FAQFAQ          SearchSearch          MemberlistMemberlist          UsergroupsUsergroups    RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile          Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages          Log inLog in          
that pesky Asturian language...

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Asturian-American Migration Forum Index -> The Future of Asturias - El futuro de Asturias
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:38 pm    Post subject: that pesky Asturian language... Reply with quote

For those getting ready to go back to school in the fall, I recommend you read Ismael M. Gonzalez Arias’ column in today’s (August 8, 200/) El Comercio. It’s a commentary about his schooling during the Franco years, a little Fellinesque. And it shows how power in Spain—in this case in Asturias—was a shift in shape more than in hands, when Franco finally died in 1975.

The Catholic-driven school system of the fascist regime churned out today’s political class in Asturias. It’s only natural they are so politically calculating, so dogmatic and so profoundly mediocre. Ismael cites Javier Fernandez, the secretary general of the PSOE (Federacion Socialista Asturiana) in Asturias, as a prototype of that era. If you’re able to follow the op-ed in Spanish, notice the patronizing way Javier Fernandez has of lauding Ismael for a column he wrote in Asturian not long ago.

“Why do you waste your time writing in Asturian?” asks Fernandez, as if his own choice of language (Castilian Spanish) were a hallmark of sophistication (Fernandez is himself from a coal-mining district, not exactly the locus of city patricians). Ismael, who apparently reads and writes in several languages (and has dabbled in Arabic), takes it all in stride. He answers:

“…Puedo perder el tiempo escribiendo más o menos mal en cinco lenguas y sólo me llaman la atención sobre que lo hago en asturiano aquellos que nada más hablan una. Y mal.” (I may be wasting my time writing more or less in 5 languages, but only those who speak a single language—and speak it poorly—are the ones who fault me for writing in Asturian).

Should anyone be unaware, the Asturian and Galician languages spoken in the Principality have no legal status. Local politicians, and especially those of the PSOE/FSA, would like them to disappear altogether and thus rid themselves of a political headache. They see no net asset value in what they refer to as ‘peasant’ culture, in part, because their schooling taught them to denigrate it. Their lack of intellectual curiosity and independent thinking locks them in Spain’s pre-1975.

“Aquella España de las cuencas” (by ISMAEL MARÍA GONZÁLEZ ARIAS, August 8, 2007)

EL primer día de colegio nos hicieron formar en el patio. El director nos dio la bienvenida al centro y se retiró al interior seguido por dos personas que suponíamos eran profesores. Se quedó con nosotros quien nos había hecho formar y cubrirnos a toque de silbato. Más adelante lo tuvimos como profesor de Formación del Espíritu Nacional. Los mayores, como profesor de Gimnasia. Apenas se retiró el director dio dos pasos al frente y miró a los ojos al más alto de todos nosotros. Aunque podíamos oírle todos en voz de susurro, le gritó:

-Usted, dígame alto y claro, que todos sus compañeros le oigan, ¿qué es España?
A nuestro compañero le costó sacar la voz del cuerpo, pero contestó rápidamente:
-Una playa de Villaviciosa.

Aquel día aprendimos que España era una unidad de destino en lo universal. Nosotros de palabra. Nuestro compañero a guantazo limpio. Yo tuve suerte de que me expulsaran apenas tres semanas más tarde. Nada menos que por ofensas a la religión católica. Resulta todavía hoy difícil de explicar cómo se puede ofender a la religión católica con nueve años. Pero estábamos en 1968 y, entonces, España y la religión católica tenían otras connotaciones.

Resultó complicado regresar a les cuenques, a un instituto público como el Bernaldo de Quirós, con aquel historial. El curso de primero de bachiller ya había comenzado. Me sentaron en el último pupitre, rodeado, no obstante, entre mis compañeros, de la aureola de 'raro'. Ya conté en otro artículo el buen recuerdo que dejó en mí el paso por el bachiller en este instituto, en líneas generales. Con todo y aprender de forma más o menos clara qué era España, la grandeza del ser español y la belleza de la lengua del imperio. Un aprendizaje que sirvió de poco para alguien que aún sigue creyendo, antes que nada, que España es una hermosa playa de Villaviciosa. Y, la lengua del imperio, ahora que el inglés está de capa caída, el chino.

