Business as usual in Europe. From The Telegraph.
Eight hours of negotiations in Brussels ended in walkouts after MEPs refused to drop demands for an extra £13.8 billion in European Union spending for this year and 2013.
The failure of the talks casts a fresh doubt on whether a major summit to agree to the EU’s future funding from 2014 to 2020, scheduled for later this month, can go ahead.
There had already been speculation that the summit would be cancelled because David Cameron was refusing to drop his threat of using Britain’s veto to block any future increase above the level of inflation.
Friday night’s deadlock was over demands by the European Commission for a £7.3 billion spending increase by the end of this year to meet a funding shortfall, figures that are disputed by Britain and other governments.
At the same time, the European Parliament wants to reinstate over £6.5 billion in funding that had been cut by governments from next year’s budget to reflect national austerity programmes. (Full article here)
Via Michael Hudson.
The Democrats could not have won so handily without the Citizens United ruling. That is what enabled the Koch Brothers to spend their billions to support right-wing candidates that barked and growled like sheep dogs to give voters little civilized option but to vote for “the lesser evil.” This will be President Obama’s epitaph for future historians. Orchestrating the election like a World Wrestling Federation melodrama, the Tea Party’s sponsors threw billions of dollars into the campaign to cast the President’s party in the role of “good cop” against stereotyped opponents attacking women’s rights, Hispanics and nearly every other hyphenated-American interest group.
In Connecticut, Senate candidate Linda McMahon spent a reported $97 million (including her earlier ego trip) to make her Democratic challenger look good. It was that way throughout the country. Republicans are pretending to wring their hands at their defeat, leaving the Democrats to beat up their constituency and take the blame four years from now.
Having recently uncovered in its own research that quantitative easing is enriching the richest 5%, and the British economy still mired in the doldrums even in spite of hundreds of billions of easing, the Bank of England announced last week that it was grounding its fleet of helicopters dropping cash onto the big banks and suspending the quantitative easing program.
Yet, this may not be the end for British monetary activism.
This week an even more radical debate burst into the open in Britain. Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, found himself fighting a rearguard action against a groundswell of support for “dropping money from helicopters” – something proposed by Milton Friedman in 1969 as the ultimate cure for intractable economic depressions and recently described in this column as “Quantitative Easing for the People.”