notes oct 17
October 17, 2008 § Leave a comment
10:09 pm 18th
While the manic-depressive stock market is dominating the headlines, the more important story is the grim news coming in about the real economy. It’s now clear that rescuing the banks is just the beginning: the nonfinancial economy is also in desperate need of help.
an it be helped if old level profits keep going to the financial industry?
On the other hand, there’s a lot the federal government can do for the economy. It can provide extended benefits to the unemployed, which will both help distressed families cope and put money in the hands of people likely to spend it. It can provide emergency aid to state and local governments, so that they aren’t forced into steep spending cuts that both degrade public services and destroy jobs. It can buy up mortgages (but not at face value, as John McCain has proposed) and restructure the terms to help families stay in their homes.
And this is also a good time to engage in some serious infrastructure spending, which the country badly needs in any case. The usual argument against public works as economic stimulus is that they take too long: by the time you get around to repairing that bridge and upgrading that rail line, the slump is over and the stimulus isn’t needed. Well, that argument has no force now, since the chances that this slump will be over anytime soon are virtually nil. So let’s get those projects rolling.
9:48 am Asian Times
Pakistan does some US dirty work
The United States has commissioned Pakistan to build 1,000 Humvees for use by troops in Afghanistan against the Taliban-led insurgency. The order has quietly gone to Pakistan’s premier arms manufacturer, Heavy Industries Taxila, with other armament deals expected to follow. That Pakistan is now providing hardware for the “war on terror” can only deepen its fight against militancy.
10:00 am also AT
Ba’ath seeks showdown with Baghdad
A coalition in Iraq of at least 22 Ba’athist insurgent groups has announced a switch from guerrilla tactics using small arms in hit-and-run attacks to a more conventional approach with a regular army capable of launching a large-scale attack for the final “liberation” of Baghdad. At this stage the move might contain more rhetoric than reality, but it is a clear indication of what lies ahead.