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More Economic Bad Vibes From "Over There"


Savings!? Are those people out of their minds!?

According to a week old report by the Italian equivalent of the Census Bureau, during 2004 my "paesani" have grown increasingly unsure of their economic future, and rank inflation as their number one concern. This contrasts with the rest of Europe, where unemployment tops the list of worries by a wide margin. Nearly 60% of Italians are dipping into their savings for new purchases, and 80% reduced their discretionary spending. Eighty-three percent reduced non-discretionary spending by shopping at discount centers.

Most individuals cite the welfare and public health system as a primary source of reassurance, while 54% argue in favor of cutting taxes even at the cost of reduced welfare services. If this seems somewhat inconsistent . . . you obviously are not Italian.

I am proposing the above solely as further anecdotal evidence of the not-so-rosy state of European affairs.

[Editor's Note: A special task-force of the U.S. Federal Reserve has been dispatched to rescue Italians from using their savings for new purchases and provide each adult with at least three credit cards, a 100% mortgage, a home equity (there's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one) line of credit, and an emergency unsecured line of credit to be used only for major electronics that cannot otherwise be paid for.]
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