grown corporations are finding greener pastures abroad. Among other reasons, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Not only is the corporate tax rate highest, but the tax code is complex, and the tax system operated by unionized bureaucrats determined to bully selected groups.
Tim Cook Would Not be doing hiss Job if he Brought Cash back to the USA
What did the Senate sub committee hope to achieve by hauling in Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook? The tax code allows firms tax-free retention of profits earned abroad. It taxes only funds brought into the United States. Therefore, what’s the issue? Clearly, the inquisition was just another public corporate bashing. To be sure, it will mislead the ignorant masses to believe big businesses are the bad guys. More important, it was one more sad showing of how anti capitalist the United States is becoming? Has become?
Informed folks should commend Tim Cook and other leaders for looking after stakeholders’ interests by keeping profits abroad. Why should Apple or any United States company opt for reduced growth at home when legally they can expand overseas with untaxed profits? Apple and several companies take advantage of the oppressive, complex tax system for the benefit of their stakeholders. To do otherwise, would be to act incompetently like those senators who bully big businesses. Thankfully, at least Senator Rand Paul gets it. He said, “if anyone should be on trial here, it should be Congress.” Right on, senator Paul!
Apple and other firm’ tax strategy of not bringing to the USA, cash earned abroad, will provide economic benefit in some country. Firms will have more funds to reinvest and create jobs, and, or send to shareholders. This will help to grow the economy and create jobs. This is a point politicians miss. Over time, retained profits will flow to different regions. That’s why countries must compete for these funds through taxation and other policies. No doubt, the United States government prefers the bullying approach instead of healthy competition.
For the skeptics, this would be a valid question: What happens if a company just sits on retained profits? Market forces and shareholders’ pressure will get that business to buy back its shares, pay dividends, or invest. Each of these actions puts funds into the economy. The funds might not end up in the United States. But they will go somewhere else.
Hopefully, senators will realize the US tax system is broken, and will try to fix it. That’s not rocket science. But for inept and ineffectual senators and government bureaucrats this could be a stretch. Unionized keepers of the status quo tax system will want to grow government employment, and the more complex the code, the better.
Governments must leave more funds with businesses. Firms create productive jobs. Governments are wasteful. Governments must learn to do more with less. They must shrink. What if the private sectors’ good stewardship practices applied to governments? Imagine how many programs and departments would be cut to curtail blatant waste and abuse! There is no evidence government uses funds wisely. Government collects taxes, increases debt, and runs budget deficits. Meanwhile, problems it’s meant to fix keep growing!
Rather than wasting Tim Cook and other corporate executives’ time to find out they followed tax rules, the Senate committee ought to be looking at ways to encourage businesses to expand at home. If they want funds returned home, they must provide incentives, not penalties! Will the senator who paid more taxes than due, please step forward?
Certainly, many firms abuse tax and other systems. Several executives overpay themselves. Still, the firm is the only viable productive jobs’ creator in the economy. Governments must encourage firms to invest profits at home. This will create jobs. They must provide the appropriate environment. Ideally, zero tax on corporations so they have more to reinvest and pay dividends. As well, less government and union harassment. And less regulations and general involvement in the economy.
Article first published as Apple’s Tim Cook Should Teach Effective Resources Management To Senators on Technorati.
Harper government missing $3.1 billion? Will this irritate Canadians enough they start demanding effective performance from our governments? The auditor general says the Canadian government was unable to account for 3.1 billion Canadian dollars of anti-terrorism funding. Instead of being outraged, Prime Minister Stephen Harper retorted that the report had nothing to do with the improper use of money. He said, it’s ‘how the spent money is categorized.’ What a pathetic reaction! Does Harper thinks his view minimizes the issue?
Harper Government Lost $3.1 Billion. Who Cares?
Miss-allocating $3.1 billion is serious. Was it redirected to politicians? Corporations? Political parties? A combination? Where? Harper does not know, neither does his minister responsible for the treasury. Neither do auditors who examined the books. I am a professional accountant. If I looked through a business’ accounts and couldn’t find where funds were allocated, that would be a huge deal! Don’t go there Prime Minister. Accept the basic incompetence and find out what happened. Only then can you comment intelligently.
