Some of the smallest businesses, faced with rising operating costs and wages, struggle to make sure they don’t qualify for the Health Care Security Ordinance. “We cut down all the workers, subcontracted to cleaning services, and use part-time guest workers and chefs to get under the 20-employee limit,” said Jaime Maldonado, owner of La Victoria in San Francisco.
This year’s contribution to all four city employee pension funds is $1.18 billion. By 2021, that actuarially required contribution will rise to $1.8 billion. Chicago taxpayers have been hit with nearly $1.1 billion in property tax increases, primarily for police, fire and teacher pensions and school construction; a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund; a 56 percent telephone tax hike in 2014 and another 28.2 percent next year for the Laborers fund; a new garbage collection fee; a bag tax; and increases in water, sewer and city sticker fees, hotel and parking taxes and parking fines, among others.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro has used swaps in recent years as a way of boosting the liquidity of international reserves, nearly 75 percent of which were held in monetary gold in August.
Under the new estimates, the deficit will hit $750 billion in 2018, $900 billion in 2019 and $1.025 trillion in 2020. The figures represent a $50 billion raise for next year and $75 billion for each of the following two years.
There is some consensus forming around the idea that Venezuela is squirreling away its pennies to make sure it is able to pay the $841 million in principal, plus interest, due on Friday on a bond issued by PDVSA, the state oil company. The collateral against the bond is Citgo, PDVSA's Houston-based refining and retail subsidiary.
"China's household debt has been rising at an 'alarming' pace over the past two years," Citi analyst Li-Gang Liu said in an Oct. 10 note. The report pointed out that outstanding household debt in China has doubled from 29.6 percent of gross domestic product at 16 trillion yuan ($2.41 trillion) in 2012 to 44.3 percent of GDP at 33 trillion yuan last year.
A futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control? No, it's already getting underway in China, where the government is developing the Social Credit System (SCS) to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. The Chinese government is pitching the system as a desirable way to measure and enhance "trust" nationwide and to build a culture of "sincerity". As the policy states, "It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility."
The Cost Of Cool (DennisC)
We can’t live with air-conditioning, but we can’t live without it.
“It is true that air-conditioning made the economy happen for Singapore and is doing so for other emerging economies,” said Pawel Wargocki, an expert on indoor air quality at the International Center for Indoor Environment and Energy at the Technical University of Denmark. “On the other hand, it poses a huge threat to global climate and energy use. The current pace is very dangerous.”
The CEO of the Sustainable Food Trust, Patrick Holden, has said that a ban “could be the beginning of the end of herbicide use in agriculture as we know it, leading to a new chapter of innovation and diversity”.
But industry officials warn of farmers in open revolt, environmental degradation and crops rotting in the fields if glyphosate is banned.
Gold & Silver
Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group
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