Rome On Verge Of Bankruptcy, Italian Unemployment Rises To 12.67%, Russia Seizes Crimea From Ukraine

Rome, the eternal city, is on the verge of a Detroit-style bankruptcy, but has been bailed-out by the Italian government. As if Italy doesn’t have enough problems, their unemployment rose to 12.67%.

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Italy is not alone. France has seen rising unemployment as well at 10.80%. And jobseekers in France has hit an all-time high!

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This is a very sad state of affairs for Italy and France. Particularly when we compare them to the former Soviet Union countries of Russia and Ukraine. Both of which have experienced DECLINING unemployment since 2008, unlike Italy and France.

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Of course, Russia and Ukraine are involved a situation which could culminate in war. The Russians have allegedly seized the Crimea. Ukraine is mobilizing reserve troops and is threatening war.

Meanwhile, in the USA, President Obama skipped the national security team meeting on Russia and Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry mournfully droned that Russia shouldn’t do it.

From Bloomberg: “According to Mr. Kerry, if Russia doesn’t “step back” from its military incursion, “there could even be, ultimately, asset freezes, visa bans” and disruption of trade, Kerry said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

Laying out the economic stakes for Russia as the U.S. tries to defuse a crisis over Ukraine, Kerry also said Russia “may not even remain in the G-8 if this continues,” referring to the group of industrialized nations that Russia joined after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.”

Let’s see what happens to Ukraine’s currency on Monday.

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CBO Projects Half Million Job Losses From Raising Minimum Wage (Bad Policy In A Vacuum)

President Obama has been pushing an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. In fact, he signed an Executive Order for workers on Federal projects to earn $10.10 an hour.

Even though the Congressional Budget Office predicts that 500,000 (or a half million) jobs will be lost by late 2016. Here is the CBO study.

Raising the minimum wage is a great slogan, but it is void of any common sense. As if employers won’t compensate by hiring fewer employees or lay people off. Or convert production to more automation (e.g., bank teller machines, pizza machines, etc.).

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Or a custom burger machine.

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Sadly, raising the minimum wage without commensurate increase in job performance or qualifications is not practical. In fact, it leads to LESS employment.

Be careful what you wish for … or demand.