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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Passed around like a dog"

Reuters TV: Anna Barnes was adopted from Russia when she was seven and brought to the US, only to find herself moved around the country again and again.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Irish Bailout Exit 2013: Sometimes prose is preferable to poetry

We reported on Thursday that the Irish government choreographed what it termed an "emergency Cabinet meeting" in advance of an announcement that Ireland will exit the European Union-IMF international bailout without what was termed a "precautionary credit line." The issue of a backstop in the event of an unexpected rise in bond yields in future was just spin as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund could be tapped at short notice while the European Central Bank has a bond-buying programme subject to conditions.

The Irish Times is impressed with underwhelming ambition:

'Coalition to press on with reform agenda to ensure market backing: Priorities after bailout exit will be water charges and legal profession'

The Competition Authority in April 2012 on reform at glacial speed, despite an economic emergency:

"In November 2010, the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the EU/IMF. The MoU included a commitment that, by the end of the third quarter of 2011, the Government must establish an independent regulator and implement the outstanding recommendations of the Competition Authority. In October 2011 the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, TD published the Legal Services Regulation Bill."

Dramatic?

'Analysis: Dramatic developments but bailout exit will give big boost to Government'

Stephen Collins is impressed by the spin:

'Significant signal of sovereignty restored in Dublin: Big contrast with shambolic way entering the bailout began in 2010'

The real test at a time of low growth or stagnation despite the official Irish data, is to build an economy that creates durable jobs not just add more schemes not knowing which of the existing ones work or not, while claiming credit publicly for even 20 jobs over 3 years.

Modern economies are complicated and comprise vested interests, chunks of engaged and disengaged coupled with the people who do not count, while leaders are better at winning elections than governing.

Process is boring whether in Ireland, Germany, France or Italy but it's what matters long-term.

The current health reform in the US is potentially the greatest advance since former president Theodore Roosevelt advocated national health insurance in 1912 but while the Republicans have staged about 40 votes to strike down Obamacare, the biggest threat to the reform program has come from President Obama's lack of attention to execution and over-promising.   

"We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected we’re forced to govern in prose,” Mario Cuomo, New York governor, said in a speech at Yale University, in 1985.

Sometimes prose is preferable to poetry.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Kennedy on the limits of US and presidential power

In a television interview on his first two years in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, discusses the limits of US and presidential power coupled with frustrations with Congress, that are all familiar themes today, a half century after his death.