Hungary’s balancing act: An austerity program that is called something else

As I predicted yesterday, we now know a little more about the details of the latest adjustments to the 2012 and 2013 Hungarian budgets. Economists who are critical of the government and especially of György Matolcsy just stare in amazement. How is it possible that this administration is incapable of putting together a decent budget? Everybody told them from the start that the numbers don’t add up. Everything is wrong with the predictions. Economic growth will be lower and tax revenues will also be lower. But no one listened.

By this summer the Hungarian economy was in recession, but Viktor Orbán and his right-hand man György Matolcsy refused to move. I’m not terribly surprised by the delay. These people do everything in the very last minute possible. When they finally looked at the figures and realized that without another austerity program Hungary could not escape the excessive deficit procedure that would entail the loss of billions of euros they reluctantly acted.

Why the reluctance? Because the admission that the government is introducing any austerity measures is a no-no. They promised time and again that “there will be no austerity as long as Viktor Orbán is the prime minister of Hungary.” Only the evil Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai introduced austerity packages because they just wanted to make Hungarians poor and miserable. Not so the Fidesz-KDNP government, which has been handling the crisis in a first-rate manner. Much better than the rest of Europe whose leaders should learn from Viktor Orbán and György Matolcsy. Viktor Orbán repeated this story dozens of times.

Another mantra is that the current situation is not the fault of  two years of misguided economic policies but is primarily due to the crisis in the European Union. This position is fairly difficult to maintain when other countries in the region, Slovakia and Poland for example, are doing much better than Hungary although they also belong to the European Union. The other culprit is “the previous eight years,” mostly because the governments during that period indebted the country heavily. Yes, the debt load is high, but the truth is that until the 2008 economic crisis it was a very manageable 67% of the GDP. Problems started with a weakening forint and a whopping 7% recession. However, by 2010 there was a fairly decent recovery thanks to the adjustments made by the Gyurcsány and Bajnai governments. It was from that positive territory that Matolcsy and Orbán managed to lead the country straight back into recession.

They want to avoid the the word “austerity” by all possible means. This particular austerity package is named “egyenlegjavító program” (balance improving program). But if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be a duck. Just as Viktor Orbán can say that there is no such thing as tuition even though one must borrow money in order to pay the nonexistent tuition. Don’t tell me that students and their parents don’t realize that the prime minister isn’t telling the truth.

So, let’s see what is in this non-austerity program. First, one must keep in mind that the adjustments affect both the 2012 and the 2013 budgets. The savings from 2012 are estimated to be 134 billion forints. And that despite the fact that there are less than three months to the end of the year. Saving that much in such a short time will not be easy. The government will take away four billion from the funds for culture, technology and innovation;  they will raise the excise tax on cigarettes a month earlier; they will raise something called “innovation contributions”; certain PPP-projects will be dropped; and finally they will try to save about 75 billion in various ministries.

The changes in the 2013 budget will amount to almost 400 billion forints. The government hopes to save 55 billion as a result of a change in the rules of the game regarding European Union projects. Until now 85% of an approved project was financed by Brussels and the Hungarian government kicked in the remaining 15%. However, for certain countries in financial trouble, Hungary among them, beginning in December the European Union will relax the domestic share required to  finance EU projects. This temporary reduction will mean a higher commitment in the future. But that might not be the Orbán government’s problem. So, basically, they are using 55 billion forints of EU money to help to solve their own budgetary problems.

They are hoping to save 30 billion by stopping the practice of giving government and public employees their pension in addition to their salaries if they decide to work over the official retirement age. If that rule is applicable to physicians, the profession will be in trouble. There is a shortage of doctors, and people work even into their late 70s. These people are also entitled to their pensions. The trade union leader of the civil servants already announced that he considers this move unconstitutional.

