“Tappanch”: Viktor Orbán’s phony wars

It doesn’t happen too often in the world of blogging that readers who are also avid and thoughtful commentators request that one of their own write a “guest post.” But this is what happened. “Tappanch” is always the first to find the salient news of the day. He is never satisfied with journalistic summaries but goes to the statistics. As you will see, he compares several sources of information to come up with his astute observations on the state of the Hungarian economy. I’m sure we will all learn from his considerable research on Viktor Orbán’s mostly lost economic wars.

  * * *

1. The war on debt

The “Basic Law” that replaced the Constitution on January 1, 2012 mandated that each yearly budget should decrease the “debt of the central government”/”complete domestic product” ratio (36 & 37). Subsequently, the Orbán government postponed the effective date of the start of this reduction to 2016. So it created a legal category that restricts the rights of the Parliament and Courts, contingent on the value of the “complete domestic product”, although there is no such notion in economics. Most people assume that the lawmakers meant GDP here.

On the other hand, the debt/GDP ratio depends on how we calculate the debt and how the GDP.

1.1 The denominator: How large is the Hungarian GDP?

The Central Statistical Office (KSH) currently gives three series of numbers.

(a) GDP in current prices.

(b) GDP in previous year’s average prices,

(c) GDP in 2005 average prices.

The three numbers for 2013 and, in brackets, for 2012 were reported to be

(a) 29114.43 [28048.07]

(b) 28360.18 [27175.44]

(c) 21984.68 [21742.74] billion HUFs on December 31, 2013 [2012].

The head of the potential government appointed “Budgetary Council,” Árpád Kovács, used slightly different numbers in a recent article for (a), namely: (a) 29203 [28048].

The GDP is quoted in HUF, but it is also meaningful to convert its forint value into EUR at some exchange rate. I will use the daily conversion rate of the European Central Bank, which can be found here.

The GDP values in EUR were

98.02 [95.96]

95.48 [92.97]

74.01 [74.39] billion EURs at the end of 2013 [2012].

Let’s see the numbers Hungary reported to the European Statistical Office.

2008: 105.54

2009:  91.42

2010:  96.24

2011:  98.92

2012:  96.97

2013:  98.07

So if one asks about the growth of the GDP in 2013, the answer will be at least sixfold. In HUF terms, we get to the numbers 3.80% [4.12% in Kovács’s article], 4.36%, and 1.11%, while in EUR terms, the growth was 2.15%, 2.69%, and -0.50%, an actual decline.

If we use unchanged HUF prices, i.e. (c), agriculture contributed to 0.9% of the 1.1% growth of the GDP.

In reality, the large volume increase in the corn and wheat production was offset by the significant decline in their price.

1.2 The numerator: How large is the national debt?

Are we talking about the debt of the central government? Do we include local governments or Social Security? Gross debt or net debt? Is the debt “consolidated”? Do we measure the debt in HUF or EUR? Which agency reports the debt?

1.2.1 The gross debt of the central government

This number stood at  19933.4 billion HUF when the Orbán government took over on May 31, 2010; at 20720.1 on December 31, 2012; 21998.6 on December 31, 2013; and 23569.3 on March 14. 2014.

So the gross debt has increased by 6.17% in 2013, but even this number was achieved by tricks to lower it artificially for a few weeks around December 31:

12.06:  22,728.0

12.13:  22,645.1

12.20:  22,365.5

12.23:  22,434.8

12.31:  21,998.1 (local minimum)

01.24:  22,862.1

01.31:  22,842.0

02.07:  22,899.3 (all-time high)

They asked the partially state-owned MOL and ordered the 100% state-owned Eximbank to purchase government bonds for 435 billion HUF. They were repaid in January.

If we count in euros, the debt has increased by a smaller percentage because of the declining value of the forint.

