The Failure Of Unions And Big Government

Unions cripple companies. They thwart efficient government. They drive up prices and drive down service levels. They are anti-technology, anti-productivity, and pro-wage growth. They live in a virtual reality where price points, product-market pressures, and capital returns dont matter. They need to be abolished.

A truism in the global economy is that the country with the highest rate of unionization loses. No sane person is going to invest capital, take risks and innovate if they are handing out money to union members who cant be fired, disciplined, or force to use profit enhancing technologies. Companies that are nimble, highly productive and innovative will produce enough wealth to pay people properly. There is no need in the modern era for unions. There is no need in the modern era for large unionized government either.

Put it this way. Employment rates, wealth per capita, productivity and innovation are directly and negatively correlated with the size of government and the % of the population which work in unions. Europe? 45-50% of Europes GDP is eaten by unionized government. European union rates run at 3 x US levels and are 10-20% higher than Canadian levels. The result? Lower living standards, less people working, dead economies, no productivity, 8 week vacation periods and ever escalating union backed demands for higher wages.

Worse the OECD concludes that practically all [97 percent] of European civilian job creation has been in the government sector in the past few years. As government size increases, including government backed monopolies and oligopolies, unionization grows, and hours worked fall. Unions are adept at demanding the highest dollar for the least amount of time worked. As worker costs escalate firms cut back on technology, plant investments and business process improvements. Eventually these firms might fail.

According to the OECD, Research has clearly established a remarkable fact: namely that the sizable U.S. advantage in real GDP per capita is largely due to differences in total hours worked per capita.

Such commonsensical observations apply to Canada. Union rates in Canada are more than double US rates [32 % vs. 14 %], though lower than in Western Europe which ranges from 34%, to 45 %. Canada has a 30% lower standard of living, less productivity and less income per head than the US. High union rates and over-government are key reasons for this differential. The same can be said of EU-US comparisons.

One reason for Europes and Canadas high union rate is their higher marginal tax rates. When taxes become too onerous people respond by trying to hide money; dropping out of work and going on welfare to access rich welfare schemes; or they unionize and demand that wages rise faster than inflation and taxation increases. US Federal Reserve and EU economic studies confirm this fact. Europeans are not prone to be lazy. But when the system punishes work, then they respond accordingly. Same applies to Canada.

You can see the destructive power of unions at work at the company level. Witness Chrysler a once proud emblem of American manufacturing genius. Now it is a hollowed out firm headed for bankruptcy. In both the US and Canada during the past 30 years literally billions of tax dollars were given to Chrysler in direct and indirect hand-outs. Yet the firm is heading towards oblivion and most likely will have its various assets sold off. It is not hard to see why.

Thanks to high union rates, over half of a Chrysler cars production cost is labor and health care. The firm is simply uncompetitive. Thanks to its unions, new models, new ideas and new business improvements cannot be made at Chrysler and productivity and profit enhancing concepts cannot be employed. The firm cannot respond to the challenge of East Asian auto manufacturers, many of whom have union free plants in the southern US.

The fallout from the demise of Chrysler is quite huge. If no one buys the assets and turns the firm around it might either die, or be sold off in chunks with grave consequences. Now imagine if all of the large North American car firms, thanks to unions, were to go bankrupt.

Whole areas of the world are dependent on the auto industry. Detroit, southern Canada, the US deep south, Stuttgart, parts of Germany, France and elsewhere have entire economies and societies built around the extended supply and parts chain which feeds into the auto sector. Those with union-free plants will survive. Those with union-worker elite plants will either reform or perish. Close to one million jobs in the Detroit-Toronto corridor are dependent on the auto sector almost all of them in union shops or feeding union controlled companies. Consider if all 3 big US firms claimed bankruptcy. The economic and social consequences would be vast.

