Connect with us


French protesters take one last angry tug ahead of vote on pension bill



PARIS. Hundreds of thousands of French demonstrators flooded cities across the country on Wednesday, and striking workers disrupted railroads and closed schools to protest the government’s plan to raise the legal retirement age in a last show of force before the contested bill was passed. voting on Thursday.

The march – the eighth such national mobilization in two months – and the strikes epitomize the confrontation between two apparently unshakable forces: President Emmanuel Macron, unwavering in his determination to revise pensions, and large crowds of protesters who have vowed to keep fighting. even if a bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 is passed by Parliament—as many believe.

“Macron didn’t listen to us and I don’t want to listen to him anymore,” said Patrick Agman, 59, who marched in Paris on Wednesday. “I don’t see any other option but to lock down the country now.”

But it remains unclear what form the protest movement will take from here, whether there is enough room for it to turn into some of the unbridled social unrest that France has experienced before, or slowly die out.

Despite crowds marching in cities from Le Havre in Normandy to Nice on the French Riviera on Wednesday, a joint committee of legislators from both houses of parliament agreed on a joint version of the pensions bill, sending it to a vote on Thursday.

While it remained unclear whether Mr Macron received enough support outside of his centrist political party to secure a vote, the prime minister could still use special constitutional powers to push the bill through without a vote. It’s the tool the government used to pass the budget bill in the fall, but it risks subjecting it to a vote of no confidence.

In a sense, Wednesday’s demonstrations were the latest attempt to prevent the bill from passing into law. “This is the last call to Parliament not to vote for this reform,” Laurent Bergé, head of the country’s largest trade union, the French Democratic Confederation of Labour, said at a march in Paris.

According to the agency, three-quarters of the French believe that the law will be passed. study This was reported on Wednesday by the sociological service Ellabe. And many protesters looked beyond the vote, convinced that a new wave of demonstrations could force the government to withdraw the law once it was passed.

Some teachers said they had already notified their directors of the next strike. Others said they saved money in anticipation of future strike-related wage losses.

“In fact, the goal is to hold out as long as possible,” said 26-year-old Benedikt Pelve, who was demonstrating holding a cardboard box in which she raised money to support the striking railroad workers.

Throughout the route of the march in Paris, colorful signs, banners and graffiti reflected the determination to continue the fight, regardless of the consequences. “Even if it’s rubbish, we will get out of this mess,” read the red graffiti on the wall, a reference to the rubbish heaps that have accumulated in all the cities of France due to the garbage workers’ strike.

Rémy Boulanger, 56, who has participated in all eight nationwide demonstrations against the pension bill, said anger has grown among protesters at the government, which he says has “remained deaf to our demands.”

France relies on payroll taxes to fund its pension system. Mr Macron has long argued that people should work longer hours to support retirees who live longer. But his opponents say the plan will unfairly affect workers, who have shorter life expectancies, and point to other financial solutions such as taxing the rich.

According to an Ellabe poll, about 70% of French people want the protests to continue, and four out of 10 say they should intensify.

Trade union leaders have hinted that the mobilization will not stop, but so far have not disclosed their plans. “It’s never too late to go out,” Philippe Martinez, head of the far-left CGT union, said on Wednesday.

France has a long history of street demonstrations as a means to bring about or block change. More recently, the “yellow vest” movement that started in 2018 led to demonstrations that continued for months and forced the government to abandon plans to raise fuel taxes. But the last time the French government caved in to demonstrators and revoked a law already passed was in 2006, when a contested youth employment contract was repeated.

“Redoing 2006 would be ideal,” Mr. Boulanger said. But he acknowledged that a sense of fatigue is spreading among the protesters — Wednesday’s protests were smaller than they were a week ago. He said he was instead looking to the next presidential election, more than four years away, to bring about change.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Zero to Hero – WSJ



President Joe Biden at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, March 15.


Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Isn’t it strange that so many people who create problems then turn into heroes and solve the same problems they created themselves?

Between the $1.9 trillion American bailout of the Biden administration and the $738 billion Inflation Reduction Act, and paying people not to work, bidenflation is raging. It peaked last summer at 8.5% but is still running at 6%. In December, President Biden, a recently self-described inflation fighter, said, “My goal is simple: to control prices without stifling economic growth.” And here it is: the Biden administration is trying to kill the inflation dragon it has created.

To help fight inflation, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate from January 2022 to almost zero to 4.5-4.75%. This has resulted in many banks, such as Silicon Valley Bank, holding portfolios of underwater bonds and mortgage-backed securities. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in her previous role as Federal Reserve Chair, kept rates too low for too long.

According to Ms. Yellen, now to save the banks, the Treasury is together with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. and the Fed will act “Thus which fully protects all depositors”, that is, those who are not insured for more than $250,000. Catch it? She helped cause inflation and is now a savings hero. The press release notes: “The taxpayer does not bear any losses associated with the bailout of Silicon Valley Bank.” Aha Ignore those behind-the-scenes losses that “will be repaid by a special valuation of the banks.” Maybe no one will notice.