Con todo, los productos de aquella enseñanza que fuimos nosotros, los seguimos conservando con una serie de tics directamente aprendidos e interiorizados en aquellos años y por aquel sistema. El más babayu y evidente de todos ellos quizás sea el que hace decir a tantos, como dogma de fe, que España es Asturies y lo demás tierra conquistada.

No se trata de una cuestión de derechas ni de izquierdas. Todos aprendimos más o menos por igual, aunque acabáramos asumiendo las cosas de manera diferente. Les cuenques son el sur de Asturies y cumplen la misma función que el sur de España, en cuanto a gran reserva del voto de la izquierda. Lo que no quita para que escuche tantas veces a dirigentes de esa izquierda joven y moderna y me dé la sensación de continuar sintiendo a mis profesores de Formación del Espíritu Nacional. Algo que podría resultar normal en Isidro Fernández Rozada, dirigente de la derecha de la cuenca y antiguo profesor del ramo, pero que resulta anacrónico en alguien como Javier Fernández.

Y no es anacrónico. Javier Fernández es un producto de les cuenques cien por cien. Un producto típico de aquellos años. Recuerdo con especial cariño -mezclado con odio- a un maestro de la escuelina de Santa Marina que nos cruzaba la cara con cada plural, y que nos partía la boca al menor 'ye' que nos saliera de manera involuntaria. El cariño se lo guardo, porque considero que fue la primera persona que me hizo tomar conciencia de que hablaba una lengua. Claro que no la de aquellos profesores que nos partían la cara, pero sí la de aquellos que sabíamos que España era una playa de Villaviciosa.

-«Hace poco leí un artículo tuyo en asturiano.¿Qué simpático!» -me dijo condescendiente la última vez que nos vimos en Xixón, donde sigue veraneando, y donde espero que pueda leer este artículo en la lengua que él, entre otros, tanto empeño puso en enseñarme.

No obstante, insisto en decirle que mi castellano acabé aprendiéndolo estudiando y viviendo en Córdoba. Por eso, a veces, cuando me suelto, recupero hasta el acento. Lo que no quita para que él -como tantos otros-, continúe condescendiente:

-«Sigo sin entender por qué sigues perdiendo el tiempo escribiendo en asturiano».

A lo que siempre contesto que pierdo igual el tiempo cuando escribo en castellano o en inglés. Es más -siempre me gusta ejercer un poco de grandón y de babayu en estos casos-, puedo perder el tiempo escribiendo más o menos mal en cinco lenguas y sólo me llaman la atención sobre que lo hago en asturiano aquellos que nada más hablan una. Y mal. Por lo general, el supuesto castellano.

Como yo había nacido en Uviéu y me tocó volver a vivir en Uviéu en los años en que los de mi tiempo bajaban de les cuenques a la Universidad, me tocó sentir la espantosa jerga que nos habían enseñado en la escuela y el instituto con especial empeño, en boca de algunos que habían sido mis compañeros. Evidenciaba su procedencia, de todas formas, la ropa, la manera de andar, la forma de mirar, el acento cruel que arrastraba y arrastra las vocales.

Por seguir siendo aquel tipo conflictivo, al que habían expulsado del colegio con nueve años, al primero que se rió de mí por el acento le quedaron pocas ganas de volver a saludarme siquiera. Lo que no quitó para que me tocara ver como algunos antiguos vecinos mudaban de piel, vendían su alma y renegaban de sus orígenes, para ser admitidos como advenedizos y comparsas de aquel Uvieín del alma que tanto se reía de ellos en sus propias narices. Evidentemente, estos recuerdos me vuelven después de leer las opiniones de Javier Fernández -un producto típico de esa cuenca- acerca del absurdo de plantearse la oficialidad de la lengua asturiana. Para que se entienda lo normal que es su opinión: fueron muchos años de escuela, de instituto y, después, de hacerse pasar por lo que no se era. Escribo esto desde España, Villaviciosa. Pero también podría haberlo hecho desde les Cases Barates, Mieres.
Back to top  
Daysi Caldevilla-Duing



