Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
“TONY Blair will earn around £2 million a year in his part-time role as adviser to the Wall Street bank JP Morgan without ever having to go into the office,” says the Telegraph.
“BLAIR’S £1m-A-Year PAYBACK FOR IRAQ,” thunders the Mail’s front-page headline.
Says Reg Keys, whose son was killed in Iraq: “If he had a conscience or any sensitivity he would not have taken this job.”
Chimes Conservative defence spokesman Gerald Howarth: “It will be viewed with some contempt by the armed forces that he picks up this large cheque when he was happy to send British troops into battle ill-equipped and in insufficient numbers.”
“It’s almost like blood money,” comes the headline inside the paper.
But surely if Tony is earning money and domiciled in the UK, he is paying UK taxes. His wages will go into the big pot and be used to pay for things like better guns, improved armour and more soldiers.
Like him or not, Blair has the right to earn money…
Sugar is the blunt businessman who left school at 16 and sold car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he had bought with his savings of £100. He is a trader by nature.
But the pupils are not being allowed out of class to sell the lamps they’ve made in design and technology, the home economics biscuits and car radios obtained from the teachers’ car park. Scholars at Matthew Arnold School, Surrey, are being invited to take part in challenges.
As the head teacher Jackie Pearson says: “Firms would set up a challenge, students would go off and do the challenge, come back and report on it and get told ‘you’re hired’, or ‘you’re fired’.”
What pupils are studying and aping is the celebrity Alan Sugar, the one who scowls as if someone has just poured white spirit over his car; the Alan Sugar who stars on The Apprentice TV show and sees which aggressive and pushy “I get results –I’m not here to be popular-I would murder my first born for this chance” agonist gets to be a trainee Alan.
Nto emntiely without interests, one of the cpanies invocleed with the schme is McDaionald’s
Anorak is minded of the maths teacher who equips every failed test with a McDonalds’s application form.
How to you motivate the little loves: stick, carrot, Sugar or two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun…
TAX in France: “Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday launched a far-reaching shake-up of French television, proposing to tax -commercial operators in order to fund a high-quality public broadcaster that would promote the country’s cultural and economic -’renaissance.
“The French president said at his first full press conference at the Elysée palace since his election seven months ago that advertising on the nation’s two public television stations could be scrapped.
“Instead, funding would be generated by a tax on mobile phone operators and internet service providers, as well as a levy on the advertising revenues of commercial channels.”
So the commercial channels will have to pay to fund their competitors? Genius! Do Tv execs burn cars?
TO the Indian call centre, sink of depair and hopeless phone calls:
Researchers estimated that heart disease, strokes and diabetes would cost India more than £100 billion in lost productivity over the next 10 years.
Staff in call centres dealing with customers in Britain say they have been shocked at the ferocity of the verbal attacks they encounter.
Nidhi Aggarwal, 24, said she had never heard some of the insulting language used – including the word “Paki” as a term of abuse – before she began taking orders for a British catalogue company, which routes its customers’ calls to a Bangalore call centre.
“At first, I thought I’d get used to it, but it’s been a year now and it’s not getting easier,” she said.
“On its own, maybe I could cope with the abuse, but there’s also the stress of finishing calls in one minute and hardly having time for breaks.”
Miss Aggarwal, an English graduate, said she planned to quit, tired of wishing customers a good morning only to hear: “Oh, I’m through to India am I? Put me through to someone who can understand English, you f****** cow.”
The Indian call centre is the eight layer ofg hell. The ninth layer is the Dell Indian call centre…
GOLDMAN Sachs workers taunted in New York:
You know Merrill and Morgan and Lehman and Citi
J.P. and Wamu and Bofa and Barclay’s
But do you recall?
The most famous i-bank of all?
Goldman the two-faced i-bank
Gave out very shoddy loans
And if you ever saw them
You’d wonder how its profits rose
All of the other i-banks
Lost billions on the subprime game
How did that crooked Goldman
Come away with all the fame?
Because it knew how bad it was
And it stoked the flames
At the same time that it made bad loans
It bet that folks would lose their homes
Right now it’s bonus season
And we’re shouting “don’t you see!
Goldman the two-faced i-bank
Pay now or pay in history!”