But so would be more government interference and subsidies for failed union shops. The last thing we need is more government support of failed businesses like Chrysler, Ford or GM. For too long have unions in auto firms created an unaccountable working elite. It is time to destroy the unions and let the market set wages, prices and product-customer matches.

The auto industry is indicative of the Marxist fantasy world inhabited by unions. Big governments with their unionized worker elite amplify the failures of Chrysler or GM. Toyota and smaller government nations exemplify the utility of market dynamics. Kill off the unions and increase company and national wealth. The time of unionized Marxism is long over. Chrysler and big government incompetence are the obvious manifestations of that fact.

How Offset Mortgages Work for Fixed and Tracker Mortgages

For consumers who are looking to save money on their home loans, the first option is usually to opt for a home loan that offers the lowest interest rate. While this path works well for those that want to limit themselves to the standard products currently on the market, a home loan option that more and more people are considering is an offset mortgage. With these loans consumers offset the value of the loan with another investment, such as savings in a current a account. While offsetting was previously considered a niche product, with Bank of England interest rates currently so low, this product is gaining in popularity with more and more homebuyers. As a result, many lenders are now offering offset home loans that are increasingly competitive and also more affordable for the average homebuyer. This article will discuss what offset home loans are, and what their advantages and disadvantages are.

Offsetting

When consumers take out a standard loan on their property, they typically expect to pay a certain interest rate for the entire sum borrowed. So a 100,000 loan with an APR of five per cent will see the borrower paying 5,000 per year in interest on that loan. Offset loans, however, work a bit differently. With these loans, the borrower can still take out the same 100,000 loan, but he would then offset that loan with whatever savings he has, such as a current account or, in some cases, an Isa. As a result, he will no longer earn interest from his savings, but he will be able to reduce his interest payments on his offset mortgage. For example, that same borrower with a 100,000 loan who offsets it with 25,000 in savings would effectively only pay interest on 75,000 of the loan.

Advantages

Since current Bank of England interest rates are extremely low, most consumers are making even less than the rate of inflation on the savings they have in their current accounts. In contrast, interest rates on home loans are typically much higher than the Bank of England rate, meaning sacrificing the interest from savings for the sake of paying less in interest rates on a home loan makes financial sense for many people. Additionally, since the interest made on current accounts is taxable, homeowners will effectively be able to avoid paying tax on those savings by using that account to offset a home loan. Finally, in most instances monthly repayments are based on the total value of the loan, meaning that even though that same homeowner is only paying interest on 75,000 of a 100,000 loan, he will still be making repayments based on the full 100,000. As a result, he will in effect be able to pay down his loan faster.

Disadvantages

While an offset loan can be a great way to pay less in interest, it is not necessarily for everybody. As with standard home loans, offset loans are available as either fixed-rate or tracker mortgages. The difference, however, is that the interest rates are usually slightly higher for an offset loan than they would be for a standard loan. As a result, an offset loan is likely to work best for those who have a large amount of savings that they want to use as an offset. While many tracker mortgages, and even some fixed-rate loans, will offer attractive rates to begin with, it is important to keep in mind that these are typically introductory offers. Once that introductory period ends consumers could be stuck with an interest rate that is uncompetitive even with a large offset. Also, while consumers will still be able to access their savings, they need to be aware that if they withdraw money from their savings then the amount offset against their loan will likewise decrease. Finally, there are often additional restrictions, such as high minimum deposits and rules stipulating that the account that is being used to offset the loan must be held with the same lending institution that is offering the loan.

While offset home loans are not necessarily for everyone, consumers who have a large or even moderate amount of savings should be aware of them. In the past few years, these loans have become increasingly affordable and are now available to anyone that wants to make sure their money is working a little bit harder.

