dimarts, 23 d’agost de 2011

On sheep and shepherd

In some countries, the rich are claiming higher taxation for themselves. This new trend was started by the USA billionaire celebrity Warren Buffet. He was shocked about having to pay proportionally less than any other person in his office for his federal tax bill, and decided to write an open letter to the New York Times entitled "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich". Next were the French. Sixteen of the wealthiest individuals, including l'Oreal heiress Mrs. Bettencourt, asked also for a reduction in their exceptional tax-breaks to contribute to manage the country’s public debt: Taxez-nous! was their desperate claim.

These altruistic gestures are deeply disturbing. What is wrong in the world when the privileged are publicly admitting that their shamefully beneficial position is just too unfair? How can be possible that the beneficiaries of a wrongful situation are precisely the ones pushing for a change? And what is going to happen if the policy makers do not follow their advice? They will have to take the streets. Imagine a demonstration of chairmen of companies, aristocrats and investors shouting in the street things like "We are rich, but not stupid!" and holding banners with slogans like "Higher taxes for us!" or “Tax me please!”. That would be an interesting picture.

Stendhal said that "The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same". This time, the shepherd’s speech was too convincing. We have believed that only by pampering the great fortunes, we all would achieve prosperity. This is obviously far from happening. On the other hand, we have also been told that the burden of the crisis had to fall on the sheep’s back and the shepherds must remain untouched: reducing public services and cutting benefits, but leaving extraordinary tax-breaks for the super-rich. Surprisingly, no major organized protests have happened so far. Indeed, the sheep still look quiet and sleepy, and keep following the path they have been told to follow. On the contrary, some shepherds are raising voices, apparently against their own interest. Maybe they think that even the sheep look quiet and sleepy they are not so. Actually, it might be better to continue with the "common effort" and "common interest" speech - even if that implies paying a bit more - rather than going back to old times of sheep vs. shepherd confrontation and all these angry animals asking for the shepherd’s head.

dimarts, 16 d’agost de 2011

Jingle Mail

Finally, I have decided to embark on a Blog. In this first post I will explain the reason behind the choice of name for this new and hopefully stimulating site.
Why "jingle mail" you might be wondering? Because it is a sound image of the current crisis. In some places - remarkably the US - when someone has a mortgage and finds himself unable to pay, he can incur what is called strategic default. This is colloquially known as jingle mail. It works in the following manner: the debtor stops making payments, puts his home keys into an envelope and mails them to the bank. The kling-kling sound of the keys inside the envelope evokes a jingle, yet its sonority, far from jolly, sounds rather tragic for the debtor.
So this kling-kling noise might be one of the soundtracks of the current time. Not everywhere as in most European countries debtors are not offered this possibility by the banks, and have to keep paying even after losing their houses. But still, I would like to start my experience as a blogger with the sour kling-kling sonance of a jingle mail.