It was

72.35 billion EUR on May 31, 2010

70.89 on December 31, 2012

74.06 on December 31, 2013

74.93 on March 14, 2014

Thus the debt has increased by “only” 4.48% in euro terms in 2013. The debt of the central government has grown by 18.24% in HUF or by 3.75% in EUR since May 31, 2010. This last number looks great, unless we recall the fact that the Orbán government took over the private retirement funds (MaNyuP) of 2.9 million workers on May 31, 2011 and has spent it COMPLETELY by December 31, 2013.

statistics

How much of this money was spent for “debt reduction”? (The initial nationalization) + (subsequent voluntary offerings) + interest – (previous capital gains paid to the workers in 2011). The initial nationalization amounts to 2945.3 billion HUF. When I added up the items on the website of AKK, the office that handles issuing government bonds, I came up with the number of 2555.9 billion HUF, which might be a good approximation of the actual new debt the Orbán government created towards the future retirees.

If we add the spent fraction of the retirement forints to the debt, we come up with

19933.4 on May 31, 2010  [72.35 EUR]

22920.3 on December 31, 2012 [78.41 EUR]

24554.5 on December 31, 2013 [82.66 EUR]

26125.2 on March 14, 2014 [83.06 EUR]

So the Fidesz government has increased the debt of the central government by 7.13% in HUF or 5.42% in EUR during 2013. The total debt growth since May 31, 2010 amounts to 31.06% in HUF or 14.80% in EUR. The previous numbers came from the Treasury, which can be found at akk.hu.

The National Bank of Hungary, MNB, has gross debt numbers that are higher by about 1000 billion HUF than the sum of the debt reported by AKK and the spent retirement funds.

24085.5 on December 31, 2012 [82.40 EUR]

25598.8 on December 31, 2013 [86.18 EUR], a 6.28% rise in HUF or 4.59% in EUR during 2013.

The distribution of the gross debt in HUF and foreign currencies has changed since 2010, but the change is not as significant as some government propagandists suggest.

On 2014-01-31 [2010-05-31] {2008-05-31}

40.89% [45.70%] {27.77%} of the debt was owed in foreign currency, “deviza”

0.50% [ 1.26%] { 0.03%} in “other obligations”

58.61% [53.04%] {72.20%} in forints (Source AKK’s website)

1.2.2 Budget deficit and EU support

The budgetary deficit and the growth of indebtness has been mitigated significantly by the support Hungary receives from the European Union. The net EU contribution to Hungary in billions of EURs:

2008: 1.12

2009: 2.72

2010: 2.75

2011: 4.42

2012: 3.28

2013: 4.1  [low estimate, based on Lázár’s statement 4.1= 5.05-0.95]

2014: 4.22 [by the budget plan, 5.21-0.99 @296.9 EUR/HUF]

In this article I use the yearly currency exchange rates EUR/HUF and EUR/USD provided by Bundesbank.

In the 2014 budget plan (September 2013 version), the EU support amounts to more than 10% (!) of the expected revenue, while 7.4% of the outlays were designated to service the interest on the government debt.

Domestic revenue/outlays equals only 85% in the 2014 plan.

In the entire 2014-2021 European budget cycle, Hungary expects to receive 7200 billion HUF, i.e. more than €3.2 billion yearly.

The nominal deficit was:

2008:  3.87= 5696/1.4708

2009:  4.13= 5764/1.3948

2010:  4.22= 5599/1.3257

2011: -4.19=-5833/1.3920

2012:  1.93= 2481/1.2848

The nominal 2013 deficit was €3.13 billion according to financial minister Varga’s January statement.

Let us compare the nominal deficit numbers with those in Kovács’s article. Through 2012, he uses the same numbers Hungary reported to the European Statistical Office as “general government deficit”, which includes Social Security and local governments as well. See here and here.

