I read a Will Hutton Observer article once every ten years. The decade came round again today and I thoroughly welcome his incisive economics article entitled: Printing money is the right way out of this mess:
What we have needed is more measures to put a floor under the economy next year; for if confidence can return, the upward movement may be quite sudden.
Last week we got one such measure. The Bank of England‘s announcement that it will buy £75bn of government securities over the next three months out of its own reserves, then spend another £75bn in the same way on a combination of government securities and commercial paper, was in many respects more important than the autumn’s £15bn VAT cut. This is “quantitative easing”: doling out Bank of England cash in vast quantities at negligible interest rates to boost lending and spending on an epic scale.
…Although everybody is rushing to say how unusual the approach is, in fact it is only a variant of the way Britain used to run the financial system until it fell into the hands of the market fundamentalists. We used to siphon quantities of cash out of bank balance sheets in booms, making them sterilised reserves at the Bank of England; and in downturns release the cash back. It is still how most banking systems in Asia are run, and when the European Central Bank was established- to derision in London – it retained the facility.
Barack Obama is to visit Turkey to make a speech, as promised, in the capital of a Muslim country in his first 100 days. When I listed, in January, the odds of which country this would be, I didn’t include Turkey. D’oh! And double D’oh! – considering the fact that I have actually been to Turkey and should have known to include it. Never mind!
Here. My favourite is this one below. An absolute classic.
Chuck, watch out for that…So, Chuck Storm is here to discuss a robbery and he decided that to make the report more appealing, he wouldn’t just stand in place like most reporters. No, our friend Chuck decided that he was going to walk and talk while staring directly at the camera instead of what was in front of him. Bad idea.
This really is mind-blowingly good. A running commentary on the LibDem conference, on the official LibDem website. It is ideal for all us people with lives which do not allow us to attend conferences regularly.
Well done LibDem website! Well done George Crozier and Rupert Dewey – who appear to be the people crouched over laptops tapping in the updates!
Jerry Brown was Governor of California when he had hair. (His father was also the governor.) He ran for US President but failed because he went on about flushing toilets with less water. Now he doesn’t have any hair, he is looking good for a possible comeback as Arnie’s successor as Californian governor (he is currently Attorney General). Mind you, that depends on Dianne Fenstein not running or being beaten by Brown in the primaries.
There’s an interesting interview with Vince Cable here on the Guardian website. He says that the Tories have been caught completely flat-footed by the economic crisis and didn’t expect it.
He says that many of the economic problems we have originate from the Thatcher years. For example, he argues, the demutualisation of the building societies started in the Thatcher years and that policy has been at the heart of the current crisis. He also says that the Tories have argued for years for the lifting of effective regulation of the banks – which has also been a cause of the crisis. So, Vince says, the Tories have “got their analysis utterly and completely wrong”.
I am delighted to hear Vince say this, as it fits in with one of my favourite theories.