Is Mortgage = Konut Kredisi (home Loan) In Turkey

Below is a list of important changes that are brought with the new mortgage law in Turkey:

New Mortgage Products
Before the mortgage law, it was only possible to lend home loans at fixed interest rates. The law introduced floating interest rates (or a combination of fixed and floating rates) as an additional mortgage type. In floating rate loans, the interest rate is determined from the sum of a fixed margin that is determined by the lender and the inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index. This way banks do not have to face the interest rate risk on their own and may share the risk with the borrowers. In summer of 2007, some banks started to offer variable interest rate loans but so far there does not seem to be much interest in this new type of mortgages and more than 99.9% of the loans are still fixed-interest rate mortgages.

Tax Benefits
Before the law passed on March 2007, there were some plans about providing tax relief to borrowers, however, the only tax relief mortgage law provided was a minor 5 percent Banking Insurance Operating Tax (BSMV) exemption and abolishment of several other smaller operating fees. As an example, before the law passed a monthly mortgage interest rate of 1.30% would be actually 1.3965%. For a 10 year loan of 100,000 YTL, with BSMV exemption the new mortgage law reduced the monthly payment of 1,722 YTL to 1,650 YTL, about 4.2% reduction in the monthly payments.

Loan Length
Before the mortgage law, Turkish banks could offer only shot-term loans up to a few years. This had a very limiting effect on the real estate economy in Turkey. Because of short maturities and high interest rates, funding of houses was mainly done with savings (60+ percent) and relatives/friends (about 25 per cent). The home loans were only making less than 5 percent of the total housing funding.
With the new law in effect for about 6 months, this picture started to change dramatically. The introduction of the new Turkish mortgage law already made a few banks (e.g., HSBC, Sekerbank and Finansbank) give loans up to 30 years to finance. It is expected that the other lending institutions will offer similar mortgages in the near future as interest rates decrease further and demand for longer mortgages continue to increase.

Lending Institutions
Before the mortgage law, only deposit, investment and participation banks could issue home loans. Under the new law, however, consumer funding companies are able to issue home loans too. A few mortgage companies are in the process of starting their operations; it is likely that the growing competition will lower the interest rates, which are very high when compared to those of developed countries. Let’s also note that as these new lenders are allowed to invest in capital markets to create funds for the home loans, it is expected that the financial markets will develop and will have indirect positive effects on the rest of the economy.

Early Payment Fee
Before the law, there was no penalty for early payment of the loan, however, due to the pressures from the banks, the new mortgage law included a penalty up to 2% if borrower pays before due date. This early payment fee is only valid for the fixed-interest rate loans. There is no penalty for the adjustable interest rate loans; they can close their accounts any time without incurring a charge.

Securitization of Loans
With the new law, banks are now able to bundle the loans into securities creating covered bonds and mortgage backed securities. Covered mortgage bonds and mortgage backed securities are debt securities backed by cash flows from mortgages and let the banks eliminate or share the mortgage risk with the rest of the world in a secondary market. Let’s also note that Turkey’s sub-investment grade sovereign rating may not be a big problem in the making good deals in the secondary market as covered bonds typically get higher ratings than the sovereign ratings of the countries. Therefore we expect that the secondary mortgage market is likely to stimulate the growth in the mortgage market substantially and decrease the interest rates when it starts to operate in early 2008.

What Is Mortgage Acceleration

The typical homeowner may think that mortgage acceleration is the act toward reducing the indebtedness on residential property by making larger repayments or more frequent ones than the loan contract requires. The short answer would be this is correct. Mortgage acceleration simply put means to speed up the process for paying off the loan. The part that becomes a little vague, or downright mysterious, is just what method is the most effective to accomplish this.

Creative Methods for Mortgage Acceleration
There are several hot methods that have hit the mortgage marketplace in recent years that make even 15-year fixed rate mortgages with bi-weekly payments look like financial dinosaurs. Although critics of these financing methods claim them too good to be true, the actual review dictates that when conducted with the proper information and education, many of the proposed goals stated from applying mortgage acceleration tactics are reasonably achievable.