2008: 3.94

2009: 4.23

2010: 4.15

2011:-4.28

2012: 1.98

2013: 2.32

Kovács contradicts Varga for 2013: Varga stated that the 2013 deficit was 929 billion HUF on January 22, while Kovács gave the 2013 number as 689 billion on March 13. But a recent (February 28) KSH publication puts the deficit of the central government at €3.30 billion (979.8 billion HUF), and the “consolidated” deficit at €3.13.

year: central budget; public finances (államháztartás); with local governments

2010: 3.10; 3.29; 4.07

2011: 6.18; 6.23; 5.73

2012: 2.11; 2.07; 1.76

2013: 3.30; 3.13; n/a

(See p. 26, p. 92 of KSH’s website)

The first two months of the 2014 produced a nominal deficit of 582/305= €1.91 billion euros, which leaves only €1.20 billion of deficit for the remaining ten months of 2014.

Let us calculate a more genuine deficit number, equaling the nominal deficit + the used retirement funds + net EU support

2008: 5.06 =   3.94+0+1.12

2009: 6.55 =   4.23+0+2.72

2010: 6.90 =   4.15+0+2.75

2011: 6.81 =  -4.28+6.67+4.42

2012: 6.49 =   1.98+1.23+3.28

2013: 8.57 =   3.30+1.17+4.1 [KSH data + AKK data + estimate from Lázár’s statement]

2013: 7.59 =   2.32+1.17+4.1 [Kovács data for the first number]

2013: 9.61 =   4.34+1.17+4.1 [see 1.2.3 for the first number]

2014: 7.33 =   3.11+0+4.22   [budget plan]

Simicska’s Közgép won at least 432 billion HUF in public tenders in 2013, so about 30% of the EU support goes through the company of the former treasurer of the ruling Fidesz party. We can state with certainty that the genuine budget deficit was the largest ever in 2013.

1.2.3 The debt of the local governments

Here we use the data of the MNB that can be found here.

The liabilities of the government in 109 HUF at the end of 2013 [2012], growth in 2013:

Central government : 25598.8 [24085.5], 6.28%

Social security fund:  51.5 [  164.5] [the disappeared retirement funds do not appear as liabilities!]

Local governments :  637.4 [ 1280.4]

Total liabilities : 26287.7 [25530.4], 2.97%

“Consolidated” liabilities: 26131.5 [25281.7], 3.36%

“Consolidated debt”: 23067.8 [22392.8], 3.01%

“Consolidated” means that “sub-sectors of the general government” are excluded, as the second note in the MNB spreadsheet explains.

This “consolidated debt” is the number Mr. Kovács uses in his article cited above.

Assets of the government:

Central government:  5848.3 [6583.4], -11.17%

Social security fund:  396.1 [ 368.7],

Local governments:  1592.1 [1414.3],

Total assets:  7836.5 [8366.4], – 6.63%

“Consolidated”assets:  7680.3 [8117.8], – 5.54%

Total net liabilities:

Central government:  19750.5 [17502.1], 12.85%

All governments: 18451.2 [17164.0],  7.50%

“Consolidated” net : 18451.2 [17163.9],  7.50%

Notice that the 2013 general government deficit that can be be concluded from these numbers is (18451.2-17164.0)/296.87= €4.34 billion, and not the €2.32 Kovács or the €3.13 Varga and KSH reported.

Let me summarize: the net financial position of the government is worse than what the gross debt numbers indicate.

During 2013, the increase of the debt amounted to

net debt: 12.85% in the central government,

net debt:  7.50% in the central and local governments combined.

gross debt: 6.28% in the central government,

gross debt: 3.36% in the central and local governments combined.

1.3 The mystical ratios

If you have the right to choose your favorite numerator and denominator, the desired ratio can be achieved with ease. We saw that Budgetary Council chairman Kovács counts with a unique, much lower deficit for 2013 than minister Varga. He also uses a higher “GDP in current prices” for 2013.

His calculations for 2013 [2012]:

Debt: 23068/22393, an increase of 3.01% [“consolidated” debt]

GDP:  29203/28048, an increase of 4.12% [GDP in current prices]

ratio:  78.99% [79.84%]

Let us calculate the ratio using liabilities of the central government from 1.2.2!

