HSBC Bank to Close Russian Retailing

MOSCOW -(MarketWatch)- HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.LN) is closing its Russian retail banking operations, retaining only an office for corporate lending, as international lenders faces growing challenges in a market dominated by state-controlled giants.

HSBC’s retail exit follows that of Barclays PLC (BARC.LN), which in February said it would sell its retail operations in Russia after taking a writedown of GBP243 million on an acquisition. In addition to Russia’s perenially poor investment climate, foreign financial firms in Russia have faced heightened bureaucracy and scrutiny from regulators who have close ties to the biggest state-controlled banks, OAO Sberbank (SBER.RS) and VTB Group (VTBR.RS).

Here. The concepts are the same in the U.S. as in Russia, they just appear different. In the U.S. and other so-called free countries, firms are controlled by regulations, subsidies, and threats. The people who work in these firms are not free to make decision based on what they think is best for the firm, they have to abide by what the politicians impose on them.

Sen. Schumer (D-NY) Demands Job Numbers

Sen. Charles Schumer has waded into the stock-exchange takeover wars, demanding Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. provide details of potential job losses should they succeed in their joint bid to buy NYSE Euronext.

In a letter expected to be sent to the heads of Nasdaq and ICE on Monday, Sen. Schumer (D., N.Y.) is seeking more information on the companies’ planned cost cutting, a person familiar with the matter said.

Here. Tyrants are always demanding something from their subjects citizens. They think they own everything.

The Aim of Health Care Reform

Admittedly, the politically engineered wedge separating the receipt of health-care services from the responsibility for paying for these services creates problems. But the best way to address these problems is to remove the wedge rather than to arrogantly suggest that some mysterious transcendent force will more reliably look after individuals’ health-care needs than will those individuals themselves as they operate in markets in which insurers and physicians must compete for consumer dollars.

Treat the purchase of health care products and services as we do most other products and services and the problems go away.


More here.

Stopping Increase in Debt Limit Does NOT Mean Apocalypse

Politicians, such as this one, say that by not increasing the debt ceiling. . .

“What will happen is that we’d have to stop making payments to our seniors — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. We’d have to stop paying veterans’ benefits. We’d have to stop paying all the other payments on all the other things the government does. And then we would risk default on our interest payments.

“If we did that, we’d tip the U.S. economy and the world economy back into recession, depression. I think it would make the last crisis look like a tame, modest crisis. It would be much more dramatic. The cost of borrowing would go up for everybody, and it would have a permanent devastating damage on our credit rating as a country.”


The Adminstration “have to start choosing which bills it would pay since it could not issue more debt.” Just as individuals, families, businesses, and other entities. Its time for prioritizing what to spend on. Note this is a technical question that the folks at the U.S. Treasury have to answer.