How Can These Practices Benefit a Homeowner?
Through restructuring a mortgage correctly, an average homeowner can repay the loan in seven to 15 years. There is no sacrifice in living expenses made and, in fact, can cut total debt in half. Hearing this statement elicits instant disbelief from most responders wondering if the statement is true, then why s it not prevalently known to all? Good question! Most believe there is some insidious catch to the practice, its probably fraudulent, illegal or, at best, quite unethical. Not true!

Mortgage History Shows Conservative Mindset
The lending of money has always been mostly a conservative activity. Yes, some venture capitalists take high risks lending money but require great rewards doing so. The home mortgage market has been relatively a conservative arena based upon business practices that basically benefited the lender first. Traditional mortgages 100 years ago called for a 50 percent down payment that our grandparents slaved years to save. Our parents faired a little better, but never dreamed of no-money down arrangements or ever saw a plethora of mortgage products such as adjustable rate mortgages or interest only mortgage loans. And more recently, use of negative amortization loans have become popular mortgage vehicles for short-term real estate investments. Traditional products like a 30-year fixed mortgage possess an amortization schedule that favours the lender. However, in recent years some clever people discovered inside lending institution secrets that could help consumers win the interest war.

Interest Only Mortgage Is Key
At the heart of any successful mortgage acceleration process is an interest-only loan. About 20 years ago in Australia, someone discovered that if an interest-only loan was obtained and repaid in a specific way will allow a consumer to pay down all personal debts three times faster than associated with conventional financing. It requires a great deal of discipline including gaining a month ahead for repayment of an interest-only loan and also associated depositing money, a pay check, into an interest-bearing account. Additionally, through making your loan repayments earlier than required, you can essentially prevent any additional interest from accruing.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
This is the vehicle that allows a consumer to deposit money directly into an account that consolidates all your debt mortgage, credit cards, auto loans into one vehicle that allows you the draw off the balance of this loan using checks or a debit card.

Check with your trusted mortgage broker for greater details about mortgage acceleration.

Why Move to Spain

For a long time now, Spain has been the destination for thousands of emigrants who leave their home in search of the Good Life. From fresh-faced students to retired statesmen, people have flocked here in their droves, in order to set up a home and learn Spanish.

But why is Spain such a popular place to live?

Weather

The sunny Spanish weather is a famed draw for tourists and emigrants alike. While there are places here that experience quite rainy conditions for much of the year (the northern areas, for example), most of Spain basks in wonderful sunshine, especially during summer when it comes a beach-lovers delight.

Variety

Spain is primarily known for its major cities and its magnificent beaches. Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and Bilbao are all great urban destinations (especially for those who like to indulge in the cultural bustle of big cities), while much of the east and south coast is taken up by mile upon mile of simply idyllic coastline.

In a few select places (Barcelona and Cadiz, say), the urban fun and seaside relaxation meet with aplomb. As a result, these are extremely popular places to set up home in, especially if you can secure living quarters in enigmatic parts of the city. Barcelona apartments in the Barri Gotic, for example, may come at a premium, but theyre well worth the cost, given their surroundings and the proximity of the Barceloneta beach.

Cost of Living

For a European country, Spain is famously easy on the wallet. Day to day life here comes at a pittance when compared to other similar sized countries in the continent: food is cheap, alcohol is cheaper, and even housing is happily affordable (in terms of apartments Valencia, Seville, Madrid and Barcelona all offer a slew of well-priced and available places).

Attitude to Life

Probably the major reason behind Spains appeal to foreigners looking to move overseas is its fun-loving attitude to life. Theres a shared reluctance to do anything too exertive here; life should be spent in cafes on plazas, sipping coffee or drinking beer (preferably with the beach in sight).

Spain is also a country thats known for its love of the fiesta (party). Fiestas tend to start close to midnight, and carry on well into the sunlit hours of the next day. All in all, their friendly indulgence comes to symbolize all that is so good about this exciting and beautiful South European country.