I am saddened the conservatives have turned out to be such spendthrifts. I expect this from liberals and the left. Since Harper assumed office in 2006, he helped bail out auto companies, expanded government, and created deficits. He inherited a surplus and intends to preside over annual deficits for a couple more years.
Certainly, we had the Great Recession and the economy slowed. However, instead of less government, and so less incompetence in the economy, he increased government’s size. Immediately preceding liberal regimes seem to be more competent fiscally than these conservatives, to boot.
To be sure, Harper’s group eased the tax burden, created savings incentives, eliminated the wasteful long gun register. Still, they have had their wasteful spending escapades like liberals. Harper’s conservatives continue to fund the left wing liberal Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). This group, the epitome of political correctness, recently advertised a job opening seeking anyone but a white person. They want to ensure the organization reflect diversity. After an outcry, they retracted and their advertising agency took the fall.
The government continues to fund the outmoded and ineffectual post office, too. Why? Why not sell both groups. The reasons for taxpayer’s support vanished. Get rid of them!
Canadians of all political persuasions need to realize that if we do not speak up, these politicians will continue to treat us as imbeciles and do as they please. That’s what former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty did. Shortly before elections, blatantly, he cancelled two gas plants to appease electorates. He knew voters are naive, ignorant, fickle, and would not think about cancellation costs. He knew they would listen to his rhetoric and vote for him. Hello voters! Guess who will pay the more than half billion dollar cancellation costs?
Wake up Canadians, these incompetent politicians have no respect for our intelligence. Let’s vote the inept out, and keep those who remain; but on short leashes.
Government budgets are meaningless. Governments ignore them and do as they please. Governments do not account for budget over runs, like businesses.
Imagine a business operating without a strategy, annual budget, and long term plan. Yearly, it pulls together a list of its executives’ favorite spending ideas for its CEO’s approval. The CEO endorses the plan because she knows the business needs a funding rationale to continue borrowing.
How does this business plan to lower its debts? To become effective and competitive? How does it do projects needing two or more years planning? It does none of these; it merely limps along from one crisis to another, until it fails.
What about governments? They don’t collapse without potent strategies, plans and budgets; they have access to unlimited funds. The US Federal government thrives on so-called “continuing resolutions” that fund the government, program by program. It does not commit to an overall broad vision to implement needed changes to virulent programs; it hobbles along confident it can tax, borrow, and spend at will.
President Barack Obama on 26 March signed into law a bill to fund the US government to the end of the fiscal year, September 2013. This stopgap spending estimate is meant to leave in place $85 billion spending cuts. However, it merely creates the illusion of savings until the next ‘continuing resolution’; It does not deal with the real issues of effective management, optimal funding of government programs, and tackling government waste. Identifying $100 billion and more of government waste is simple. Senator Tom Coburn’s investigative reports are a good place to start. We don’t need to be forensic accountants to see the waste and stupidity the senator unearthed. In page two of the Senator’s WASTEBOOK 2012 he writes:
Perhaps nothing demonstrates just how out of touch Washington is more than the $300,000 USDA is spending to tell Americans to eat caviar, one of the world’s most expensive delicacies, at a time when millions of Americans are struggling just to put the basics on the family dinner table.
How do governments get away with this? Two reasons; first, an ignorant electorate that’s usually moved by the latest charismatic speech promising them benefits. Second, governments have the power to tax, spend, print money, without accounting for their ineptitude.
The world was appalled at the Cyprus government’s plan to tap certain people’s savings to raise funds. This is a repugnant proposal; however, apart from the cosmetics, it is similar to governments’ imposing income and other taxes on its citizens. Think about it?