Joined: 05 Jul 2007
Posts: 41
Location: Miami, FL

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As you may know I'm relatively new to this forum and I'm two generations removed from Asturias on my mom's side (and possibly 3 to 4 generations removed on my dad's side). Therefore, I'm pretty ignorant of Spain's politics. But when you said,
Quote:
They see no net asset value in what they refer to as ‘peasant’ culture, in part, because their schooling taught them to denigrate it.
I get the impression that northern Spain (Asturias & Gallicia) is treated like second class citizens. For that matter I'd also include the Basque area and Cataluna to that list because don't they too speak/write a different language? It seems to me that Northern Spain is somehow viewed as not quite Spanish enough by the rest of Spain. What's up with that Question Is regional diversity not appreciated in Spain. Or is it all about the language? It's funny I sort of see a parallel with what's going on here in the States, I see how Americans here are getting freaked out (to put it mildly) that so many hispanics immigrants in the States hold on to their mother language and have created whole neighborhoods where only Spanish is spoken; have created television channels and radio stations strictly in Spanish. Spanish has become so influential in the U.S. that most, if not all, voice recordings for businesses give you the "Si quieres espanol, por favor oprime el #2" option. Not to mention that in most places now, legal documents and information automatically come with a Spanish translation. Americans are threatened, overwhelmed. They are afraid of becoming like Quebec. People argue that there should be one, unifying language. One legal language, so to speak. Is that the same mentality in Spain? That Castillan is the one, legal, unifying language? I'm just trying to make sense of it all. Sad
Back to top  
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:25 pm    Post subject: Asturian devolution? Reply with quote

Each place is different in terms of identity politics. Asturias does not really fit into the talk of “a nation of nations” in post-Franco, democratic Spain. Catalans, Basques and Galicians moved fast after the 1975 transition to monetize their claims for devolution and cultural rights (including granting official status for their languages). They also re-jigged the tax system so they could control revenue to a greater extent, thus gaining an arm’s length from policymakers in the center (Madrid).

Asturians did not do this, for reasons that are largely sociological. Regional sentiment in Asturias is very strong. But Asturians have lots of baggage to deal with, including an over-reliance on state-owned heavy industry (steel, coal, cement) to appease their rebellious streak. As a loss-making region, the dependence on handouts from the Brussels-Madrid tandem since 1986, as well as the small population of 1.07 million, turns language rights into a cost-benefit analysis. They rather stick to the easy handouts. Getting rid of this mentality is difficult, especially since people nowadays think it’s the “way things work”. They don’t realize it’s an unsustainable bubble.

Meanwhile, city folk, as far as I can tell, continue to treat people from the countryside who speak Asturian or Galician as low-class, illiterate, uneducated, primitive, ugly and shameful. That has only changed ever-so-slightly. Couched in sentences like: “It’s sooo funny to hear you speak Asturian!” is a patronizing attitude, the idea being that they are of superior breeding. In my personal experience, such fantasies are quickly diffused when I say I’m American and never went through the Spanish school system! They then marvel at human linguistic abilities…


Last edited by is on Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:26 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top  
Daysi Caldevilla-Duing



Joined: 05 Jul 2007
Posts: 41
Location: Miami, FL

PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do mainstream Spaniards regard Asturianu with the same contempt or disdain as mainstream America regards "ebonics"? Also, along that same vein, these government "handouts" you speak of, are they like the farmer's subsidies here in the States or more like out right welfare?
Back to top  
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject: EU structural funds Reply with quote

Mainstream Spaniards are largely unaware, I think, that Asturias has its own language/-es. It is not their fault that no legal status has been given to Asturian and Galician. This is about the petty local administration that has grown up with prejudices in-built into the educational system, as well as the Franco-era’s allergy toward recognizing the different nations within Spain. The sociolinguistics of Asturian can get very complicated, with people in the countryside, ashamed of not speaking Castilian Spanish, resorting to ultra-corrections. People in this forum, like Carlos, are much more knowledgeable about this than I am.