Then comes a 73 billion savings by not raising the salaries of teachers in September 2013. As I mentioned yesterday, the teachers claim that their salaries today are worth 15% less than in 2008, the last year of a modest salary hike. Earlier parliament passed a new public education bill that increased their teaching load, which admittedly was very low by any standards. Moreover, the bill stipulated that the teachers must spend eight hours a day in school whether they have teaching duties or not. The teachers were not happy, but they accepted the new rules in exchange for the promised higher salaries. According to Népszava, on average high school teachers would have received 186,000 forints ($856) instead of the current 129,00 ($580) and elementary school teachers 167,000 ($768) instead of the current 122,000 ($561). You have keep in mind that take-home pay is only about the half of these amounts.  Now that their salaries are frozen the teachers are stranded with a great deal more work for the same amount of money.

Social assistance for families will be capped at 47,000 forints  ($216), an amount that is insufficient for survival. That move will bring in a modest 8 billion forints according to the usually too optimistic György Matolcsy.

The government is hoping to receive about 90 billion forints from raising the transaction taxes from 0.01% to 0.03% At the same time they plan to introduce a transaction tax on the Treasury’s financial obligations. This is a very odd tax. The cost of this transaction tax will be passed on to the population and the Treasury will behave as a second Internal Revenue Service.

The lion’s share of the budget deficit is to be closed by means of more stringent tax collection rules and regulations, substantially increasing tax revenues. The newly projected  tax revenues are probably just a fudge factor necessary to close the budgetary hole, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the European Union questions items connected to improved tax collection.

Kester Eddy of the Financial Times wrote that “analysts generally welcomed the moves, albeit with a wary eye” although they are pleased that these new government measures are “surprisingly conventional” compared to earlier “unorthodox” policies. He quoted Peter Montalto of Nomura in London who is quite skeptical. According to him, the markets reacted well but at Nomura they think that there is still at least a 60 billion forint hole in the 2013 budget. They also think that “the quality of adjustment is poor and not what the IMF or the Commission at least would be looking for.”

Lajos Bokros, the financial wizard of the first Hungarian austerity program of 1995,  is also pessimistic. He is not at all sure that the Hungarian economy will be able to grow 1% in 2013, the figure on which Matolcsy’s new austerity program is based. And if that is the case, 400 billion forints will not be enough to achieve the 2.7% deficit Matolcsy envisages for next year.

So, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a fourth “balance improving program” announced sometime in the middle of next year if not earlier.

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45 comments

  1. Éva – I take it your salary figures are per month?

    Sorry if this sounds a bit silly, but I am constantly confused by the way people talk about earnings in Hungary. In the UK people usually give an annual salary before deductions when discussing pay (the word ‘salary’ is taken to mean ‘annual pay’ by default).

    But I’ve had so many discussion with Hungarians where a figure has been mentioned without any reference (annual, monthly, weekly, before or after tax, etc) and yet I am supposed to be shocked at how low (or high) it is. Given that salaries in Hungary are so different to what similar workers would be paid in the UK, us Brits are left genuinely puzzled.

    In case this still sounds a bit daft, an example of what I mean is that my wife, when discussing a woman she doesn’t like and suspects of being unpatriotic (because she works for an Israeli company!) revealed to me that she earns “a million forints!”. I literally didn’t know if this was good or bad. A million forints a year, after deductions, could mean she earns an annual salary of around £6,000, which, although very low by UK standards, doesn’t sound that unlikely in Hungary. But a million forints, before deductions, a month would equate to quite a reasonable salary in the UK (probably about average, or a little over). And a million forints after deductions would mean a very nice salary indeed. (Or it could even have been a million forints a week!)

    I was left not knowing what point my wife was making – was this woman on a good salary or a bad one? Was she earning too much because she was working for an evil Jewish company, or was the evil Jewish company exploiting this honourable true Hungarian by underpaying her?

    (I did actually ask my wife and she had to confess she didn’t know! It didn’t stop her repeating this “million forints” figure to everyone, though…)

  2. Paul, it is so rare to hear people referring to annual salary that I think your wife’s acquaintance is making a million a month. I was once a state employee and I don’t think I even calculated what I earned a year! I just new that my salary (in monthly terms) was less than my rent, so I used my spare time, and indeed my work time, to earn rather more lucratively, while still doing the official job. A useful introduction to the Hungarian reality!

