The capital of Rotten Island was an ancient and revered city. However, in keeping with the wealth and affluence of the times the city councillors renamed the city “Wonderland.” Somewhere between Never Neverland (North side”) and the inner sanctum of Wonderland there is a sector called” Forever Wonderland’.” This neighbourhood is the financial heart of the nation. In this district, lived a wealthy young banker. His notable attributes were a craving for attention, a bad memory, and a chequered career. He treasured the radiance of other inducements and was a frequent visitor to Feckerland the area of dance, revelry, alcohol, and Chateaubriand. Parochially, friends and acquaintances, knew him as “Disney” Fitzfiddle.
Men did travel across the length and breadth of the land to win the friendship of “Disney.” He loved a good story from waiting recipients of fiscal credits, borrowers, whose habitual wrongdoing he totally ignored. In his own words, he stated, I was big. Some came and said “Disney” can you lend me 100 million quid, and I’d say. Sure, no problem at all, we can do it without recourse to Peter and Paul for you know I am a man who can lend without rancour. Let us go for a ride in the Bentley and lunch at the “Incidentally” and later tarry awhile in Dick Gently’s (a well-known brothel).
Alas, the good days, now I am but the evil pantomime villain, who only borrowed a handy hundred million. Look at who elevated me, aren’t we all cronies of the Dons of the Feeling Smallers. Why did you know? I even had the occasional game of golf, with the nation’s esteemed Boss, the great incompetent Mr. Buttocks, the pillar of lies and goodbyes.
Agreed, I may have moved a few loans around a bit, temporarily mislaid them, perhaps duped an auditor or two. Had an odd incriminating letter gone missing here and there? Aha, but my God, me self and “The Little Drummer Boy” good times we had. Now they say I am bankrupt with only three million quid to live on. Understand lads; for me, the attraction was the crack of the fiscal flimflam. Never mind we can bank on ‘Sinister House’ to direct the department of “Fiscal Make Believe” to clear up this Disney quicksand No, no regrets, sure was the problem not global, in all sincerity nothing to do with me.
When Blankfein says that the UK has no other choice but to stay with its austerity plan or it will (here’s the threat): “face a negative reaction from global investors,” he knows that Goldman Sachs will benefit from austerity at the expense of the rest of the public:
Austerity gives Goldman opportunities to privatize and financialize the economy further;
Austerity allows Goldman to continue to be a parasite sucking on the lifeblood of the economy;
Austerity will guarantee more bailouts when Goldman takes big risks and fails;
Austerity will keep the 1% wealthy and the wealth accumulation for the rich will continue apace;
Austerity keeps wealth within the financial sector where Goldman can enjoy it;
Austerity guarantees Goldman’s “rentier” status, i.e., it collects unearned money via debt;
Austerity is financial warfare against labor, against industry and against the government;
Austerity will increase the role of the bank and lead to an increase of power and wealth over the rest of society while citizens suffer from low wages, low or no pensions, high debt and fewer entitlements.
According to Carnegie, the number of food stamp recipients in the last three years increased by over 15 million and now represents well over 10% of US households. “More and more people are becoming comfortable with food stamps, and soon I think the public will be willing to give up cash in favor of the EBT card,” she said. “This is the change we’ve been waiting for.”The change is obvious: once relegated to the poor and stigmatized, the Food Stamp is not just becoming more accepted, it is looking very lucrative for many US businesses struggling with a slow recovery and a large pool of potential customers sidelined from the market by unemployment.
“Everyone knows that food stamps stimulate the economy by putting purchasing power back in the hands of the unemployed, but the really great thing about them is that you don’t even have to be unemployed to get them,” Carnegie said. “Plus, they are not regulated in the same manner as the US dollar is, and so this gives the President more flexibility to increase the supply.”Carnegie added that this flexibility also allows the White House to redirect funds more equitably than private bank accounts and personal finances. She envisions a time when every U.S. citizens will only need one EBT card instead of multiple accounts.
“The credit card will soon also go the way of the dollar,” Carnegie noted. “Poor citizens notoriously have difficulty getting credit or managing their debt. But the EBT program allows the government to assist them in managing their finances so that they will always have enough to eat.”
Some speculate that the EBT card must also include specifications for purchases, such as quotas of certain products that must be acquired. This will help poor families, who typically have dietary management issues, to make good food choices.