As for the handouts, I was referring to European structural cohesion funds and money from the government budget in Madrid. The EU money is intended for economically disadvantaged regions, those below an EU per capita revenue average. It comes in tranches, the last one covering 2000-2006. In different counties in Asturias they appear as EU funds targeting the local economy with names like Interreg, Proder, Rural, Leader. In the last tranche, Brussels transferred more than 2 billion euros to the Asturian administration in structural funds. See a factsheet in English at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/atlas/spain/factsheets/pdf/fact_es12_en.pdf

All of these programs under Objective I are part of the EU Structural Funds, i.e., ‘free money’ for the local administration to divvy out in a not-so-transparent way. For example, Navia, traditionally ruled by the PP (conservative Popular Party) never benefited as much as counties like Cangas del Narcea, traditionally ruled by the PSOE-FSA (Federacion Socialista Asturiana). But now that the Socialists have lost to an IX (Izquierda Xunida) and PP coalition in Cangas del Narcea, the former mayor (Jose Manuel Cuervo, known to locals as a ‘cacique’ for his abuse of power) uses appearances on Asturian public television (TPA) to warn his constituents that less EU funds will reach the county. That is nothing short of blackmail, in my book.

After Spain joined the EU in 1986, state-owned industries (steel, coal, shipyards), loss-making as they were, underwent a painful reconversion process. As large conglomerate industries, their specialization was too narrow and non-competitive in the broader European context. Their true decline began in the 1970s, so I’ve never known Asturias other than ‘in decline’ mode. SMEs, which have emerged in other regions that faced industrial reconversions (Basque Country, Catalonia), never took off in Asturias for lack of entrepreneurial know-how and low investment in R&D, or perhaps due to the fact that people just accommodated themselves to EU funds and taxpayer money from Madrid.

This is all cynically qualified by the PSOE-FSA president of Asturias (Vicente A. Areces) as ‘state investment’ in Asturias. You will see large headlines in the pro-PSOE newspaper El Comercio with Areces promising millions of euros in state moneys. He puts up billboards in Asturias saying ‘Asturias: reflejo de Europa’ in a surrealist public communications campaign that I’ve never understood. A map of Asturias is shown with an aureole of Euro stars around it. Anywhere else, it would elicit laughter for its defiance of intelligence...
Back to top  
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:57 am    Post subject: Moral hazard Reply with quote

Oh, and on farm payouts here in the US (a.k.a., the Farm Bill—or more aptly named the ‘Food Bill’, because of all the freebies for farmers to grow food that is not selling at market prices), here’s a concept that I’m sure has translation into Spanish or Asturian: moral hazard.

In a situation like Asturias, where all this EU money has been pouring in since 1986 (with presumably no end in sight in the short-sighted vision of people cashing in), moral hazard is a huge problem. It gives the recipients of subsidies irrational incentives because there is no hard-budget constraint. In other words, the EU money is no-strings-attached, or 'a fondo perdido' as I've heard people say in Asturias.

George Will, the op-ed columnist of The Washington Post, writes this today in a piece titled ‘Folly and the Fed’ (Thursday, August 16, 2007) about moral hazard:

Moral hazard exists when a policy produces incentives for perverse behavior. One such existing policy is farm price supports that reduce the cost to farmers of overproduction, and even encourage it. Another is the policy of removing tens of millions of voters from the income tax rolls, thereby making government largess a free good for them.

And this would be such a policy: the Federal Reserve lowering the cost of money whenever risky lending to a sector of the economy (e.g., housing) makes that sector desperate for lower interest rates. Many banks, hedge funds and other institutions have pocketed profits from their dealings in the subprime market. The losses are theirs, too.”
Back to top  
Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4471
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The concept of "moral hazard" is interesting and useful. I think it essentially recognizes that we tend to take the easy way whatever it is, no matter what the long-term consequences might be. We certainly do that with our food choices, in spite of the now obvious health consequences.

I realize that this is George Will's idea and not yours, but do you have any thoughts on what he said here:
George Will wrote:
Another is the policy of removing tens of millions of voters from the income tax rolls, thereby making government largess a free good for them.

I suppose he's saying that the poor and middle class might think differently about the subsidies the government provides for them if they had to pay taxes on everything they earn, maybe even on the subsidies (housing subsidies, student loans, food stamps, Medicaid, ??).

I suppose that could also apply to Social Security payments. In other words, taxing Social Security payments would motivate people to think less selfishly about how much they really need the payments and to recognize that someone is paying for the benefits; they aren't "free".