  3. Thanks, Kingfisher, but even that isn’t as simple as it sounds. What is a ‘month’? In the UK it is simply a calendar month*, but in Hungary I often hear about the “13th month”. So is a “month” in Hungary actually just 4 weeks? Or is the ’13th month’ an entirely additional month? If I earn 500k Ft ‘a month’, is that 6m Ft a year or 6.5?

    *just realised this is actually true! Salaries are typically paid per calendar month, but benefits can be paid per 4 week ‘month’ (i.e. 13 times a year) – although at least this isn’t officially called a “month”.

  4. Paul, I agree with Kingfisher, Hungarians never think of or refer to their salary as annual. So the woman earns 1 million a month, which (depending of course on what she does!) is quite a lot of money. If a teacher earns 130,000K?
    You can always safely assume that Hungarians mean monthly. (The only question might be gross or net pay.)
    Similarly, when you are digesting Matolcsy’s latest fairy tale numbers, monthly caps on pension, benefits, salaries etc. are also meant monthly.

  5. It’s calendar months if you are paid by the state. If you work in the private sector, it can be anything as I imagine, you can be paid by the hour etc.
    13th month salary or pension is a “Christmas gift” for state employees and pensioners. Or it used to be. You get a bonus equivalent to your monthly pay at the end of the year.

    (oh, and I meant 130K in the prev. comment, obviously)

  6. The one month year end bonus is generally called 13th month’s salary. The payroll cycle was always a calendar month in Hungary. I guess this is something from the communist era where your job was safe almost for eternity. So why thinking about weekly salaries. That’s a capitalist thing …

  7. Regarding the post – Matolcsy is clearly acting under pressure from Brussels. I think that until now they might not have realized that the Commission have not actually released Hungary from the excessive deficit procedure in June, they only decided to withdraw the suspension of the cohesion funds. So if Hungary exceeds the 3% deficit target, they can start playing the same game as last year.
    Another decision has been not to tax the Central Bank – the EC made it clear that they are not got to allow that, IMF deal or not. Hence the new idea of taxing the transactions of the Treasury, which is equally stupid, we will have to wait and see what the EC say about that.

    I would say the direction is not bad, they have learnt to try and keep the deficit low and they have learnt that there isn’t such a thing as no austerity in times like this. But there are some clearly totally amateurish ideas (“I know, let’s triple the transaction tax”, “let’s increase the VAT of something”), and the biggest problem is that there is nothing to “enhance growth”. Taking resources away from education and research eg is clearly suicide for a country like Hungary.
    But capping social benefits at 47,000 is disgusting. So is saying that “these are not austerity measures” and they are not going to “harm families” (Matolcsy).

  8. Yet Fidesz still refuses to countenance raising the rate of income tax for the rich and having a property tax, even though these measures would bring in a far more predictable level of income and be less socially unjust. Rising prices and job insecurity mean people stop buying big-ticket items, and whether the VAT on cars is 27% or even 37%, it’s 37% of zero to the Treasury if people ain’t buying.

  9. “Chesire cat:But capping social benefits at 47,000 is disgusting. So is saying that “these are not austerity measures” and they are not going to “harm families” (Matolcsy).”

    I totally agree, but then what should we make of the fact that the disability pension in most cases is not more than HUF 27 900 monthly. One of my friends who had stroke was offered this amount of money. It is outrageous.

  10. Orban’s Hungary is the modern Taygetos. If you are sick and/or old or unemployed, you must die.

    47 thousand forints a MONTH ($215) is half of the overhead (heating, water, sewage, electricity) of an apartment in a high-rise concrete building (“panel”) in Budapest.
    The minimum net you need in Budapest is 150,000 HUF ($700) a month if you do not want to starve or freeze to death. This means a 300,000 HUF ($1,400) GROSS monthly salary.

    This minimum is actually MORE than the average salary. Welcome to Hungary.

