The French were willing to 'slash' retirement ages by a few days as the Greeks tied property tax payments to electricity supply in an effort to raise revenues but it seems the much-talked about austerity that is such a great hardship for Europe's non-German/Fins/Dutch is missing in action. Today we hear of the progress in Italy as la Republica explains the incredible provocation of the under-secretary of the economy Gianfranco Polillo that: "We are in a country where you work an average of nine months each year, and I think that now we must think that these nine months of work are too short," suggesting - shock, horror - that "if we gave up one week of vacation, we would have an immediate impact on GDP of around 1%". First of all - adding 1% from an additional week seems a 'stretch' but nevertheless as Wirtschaftsfacts notes that these comments only "reinforce the prejudices in the northern countries of the euro zone, that many employees are in the southerners lazy and workshy." So the next time we hear Monto proclaiming the need for Zee Germans to step up or the ECB to monetize, it is clear now what exactly he is protecting - his all-year tan!
Polillo explains his country's hardship:
"We are living beyond our means because we have a current account deficit of balance of payments which is about 3 points of GDP, a fact often overlooked. This means that we each year to support our domestic consumption we need loans abroad in recent years amounted to 50 billion euros. So if we do not close this gap we can not continue to use foreign borrowing to support consumption. " "This gap - he added - and we can fill in two ways: by reducing domestic demand and would be unacceptable if we want to destroy the country or by increasing the productive potential of the country."