“The EBT will set a ‘budget’ for a family, telling them what kinds of groceries to buy,” said Carnegie. “You may see a time when the EBT will have an associated app for your government-issued phone to guide you to the nearest store, or to the one with the shortest lines. There’s no end to the possibilities.”
Will the dollar be missed? Many American businesses seem to be pragmatic enough to overcome their sentimental attachment to the dollar in favor of something more profitable.
“Our nation is moving in a new direction and there’s no way back,” Carnegie said. “Big corporations understand that and are willing to assist the government by providing the technological know-how to make this work.”
“Corporate executives want to get in on the top floor of this program to lock in their positions. It is going to happen, and now is the time to act,” she added optimistically.
The U.S. slid from the top ten most prosperous nations for the first time in a league table which ranked three Scandinavian nations the best for wealth and wellbeing.
The U.S. fell to 12th position from 10th in the Legatum Institute’s annual prosperity index amid increased doubts about the health of its economy and ability of politicians. Norway, Denmark and Sweden were declared the most prosperous in the index, published in London today.
With the presidential election just a week away, the research group said the standing of the U.S. economy has deteriorated to beneath that of 19 rivals. The report also showed that respect for the government has fallen, fewer Americans perceive working hard gets you ahead, while companies face higher startup costs and the export of high-technology products is dropping.
“As the U.S. struggles to reclaim the building blocks of the American Dream, now is a good time to consider who is best placed to lead the country back to prosperity and compete with the more agile countries,” Jeffrey Gedmin, the Legatum Institute’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The six-year-old Legatum Prosperity Index is a study of wealth and wellbeing in 142 countries, based on eight categories such as economic strength, education and governance. Covering 96 percent of the world’s population, it is an attempt to broaden measurement of a nation’s economic health beyond indicators such as gross domestic product.
The Legatum Institute is the public policy research arm of the Legatum Group, a Dubai-based private investment group founded in 2006 by New Zealand billionaire Christopher Chandler.
The report shows that even amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, global prosperity has increased across all regions in the past four years, although the sense of safety and security is decreasing amid tension in the Middle East and fear of crime in Latin America.
Norway and Denmark retained the pole positions they held last year in the overall prosperity measure, while Sweden leapfrogged Australia and New Zealand into third. Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland rounded out the top ten. The Central African Republic was ranked bottom.
In its sub-indexes, Legatum named Switzerland the strongest economy and home to the best system of governance. Denmark is the most entrepreneurial and New Zealand has the best education, while health is best in Luxembourg and Iceland is the safest. Canadians enjoy the most personal freedom and Norwegians have the greatest social capital.
With President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney tussling for the White House, Legatum said the U.S. economy declined two places from last year to 20th. It found that 89 percent of Americans believe hard work produces results, up from 88 percent last year, and the government’s approval rate dropped to 39 percent from 42 percent.
Plagued by the euro-area debt crisis, 24 out of 33 European nations have witnessed a decline in their economic score since 2009, according to Legatum. On the prosperity scale, Greece recorded the biggest drop in 2012, falling 10 places since 2009 to 49th. Spain held on to 23rd place.
The U.K remained 13th, one place ahead of Germany, and Legatum predicted it will overtake the U.S. by 2014 as it scores well for entrepreneurship and governance. Nevertheless, the status of its economy remains a weakness as it slid five places to 26th on that score and job satisfaction is low.
In Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan all ranked in the top ten for their economies and the top 20 overall. So-called tiger cub economies Vietnam and Indonesia also rose. Indonesia experienced the largest gain in prosperity of any country since 2009, jumping 26 positions to 63rd.
Switzerland, Norway and Singapore topped the economy sub- index, which measures satisfaction with the economy and expectations for it, the efficiency of the financial sector and foundations for growth. In a gauge of entrepreneurship, Denmark ran ahead of Sweden and Finland for the strength of innovation and access to opportunity.
Switzerland also topped the rankings for best government. It was followed by New Zealand and Denmark in a measure determined by the effectiveness and accountability of lawmakers, the fairness of elections, the participation of people in the political process and rule of law. The highest marks for education went to New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
Luxembourg, the U.S. and Switzerland were graded the best for health treatments and infrastructure as well as preventative care and satisfaction with the service. Iceland, Norway and Finland topped the chart for safety and security; Chad, Congo and Afghanistan ranked the lowest on that index.
Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians enjoy the most freedom and social tolerance, Legatum said. Norway, Denmark and Australia had the highest scores for social capital as monitored by social cohesion and family and community networks.
To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Kennedy in London at firstname.lastname@example.org