What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Brazil Pension Crisis: 'Think Greece but More Colossal'

Image: Brazil Pension Crisis: 'Think Greece but More Colossal' (Dollar Photo Club)
By Newsmax Wires   |   Wednesday, 21 Oct 2015
 
Brazil reportedly is mired in a pension crisis of historic proportions. “Think Greece but more colossal,” one economist said in describing the chaotic impact on national finances amid a political struggle.

Brazil's economy, the largest in Latin America, shrank over the past couple of quarters and is slated to contract this year and next, the country's first back-to-back annual retractions since the 1930s. Households across Brazil are tapping their savings as accelerating inflation and rising unemployment are weighing down their finances, Reuters reports.

Brazilians retire at an average age of 54, and some public servants, military officials and politicians manage to collect multiple pensions totaling more than $100,000 year, The New York Times reported. Loopholes enable the spouses or daughters of retirees to go on collecting the pensions for the rest of their lives.

The phenomenon is so common in Brazil’s vast public bureaucracy that some scholars call it the “Viagra effect” — retired civil servants, many in their 60s or 70s, wed to much younger women who are entitled to the full pensions for decades after their spouses are gone, the Times reported.

“Think Greece, but on a crazier, more colossal scale,” Paulo Tafner, an economist and a leading authority on Brazil’s pension system, told the Times.

“The entire country should be frightened to its core. The pensions Brazilians obtain and the ages at which they start receiving them are nothing less than scandalous.”

The pension crisis is fueling Brazil’s political turmoil as President Dilma Rousseff fights to stay in office. School and health budgets are being cut, and Rousseff is now proposing steps to keep pension spending from ballooning even more, the Times reported.

But a rebellious Congress voted this year to significantly expand pension benefits. Rousseff vetoed the legislation, setting the stage for a bruising battle with lawmakers.

Economist Nouriel Roubini of New York University warns that "Brazil is on the brink of a precipice" as Latin America’s largest economy struggles amid political strife.

Roubini, one of the few economists who predicted the financial crisis of 2008, predicts that without fiscal adjustment, the country will lose its investment grade rating with other credit rating agencies, borrowing costs will skyrocket and its currency will plunge and the economy will shrink.

But the dire prediction isn’t written in stone, he said.

"Brazil isn't destined to have a crisis, it's possible to avoid it," he told Folha de S.Paulo. "If they make the necessary adjustments, there won't be any further downgrading and confidence in fiscal policy will improve. That will make people more comfortable about spending,” he said.

To be sure, pensions remain a problem in Greece, where such bloated entitlements were part of the momentum which almost pushed the nation off a fiscal cliff.

Greek civil servants union ADEDY has called a 24-hour general strike for Nov. 12 in protest at pension reforms required under Greece's latest bailout deal with its international lenders, the Associated Press reported.
Monday, private sector union GSEE called a strike for the same day, adding to a groundswell of public discontent at a raft of tax hikes and pension cutbacks that Athens has had to make under the terms of the 86 billion euro (63 billion pound) bailout, its third since 2010.
© 2015 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

Read more: NYT: An Exploding Pension Crisis Feeds Brazil's Political Turmoil
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