    This $16,800 a YEAR gross ($8,400 net) salary minimum to survive in Budapest was also the pivotal point for the flat-rate tax. (The government actually takes away more than 50% of your gross, isn’t it more like 56% with all the social security, health care and numerous other, creatively named government taxes?)

    Below this number people lost 5-10% of their earnings by the introduction of the 16% flat “personal income” tax, while gained above this salary (the highest 5% gained as much as 40%).

    Fidesz politicians seem to think that if the poor die out from lack of food or from cold, Hungary will become the land of the rich.

  11. The Fidesz party will push through Parliament the constitutional amendment to restrict people’s rights to vote TOMORROW.

    I have not heard any call of the opposition parties for protest in front of the Parliament building! October 23rd is too late! Demonstrate tomorrow!

    Socialist party leaders, leaders of LMP, DK, Milla, K4, Szolidaritas, etc …. are you asleep?

  12. tappanch :

    The Fidesz party will push through Parliament the constitutional amendment to restrict people’s rights to vote TOMORROW.

    I have not heard any call of the opposition parties for protest in front of the Parliament building! October 23rd is too late! Demonstrate tomorrow!

    Socialist party leaders, leaders of LMP, DK, Milla, K4, Szolidaritas, etc …. are you asleep?

    tappanch :

    The Fidesz party will push through Parliament the constitutional amendment to restrict people’s rights to vote TOMORROW.

    I have not heard any call of the opposition parties for protest in front of the Parliament building! October 23rd is too late! Demonstrate tomorrow!

    Socialist party leaders, leaders of LMP, DK, Milla, K4, Szolidaritas, etc …. are you asleep?

    Well, the hunger strike was supposed to call attention to it and there was a demonstration at the end of the week where MSZP and Solidarity were represented. As far as I know there was a DK conference on registration a few days ago. Also, there was a debate in Bibó College between Fidesz and LMP’s Karácsony. Apparently, Kósa and Szájer were totally ignorant of the details of their own law. That was especially interesting in Kósa’s case because after all he was the one who submitted the draft bill to parliament. First and second year students kept telling Kósa that he was wrong! It shows what’s going on in that building.

  13. The Jobbik is flooding the Youtube with inciting lecture series and appeals to the Hungarian soul and heart. The party of a Jewish born Morvay is dripping from anti-semitism. See as examples the speeches of Akos Szilagy, who moved from Erdely to New York.

    The Jobbik is a well packaged nonsense, and criminal conspiracy.

    Many young and old Hungarians welcome the Jobbik’s arguments presented in patriotic colors.
    Their followers feel empowered. This is the recipe of the Jobbik. The estimated 10% minority will willingly participate in street demonstrations and lectures where they hope that the blood of the people who oppose the Jobbik will flow one day,

    I agree with Tappanch’s call for immediate protests demonstration of the other Hungary.

    It has to be done in the name of a unifying wake up call. The demonstration has to show unity and empathy. The organizers have to invite the supporters of FIDESZ and Jobbik, to show them that the nation can escape the tragedy if the incompetent damaging leadership of the Orbans and Vonas, and there will be a path to new democratic reforms and true humanity.

  14. cheshire cat :
    It’s calendar months if you are paid by the state. If you work in the private sector, it can be anything as I imagine, you can be paid by the hour etc.
    13th month salary or pension is a “Christmas gift” for state employees and pensioners. Or it used to be. You get a bonus equivalent to your monthly pay at the end of the year.
    (oh, and I meant 130K in the prev. comment, obviously)

    Didn’t the MSZP introduce the 13th month of pension in 2006? I believe it was instrumental in winning that election, too. “Pay up!” cries the electorate. And the pols do, but then screw them thrice over later…

  15. Eva S. Balogh :

    tappanch :
    The Fidesz party will push through Parliament the constitutional amendment to restrict people’s rights to vote TOMORROW.
    I have not heard any call of the opposition parties for protest in front of the Parliament building! October 23rd is too late! Demonstrate tomorrow!
    Socialist party leaders, leaders of LMP, DK, Milla, K4, Szolidaritas, etc …. are you asleep?

    tappanch :
    The Fidesz party will push through Parliament the constitutional amendment to restrict people’s rights to vote TOMORROW.
    I have not heard any call of the opposition parties for protest in front of the Parliament building! October 23rd is too late! Demonstrate tomorrow!
    Socialist party leaders, leaders of LMP, DK, Milla, K4, Szolidaritas, etc …. are you asleep?