A budget is supposed to help a family, business, or government ration scarce resources to achieve specific goals. Programs and other activities funded in the budget need active management to realize their goals. Yet, the USA Federal government has been without a formal budget for years; it survives on emergency funding, so called ‘continuing resolutions,’ that feed partisan desires. It is time the electorate realize we must demand an end to governments’ blatant wasteful spending, and insist governments start to apply proper budgeting and budgetary control practices. Perhaps the US and Canada need a Cyprus-type tax invasion to spur electorates to action!
Copyright (c) 2013, Michel A. Bell
Michel A. Bell is a Christian, an author, speaker, founder and president of http://managinggodsmoney.com, former senior business executive devoted to provide free Christian financial advice to help folks live debt free lifestyles. If you want to use an ultra simple, free interactive affordability pre-spending tool to help you get out of debt and live debt free, try this.
Governments role fulfilling individual needs should be clarified today. Needs seem to be changing. I think few would argue that government should look after the vulnerable in society. However, the idea that needs include mobile phone, computers, and internet access is not accepted generally.
Recently, an acquaintance remarked that traditional personal wants versus needs’ distinctions do not apply these days. He said society define needs, not people. To advance and function effectively, society depends on technology. That’s why technology must drive needs, particularly in developed countries. Since poor people can’t afford modern technology, governments must provide them, he stated emphatically.
Governments Role fulfilling Individual Needs
Stunned, I asked, where he drew the line for personal responsibility.
He insisted that to survive poverty, tornados, storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, people had a right to jobs, properly built homes, affordable medical help, cell phones, computers, and TVs. These are every North Americans’ needs, he said. Cell phones, internet access, digital cameras have been keys to many people’s survival when disaster struck, he assured me. I agreed.
Earlier, he said, in many countries, communications were simple and slow. Folks could not react quickly to influence outcomes from disasters. Storms and tornadoes devastated people who were poorly housed and unable to compel governments to fix their conditions. Today’s better communications should force governments in those countries to respond quickly and effectively to people’s situations.
Continuing, he said governments must shelter disadvantaged people from these disasters and similar occurrences’ effects. Besides, poor people must have facilities to communicate their needs and help-requests speedily to government. Rich people can take care of themselves. They don’t need society’s help.
Where are you going with this reasoning? I asked. It’s obvious, he replied. Government must ensure people have jobs, basic communications, housing, and medical benefits. So, what’s governments role fulfilling individual needs? What’s individuals roles fulfilling their needs? The answer to these will show the type of society we want t0 build.
Is governments role fulfilling individual needs wide spread and decided by arbitrary class distinction? This is socialist dependency ideology. This style of government failed in the former Soviet Union and other places.
Certainly, conditions in society influence needs. Still, each person is responsible to fulfill his and her needs, not governments. Many developed countries’ governments, like Canada’s, provide programs to help the ‘poor’ and disadvantaged. Sadly, hard evidence shows these programs are costly and poorly managed. People abuse them, and some deserving folks get no help. We must find a better way to deliver help to needy people than through government’s entitlement programs.
Society must teach folks to take responsibility for their situations, and give them incentives to move off government subsidies. As well, when relevant, society must find ways for charities and other private groups to deliver help to the people, instead of governments.
Governments have spent billions to help the poor and disadvantaged but their conditions merely get worse. Governments’ so-called help creates dependencies and wastes billions. This approach is not the answer. It has not helped.
Countries should strive for minimum government and maximum private-sector involvement in their economies. Definitely, the private sector has its warts. However, combined stakeholders and public pressure can influence businesses easier than electorates can rein in out-of-control governments. Most significant, eventually, business leaders will account. Some leaders, though not enough, have gone to jail for their misdeeds.
Contrast incompetent business leaders with inept government ministers. Government ministers’ waste billions and when they leave government they get significant benefits and pensions regardless of performance. Former Ontario premiers Dalton McGuinty and Bob Rae in different decades wrecked the Ontario economy. Have they accounted or been penalized for their disastrous legacies? No, they haven’t!
