Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Financial Crisis Solutions From Italy

With the financial crisis in full-on mode around the globe, it was only a matter of time before Italy took bold steps to shore up sections of society that are falling behind. In recent days we have seen some intriguing innovations from the government and labor.

First off, Italia has decided to proffer government cheese to help both food-insecure Italians and cheese producers, who have seen steadily falling revenues over the years as distributors pressured them into dropping prices. The cheese will be of exquisite gourmet quality, as opposed to the faux orange cheese offered up by Washington, DC. Italia’s Agriculture Minister signed on to purchase a whopping 100,000 wheels of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano, each weighing in at 30 kilograms (around 66 pounds; I didn’t convert that myself, but instead trusted the AP’s conversion). No word yet on how the cheese is going to be distributed to the hungry. But Trofie Wife does not recommend wheeling full rounds into homeless shelters and soup kitchens à la several guests at Andrew Jackson’s inauguration. Also, no word on any soy substitutes (or Lactaid) being made available to hungry, lactose intolerant Italians.

And now for the contribution from Italian labor: Due to rain, the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL), which had scheduled massive general strikes for Friday to express their general state of displeasure with the tanking of the Italian economy, decided to cancel transit striking in Rome and Venice, due to rain. (If only MTA workers had had such sympathy when it was below zero with the windshield during their 2005 strike!) Online news sites reported on large marches in Milan and Rome, as healthcare, retail, financial, and government workers took to the line. However, during Trofie Wife’s usual noon jaunt before everything closes for lunch, she saw no evidence of a strike in Arenzano. The buses were rolling and the line at la poste long. Maybe the ’burbs are just strike-immune or ignorant… I did notice a few more caribinieri (police in nice, military-style outfits) around, but maybe that was just because it was market day and traffic needs extra handling. Speaking of the market, Trofie Wife finally mustered the nerve to purchase food stuffs at the Arenzano market. Friday is hereby christened Fresh Salad Day, as the most popular vegetable stall has wonderful, readymade salads (olives, feta, lettuce, pleasantly edible red onions) just begging to become my lunch. (The only potential problem is that the plastic containers in which the salad comes violate the limited-non-recyclable-food-packaging-materials in the house rule that Trofie Wife proposed and Martello seconded last night. Maybe we need to reconvene Parliament....) I also have high hopes for the vegetables we will try to turn into soup and the fresh pesto. (After dinner note: they were divine!) In addition, I finally nabbed 3 euro slippers (I was refusing to pay more than 5; the ones at the supermarkets don’t seem to go for under 7).

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife

No comments: