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European Monetary Union Misnamed; I Propose GEU (German Economic Union) or USG (United States of Germany)

The irony and hypocrisy in chancellor Angela Merkel's first parliamentary speech of her third term would be astounding were it not par for the "Everything for Germany" course of action.

Please consider Chancellor Urges Reforms to Preserve Euro

    In her first parliamentary speech since her re-election for a third term on Tuesday, she warned that Europe needed to take further action to make the euro zone crisis-proof.

    More European Control

    "I know that pushing through treaty changes in the member states can be difficult, but if you want more Europe, you have to be prepared to develop it further," Merkel said. "In a world that is constantly changing, we can't stand there and say that at some point we agreed the Lisbon Treaty and there's no need to change it again. This won't work."

    Germany wants closer economic policy coordination and will push at a summit of European Union leaders on Thursday and Friday for members to agree binding contracts with the European Commission to implement further reforms.

    It is also pushing for changes to the Lisbon Treaty to give greater European control over policy. Germany's closest ally in Europe, France, opposes such a move, as do other member states.

    "European unity remains one of the most important tasks of the grand coalition," said Merkel. "Germany is only strong if Europe is strong."

    Criticism of EU Green Energy Probe

    She said she would fight an EU probe announced on Wednesday into exemptions from a green energy surcharge for some 2,000 German companies. The European Commission is examining whether the exemptions, totalling some €5 billion and granted to heavy energy users like the steel industry, were unfair and should be repaid.

    The German government would not tolerate a weakening of German industry or job losses, she said. "Germany wants to remain a strong industrial location, we need competitive companies," she said. "This is about companies and when it's about companies, it's about jobs."

    She said Germany's new Economy and Energy Minister, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, would make this very clear to the European Commission.

Merkel the Hypocrite

Allegedly Merkel wants more EU controls. She is even at odds with France over controls. But let the EU propose energy controls and all of a sudden she does not want them.

Recall that Germany backtracked on the  banking union. Heck, Germany fought bitterly to have some of its banks specifically excluded from banking union provisions, and won.

Now Germany wants more integration. Except of course when it doesn't, like a true banking union deal a week ago, and energy controls today.

I am certainly not defending EU energy policy. But I am critical of the inherent hypocrisy in Merkel's plea for more EU controls when she does not want more EU control, but rather more German control.

Since this is par for the course, (and it will remain that way), let's put an appropriate label on it.

Do You Prefer

    GEU - German Economic Union
    USG - United States of Germany

Is it number 1 or number 2?

The question is moot actually, except for the short-term. Long-term, the European Monetary Union is doomed.

I made the case for a disorderly breakup in Laughable Eurozone Banking "Non-Union".

Merkel's first parliamentary speech of her third term adds credence to the disorderly breakup thesis.

Euro Swings Significantly, Gold Dips Following ECB Rate Cut Announcement; US Tapering Coming Up?

10-minute Euro Chart

The Euro swung 2 cents vs. the US dollar but has now regained about half of the move.On a percentage basis, these are substantial swings.

10-minute Gold Chart

Charts from Barchart.

Gold fell about $30 following the ECB announcement and has taken back about a third of the decline.

US Tapering Coming Up?

Is competitive currency debasement bad for gold? It shouldn't be.

Likely, this is more of an over-reaction to the still-lingering belief that the Fed is going to taper.

How likely is that? Not very according to Bloomberg columnist Caroline Baum in her article today A GDP Report in Search of Liftoff

    While real GDP increased 2.8 percent in the third quarter, inventories accounted for almost a third of the growth. Consumer spending added 1 percentage point and net exports 0.3 percentage point. Real final sales, which is GDP less inventories, rose 2 percent, close to the trend since the recession ended in June 2009. Final sales to domestic purchasers, which excludes exports and includes imports, rose a meager 1.7 percent.

    So there you have it. Almost five years of zero-percent interest rates, about $3 trillion of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve and lots of forward guidance on both, and the U.S. economy still can't get out of its own way. Whatever else the Fed decides, tapering asset purchases isn't in the cards any time soon.

Should vs. Will are Horses of a Different Color

Given the huge asset bubbles in equities and corporate bonds, the Fed ought to be tapering now. Then again, given that repetitive bubble blowing never makes any sense, the Fed should never have launched three rounds of QE in the first place.

But what the Fed "should" do and what the Fed "will" do are horses of a different color. Baum is highly likely correct in her assertion "tapering asset purchases isn't in the cards any time soon."

Things You Can Do To Find Reliable Small Business Accountants

Taxes are tedious to do. Small business accountants can help. Whether one is unhappy with his current accountant, or he just needs the help of a pro to do his taxes, finding the right accountant is paramount for a company and its numbers.

Your financial advisor can save time and dollars for your business. He can clear up the confusion of complex numbers and terms for your business. Managing taxes and finances should be delegated to a reliable accountant. An accountant can provider other benefits as well as balancing your company numbers.

Trusted advisers are more than just tax preparers. They can help do things like manage cash flow, assess risk, plan for growth, and keep books in order. When it comes to small companies such as sole proprietors, personal finances and business finances are closely related. A good trusted adviser can provide sound judgments for both, small and large businesses.

You might find it hard to choose the right financial professional. The easiest way to find a reliable professional is through a referral. It might help if you network at your local business events or through online websites. Most professionals that have an online presence will exhibit their ratings and testimonials which you can draw from to see if they are the right fit.

Referrals are a good way to get a professional, but that is not enough. Just because someone referred you to various professionals does not necessarily mean that they are the right fit for your company. This is why you should interview the professional. During your interview, you should ask for a free consultation.

Your small company may be dynamic. Without the use of a professional adviser, you might operate on subpar resources. Your potential advisor should be able to adjust to your needs.

A financial adviser that understands the dynamics of a company would be able to serve its needs better in the long run than an adviser that is inexperienced in the dynamics. If a company has a solid and consistent client-base, then the company needs to hire a financial adviser. Advisers should be asked what experience they have in this industry.

Most of the time, advisors have a lot of industry knowledge in which you operate, but that is not always the case. Some professionals choose to be well-versed in specific industries. There is a wide range of industries which professionals may be specific with, such as exports, construction, sales, real estate, sales, and so on. It is essential that you obtain referrals from other companies that operate in the same industry which you do.

A professional knows how to prepare taxes. Companies should ask the professional if he does more than tax preparation. If a company just needs tax preparation, then a tax professional is the path to take. Businesses should inquire whether the professional can commit to being a long-term adviser for long-term strategic paths. Some professionals provide a value-added service that can help with evaluations, forecasting, budgeting, risks analysis, bookkeeping, and startup advice.

When you look for small business accountants, it is critical that you understand the best process in how to obtain the best accountant. Now that you know how to find an accountant, tread softly. After all, your accountant will be intimate with all the sensitive information of your company. Your accountant should be reliable and trustworthy.
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