This trio of DC heroes effectively guarantees all bank deposits, which, by the way, total $17.7 trillion, even though the Fed’s balance sheet is only $8.4 trillion. Hm. This creates classic moral hazard, prompting bankers to let the risk go wild (no need for a chief risk officer) and then maximize profits because feds intervene later. The only thing this guarantees is future bailouts.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is also playing this game of “saving us from our own mistakes.” He kept the bets below the consumer price index level throughout most of his five-year tenure. Now that inflation is going through the roofWhat this page has repeatedly warned about is what happens when you use negative real interest rates, Mr. Powell suddenly becomes an inflation hawk. He said he wantsactively use our tools but thoughtfully and get inflation under control.” And he’ll raise the stakes.”until the job is done“. A hero who solves a problem he helped create.

Meanwhile, a string of bankrupt banks is on his trail. While Silicon Valley bank officials apparently burned down the bank, they were given gasoline and matches by the Biden administration and the Fed, who now demanded credit for having their fire truck rushing to the rescue.

This is an age old game. Congress and President-elect Franklin Roosevelt pulled this on the underdog President Herbert Hoover. When the banks began to fail in earnest in early 1933, hoover sketched emergency banking bill, but Congress ignored it. That’s five days anus Following Roosevelt’s inauguration on March 4, Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act of 1933, the language of which is nearly identical to that of the Hoover Act. So, guess who is the US economy bailout hero? Oh, and the opening of an era of big government.

Many blue city administrators who gave way to the 2020 Police Protection movement that caused chaos are now fighting crime. Mayor of San Francisco London Breed cut police and sheriff department budgets by $120 million in July 2020. Four hundred policemen were released. Not surprisingly, looting and crime skyrocketed. Last month Ms Breed asked for a budget supplement “to help fund police overtime caused by a severe shortage of police manpower.” The transformation of Nero into a hero.

Remember Anthony Fauci, the hero who helped us all survive during the pandemic? Now that the Department of Energy and Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed the Wuhan laboratory leak theory, more effort is needed to understand the doctor. Fauci and the National Institutes of Health are funding coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Last week, Mr. Biden approved drilling at the Willow oil field in Alaska. Thank you, Joe, even if it’s only 0.002% of Alaska’s natural oil reserves, but maybe, just maybe, this will put an end to the inevitable energy shortage and the coming price hike. Of course, we’ve already seen shortages and high prices since Mr. Biden. canceled Keystone pipeline immediately after his inauguration. Last week, to progressive applause, he also declared the Arctic Ocean closed to oil and gas leases. Mr. Biden seems to have a heroic smile on both sides of his mouth.

Beware of those who wrap themselves in cloaks.

Write to

Magazine Editorial Report: The Best and Worst of the Week by Kim Strassel, Kate Bachelder Odell, Mary O’Grady and Dan Henninger. Images: AP/AFP/Getty Images/Zuma Press Composite: Mark Kelly

Copyright © 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Published in print edition March 20, 2023

Continue Reading


Jayanti Chauhan to lead Bisleri International after Tata’s departure



Jayanti Chauhan, daughter of Bisleri International Chairman Ramesh Chauhan, will now be at the helm of the bottled water company. Economic Times (ET) said on Monday. Jayanti is currently the vice chairman of the company.

“Jayanti will run the company with our professional team and we don’t want to sell the business,” said Ramesh Chauhan. ET. She will work with a team led by CEO Angelo George.

Last November, Bisleri International entered into negotiations with Tata Consumer Products (TCPL) to sell a majority stake in the company for Rs 6,000-7,000 crore. It stated that the deal would be completed in the next “7-8 months”.

However, TCPL said last week that it had stopped negotiations and “did not enter into any definitive agreements or binding commitments on this issue.”

“The company would like to announce that it has now terminated negotiations with Bisleri regarding the potential deal and confirm that the company has not entered into any definitive agreements or binding commitments on this matter,” the regulators said in a statement.

Jayanti has been in the company’s business for several years. Recently, she has been working on expanding the Bisleri Vedika brand.

Bisleri was originally an Italian company founded by Felice Bisleri. He appeared in Mumbai in 1965 with his brand of packaged drinking water. According to market information, four years later, Ramesh Chauhan and his brothers purchased the firm for Rs 4 million.

The company currently has over 122 active factories and 4,500 distributors in India and neighboring countries. According to media reports, Bisleri’s sales are likely to be Rs 2,500 crore, with a net profit of more than Rs 200 crore in FY 2022-23 (Fiscal Year 23). In fiscal year 22, TCPL’s operating revenue was Rs 12,425 crore.

Had the deal gone through, TCPL would have become the largest in the Indian consumer goods sector. The largest deal in this area so far took place in April 2020 when Hindustan Unilever acquired Horlicks from GSK for Rs 3,045 crore.

Continue Reading


How ‘payment banks’ can prevent the next bank crash



At the heart of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse were uninsured savers — specifically start-ups that have much more than the $250,000 insured limit and can’t get paid without access to their accounts. This is tempting given SVB’s inability to suggest that the insured deposit limit needs to be raised, but this decision creates new problems. The best approach for the US would be to follow the example of other countries and create “payment banks” that are virtually risk-free, highly regulated, and have access to the payment network. They will be a place where companies can place funds – such as venture capital investments meant to pay wages – without exposing themselves to the risks that conventional banks create.