I'm wondering what alternative we have to dropping millions from the tax rolls. Would George Will say it's best to tax everyone (even if it's a very low rate) so that everyone is still involved in the process? Would the labor of preparing returns (for taxpayers) and monitoring them (for the government) be offset by the social and moral gains related to having everyone participating?
Back to top  
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:37 pm    Post subject: George Will Reply with quote

In the credit crunch facing financial markets, I think George Will means the sub-prime lenders who have been letting people with bad credit histories sign a mortgage loan. They then spread their sloppy/reckless behavior around the financial system via arcane instruments (whose net asset value is difficult to determine), hedge funds, quant funds...hence the moral hazard. Now, if the Fed were to lower interest rates to make house-buying affordable again, it would in effect be a bail-out.

About taxation: there is a reciprocal relationship that ensues between taxpayers and government as a result of taxes. A government is more compelled to be accountable and transparent because it is receiving money from taxpayers, while citizens realize that services/benefits are not FREE. It's the product of their toils. Therefore, both sides, in theory, act more responsibly, conscientiously, etc. There is also oversight to the whole process.

Where there is no tax system (Saudi Arabia, for example), there is 0 accountability, 0 transparency. Petrodollars going to Saudi Aramco (state-owned oil company) go directly into the Treasury. The government (the hundreds of princes of the Al Saud family) decide how to divvy it out in exchange for political patronage, umbrage. It is a classic clientelist network.

Like Asturias--an autonomous region with a perpetual budget deficit. The Asturian government (Areces and his 100s of local fiefs: Fernando Lastra, Javier Fernandez, Jose Angel Fdez.-Villa, etc) is a recipient of external funds (EU structural funds, money from the government budget in Madrid). It then gets redistributed in Asturias seemingly for free. Pourvu ça dure, the Asturians live the sweet (morally bankrupt + corrupt) life. But that lifestyle will end once 2013 rolls around and EU structural funds are a thing of the past.

Then what? A sal.lar patacas na l.lousa, igual que fadian los vieyos...

Here is the whole op-ed piece by George Will:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/15/AR2007081501923_pf.html

Folly and the Fed
By George F. Will
Thursday, August 16, 2007; A15

Exactly a century ago, panic seized financial markets. The collateral for perhaps half of the bank loans in New York consisted of securities whose values had been inflated by speculation. Then on Sunday night, Nov. 3, 1907, a 70-year-old man gathered some fellow financiers at his home at 36th and Madison in Manhattan. The next morning, a New York Times headline proclaimed:

"BANKERS CONFER WITH MR. MORGAN
Long Discussion in His Library
Not Ended Until 4 o'Clock This Morning."

Both the Times and The Post ["BANKERS IN CONFERENCE. Money Stringency and Remedial Measures Discussed in Morgan's Library."] noted that bankers shuttled between meetings at Morgan's mansion and the Waldorf-Astoria (then at Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street) in a newfangled conveyance -- an automobile. Working 19 hours a day, and restricting himself on doctor's orders to 20 cigars a day, J.P. Morgan seemed so heroic that the president of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, said the financier should chair a panel of intellectuals who would advise the nation on its future.

Six years later, however, under Wilson as the nation's president, the Federal Reserve System was created, ending the era when a few titans of finance could be what central banks now are -- the economy's "lenders of last resort." Central banks have been performing that role during today's turmoil in the market for subprime mortgages -- those granted to the least creditworthy borrowers.

The ill wind blowing through that market has blown two goods: The public mind has been refreshed regarding the concept of moral hazard. And the electorate has been reminded of just how reliably liberal Hillary Clinton is.
Moral hazard exists when a policy produces incentives for perverse behavior. One such existing policy is farm price supports that reduce the cost to farmers of overproduction, and even encourage it. Another is the policy of removing tens of millions of voters from the income tax rolls, thereby making government largess a free good for them.

And this would be such a policy: the Federal Reserve lowering the cost of money whenever risky lending to a sector of the economy (e.g., housing) makes that sector desperate for lower interest rates. Many banks, hedge funds and other institutions have pocketed profits from their dealings in the subprime market. The losses are theirs, too.

Clinton leapt to explain the subprime problem in the terms of liberalism's master narrative -- the victimization of the many by the few. In a speech favorably contrasting a "shared responsibility" society with an "on your own" society, she said, in effect, that distressed subprime borrowers are not responsible for their behavior. "Unsavory" lenders, she said, had used "unfair lending practices." Doubtless there are as many unsavory lenders as there are unsavory politicians. So, voters and borrowers: caveat emptor.