Debt: 25598.8/24085.5, an increase of 6.28%

GDP : 29114.43/28048.07, an increase of 3.80% [data provided by the statistical office KSH]

ratio: 87.92% [85.87%]

So we found official data showing the “ratio of desire” up in 2013, contrary to the tenet of Fidesz’s own “Basic Law”.

The ratio from the “consolidated” deficit is the well published (23067.8-22392.8)/29114.43= 2.32%.

But the Maastricht criterion requires member states of the European Union to maintain the yearly ratio of (deficit of the central government + local governments + social security)/GDP below 3%.

This ratio was (18451.2-17164.0)/29114.43= 4.42% in 2013.

2. The war on unemployment

E = [employed in enterprises with at least 5 employees]

R = [employed in enterprises with four or less employees]

S = [self-employed]

N = [employed by non-profit organizations]

G = [employed by the government in regular positions]

F = [“fostered” workers, aka as “közmunkások”]

A = [workers abroad, who somehow are counted in the Hungarian numbers]

Employed = E+R+S+N+G+F+A

The last number A seems to be a closely-held secret, it was divulged only once. How many workers and their families work and reside abroad?

We can get some data from observed remittances to Hungary in 2012:

1. Germany: 105,000; $4100

2. USA: 83,000; $4800

3. Canada: 53,000; $4800

4. UK: 51,000; $2300

5. Austria: 40,000; $4600

6. Australia: 24,000; $4900

7: Switzerland: 17,000; $4000

8: Slovakia: 16,000; $3900

9: Sweden: 16,000; $4500

10:Israel: 13,000; $5700

11:France: 11,000; $5100

12: Romania: 8,000: $3100

13: Denmark: 4,000: $2800

14: Norway: 3,000: $3700

All other countries: 18,000

Total:  462,000

The low remittance from UK and Denmark might indicate that the workers there are more likely to stay with their families.

The second trick is to move some of the unemployed to the employed camp using the “közmunkás” category F. F is only an implicitly given number that can be calculated from the data of KSH.

The third problem is that some numbers are contained in moving averages, while others are disclosed every month. Here are the numbers for the three-month average of October-December 2013 [2012]* or for December 2013 [2012] :

E = 1825.7 [1791.7], +1.90% change during 2013,

R* =  785.6 [ 812.3], -3.29%

S* =  439.2 [ 454.9], -3.45%

N =   99.6 [ 104.5], -4.69%

G =  686.6 [ 658.9], +4.20%

F =  178.5 [  86.9], +105.41%

A =   99.4 [  91.4], +8.75%   [the data is on page 6]

If we add these apples and oranges together, we can come up with the victory propaganda numbers of “Employment” = 4114.6 [4000.5], +2.85%

But if we discount the “fostered” workers and the workers abroad included in the statistics, the growth in employment equals the less than great number of 0.38%.

Conclusions

So what do the numbers tell us? First of all, a lot of numbers are not public. Some numbers contradict each other.

Still, we are able to conclude that

1. The GDP growth in constant prices was 0.2% without agriculture in 2013. If agriculture is counted, the 1.1% growth in HUF becomes a 0.5% decline in EUR.

2. The Orban government has increased the debt to an all time high. The total debt growth since 2010-05-31 amounts to 31.06% in HUF or 14.80% [using ECB exchange rates] or 15.10% [using MNB exchange rates] in EUR, if we include the spent retirement funds.

3. The general government deficit reached a record high of €4.34 billion in 2013.

4. The number for the Maastricht deficit criterion was 4.42% in 2013.

5. The domestic employment without the “fostered” workers increased by 0.38%.

—-

P.S. Today, on March 18, 2014, Hungary sold $3 billion of new debt at 5.5% yearly interest. The official gross debt/GDP ratio will reach 84% to 85% at the end of March.

The 10-year bond premium over the 10-year US Treasury note. The data are from Portfolio.

