This week in Budapest…
…in central bank spending
This week we have learned that the Hungarian central bank is hipster. It didn’t just speculate on the currency it printed before it was cool- it also bought into Tesla (USD 1 million), Netflix (USD 0.5 million), and other, less sexy stocks, such as Barclay’s (EUR 2 million), RBS (USD 2 million), Erste (EUR 2 million), and Raiffeisen (EUR 2.5 million plus CHF 1 million), etc.
That comes on top of guns and ammunition, overpriced art, palaces and prime estates, a new school of business – peddling “unorthodox” economics -, a Tizian at three times its USD 1.6 billion valuation, and wonky inventions, such as a revolutionary new piano. They have bought the Budapest Stock Exchange (BUX), financed the bank of the governor’s cousin – who, in turn had lent money to his own company.
The Bank also set up a personal army for its governor, buying ammunition enough to eliminate a hundred thousand attackers on the forint.
In the state of feudalism
A neat comparative chart illustrates how the land-loving neo-feudalist oligarchs (red bar) have amassed bigger estates through rigged land auctions than it was accumulated in the hands of feudal landlords in the 17-18th centuries (blue bars).
In eye-popping tax deals
General Electric has been behind the single biggest payment of corporate income tax into the budget in 2015 – accounting for a whopping 200 million euros – and helping the Hungarian government to stay within EU deficit targets. In January GE still hoped to get the juicy Paks 2 contract in return (to build a new nuclear power station the Russians made Hungary buy) – but their hopes were unfounded. Lavrov visited Budapest so GE still doesn’t get the contract.
George Soros was the punching bag of the week. After half of Fidesz had been found on his super-secret payroll as former Soros-scholars, they decided to launch an all-out war on the “secretive billionaire” with the help of the actual and the de facto state media channels. It didn’t help that Bill Clinton found it timely to call the governments of Poland and Hungary “Putin-like leaderships” in the heat of the US presidential campaign.
Secret services have also allegedly launched an investigation into the “secretive billionaire”. We know this because the minister for secret services announced it at a press conference – very conspiratorially. Soros is aiding migrants in Belgrade – they found out.
In the meantime, PM Orbán announced that he would totally repay his Soros-scholarship – if the billionaire asked him to. Given the rumors about the size of Orbán’s wealth, his reluctance to part with a few million forints to make one his trademark gestures is cute.
In left-green weirdness
The most prominent politician of left-green opposition party LMP has announced his withdrawal from politics – but not before he explained how cultures should blossom where they were created (in a weird speech on migration). He said that the green party wants everyone to thrive – but preferably where they were born. He said it was cultural diversity – as opposed to multiculturalism.
Both sides of the migrant wars should endorse him now, right? Right?
In xenophobic escapism
We have learned from the Bavarian state TV that German pensioners are abandoning Germany in flocks because they don’t hear any German words on the street these days. Apparently, they are coming to Balaton – where the Bavarian TV interviewed them.
One of the couples said that despite their move to Hungary, they have briefly seen a woman in a headscarf, got worried, but then calmed themselves down that it must be only a Hungarian Muslim.
AfD voter Herr Müller may have punished Germany for letting all those brown people in – but looks like he won’t hear a lot of German words at Balaton either. Curious Hungarian journalists couldn’t find a single property agent near lake Balaton that could report an increase in buying interest from abroad lately. If anything, they saw a moderate decline.
And if you haven’t had a laugh this week…
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