Frosty the Goldman
Frosty the Goldman
Was a very crafty soul
With a gilded pipe and a lot of dough
And a heart made out of coal
Frosty the Goldman
Was too smart to lose they say
He made awful loans
But he sure did know
How to swindle us for pay
There must have been some magic
In that goldman pipe he smoked
For when he held it to his lips
He made bank and we went broke
Frosty the Goldman
Was as rich as rich can be
But still he’d say
“Make the poor folks pay!
And bring their homes right back to me”
Frosty the Goldman
Knew there had to be a way
To boost his funds
At the end of the run
On the backs of the subprime prey
He plundered and pillaged
Like a felon on the lam
Running here and there all around De Beers
Saying catch me if you can
He led us down the road to debt
And before the market dropped
He even bet we’d lose our homes
And now we holler STOP!
Frosty the Goldman
It is soon your bonus day
Stop telling us lies
We can rhyme “securitize”
And you sure as hell can pay
thumpety thump thump
thumpety thump thump
Look at Goldman go
thumpety thump thump
thumpety thump thump
Give up your dirty dough
DEBT: “A man was left deaf, blind and brain-damaged after his young wife spiked his drinks with antifreeze because she had run up debts and wanted to claim against his £50,000 life assurance policy, a court was told yesterday.
“Kate Knight, 28, set out to murder her husband, Lee, 37, after taking out bank loans and remortgaging the family home, Stafford Crown Court was told. She considered giving him an overdose of Ecstasy or iron tablets before settling on antifreeze, which contains the poisonous chemical ethylene glycol, it is alleged.”
Knight denies attempted murder. The trial continues.
A LOOK at Road Pricing, with Dizzy:
Road pricing? Is it on? Is it off? Who actually knows? Some people might remeber that at Labour Conference, the Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, said that road pricing was “inevitable”A month later it was reported that the Government had U-turned on the subject.
For a policy that is supposedly dead it’s interesting though that since 2004 the Department of Transport has spent “£6.5 million on consultancy contracts including professional advice on possible technical designs, system architecture and cost modelling” and that “[a]nother £1.0 million is currently contractually committed through to the end of 2007-08″.
Wouldn’t be anything to do with ITIS Holdings that company that has the former Transport minister, Stephen Ladyman, who bigged up road pricing, consulting for it now? Worth noting at this point though that former MP and London Mayoral candidate, Steve Norris is a non-executive director of ITIS. NOt sure how that sqaures with his opposition to road pricing but there you go.
The point is though is that the DfT is spending quite a lot of money on a policy that it has been applied will not be happening. On, off, on again? Or never really off, just postponed to the right politically expeident moment?
HE WRITES: “Jobs define us; what we do and where we do it is the stuff of social introductions. How should they go nowadays? ‘My company badges up goods manufactured in China. We market them here – and India does the sales support. An American private-equity group runs the show, but is looking to sell us on next year.’”
Well, no. Jobs do not define us. People who ask “So what do you do?”, and expect to hear a label or job title in response, will always be the type best avoided.
Jobs are how we make a living. Nothing more…
PRESS Release on teaching finance in schools:
The ifs School of Finance has welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent call for schools and colleges to do more to educate their pupils about personal finance.
“When asked if there should be financial education in schools, Gordon Brown replied, “Yes absolutely. And I would favour more education in financial management and in financial budgeting generally at school. I’d like to see financial literacy…extended particularly through schools and colleges and their education programme.”
Anne Kiem, Director of External Affairs at the ifs School of Finance, said:
“We welcome Gordon Brown’s comments and hope this signals a change in Government policy which currently does not include any statutory provision of financial education or provide for any examinable financial education in schools.
We would like to work with Government to achieve our mutual aim of ensuring future generations have the capability to make informed financial decisions. The ifs School of Finance has long argued that financial education should be added to the core school curriculum, putting personal finance on an equal footing with other subjects such as Geography, History and Modern Foreign languages i.e. compulsory for schools to offer it but not compulsory for all students to take it. We welcome the Prime Minister’s comments as another step towards this goal.”
