Greece isn't working hard enough to collect tax owed by the affluent and the self-employed, according to the International Monetary Fund. "Notorious tax evasion" means most of the burden of austerity is falling on salaried workers and pensioned retirees, the IMF says.
Portugal has hired Societe Generale, HSBC Holdings, Citigroup and other banks to underwrite its first bond issuance since it requested financial assistance from the EU two years ago, a source says. "It's a further sign of normalization in the euro-area sovereign-bond market," said Ciaran O'Hagan of Societe Generale. "Investors have been actively seeking to add long-dated, high-yielding, duration."
With the U.K. economy still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, political leaders are supporting economic policies that Germany has long pursued. The Conservative-led coalition government is moving to support apprenticeship, assistance for small and midsize businesses, state-backed guarantees to help exporters and an emphasis on engineering. The opposition Labor Party wants to establish regional banks that back strong family-owned businesses.
This editorial points out that financial-transaction taxes usually end up with unintended consequences, but the idea continues to enjoy support. "Some Democrats in Congress have long desired to impose a tax on financial transactions, and their proposals may find new life if some members of the European Union proceed with plans to impose such a tax," according to the editorial.
Britain faces such an overwhelming debt load that analysts said the winner of the general election would be forced to implement harsh tax increases and spending cuts, possibly leading him to never govern again. Sovereign debt accounts for £1 of £4 spent by the government. Economist David Hale said Bank of England Governor Mervyn King told him "whoever wins will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be."