The failure of Silicon Valley Bank highlighted the underestimated weaknesses of the US banking system. While banking crises have historically been linked to credit risk, the recent crisis of confidence has arisen from unrealized losses on safe-haven securities that have left savers anxiously seeking liquidity. The liquidation of these securities resulted in losses in current market prices and heightened the fears of these depositors, leading to a bank run.

While insured savers have little to worry about, the recent crisis has highlighted the critical role of large uninsured savers who are understandably prone to worry. They make up more $8 trillion — or about 40% of all US deposits.

And one concern in particular stands out: the prospect of many companies inability to pay wages was a critical aspect of this crisis, as it became clear that some uninsured depositors were business customers who could not pay their employees without access to their accounts.

The problem of uninsured deposits

As an emergency response, the FDIC needed to effectively remove the deposit insurance limit and declare troubled banks systemically important to restoring calm. This solution is problematic for many reasons. In the absence of many new rules, unlimited deposit insurance gives banks a terrible incentive. And the rules needed to dampen those dire stimuli could stifle risk in the economy as a whole.

A deeper solution to this problem lies in understanding the dilemma of uninsured savers and addressing their needs more directly. It is easy to portray the uninsured saver as a reckless risk seeker. who flutters between banks in search of profitability. This caricature does not deserve saving or much sympathy. But the reality is that many uninsured savers face a huge dilemma.

Consider the problem of wages in the private sector, which is more than $9 trillion in annual cash flows in the US only. Large sums of money must be deposited on a regular basis, and this money must be placed in a bank in order to access the payment system. These deposits simply have no alternative other than banks, and are therefore susceptible to banks lending or buying assets. with these large deposits. In this process, all of our paychecks are dependent on the decisions of the bankers, who can take these large, unstable deposits, risk them, and then socialize the losses when we are forced to withdraw deposit insurance.

The case of “payment banks”

The problem of uninsured savers is really a problem of access to the payment system – a system monopolized by central banks and then delegated to banks. The problem of wages is a prime example of this problem, since wage funds must necessarily be kept in banks, where they are exposed to the risks mentioned above.

happy, other countries began to look for ways to solve this problem. V Great Britain, AustraliaAnd Singapore everyone has been innovating and we can learn a useful lesson from their efforts. Basically, there are two possible solutions: allow non-banks access to the payment system, as the UK and other countries have allowed, or create banks that do nothing more than solve this “wage problem”. We prefer the latter.

To solve the problem of uninsured creditors without distorting incentives to take risks, the US should create a special class of banks called a “payment bank” that does nothing but process payments. Their deposit base will be large and potentially volatile, they will be highly regulated (even more so than money market funds), and they will not be able to take on credit or repayment risk. In short, they will accept payroll deposits and other such large B2B transactions and facilitate access to the payment system.

What will be the business model for these payment banks? There are two possibilities: they can make a safe profit by investing these deposits in the Federal Reserve at the federal funds rate, or they can charge their clients a very small fee for facilitating these large payments. Investing large amounts of these deposits for very short periods without risk can generate significant returns, especially in the current environment, and it is possible that some of this income may even be returned to depositors.

While we have characterized this as a wage problem, there are many other economic agents with large, unstable deposits who are just looking to get into the payment system. Consider a $100 million business that has $70 million in annual costs and prudently keeps cash equivalent to monthly expenses in the bank to cover payments. Alternatively, consider starting a venture capital or private equity fund that seeks to raise capital or use capital to acquire companies.

Currently, these funds must be accessed by traditional banks in order to access payment features. Indeed, this is precisely the business model for both Silicon Valley Bank and Bank of the First Republic. But every bank has such clients. Indeed, the broader scope of card payments is Where 9 trillion dollars in card payments must be routed to merchant bank accounts through merchant acquirers – has similar features.

By creating payment banks, large unstable deposits that far exceed any reasonable deposit insurance limit will find a suitable place in a highly regulated bank that carries virtually no credit or repayment risk and can facilitate their transactions. More importantly, the entire banking system will no longer bear the burden of these uninsured deposits and will be able to return to its core function of retail deposits and making sound lending and asset management decisions. And we can avoid lifting the limit on deposit insurance and turning all banks into systemic ones. In some ways, this solution is less ambitious and far more realistic than using stablecoins or central bank digital currency to facilitate B2B payments on alternative payment rails. In many ways, this idea reflects the principles of industrial power. clearing and settlement applied in financial markets to a wider range of payments.

The reality is that the US banking system has become much less dynamic since the global financial crisis. Almost no entrance. while number of US banks may be high compared to many other countries, the truth is that we do not need more traditional banks – we need different types of banks. Crises are terrible things to wasteand it could lead us to a much safer banking system by recognizing the problem of uninsured depositors and creating a home for them.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 News Forest Media.