The US have been struggling to broker a tax and spending deal which Democrats and Republicans can agree on. The deadline for the so called fiscal cliff, one of many in the US over the years, passed with many Americans being pushed over the edge. As the midnight New Year's Eve deadline passed no agreement was reached. Perhaps it was rather that an agreement was on the
way but not fully agreed and able to be signed into law.What politicians thought Americans and the World would make of this last minute wrangling is unclear. For sure it did not make any of them look more appealing. Many Americans began 2013 with negativity and uncertainty hanging over their heads. The tax hikes kicked in as soon as the deadline was passed, although now that a deal is agreed that will be rescinded.After the Senate passed the deal on Tuesday it was a wait and see period of time until the House of Representatives had their say. The vote came late Tuesday and the deal was passed albeit with a lesser majority than in the Senate.
The bill was passed in the House of Representatives by 257 votes to 167.The BBC reported,
The bill was "just one step in the broader effort to strengthen the economy" said President Obama
After pressure to agree a deal before the Markets opened today after the Christmas break, "Financial markets have responded positively to the move.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index opened up 2.1% on Wednesday morning, while South Korea's Kospi added 1.7% and Australia's ASX 200 rose 1.2%.
UK shares jumped 1.5% on opening, German stocks gained by 1.6%, while France's Cac 40 rose 1.4% and Italy's stocks gained 2%."
The Bill, although widely accepted as the best deal possible, is bound to have its attackers. Such is politics. You can never please all of the voters. Both sides have compromised. In the end although Republicans maintained that their efforts had the best interest of the US economy at heart they began to look simply churlish, intent on protecting the more wealthy of society.
Spending cuts will have to be implemented somewhere along the line. Just where the "axe" will fall will take more heated debate. Getting it wrong could lead to a dip in incomes for those who can least afford to take a hit but it could also jeopardise the US economy and ultimately other countries around the world that trade with America.
That said it is estimated that the USA has $17trillion worth of debt. That means that sooner or later something will have to give. Today's Bill only offers respite for the next two months and then that dreaded fiscal cliff will be approached once more.
Talks on the latest EU budget proposals have resumed in Brussels today, November 23, 2012. All the participants, the leaders of EU countries, knew that it would be difficult to reach an agreement.
Yesterday each leader who arrived had individual meetings with Herman Van Rompuy President of the European Council. Why each had to speak behind closed doors without their so called community buddies says it all.
Then after Dinner the leaders got down to the nitty gritty. The doors closed and in what is now a smoke free zone attempts were made to thrash out a deal which appealed to all. In the past the smoke filled room would have been torture for non smoking members.
In the end the the talks were alte commencing after already lengthy debates. They only last 11/2 half hours and today they will resume in ernest.
Finding a deal which will appeal to all was always going to be nigh on impossible. Each region of the EU has its own priorities and set of challenges. The UK is being blamed by some countries for being demanding. Ask Brits if they agree with that assessment and most would say no. Here in the UK we are constantly told what we can and cannot do by Europe, or so it appears.
As PM David Cameron babbles on about cuts and austerity measures in the UK he knows that the people of Britain will not take kindly to an increase in EU budgets. Agricultural policies are extremly important to countries such as France but they will not be a prime concern in the UK. And so on it goes.
Herman Van Rompuy said today as the talks are due to get underway,
Today we must decide on our Union's budget from 2014 to 2020. Maybe this meeting will
be long and complicated. Fortunately this issue only comes up every seven years!
The decision before us is simple: making sure the Union has the money to do what we
want it to do, for all of us, knowing the budgetary constraints in each of our countries.
Over these past weeks and in the course of the day, I already met all of you individually,
and I listened carefully. All the views around this table are well known: red lines, requests
for spending, requests for savings, and much more.
The proposal which I put on the table is a moderation budget. The times call for it. Doing
more with less money involves political choices. This is painful, even when cuts are evenly
spread. So we must be sensible and realistic.
But we must not forget this is budget for the rest of the decade. It must be future-oriented.
My proposal focuses on jobs and growth in all regions and in different economic sectors,
on research and investments, for instance in connecting Europe, while ensuring our Union
can also continue to deliver the actions our citizens have come to expect.
I am working now for a deal with all of you. We have to work with the European interest
in mind, alongside the national interests. Together we will find a balanced solution. It's
necessary and I'm convinced it's within our reach. So, dear colleagues, let's get down to
OPINIONMany people of Europe now accept that the EU dream is a nightmare. A growing nimber want to see the end of the EU or at the very least their own country use the exit door. With all of the countries so reliant on each other that would not be easy. The domino effect could mean that if one country leaves or topples we all go down. You have to wonder about the economic sense of becoming so dependent on each other in the first place.This blogger's first time election vote many years ago was at a time when the UK was not in the European Economic Community as it was called then, the Common Market.
She opted to vote for an Independent Anti Common Market politician. Perhaps she knew then it would all end in tears.The UK fought long and hard to enter the EU. De Gaulle of France tried his best to keep the UK out. On November 27, 1967, once again De Gaulle said "non" to Great Britain. The EEC was small back then with just five member countries namely
Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, France and Germany . The other countries were ready to welcome the UK but not France.In true bulldog spirit that made the country all the more determined. In truth though it was never about the people as a whole wanting to join the EU. The peopleof Britain were never given a vote on whether to join or not. It was about the wants of bureaucrats and politicians in the UK. Their track records say it all.Updates will follow as and when, or should that be if, any agreement is reached.Related reading:
http://www.wherebuttheuk.com/1/post/2012/11/pm-david-cameron-in-brussels-for-eu-budget-talks.htmlUpdates 11.30amThere are reports that a compromise looks unlikely.
The latest reports claim that concessions could be made which will help France and Poland. This will mainly be through the agricultural policy. It is worth noting that "France and Poland respectively are the top recipients of EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies and regional aid money, known in EU jargon as cohesion funds. Jointly, the two spending programmes consume more than two-thirds of the bloc's annual 130 billion euro (105 billion pounds) outlay."Early EveningThe Budget talks ended in failure. For once PM Cameron for hte UK and Chancellor Merkel for Germany agreed on something. Both were looking for assurances that the EU budget would not increase. In what was a laboured meeting agreement could not be reached. Initially it was anticipated that the talks would carry on into the weekend. It must have been obvious that a compromise could not be found though as
in the end the talks were abandoned. They finished with nothing agreed. It is unlikely they will resume before next year.
Latest news from Brussels on the budget talks