French Civil Servants, Students would rather sink than swim

images-3Paris: France is bankrupt. In terms of the Maastricht criteria, French public debt is 97% of GDP, or roughly two trillion euros. But add to this, the off-balance-sheet debt (estimated at over three trillion euros) such as pensions (19 billion euros a year deficit), unemployment insurance (over five billion/year deficit), health care system (15 billion/year deficit) and other social guaranties supposed to finance themselves and the real debt of France is an astronomical 242% of GDP. Yet, labor in France refuses to hear of reform. Students, who have never worked a day in their lives, are marching with public service employees and fighting police in the streets. Continue reading →

No Washington, You May Not Go On Holiday

If a nuclear reactor were to go into meltdown one would expect management to interrupt its vacation and get back to work to fix the problem. Not so with our elected officials who have gone into recess despite the fact our world economy is crumbling and cannot wait until September. Europe is no exception to the lets-go-on-vacation-and worry-about-it-in-September rule. Continue reading →

Is NATO coming apart at the seams over Libya?

On June 10, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Europeans they need to spend more on Defense and play a greater role or the US would take its military toys and play somewhere else. The threat has the Europeans squirming and it may mark a major turning point in Europe’s balance of power. Continue reading →

Economic Stimulus Check

Letter to the Poughkeepsie Journal

I want to thank tax payers for the $300 Economic Stimulus Payment check I just received from the IRS.  However, as an expatriate living and working abroad and exempt from paying taxes in the United States, I am not sure why I deserve the check.  Rest assured I will spend your money wisely here in France but neither do I understand how that will stimulate the US economy.

 

I wonder how many hundreds of millions of your good tax dollars are going to the countless expatriates who do not pay income tax in the US but will happily spend the money in their countries of residence.    

 

Rest assured however.  It would take more than $300 for the Republicans to buy my vote this year.

 

Yours Sincerely

Socrates Kazolias

Paris, France