    Well, the hunger strike was supposed to call attention to it and there was a demonstration at the end of the week where MSZP and Solidarity were represented. As far as I know there was a DK conference on registration a few days ago. Also, there was a debate in Bibó College between Fidesz and LMP’s Karácsony. Apparently, Kósa and Szájer were totally ignorant of the details of their own law. That was especially interesting in Kósa’s case because after all he was the one who submitted the draft bill to parliament. First and second year students kept telling Kósa that he was wrong! It shows what’s going on in that building.

    re ignorance of their own bills…Is it any wonder then that the government introduces most bills as ‘single member’s bill’ to prevent debate?

  16. London Calling!

    I think the chickens are coming home to roost.

    Matolcsy must, by now, be realising that the West – or the rest of Europe – will not be bending to Hungary’s ‘zephyrs’ – but Hungary will have to bend to Europe’s austerity hurricane.

    Having put back his ‘fairytale’ recovery from next year to 2030 (a 17 year miscalculation!) he must now start to consider ‘orthodox’ measures that actually work.

    It was most revealing that the transaction tax projections have been modified at least six times.

    I think you are spot-on, Eva – that they are loath to admit that they have to implement ‘austerity’ measures because it is an admission of defeat.

    The self-delusion of Matolcsy and Orban believing their own propaganda – unquestioned or unchallenged by their own media of course – is swallowed by the long-suffering population.

    What they can’t explain, however, is the lonely furrow they are ploughing in the world of economics. How do they explain that the rest of Europe is not eager to copy their ‘unorthodoxy’ – and how do they explain the miserable results?

    The truth is of course, they can’t – and they don’t have to – again the muzzled press.

    It is very revealing that the most cogent analysis of Hungary’s economics is coming from The FT – and the London financial ‘scribblers’, including Nomura and RBS.

    It’s that ‘International anti-Hungary conspiracy’ again! (Or just the critical analysis that would appear in a free press – if it were free.)

    From a purely ‘numbers’ perspective Hungary’s deficit as a percentage of GDP is 80% (The UK’s is 87% – and Germany, France and Canada are all above Hungary’s – hovering around the 83% mark).

    (For reference – The USA’s is 104%; Greece 164% – and Italy’s is a whopping 121% considering its size. (Austria – Orbans exemplar – is 73%))

    In England for three out of every four years since WW2 we have lived on the credit card. Only now are we realising that ‘austerity measures’ are necessary – and will have to bite – and bite hard.

    So as a proportion of GDP, Hungary’s deficit is quite reasonable and manageable.

    (Hear that you trolls? A positive statement about Hungary – and calling all the ‘International – we-are-not-a-colony conspiracy theorists too!)

    Except that Matolcsy’s ‘unorthodox’ – substitute ignorant – economic strategies have worsened the position. The Government’s reluctance to do anything about the deficit and inflation (as witnessed by the ‘unbalancing’ of the Bank panel with Orban’s stoogies) will ensure that the economy will head more in the direction of Italy’s (121%) rather than Austria’s (73%).

    With such high inflation heading for more than 6% and with the base rate heading downwards – Hungary’s teachers will be in greater penury. As will its pensioners and most of the population on ‘average’ (low) salaries.

    How much more will the population take? How long will they still believe Matolcsy’s bullshit? How much longer before Hungarians realise that their destiny is in their own hands?

    There’s a storm coming.

    Regards

    Charlie

  17. For all those waiting for the people to ‘wake up’….FORGET IT!

    A true story: my wife and I visited friends last night that we hadn’t seen for a good 6 months (they spend summers at L. Balaton). The wife was Hungarian-born, raised in Canada and had lived in England for quite a few years. The husband is Hungarian (scab) who spent many years working in Germany. They’re both (rabid, so I discovered) Fideszers.

