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Where’s Our Money?

Where’s Our  Money?

Time is money. Even so, in banking, we’ve become used to the idea that moving it around can take a while. But it doesn’t need to. A transfer that takes one workday in Austria, takes three to seven days in the United States, and only a few seconds in the U.K.. Most European transfers are […]

Kurt Bayer: Fighting for Economic Fairness

Kurt Bayer: Fighting for Economic Fairness

Economist Kurt Bayer is theoretically retired. A former senior economist with the Austrian Economics Research Institute (WIFO), head of economic policy for the Austrian Ministry of Finance and a director of the World Bank, he now has time to meet at Café Engländer on a weekday and talk about his work with Transparency International (TI), […]

At a Banker’s Discretion

At a Banker’s Discretion

      Granny’s Dangerous Savings Account, 9 Apr. by Eric Frey Austria has now given in to international pressure and declared itself ready for an automatic exchange of information in the EU. Foreign tax exiles will no longer be protected, though the domestic small saver will be fine. For domestic bank secrecy, supported by […]

Austrians Keep Their Secrets

Austrians Keep Their Secrets

Changing banking laws is tricky, wherever it’s done. It affects nations, businesses and citizens – in fact, everything. In Austria, the last big change was made in 1996, when it was decided that Austrian savings accounts (Sparbücher) could no longer be anonymous. By 2000, it was literally impossible to open a savings account without showing […]

Taxing the Middle

Taxing the Middle

Austria has clinched a tax repatriation deal with Switzerland [see Austria Briefs, p. 4, TVR May 2012]. Honesty Is Not Rewarded, 18 April by Josef Urschitz Once again, honest tax payers… are the idiots. Any high earner would choose to be taxed at 15–38% – the rates for a one-off taxation of Swiss accounts in […]

Austria and its Creditors: Riding the Business Cycle

Students of Keynesian economics learn that states should save in boom times, and spend during downturns to stimulate demand – if necessary by running up debts. The problem is that since Keynes’ time, bond markets have grown more nervous: As states’ debts rise, so do their interest rates, risking a vicious circle that can drive […]

Austria: Island of Stability? – Part One

Austria: Island of Stability? – Part One

With Europe in crisis, Austria can count itself lucky. The country has outperformed the rest of the European Union in these economic hard times. The recession of 2009 was not as deep – Austria’s economy shrank by 3.9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to the EU average of -4.2%. And Austria’s return to […]

Austria: Island of Stability? – Part Two

Austria: Island of Stability? – Part Two

The worldwide failure of banks and financial markets in 2008 led to the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s. In 2009, EU GDP dropped by more than 4% in real terms. By 2011, it still stood about 1% below its pre-crisis level. Austria fared a little better during these years. By the end of 2011, […]

A Path through Europe’s Minefield

Earlier this week, a group of almost 100 prominent Europeans delivered an open letter to the leaders of all 17 eurozone countries. The letter said, in so many words, what the leaders of Europe now appear to have understood: they cannot go on “kicking the can down the road.” And, just as importantly, they now […]

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