2010: 2.65% (January)

2011: 3.10% (March)

2012: —-

2013: 3.45% (February), 3.25% (November)

2014: 2.875% (March) [over the US Treasury notes]

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
tappanch
Guest

The very last number correctly is

2014: 2.875% (March) [over the US Treasury notes]

tappanch
Guest

There is no conclusion 6.

Conclusion 2 reads:

2. The Orban government has increased the debt to an all time high.

The total debt growth since 2010-05-31 amounts to
31.06% in HUF or
14.80% [using ECB exchange rates] or
15.10% [using MNB exchange rates] in EUR,
if we include the spent retirement funds.

Member

@tappanch Thank you so much for this. You must of spent all your time the last two weeks also to calculate those numbers.

Question: WHat percentage the debt increased from 2012 to 2016 and to 2010?

How many jobs Orban promised by 2014? 1,000,000 LOL I am not sure how many is in Germany and England.. The F are Forced labourers if you ask me, as they work below the minimum wage.

tappanch
Guest

In section 1.2.1:

If we add the spent fraction of the retirement forints to the debt, we come up with

19933.4 on May 31, 2010 [72.35 EUR]
22920.3 on December 31, 2012 [78.41 EUR]
24554.5 on December 31, 2013 [82.66 EUR]
typo —–> 24569.3 on March 14, 2014 [83.75 EUR]

Correctly:

If we add the spent fraction of the retirement forints to the debt, we come up with

19933.4 on 2010-05-31 [72.35 EUR] [ECB] [72.40] [MNB]
22920.3 on 2012-12-31 [78.41 EUR] [78.69]
24554.5 on 2013-12-31 [82.66 EUR] [82.70]
26125.2 on 2014-03-14 [83.06 EUR] [83.33]

Kirsten
Guest

tappanch, very good! It should be read very carefully, specifically the divergence between growth in HUF and in euro. So that people can easily appreciate how “rich” Orban is making them.

tappanch
Guest

@Some1

Growth of GROSS debt in HUF:

February 2010/ February 2006: 47.98%

February 2014/February 2010: 32.96% [including the MaNyuP]

oneill
Guest

I guess one of the questions I would have is how accurate KSH figures are?
We now know that their Greek equivalents were telling serious lies to the EU for years, is an Orban poodle institute likely to be more accurate?

Minusio
Guest

Tappanch: This is what I’d call solid debunking! Thank you.

tappanch
Guest

@Minusio

Hi, nice to see you back.

The most meaningful series would be the NET debt of the government. I have found the 2012 and 2013 numbers (see 1.2.3), but not the earlier ones.

Minusio
Guest

Hi, tappanch. Had a busy time but I did read a few posts.

We will probably never know the exact figures as the Orbanists are not like the Nazis who were meticulous bookkeepers. But your figures confirm in more detail and in a convincing manner what we suspected all along: Orbán and his buddies are cooking the books and are lying to everybody and his uncle – including the EU. The figures also show the trend – at best a zero line, in reality a slippery slope and in the long-term nearing the inevitable collapse.

Member

Excellent reference data. Thanks a million (in HUF) or €312,202.68!

TappanchForPrimeMinister
Guest
TappanchForPrimeMinister

1 out 10 million Hungarians can transilluminate the biggest crime of history.

The building of the Panama Canal was a minor affair to the Orban Panama.

Good job, T!

Member

The workers on the Panama Canal got paid a lot better, than the poor Hungarians, on forced labor to earn their unemployment benefits, which they already paid for many years. At least the pour souls don’t get malaria, which is very rare in Hungary.

