Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Era of Hope

I cannot recall an inauguration that has gotten people so excited. A friend of mine is going to one of the many balls tonight and got a lot of help from her online friends in finding just the right dress and shoes. We've taken to calling her Cinderella.

My kids will be watching at school. My American colleagues in the UK will be going together to a bar to watch. My boss is expecting us to watch in the US office as well.

Soon-to-be President Obam: You've got yourself a tall order. A story on NPR last week was talking about a return to Keynesian economics--you know, economist who said No, actually, the market doesn't always work itself out--sometimes we need to kick start it.
Not everybody agrees, of course. It took World War II to pull the US out of the Great Depression.

But it seems to me that public works projects are a great idea until the economy gets itself sorted out. Everyone know our bridges and highways are crumbling. These are public goods that require public funds. If housing is overbuilt, let's put labor to work fixing that stuff. They'll make good wages, and maybe will be able to buy stuff, and maybe the retail sector will hire some people back, and maybe eventually people will be able to take out mortgages again, by which time the banks will figure out that they can make money the old fashioned way: by lending to people who have sound prospects.

Jobs, Mr. President-Elect, Jobs.

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