I believe the broader issue is personal responsibility, not definition or identification of wants and needs. Before folks rush to demand more government involvement in developed economies, I think they should mull over these matters:
Sufficient hard evidence exists to show without a doubt that governments are wasteful, ineffective, and do not create productive jobs. Generally, governments should minimize their involvement in economies.
Governments create and grow personal dependencies. Society should help people move away from these bondages.
Governments should live within declining budgets and provide specific public assistance always with incentives to wean off recipients.
Governments must distinguish between people’s temporary setbacks and their sustained endemic dependencies. There policies should not encourage people to live on welfare for long periods.
People will define wants and needs differently. However, each person must accept that his or her income is a spending ceiling that affects lifestyle choices.
People must live within their budgets. That’s where their needs and wants must fit. Living within budget might mean cutting back on eating out, and entertainment. It might involve getting rid of cable, the Internet, cell phones. And it could lead to renting instead of buying homes.
Governments and individuals must realize that government-imposed burdens–debts, deficits, excessive taxation—constrain economic growth.
There is no evidence governments’ welfare, housing, or other similar programs have helped improve people’s conditions over the long haul. We need more effective approaches with less government.
Michel A. Bell is author of the The New Managing God’s Money-The Basics, teacher, preacher, founder and president of Managing God’s Money, and a former senior business executive. For Christian financial advice, biblical stewardship advice, and advice on personal effectiveness improvement, and other leadership matters, visit: Managing God’s Money.
President Obama’s debt-sentence will crush the economy. Imagine your college-age son returning home after four years away and pressuring you for a loan because he maxed out his credit card, line of credit, and overdraft limits. He tells you he needs more funds as his debts are for past bills, including dinners charged on his credit card. He tries unsuccessfully to convince you that because his debts are for earlier bills, you must advance him more funds now; nevertheless, you are not impressed. You know generally debts are for previous spending, so that fact is not an issue. Besides, you want your son to become responsible, that’s why you insist that before prescribing a solution, he understands his spending habits that caused his debt-mountain.
President Obama’s debt-sentence will crush the Economy
Essentially, President Obama’s debt-ceiling views coincide with your son’s: Congress must hike the debt ceiling or prior bills will not be paid. After the hike, they must raise taxes to lower debts. No doubt, everyone will live happily ever after, until the next round of debt ceiling discussion. What a fatalistic perspective that resigns the Nation to a steady rising debt! Implicit in this approach are two wrong assumptions. First, present spending is acceptable; second, the country has unlimited taxation capacity.
Does the president believe the country’s taxation levels are competitive internationally? Does he realize raising taxes will reduce needed cash for businesses, which are the only productive job-creating entities in the economy? Does the president believe current government spending is acceptable and effective? When last did he look at the extent of government waste?
Instead of focusing on raising revenues, government must shrink. That’s how you lower debt; fewer government people thereby reducing the possibility of waste. Benjamin Franklin said: Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Reality is President Obama and his party’s attitude to the debt ceiling is unsustainable. They believe they must feed continually, this massive government spending machine; they ignore the fact that allocating dollars to yesterday’s debt without stopping the cause of those debts, merely provides a platform for more debts.
Back to your son; how do you teach him that his attitude to money is irresponsible and will leave him destitute? Certainly, you must not give him more funds; you must focus on his attitude to debt, and his behavior that drives spending. You must teach him not to borrow; teach him to spend just when funds are available, and for needed items alone. However, most important, you must counsel him to develop a spending decision procedure which first settles the need, second, establishes how to pay for items without borrowing, and third, figures out the right time to act, given competing priorities.
Bills are not expense categories; they result from choices, good and bad. That’s why it is essential we look behind these bills to reasons for spending. Merely claiming that bills must be paid is irresponsible; we must establish the need for items that lead to those bills. As well, we must accept that there is a limit to borrowing, and most significantly, we must learn to live in that limit!
President Obama’s current approach which focuses on yesterday’s bills and raising taxes, instead of shrink government, is a recipe for a lasting debt-sentence for the American people; it will stifle economic progress.