But this, too, is true: Every improvident loan requires an improvident borrower to seek and accept it. Furthermore, when there is no penalty for folly -- such as getting a variable-rate mortgage that will be ruinous if the rate varies upward -- folly proliferates. To get a mortgage is usually to commit capitalism; it is to make an investment in the hope of gain. And if lenders know that whenever they go too far and require inexpensive money the Federal Reserve will provide it with low interest rates, then going too far will not really be going too far.

In 2008, as voters assess their well-being, several million households with adjustable-rate home mortgages will have their housing costs increase. Defaults, too, will increase. That will be a perverse incentive for the political class to be compassionate toward themselves in the name of compassion toward borrowers, with money to bail out borrowers. If elected politicians controlled the Federal Reserve, they would lower interest rates. Fortunately, we have insulated the Federal Reserve from democracy.

The Federal Reserve's proper mission is not to produce a particular rate of economic growth or unemployment, or to cure injuries -- least of all, self-inflicted ones -- to certain sectors of the economy. It is to preserve the currency as a store of value -- to contain inflation. The fact that inflation remains a worry is testimony to the fundamental soundness of the economy, in spite of turbulence in a small slice of one sector.

Ron Chernow, in his book "The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance," says Morgan's 1907 rescue was the last time private bankers "loomed so much larger than regulators in a crisis. Afterward, the pendulum would swing decidedly toward government financial management." Happily, Chairman Ben Bernanke's Federal Reserve remains committed to minimal management, which is what government does best.


Last edited by is on Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top  
Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4471
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Is. That was interesting.

The first time I ran into the "moral hazard" idea was with energy policy in the late 1970s, although we didn't have a name for it. I was a leader in a student group which advocated for making individuals responsible for paying for the energy they used. The idea was that if each of us was aware of how much we used and felt the pain, we'd reduce our energy usage. We weren't successful, I think because retrofitting the campus apartments with metering would have been very costly, but it was an idea that stuck with me.

I would never have thought to apply it to government spending and taxes, but I like that!
Back to top  
Eli
Moderator


Joined: 30 Mar 2005
Posts: 308
Location: Luray, VA. US

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that at this point I fully understand the concept of 'moral hazard', often times it takes repetition for me to get it as it is meant.

There are several things that are incorrect by omission in George Will's article, I don't intend to write a book here tonight but can't help myself and point them out Wink "One such existing policy is farm price supports that reduce the cost to farmers of overproduction, and even encourage it." That is incorrect by omission at the very least and flat out wrong if meant as stated. If denotes a clear lack of understanding of how farm production is dealt with, why farm production needs a special environment in which to exist and can not be commercialized in the same manner as minerals or other such natural products.

This part I would need explained to me "Another is the policy of removing tens of millions of voters from the income tax rolls, thereby making government largess a free good for them." What tens of millions have been removed from the income tax rolls?

"Many banks, hedge funds and other institutions have pocketed profits from their dealings in the subprime market. The losses are theirs, too." I don't think anybody disputes this, in fact as I understand it, it was/is Ben Bernanke's position and the reason why the FED took as long as it took to act on something they knew existed all along. The reason the FED acted was not to bail out those that should take the loses they've legitimately earned. Rather, because the ignorance of the exposure of the common investor to those loses were now putting the economy at risk that the FED decided to act against it's own advice, and it worked (thus far). For the FED to take the risk of not bailing out a loss of a few billion to those that gambled irresponsibly would/could mean the loss of hundreds of billions to the economy and countless layoffs. The FED choose the lesser of two evils in this case.

Senator Clinton's comments have been taken so far out of context, I don't know where to begin... think I'll just leave that alone lol When I read that I was expecting him to say again that Gore invented the internet...
Back to top  
Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4471
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elí, you regularly ask very good questions!

There may be an exaggeration in this:
George Will wrote:
Another is the policy of removing tens of millions of voters from the income tax rolls, thereby making government largess a free good for them.