    As the evening progressed, I was stunned by the blind,across-the-board, support they gave Fidesz and especially, Orban. They even had a neat finesse: she declared she couldn’t stand Matolcsy but that fact was only fodder for the virtues of Orban–his loyalty and trust in one of his men! The fact that Matolcsy causing
    pain and suffering countrywide wasn’t Orban’s fault but the conspiracy of external forces. No criticism could stick to Orban. Everything had an answer (no matter how fatuous). The IMF was part of a conspiracy to deny nation states of their sovereignty and to bring them under the control of a European central bank controlled by ‘forces’ (they saved the ‘jew’ accusation).
    As the night wore on, we covered quite a bit of ground–mention of Rogan’s “Blikk” fiasco came with the response that ‘he who pays can determine what he wants’…completely side-stepping the fact that it was
    tax payers money; and the much greater indignity of forcing a 100 yr old sculptor to bastardize his work (possibly, his last one). This sort of barbarity never came into question, in their minds.

    But the real surprise came near the end of the night when the fellow mentioned that I should inform myself of what is really happening in the world by reading the Toronto Protocols. I had never heard of it. When we got home around 2am I hit the web and read. Those Protocols are the Quebec version of the Protocols of Zion. “My god,” I thought, ” these people are supposedly literate and well read: she, a researcher and he an engineer…how can they believe this stuff?”

    But they can. And do.
    And these are the so-called ‘intelligentsia’ who reside on the Fidesz side…

  18. London Calling!

    (Petofi! – You have to wake up eventually if you are not in a coma – or you die!)

    O/T but amazing brass neck!

    János Lázár, ex gambling mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, bans slot machines everywhere except in the three Casinos in Hungary saying “Gambling is explicitly dangerous and harmful for society.”

    Er.. what about his gambling with the funds of Hódmezővásárhely and the debt he left behind?

    What a hypocrite!

    And what about the revenues they will lose? – Another budget hole forming methinks.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/10/01/hungary-sees-gambling-as-threat-to-national-security/

    O/T (2) I really can’t believe that Matolcsy is planning to raise VAT yet higher. At 27% the highest in Europe – and as such facilitating enormous cross-border (food) fraud.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/04/us-hungary-budget-idUSBRE8930VZ20121004

    I think that storm might just be a hurricane.

    Regards

    Charlie

  19. Eva S. Balogh :

    It’s all over in the media. Here is one: http://www.nepszava.hu/articles/article.php?id=590518 but Magyar Nemzet also has an article on the subject. It seems that the discussion will take place on Monday.

    Thanks for the Nepszava link. But this news is conspicuous for its absence in HVG, Népszabadság, Index and other sites that are generally more reliable than Nepszava. Also, not had any notifications via Facebook which I would have expected.

  20. CharlieH :
    London Calling!
    (Petofi! – You have to wake up eventually if you are not in a coma – or you die!)
    O/T but amazing brass neck!
    János Lázár, ex gambling mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, bans slot machines everywhere except in the three Casinos in Hungary saying “Gambling is explicitly dangerous and harmful for society.”
    Er.. what about his gambling with the funds of Hódmezővásárhely and the debt he left behind?
    What a hypocrite!
    And what about the revenues they will lose? – Another budget hole forming methinks.
    http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/10/01/hungary-sees-gambling-as-threat-to-national-security/
    O/T (2) I really can’t believe that Matolcsy is planning to raise VAT yet higher. At 27% the highest in Europe – and as such facilitating enormous cross-border (food) fraud.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/04/us-hungary-budget-idUSBRE8930VZ20121004
    I think that storm might just be a hurricane.
    Regards
    Charlie

    Charlie,
    I think in the Index website Friday or Saturday, there was an interview with a psychoanalyst who said how hard it was for Hungarians to face the errors of the past. The emotional drain must be debilitating, and that might be the reason why seemingly normal Hungarians find relief and strength in the ‘harc’ proposition that Orban puts before them.

  21. The Weekly Standard Caldwell article includes the long list of legislative steps for the destruction of law in Hungary.

    The Orban loyalists still like it because it quoted many speeches of Orban.
    I doubt that Zoltani read the whole article and understood it.

    Example:
    “There are points to be made on both sides, but on balance, Orbán has the stronger case. His opponents are right to worry about the concentration of regulatory power—but Orbán freely admits this is intended to make the country’s system of government more “presidential.”

    So, is Caldwell completely incompetent? Is this the American freedom concept? This is crazy, when the real Hungarians are suffering, and the Orban clique is only caring for their insiders.

    Old Goebbels wisdom, mention his name, positively or negatively, it is always good for PR.

  22. This Caldwell article is really strange – everything negative is turned into positive like: “Hungary has the highest value-added tax in Europe—27 percent. (A good sign, since it taxes consumption, not job creation.)” and many more.

    And the typical argument:

    Oh, but the Spanish (Portuguese, Greek, you name them … are worse …)

    It’s almost fun to read about Superman Orbán who seems to decide everything: “Even the United States can learn from us.”

    Is this guy Caldwell part of the PR-agency that Fidesz is supposed to have paid ?

  23. wolfi :
    This Caldwell article is really strange – everything negative is turned into positive like …

    Typical right wing troll “argument”. “I just saw an article thet denies gravity”. Okkkkeeee. Then why don’t you jump off a cliff?

  24. Mutt :

    wolfi :
    This Caldwell article is really strange – everything negative is turned into positive like …

    Typical right wing troll “argument”. “I just saw an article thet denies gravity”. Okkkkeeee. Then why don’t you jump off a cliff?

    I was just reading that the earth was hollowed out by aliens.

  25. I just started reading it and at first glance it is also full of factual errors. I think I will spend tomorrow with its critique. I don’t think that it is worth sending it to the Weekly Standard. I will post it tomorrow on the Hungarian Spectrum and I may send a copy to Mr. Caldwell.

  26. tappanch :
    There is a nicely written article in Weekly Standard supporting Orban.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/viktor-go-spoils_653822.html?page=3
    Perhaps, we should collect our collective wisdom with Eva at the head
    to refute his thinking along with the factual errors.

    I’ve read the article and now understand a little bit about how Hitler could charm and fool so many.

    Orban did a number on Caldwell and he bought it; not to mention that Caldwell had not done nearly enough homework–he doesn’t mention, 1-pension scam; 2-Klubradio and their court victories which are ignored
    by the media committee; 3-Orban’s disguting release
    of the Azeri axe-murder in the face of general opposition in his own party….and much else. How could Caldwell completely ignore Orban costing the country millions of euros by playing blind man’s bluff with the IMF? Is that admirable, too?

    No, the article has a certain ‘stink’ about it…Is Caldwell
    above being greased? I dunno…

  27. Eva S. Balogh :
    I just started reading it and at first glance it is also full of factual errors. I think I will spend tomorrow with its critique. I don’t think that it is worth sending it to the Weekly Standard. I will post it tomorrow on the Hungarian Spectrum and I may send a copy to Mr. Caldwell.

    But perhaps you ought to send corrections to the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and I think there are one or two other major league papers that publish him.

    Fishy, this: He gets on a plane to come to Budapest for one day to interview Orban and Gyurcsany…? Who’s paying?

  28. Mutt :
    I clicked around to see who this genius is. He wrote a sensationalist book 3 years ago about Europe losing the battle against the Muslim immigration. I think this guy makes his living writing provocative bs.
    This is him:
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/255241/november-11-2009/christopher-caldwell

    He’s got impressive credentials: writes for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and a couple of other ‘name’ papers. That, actually, makes him a prime target for a nice bribe…

  29. Where there is a will, there is a way, there is a plan! Eva, this article was very helpful to me, I have been waiting for this kind of content on Hungary’s financial programs. The government has there plan, but this is not Gods plan for Hungary. With man we are full of faults and we make bad decisions. Whatever this is costing the people, my word for the people is to try not to be depressed, oppressed but press on, to new and better things.

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