andy - whew, come again?...
Guest
‘Tappi’, pal! My highest respects. I havent had the nerve to delve into all these numbers which seem ever so overwhelming. I am sure its all there and I could find all my answers but “PRAY” Sire, might you be so kind and enunciate – for me – a few deductions. My princial interest is to know in simple percentages and numbers: 1. By how many euros currently (at the current conversion rate) is Hungary indebted (money borrowed via State Bonds and such, and other amounts owed to other nations, private firms etc. 2. How has this debt progressed since 1985 or so. (on a graphic if possible) 3. How much money has Hungary received from the EU since it joined and how much has it put into the EU? Yearly. And total til now. A graphic (eg pie chart) as to the proportions of the aid arriving into various elements of the economy. 4. How much money has the Orban administration handed out to businesses on non-competitive bids (using excuses like urgency, estimated likelihood of pre-selected winners by pre-specifiying unique criteria that only the selected applicant can fit into. 5. According to the planned Paks-Rosatom Deal, at the end… Read more »
Hombre
Guest

Thanks Tappanch, but there are two further conclusions:

(1) The EU apparently does not give a sh*t (as I guess it is preoccupied with Greece, Italy, Spain etc. and this is just too complex for the burocrats).

(2) The market does not give a sh*t, as we can see from yesterday’s bond issue which increased debt yet again to an all time high, somewhere to the 85% debt/gdp ration (and foreign law, fx debt on which no default is legally possible).

Hombre
Guest

Just to make it clear: Hungary can as a matter of law default on the foreign-law based debt, but it cannot unilaterally decide to eliminate/cancel such debt. Thus sooner or later it will have to pay it back.

This is not the case with Hungarian-law debt, which the sovereign can always legally decide not to pay back and cancel completely.

petofi
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :

oneill :
I guess one of the questions I would have is how accurate KSH figures are?
We now know that their Greek equivalents were telling serious lies to the EU for years, is an Orban poodle institute likely to be more accurate?

In the past they were quite reliable but I understand that lately they are employing a few tricks.
Talking about tricks. I understand that Mesterházy’s call for the March 15th meeting that was posted way before the date arrived at households today. Even the post office is used for political purposes.

When there will come a time of reckoning…how will the enablers, all those bureaucrats who carry out these lawless doings…how will they defend themselves?
Will it again be, “I didn’t see; I didn’t know..?”

hombre
Guest
petofi : Eva S. Balogh : oneill : I guess one of the questions I would have is how accurate KSH figures are? We now know that their Greek equivalents were telling serious lies to the EU for years, is an Orban poodle institute likely to be more accurate? In the past they were quite reliable but I understand that lately they are employing a few tricks. Talking about tricks. I understand that Mesterházy’s call for the March 15th meeting that was posted way before the date arrived at households today. Even the post office is used for political purposes. When there will come a time of reckoning…how will the enablers, all those bureaucrats who carry out these lawless doings…how will they defend themselves? Will it again be, “I didn’t see; I didn’t know..?” The aggregate global debt is much higher now than at the height of the 2008 crisis and still growth is non-existent in the EU, Japan, Australia, Canada. And in the US it exists with a great number of people leaving the labor market for good. China is slowing down and anyway its statistics are unreliable. So, yes, that is exactly what people will say again. But… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

The 143 richest people in Hungary:

Total assets 2371.5 billion HUF or 7.65 billion euros.
The average rich has 16.6 billion HUF or 53.5 million euros.

Second tier, people served by private banking.

There are 43720 people in private banking, with total assets of
2634 billion HUF or 8.5 billion euros.
The average deposit is 60 million HUF or about 200,000 euros.

http://index.hu/chart/2014/03/19/mibe_fektetnek_a_leggazdagabb_magyarok/

tappanch
Guest

So we found 16 billion euros from the missing 66.5 billion euros [the NET debt of the central government on December 31, 2013]

kommentelo
Guest

Earlier Éva S. Balogh wrote in the blog:

“the last regular article I wrote for Galamus was in May 2011”

I don’t know what is a “regular article”, but a Hungarian internet extensively quotes an article by Balogh S. Éva, written for Galamus

http://mandiner.hu/cikk/20140319_balogh_s_eva_szigetvari_viktor_es_az_orban_rezsim

This can mean that Éva S. Balogh is starting to get famous in Hungary.