Or maybe it's an outright untruth and you've found a huge hole in his argument. When we were earning very little, our taxes were also very low, but we paid taxes. As our earnings rose above $25K or so (I'm guessing), there was a steep increase in the rate of tax we paid. I tend to be in favor of a graduated income tax, at least at the lowest levels because I don't want to discourage the poor from working. Maybe as long as people are getting more support from the government than they are paying back in taxes, they'll view the government as their sugar daddy [viejo rico amante de una mujer joven].

I'm also tempted by a radically simplified tax code. Most of the tax code doesn't support the poor or working class. The complicated tax code is what our politicians create to reverse the effects on the rich of the graduated tax.

Of course, once the tax code is simplified, how do we keep it simple? Politicians will always to looking for ways to add perks for their donors. Ah! There's the answer. If we prohibit all donations to politicians, or at least any high dollar contributions, would there be as much incentive to change the tax code?

Today I read two contradictory statements. One said that we have very low tax rates at this point in history. (I think it was an investment report from Vanguard.) The other was a right-winger's letter to the editor complaining about outrageously high tax rates. I suppose they could both be true if they are talking about taxes on different kinds of income. It seems to me, though, that we have a huge problem in the US now with politically-motivated lying and misrepresentation of reality.
Back to top  
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa, we've gotten beyond 'that pesky Asturian government' and the surrealist regional politics of Vicente A. Areces and his cronies, to a conversation about flat taxes and farm subsidies. I think it has to do with the explanation of 'handouts' from Brussels and the fact that Asturias is a subsidized economy of 1.07 million where moral hazard is business as usual.

On flat taxes, Art, Slovakia was one of the first to introduce a single rate across the board, including (and foremost) the corporate income tax (CIT) of 19% in 1998. It was very successful and locked in enormous amounts of FDI in sectors like automotive and machinery. Greenfield sites were developed for carmakers like Renault, Volkswagen, Toyota...Other countries (the Baltic states) copied, followed by yet other emerging economies of former Eastern Europe. So there is an argument for flat taxes, at least to jumpstart an economy with uncompetitive industries.

There's a good article on p. 61 of The Economist this week (August 4-10, 2007) about overhauling taxes with an interesting chart on corporate tax rates in G7 economies. One shows the CIT (nominal rate of corporate tax) and the other shows the EMTR (Effective marginal tax rate) which accounts for investments made by a company in intangible assets like R&D, management training, etc. Obviously, the EMTR is the more accurate measure.

On George Will's op-ed, I agree with both of you. The sentence of dropping out millions of taxpayers is ambivalent. On the Fed's initial behavior to the credit crunch, by pumping $23 billion into the financial system, look how much more resolute the ECB was that day, putting in nearly five times as much money (plus the liquidity boost from the Bank of Japan).

Either way, moral hazard is a big problem in Asturias. People perceive the money as free. Without a hard budget constraint (as in, this is taxpayer money which will force us to be accountable), often it is quite the opposite. And to boot, it serves only to further the mediocre political advancement of a group of seriously corrupt PSOE-FSA 'apparatchiks'.

On farm subsidies, we should open a new thread?
Back to top  
Daysi Caldevilla-Duing



Joined: 05 Jul 2007
Posts: 41
Location: Miami, FL

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amen to a flat tax! I don't mind paying taxes as long as it's used wisely to improve our lives and if it helps pay for health insurance for my family. Speaking of which, I'd like some input from members who live in a country where health care is national and not for profit. Do y'all feel that the quality of the health care you receive is good? Or do you feel like you are treated like some widget in an assembly line?
Back to top  
Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4471
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm probably to blame for the topic shift... but I think it would be best to open Daysi's question in a new thread so it will get the attention it deserves.

Daysi, could you open the topic in the Political Discussion area?

Okay, she did.
Please answer her question there: http://www.asturianus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=10262#10262

-----------------

Probablemente estoy responsable por el cambio en este hilo... pero creo que sería mejor abrir la pregunta de Daysi en una hilo nuevo para asegurar que recibirá la atención que merece.

¿Daysi, puedes abrir este hilo en Discusión política?

Muy bien, ella lo hizo.
Se ruega dar tus respuestas allí:
http://www.asturianus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=10262#10262
Back to top  
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Asturian-American Migration Forum Index -> The Future of Asturias - El futuro de Asturias All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Site design & hosting by

Zoller Wagner Digital Design