A good idea? Or not – espceially if the nippers work out how dear Gordon takes their spending money from mum’s purse…
HAVE a break. Have a KitKat. Or something Made in China: “Economists and politicians rant about China in terms of jobs lost, currency valuation, and trade gaps. But the New York Times reports that a new metric has been discovered: every year, Chinese workers manufacturing our toys, garments and electronic junk in the Peal River Delta collectively break 40,000 fingers.”
It makes people’s life’s better by flogging them Thoroughly Therapeutic Honey & Bilberry Foot Creme, Healthy Healing Carrot Nutritive Body Lotion, Body Butter and anythign else you can smear on your arse and a piece of “raw” wholemeal bread.
Over on the Treehugger blog, readers learn:
“We and our readers were surprised and some were dismayed when Burt’s Bees was sold to Clorox for $913 Million in November; The New York Times reveals that all was not going so sweetly well before this, and that Burt got the short end of the stick. It seems that Burt was living in a turkey coop when he met Roxanne Quimby in 1984; they split in 1993 and she bought him out in 1999 with a house worth $ 130,000.
She then sold 80% of the company to AEA,(according to a commenter, a buyout firm formed in 1968 by the Rockefeller, Harriman, and Mellon families) in 2003 and got $ 141 million; when Burt complained she gave him $ 4 million. She got another $150 million when it was sold to Clorox; Burt got nothing. His face is on the packaging but he is back living in a turkey coop.
No little shock to discover that the product range is not hand processed by a beared old man with a festish for yellow and black jumpers. Perhaps users can dream anti-capitalism but putting a wiry grey hair in their pot of Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Shampoo…
NOTES the Times: “LIVING standards in Britain are set to rise above those in America for the first time since the 19th century, according to a report by the respected Oxford Economics consultancy.
The calculations suggest that, measured by gross domestic product per capita, Britain can now hold its head up high in the economic stakes after more than a century of playing second fiddle to the Americans.
It says that GDP per head in Britain will be £23,500 this year, compared with £23,250 in America, reflecting not only the strength of the pound against the dollar but also the UK economy’s record run of growth and rising incomes going back to the early 1990s.
In those days, according to Oxford Economics, Britain’s GDP per capita was 34% below that in America, 33% less than in Germany and 26% lower than in France. Now, not only have average incomes crept above those in America but they are more than 8% above France (£21,700) and Germany (£21,665).
Hands up who can afford a new house….
SO many Europeans in New York, euros are now accepted. The death of the dollar..?
DOMINIC Lawson on money in the Independent:
“At the most grandiose end of this market in second sight are the forecasters of the big City investment banks. These are very respectable people with very respectable salaries. Last weekend’s Sunday Times Business section published a list of “2007′s Best Forecasters”. Perhaps the most significant single forecast that had been demanded of them was to predict what the Bank of England’s Base Rate would be at year-end. Of the “45 Best Forecasters” listed by The Sunday Times, how many do you think predicted the actual figure of 5.5 per cent? Not a single one of them – which might make you wonder what sort of crazy stuff The Sunday Times could have published if it had asked the 45 Worst Forecasters.”
If you knew wher the money was to be made, would you tell?
ANORAK’S look at money news in the media
THE TELEGRAPH: “Home buyers in the South are paying more than three times as much stamp duty as those in the North of the country, new figures show.
“People buying a property in the South of the UK paid an average of £6,280 in stamp duty during 2006-07, while those in the North paid just £1,994 during the same period, according to online mortgage firm mform.co.uk.”
Anyone else think this is because homes in the south cost more than they do in the north?
DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Shoppers defy the credit crunch in sales chase”
A “stampede” in London’s Oxford Street. “However, retail experts said the bumper trading day – combined with the surprisingly buoyant few days before Christmas – would not be enough to stave off falling profits and even a raft of bankruptcies on the high street in the wake of the credit crunch”
SKY NEWS: “The Bank of England cut the cost of borrowing by 0.25% to 5.5% earlier this month, in an attempt to help shore up the economy in the wake of the global credit crunch”
DORSET ECHO: “FORGET the credit crunch – after just one day off, shoppers in Bournemouth hit the sales on Boxing Day to hand retailers a welcome post-Christmas bonus”
DAILY MAIL: “No end in sight to credit crunch – Any notion that the credit crunch will ease in the New Year was firmly dispelled by a double whammy of bleak news from across the Atlantic”
THE GUARDIAN: “The European economy is managing to stave off the impact of financial market turbulence, European Central Bank Governing Council member Guy Quaden was quoted as saying on Thursday. ‘The danger of a drying up of credit for the broader economy, the infamous credit crunch that some referred to at the start of the crisis, has not materialised’”
NISSAN Press Release: “Whether it’s coping with the credit crunch or the crunch of snow beneath your feet, Nissan has a range of deals to warm the cockles of your heart this winter”
DETROIT FREE PRESS: “What credit crisis? Art market booms”
CHANNEL 4: “Sales fever lifts credit crunch gloom – Scuffles broke out as sales fever began early at some stores before dawn, as the post-Christmas sales continue”
DAILY EXPRESS: “With the run-up to Christmas generally perceived as slow, many chains opened on Boxing Day hoping to attract shoppers amid signs of economic slowdown fuelled by the Northern Rock crisis and the global credit crunch. Despite growing fears in the City about the economy, the concerns are yet to filter down to consumers, with more than half saying they remain confident about their personal finances, a new poll revealed”
And because only political party fundraisers, the man from the Pru and people called Clive know anything about their money, the newspapers need to explain how money works it in BIG, EASY WORDS. The only issue sesem to be if subprime shod be subpirme, sub primne or the fenc sitting sub-prime.
Today, Telegraph readers are treated to “Affluent teens ‘steal gifts parents can’t afford’”.
Writes John Steele, Crime Correspondent: “The credit crunch is driving more and more middle-class children to shoplift expensive gifts denied them by their parents, a charity has warned.”
It’s not Armani’s fault she’s been pinched with a Swarkorski crystal-encased iPod in her jodhpurs but that of American money lenders.
If you must blame someone, blame New Century Financial – a major sub-prime lender in the US that has had its shares suspended on the New York Stock Exchange – and Billy Bob and Billy-Jean for dreaming of owning their own trailer…
But the story is not about the cost of credit cards to users who fail to pay their balance in full. You need to read on to discover that the reduced costs are on for shops who accept payment by credit and debit cards.
Shops pay some of their revenues to the credit card companies for processing the transactions. To cover the cost, shops put their prices up.
And the headline making “SLASHED” costs might not come into force. The EU ruling relates to card authorisation charges “imposed on customers travelling to other EU member states”. The likes of Mastercard have been given six months to comply.
Says Brussels Competition Commissioner Neelie Koes, it’s “an early Christmas present to consumers”
British consumers should reap the benefits sometime in June, when they buy their groceries in Spain…
Picture: Gawd Beless The EU – Poldraw
RICHARD Branson wants to buy Northern Rock:
The battle to sell stricken mortgage bank Northern Rock hit huge new difficulties this weekend when it emerged that favoured bidder Sir Richard Branson doesn’t have a banking licence.
Branson might be Santa after all…
London is in between New York and Berlin – use your magnifying glass…
THE GUARDIAN: “Carbon myths – Recycling and banning plastic bags are all very well, but they won’t save the planet. Instead, we should fly less, go vegan and insulate the loft, says Chris Goodall”
Politicians extol the virtues of domestic generation of electricity. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have committed themselves to paying us 45p a unit for electricity from the solar panels on our roof, about 10 times the wholesale price paid to the large, coal-fired Drax power station, in North Yorkshire. Microgeneration may be fashionable, but it is an astonishingly expensive way of reducing emissions. Less glamorous, but more effective, would be a plan to put a £20 note in the centre of every roll of loft insulation. British houses are the worst insulated in northern Europe and subsidised insulation would cut emissions far more cheaply than encouraging wind turbines or solar photovoltaic panels
THE TIMES front page: “Up on the roof – a power struggle”
Wind or sun? Should Britain be a land of little windmills or should we hope that global warming kicks in and our enemy the sun stops giving us cancer and instead makes enough juice for us to our TV,s PCs and SUVs?
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Gordon Brown’s solar panels versus David Cameron’s wind turbine. It would take 100 years to recoup the £15,000 investment of Brown’s panels, and 60 years to make Cameron’s £ 3,100 turbine’s pay.