Member

Tappanch, if you are a woman, will you marry me?

tappanch
Guest

@Seal Driver:

I am going to destroy half of my popularity here by dispelling the ambiguity:

I am a man and I prefer to get involved romantically only with women. 🙂

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Thanks, Tappanch. The taxpayers-funded Fidesz arrow should be pointing downwards, and the logo should read: “Magyarország jobban teljesít. Vagy nem.”

tappanch
Guest

@Andy – whew

1. Debt – read the article. Gross or net? Central government? Local governments? Percentage of the debt in EUR? You find the answers in the article.

2. I found the detailed, monthly gross debt numbers only since 2004.

3. The EU support numbers are NET in the article. The 2014 budget plan contains 5.21 billion revenue from EU and 0.99 billion payment to EU, yielding an expected 4.22 billion net support.

4. Do not know.

5. In my estimate, Paks-2 would increase the debt by another 30%.

Forum Romanum
Guest

Fidesz calculates that until our debt is purchased – with any interest rate – it is just fine.

Italy can sell its debt at 130% debt/gdp then they figure we will be able to sell at 110%.

if Germany is close to 90% then we are ok, with 85%.

So no worries, the idiotic foreign investors will continue to gobble up all the junk.

Paul
Guest

Gross debt/GDP according to Wikipedia (2012 figures):

USA 106%
Belgium 100
UK 90
France 90
Canada 84

So, I guess Orbán has a point – 85% might sound high, but it’s far from abnormal.

(I do appreciate that the economies of the US, UK, France, etc are very different to Hungary, but Orbán isn’t going to worry about such ‘details’ – just the headline figure.)

Paul
Guest

PS – thanks for the article (and all the work that went into it) tappanch. Very interesting – and comprehensive!

Nice to have something to argue with Fideszniksz about that isn’t just our opinion v theirs.

Paul
Guest

Interesting that Orbán postponed the ‘government debt’ basic law until 2016. Did he think he might lose the election?

But what will happen in 2016? Will he postpone it again (on what grounds?), or just fiddle the figures?

Lacika
Guest
Paul : Interesting that Orbán postponed the ‘government debt’ basic law until 2016. Did he think he might lose the election? But what will happen in 2016? Will he postpone it again (on what grounds?), or just fiddle the figures? This has no relevance any more because it constrains him and to be honest it never had any relevance. All this anti-debt rage was for show, for the anti-MSZP economists in Budapest and in London. It worked nicely, everybody drank the kool aid just as it was intended. You too. The debt/gdp ration must increase in the future further because the GDP cannot grow. There is just no other way. It is pure math. With the smallest investment/gdp ratio for the last 3-4 years in the region (and most of it went into non-growth state projects like stadiums, rural train lines, not into productive private projects) it is impossible to grow meaningfully in the foreseeble future. Note that from the data compiled by Tappanch it is clear that this essentially deficit spending for years did not create any meaningful growth at all (although without it the contraction might have been bigger). The point is that in Hungary the state cannot… Read more »
Mutt
Guest

Meanwhile on Planet Hungary …

Recently I reported that the design of the nazi memorial has changed. A german sheperd will vigorously hump a innocent Hungarian blind commondor. Guess what! The 444 blog just reported that the prototype is ready! Check it out!

http://444.hu/2014/03/20/vegre-elkeszult-magyarorszag-nemet-megszallasanak-valoban-erdemi-emleket-allito-szobor-makettje/

The design changed slightly. The dog is a Hungarian white puli. Nice touch is the helmet on Fritz, the German. Also in the composition a Hitler looking guy luring the puli with a slice of Wiener schnitzel of the shape of pre-Trianon Hungary. Wiener schnitzel – Wiener Diktat – Bécsi szelet – Becsi döntés. Get it?

The white puli pretty much looks like a flying dirty mop. Damn noisy too. We had a black one. A squirrel fart a mile away made him bark for ten minutes …

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