New Clicking; Palestinian Statehood; My Thinking; Greek Debt
Too much clicking. I preferred the old method of adding new stuff to the top of the page. Letters and opinion can wait a week. Mix the analysis in at the top.
* * *
President Obama should follow through on his stated promise (made to the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2010) to usher in a Palestinian state in 2011. A US veto of the forthcoming vote to grant Statehood to the long suffering Palestinians would be an act of extreme betrayal and would further diminish US standing, credibility and influence in the Arab world.
President Obama should heed the wise words of SEYMOUR D. REICH, the former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who stated “Mr. Netanyahu must step back from the brink. He should cast aside his far-right coalition members, form a government with moderate parties and add a freeze on settlement construction and offer to negotiate without preconditions. This would demonstrate seriousness. If he does not, the United States should put a deal on the table, and Israelis should vigorously push their government to accept it (NYT September 13).” If Obama continues to buckle to Israeli and local pressures he will only intensify the anger in the Arab world and further expose the blatant partiality towards Israel. This will endanger both Israel and the US. While our own fragile economy is drowning in a sea of red ink we can no longer afford to send welfare checks to Israel – whose standard of living, in many ways, is higher than our own.
* * *
I hear a lot about how jobs will become available thanks to the magical power of those folks who are members of Congress now. But those who are in Congress now do not represent the weakest members of society. How long will it be before we see improvements for the poorest people? How long will it be before we provide opportunities so that poor people, too, can get educated and be able to own their own homes? If rainwater does not run down from the higher level to the ground, people living in the upper levels will not get the the food they need. We are all interdependent. All of us are not at once farmers, doctors, teachers, businessmen, builders. electricians or blacksmiths. The point I am trying to make is that we can't ignore the basic needs of our fellow human beings and abandon them to poverty with nothing to satisfy their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. Sometimes I think that if people got a minimum to fill their stomachs and basic opportunity to work their outlook might change. Instead of creating trouble for others and joining anti-social gangs they may feel for a society which is caring and supportive during dark days in their lives. This new increment of trust will save us from social upheaval. We will be able to economize on money for building more prisons. So far we have tried punitive ways of obtaining safety. Let us try a supportive and caring way this time around.
* * *
For most of the past decade, Greece has run up budget deficits well beyond limits set by the European Union, a group of 27 nations that allow goods and workers to cross their borders freely. When Greece fell into recession two years ago, bondholders worried they wouldn’t get their money back. To make sure they do, the EU is lending money to Greece, essentially allowing it to use new debt to pay off old debt. Greece looks like a bad bet. Its publicly held debt is more than 140 percent of its annual economic output, or gross domestic product. U.S. debt is 67 percent. Greece is a tiny player in Europe. It has a $305 billion economy, about the size of Maryland’s and 2 percent of the whole EU’s. And if it does default, it will have plenty of company. In the past 30 years, 20 European and Latin American countries have stiffed their creditors, some repeatedly. The list includes Turkey in 1982, Mexico in 1994, Russia in 1998 and Argentina in 2001.
Most important: If Greece defaults, investors will worry that two much larger EU members, Italy and Spain, might follow. For the U.S., a European recession would come at an especially bad time. Europe buys about 20 percent of U.S. exports. And exports have been a big driver of U.S. economic growth recently. With the U.S. slowing, it can’t afford a downturn in such a crucial market. “It’s not just a country floating out there that happens to default,” says Steve H. Hanke, an economist at Johns Hopkins University. “The whole monetary union gets thrown into doubt.”
Ted Rudow III, MA