Saturday, January 24, 2009

The economy in Latvia

You may have read or heard on TV about the rioting that took place in Riga's Olde Towne last week. It began with people gathering together and certain ones acting as spokesmen to express their concern about the economic situation in Latvia (it's serious) and their displeasure with the Government. According to our landlord (a very interesting person about whom I wrote once before and a man who is very aware of the politics in Latvia), it began peacefully, with talks and singing. Then the older, more mature people went to their homes. The younger people went into the bars, proceeded to drink and then began rioting in the town, burning police vehicles and throwing bricks through windows of buildings.

The embassy had warned Americans to stay away from Olde Towne that evening. It's nice to have an American Embassy here.

A couple of days later we read that the President was responding to the rioting and calling for some dramatic changes in Parliament, even threatening to dissolve Parliament if they didn't make the changes. They have until March 31 to come up with solutions that meet the needs of the people, or they will be dissolved.

One of the problems the people want resolved is the 10% unemployment. Another is the 21% tax rate on all goods. They don't have an income tax, but all goods are taxed 21%.

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