Good morning

Observation: when your Monday morning begins with Celine Dion on the radio, you know that Valentines Week is upon you. And, no doubt, I will spend a lot of my day hearing how Whitney, bless her soul, will always love me. A musical tragedy, this weekend.

But the news:

  1. The Greek Parliament passed the austerity package early this morning. The Greek public is in uproar, which is to be expected. But I agree with Mr Papademos – when the choice is between “bad” and “worse” – you go with “bad”. But how do you tell a economically-uneducated, extremely-emotional people that they are limited to those choices? Kudos to him – when the best choice results in political crucifixion, I think that makes you a hero. Link: Greece Lawmakers Pass Austerity Bill. And the Bloomberg version: Greek Parliament backs austerity.
  2. President Obama is set to present his 2013 Budget Proposal to Congress today. According to CNBC, presidential budget proposals are mostly ignored by Congress. Particularly as the Democrat incumbent is going to a Republican house to tell them that he is cutting some spending (they want more) and increasing taxes on the wealthy (a Republican hell-no). Link: Obama’s Budget
  3. More interestingly, according to Bloomberg, this presidential budget proposal is the only document that gives a clear indication of how the US is spending its money. Once you start looking at actual expenditure, there are three federal agencies that each have their own accounting rules relating to government expenditure – all arriving at different estimates. Some of these “rounding errors” are small in relation to the overall budget, but giant when compared to, say, the market capitalisation of a large listed company. Frankly, I think this is inevitable – there are always accounting discrepancies. But still, it’s interesting reading. Link: Obama’s Budget Proposal Proves Unique.
  4. The Pentagon has also released its 2013 budget proposal. Sometimes, I read these things, and my eyes glaze over because there is just so much spending on various programs and specific destroyers/aircraft/carriers/ships/spaceships/helicopters/etc. But the point is that they’ve lowered their budget. Link: Pentagon budget.
  5. Apple is suing Samsung again. Link: Apple sues Samsung.
  6. After causing a sudden Friday crisis in the Rand when it announced that it was going to announce “news of national importance”, Mandela’s image is to appear on South African banknotes. I’m not sure – but it feels like we’re trying to immortalise him before he’s in the ground. Does it feel a little like we’re wishing it? But still – I plan to collect them when they come out; and bundle them together with the other Madiba paraphernalia I’m collecting in anticipation of his death. Just like every other big-eyed South African. Shocking. Link: Mandela’s image to appear on banknotes.
  7. ABN is still doing the Africa news in brief. Link: Friday’s African Business News in brief.
Have a great week. 
And happy Monday.