David Cameron has both panels and turbine. He may also have a hydro electric damn in the bath between the duck, the flannel and the clockwork mermaid.
Says Gordon Brown in “Did I ever think it would be fun? …well you can never get bored”: “Very quietly we have put solar panels on our home in Scotland quite some time ago. We have been operating with solar power for some time.”
Very quietly – and talked about in the pages of a national newspaper…
The company behind Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos is not doing so well.
Why? Is it because punters would rather stay in and play online in the comfort of their own homes, rather than sat in some neon-lit, nylon carpeted throw-back?
Or is it because you cannot smoke in a bingo parlour or casino?
“The company behind Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos has been on the slide all year as the smoking ban and falling consumer confidence has taken a hefty toll on gambling revenues,” says the Mail.
Bingo halls are being sold off. Who buys them? “One sign of the times is that the buyers of the property have often been churches,” says the Mail. “They seem to be the ones with the money at the moment,” says chief executive Ian Burke.
More power to the religionists’ elbows in purging areas of the sink of vice and manmade fibres that is a bingo hall.
So is religion to blame for Rank’s misfortune, on top of the smoking ban?
Says the paper: “Rank now enters a tough Christmas period, when customers typically stay away from gambling shops and spend their cash on presents and food.”
Or they stay in and play casino games online. And you can smoke at home. We don’t advocate smoking as a rule, but if you want to, you can.
Play online and light up your life…
THERE’S been a bit of a puzzler in The City over the past few weeks. Yes, it’s all this credit crunch thing again. If, as we are told, banks aren’t lending to each other any more, if commercial paper isn’t getting rolled over (both of which are broadly true), then why aren’t the banks lining up to borrow from the Bank of England?
Because the thing is, if you’re a bank, you really do need to have the money. In the short term it doesn’t matter what you have to pay for it: you’ve simply got to have it and damn the price. If you don’t balance your books at the end of the day, if you don’t get the money from somewhere, then you’re bust, after all. Looks like we’ve found the answer:
EU sources say Britain’s banks have been clamouring for money in Frankfurt, accounting for a substantial chunk of the €190bn (£132bn) lent last week in the ECB’s variable tender operation. “It is fair to say they have been borrowing from the ECB on a very large scale. It’s cheap, so why not,” said one official.
“The money markets may look as if they are functioning again in Britain, but in reality they are not,” he said. Mr Redeker believes the key motive in going to Frankfurt is the certainty of secrecy, rather than the lower interest rate.
“Nobody wants to take up the Bank of England’s three-month tender because of the stigma. They will be punished immediately by the markets,” he said.
While the Bank of England says it will not publish names, there are concerns that the British press will unearth the story somehow. It is safer to stick to Frankfurt, where the ECB does not even reveal the nationality of banks coming to the window – masking the picture.
The German press has reported that Barclays Capital in a major borrower at the ECB tenders. The bank has declined to comment.
While this may sound good, there’s no crisis because the banks are getting the money they need at a price they’re willing to pay, it does pose a larger problem for the future. At the moment, bank regulation and oversight, including the level of interest rates, is all to do with three parties. The Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England. Part of being able to oversee and control the wilder excesses of the banks is being able to control how much money they can get hold of and at what price: it’s the key way that interest rates are set, for example.
If the ECB is now acting as such a lender, it’s not so much that the BoE is independent, as claimed, as it is impotent.
SO who are the real losers from the sub prime mortgage implosion and the consequent credit crunch?
Well, some good news I think from the USA. At least some of the losers have been people who should have known better and also who no one’s going to lose much sleep over.
As Felix Salmon points out, NetBank has just gone bust. Deposit insurance in the US covers only the first $100,000, so anyone with more than that will have to wait until the whole thing is closed down, the equipment down to the last mousepad sold off and all the debts paid: and then we’ll see if there’s anything left. But who was it that had a large deposit in said bank?
So Colthrust started a subprime lender, sold it, and then used the proceeds to start a company finding leads for other subprime lenders. He also put all his money in NetBank, which promptly went belly-up in the subprime meltdown. There’s some kind of poetic justice there, I think.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people, don’t you think?